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December 2008

Event Reviews


DJ Anthony Davis and Sean Daley bring a golden carnival of Atmosphere to Chicago.

Celtic Thunder

Great voices and Celtic Music from a band made popular on PBS lilt through the UCF Arena. Carl F Gauze knows it's going to be an early, and comfy, night.


Ink 19's Jen Cray trades her low expectations for staunch admiration when she experiences the charm of Coldplay firsthand. Almost as good as U2?


There's more to Hanson than "MmmBop," and the all-grown-up band proves it at Chicago's House of Blues. Cindy Barrymore says the brothers' cuteness has worn off. You be the judge.

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins delivers a spoken word sermon at The Church. Mike Hanan absorbs the homily. Amen.

Low Vs. Diamond

It takes some serious skills to make moody, indie rock sound new and fresh, but Low Vs. Diamond does just that. Jen Cray was wooed by their swagger and elegance at a recent Orlando date.

Polar Bear Club

As part of a pseudo-after-party for Gainesville, Florida's punk rock weekend (The Fest), Polar Bear Club attempts to make new punk sound classic. Jen Cray is entertained, though not entirely convinced.

Portugal. The Man

In which our hero, Addam Donnelly, gets his dirty old church mouth cleaned out by Portugal. The Man, and a sound that defies description. Fortunately, he expected the unexpected.

Sarah Brightman

Sara Brightman shines at UCF, delivering a gem of a show despite the sports arena's plague of muddy sound.

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers

When it comes to a live show, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers are a band that has yet to let Jen Cray down.

The Rumble Strips

U.K. act Rumble Strips may have brought the rain, but their neo-ska tunes were all sunshine and big puffy "Clouds." S D Green slogged through the downpour to catch a glimpse of the surprising source for Charlie Waller's big, big voice.

The Toadies

Reunited after a 2001 breakup and toting a new album and tour (alongside People in Planes), The Toadies bring grunge back in a big way. Jen Cray is one of many Orlando fans reveling in the murky merriment.


Wilderness stops three hours from where Aaron Shaul lives and he is fully committed to leaving the city to find them and prog rock salvation.


Ant (of Atmosphere)

Word on the street (OK, biology class) is that an ant can carry up to 25 times its body weight. As beatmeister for hip-hop duo Atmosphere, Ant has been delivering truly heavy funk for over a decade. Chris Catania goes backstage to get the lowdown on Ant's beats, rhymes, and life.


On the historic day that America elects its first African-American president, an eloquent messenger for "change," Q-Tip releases The Renaissance. Coincidence? John-Thomas Crockett sits down with "The Abstract" prior to the outcome to discuss The Renaissance, Obama, and how he feels about Q-Tip vs. Lil Wayne.

Rise Against

Jen Cray discusses brainwashing, politics, war, and even a little bit of music with Rise Against drummer Brandon Barnes.

Music Reviews

I'll Stay 'Til After Christmas

A Christmas Album to Benefit Amnesty International (Animal World Recordings). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music A


Black Ice (Columbia). Review by Christopher Long.

Shane Alexander

The Sky Below (BuddhaLand Music). Review by Andrew Ellis.


What You Don't Know Is Frontier (Southern). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music B

The Barry Sisters

Our Way (Reboot Stereophonic). Review by Carl F Gauze.

Blues Traveler

North Hollywood Shootout (Verve Forecast ). Review by Tim Wardyn.

Brightblack Morning Light

Motion To Rejoin (Matador). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music C

Cake On Cake

Hymns I Remember (Sleepy). Review by Aaron Shaul.

The Cat Empire

So Many Nights (Valour). Review by Chris Catania.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival - 40th Anniversary Edition (Fantasy). Review by Carl F Gauze.

Crystal Stilts

Alight of Night (Slumberland). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music F

Forward, Russia!

Life Processes (Mute). Review by Andrew Coulon.

Fucked Up

The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador). Review by Laura Pontillo.

Music G

The Gay Blades

Ghosts (4-Never/ Triple Crown). Review by Jen Cray.

J. Matthew Gerken, Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies (Standard Recording Company). Review by Carl F Gauze.

David Gilmour

Live in Gdansk (EMI). Review by Carl F Gauze.

Gregory & the Hawk

Moenie and Kitchi (FatCat). Review by Jen Cray.

Music H

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs

Dirt Don't Hurt (Transdreamer). Review by Matthew Moyer.


Music For an Accelearted Culture (Surface Noise/Atlantic). Review by Jen Cray.


Parasite of Society (Candlelight). Review by Matthew Moyer.

House of Badger

Death Birds (In Music We Trust). Review by Tim Wardyn.

Music I

Iced Earth

The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 2) (SPV/Steamhammer). Review by Scott Adams.

Ivan Ives

LA Heat (No Threshold). Review by Chris Catania.

Music J

JDH & Dave P

Go Commando (Defend). Review by Chris Catania.


Monsters & Silly Songs (Versatile ). Review by Chris Catania.

Damien Jurado

Caught in the Trees (Secretly Canadian). Review by Eric J. Iannelli.

Music K


Many Ways (Double Moon). Review by Chris Catania.

Kings of Leon

Only By The Night (RCA). Review by Christopher Long.

Music L


Writing Down Things to Say (Words on Music). Review by Aaron Shaul.


Out Here + False Start (Collectors' Choice). Review by Jessica Whittington.

Music M

Mount Eerie

Lost Wisdom (PW Elverum and Sun). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music N

Nagisa Ni te

Yosuga (Jagjaguwar). Review by Aaron Shaul.

New Arrivals

Volume Three: Artists For Eating Disorders Awareness (MPress). Review by Andrew Ellis.

Ben Nichols

The Last Pale Light in the West (Liberty & Lament /The Rebel Group). Review by Jen Cray.

Music P

The Parties

Can't Come Down (Rainbow Quartz). Review by Eric J. Iannelli.

Jean-Jacques Perrey and Dana Countryman

Destination Space (Oglio). Review by Carl F Gauze.

Music R

Jay Reatard

Matador Singles '08 (Matador). Review by Scott Adams.

Music S

Sister Hazel

Before The Amplifiers (Rock Ridge Music). Review by Andrew Ellis.

Stray Cats

Blast Off (Hep Cat) Review by Christopher Long.

Music T


Paper Trails (Grand Hustle/Atlantic). Review by John-Thomas Crockett.

TAB the Band

Long Weekend (North Street). Review by Jen Cray.

The Theater Fire

Matter And Light. Review by Carl F Gauze.

Music U

Ulaan Khol

II (Soft Abuse). Review by Aaron Shaul.


Hammer Battalion (SPV). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music V

Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls (In The Red). Review by Matthew Moyer.

Music W

The Wanteds

Failure Looks So Good (In Music We Trust). Review by Tim Wardyn.

Music Y

Young Jeezy

The Recession (Def Jam/Universal/Corporate Thugz Entertainment). Review by John-Thomas Crockett.

Print Reviews

A Wished-For Song

Merri Cyr tries to catch lightning in a camera lens in this re-issue of her 2002 scrapbook of intimate reflections on legendary musician Jeff Buckley. S D Green wonders if Buckley was ever really here at all.

Crosby, Stills and Nash

This deluxe anniversary edition of Dave Zimmer's exhaustive CSN (and Y!) history offers a good many clues as to what exactly killed the hippie dream, thinks Matthew Moyer.

The New York Trilogy

Three existential cubist detective stories, courtesy of Paul Aster, have Carl F Gauze nodding off like Sherlock Holmes "relaxing" (wink wink) after a tough case.

Too Cool to be Forgotten

Alex Robinson's latest graphic novel takes you back to a place you might not be ready for -- 10th grade. Bruce Phillips enjoys the trip.