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by PopMatters Staff

29 Mar 2017


PHOTO: JOSEPH LLANES

Chris Ingalls: Rodney Crowell has been one of country music’s most revered, mature voices. While so much contemporary country consists of clowning around pickup trucks, Crowell has spent decades establishing himself as a superior songwriter, albeit one who gets more props from critics and his fellow songwriters. Backed primarily by sparse acoustic guitar, “Nashville 1972” is a lovely country/folk number that recalls Crowell’s salad days, full of lyrical detail and delicate fingerpicking. It’s a wonderful tribute to a bygone era that Crowell still remembers vividly. If the rest of Crowell’s upcoming album is this good, we could have a contender for album of the year. It’s that good. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

23 Mar 2017


Photo: Chris Cuffaro

Mike Schiller: Somehow, Greg Dulli can recruit Har Mar Superstar for his video, infuse his song with a full horn section and finish it with a straight-up dance beat and extended falsetto notes, and it still sounds like he wrote the song at midnight by candlelight. That’s to his credit, of course—Dulli’s ability to find darkness in unexpected places is one of his great strengths. “Demon in Profile” is both classic and brand new for Afghan Whigs, as its big instrumentation and soaring vocal lines signal a new direction for the band even as it reaffirms their ability to find comfort underground. [8/10]

by Sarah Zupko

23 Mar 2017


Tel-Aviv duo Lola Marsh occupy a space in between indie pop, indie folk, and electropop with their beautifully melodic, breezy songs. It’s a thoroughly modern and engaging approach to pop music that highlights the superb songwriting chops of Gil Landau and the enigmatic vocals of Yael Shoshana Cohen. Lola Marsh’s tunes have stormed the Hype Machine charts, and their future looks bright with their debut album coming sometime this spring or summer.

by PopMatters Staff

22 Mar 2017


Photo: Jay Scroggins

Mike Schiller: Subtlety is an underused skill in hip-hop, but Porter Ray has it down on “Past Life”. Over beautiful, hazy production, we get high-speed raps about everything but this moment. We hear about memories, we hear about dreams, we hear reminiscing about the past and looking toward the future. If it feels a little ethereal, that’s probably its intent. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

21 Mar 2017


Photo: Shawn Brackbill

Chris Ingalls: It’s been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album, so “highly anticipated” is certainly the right term to use here. Since the release of Helplessness Blues, drummer Josh Tillman jumped ship and became everyone’s favorite sexy misanthrope, Father John Misty, yet the Foxes soldier on and are doing exactly what we expect of them—deep, cavernous-sounding indie campfire folk with Robin Pecknold’s keening tenor cutting through the heavy percussion and woodsy acoustic guitars. With this track, however, they diverge a bit with an epic, multi-part track reminiscent of the Decemberists’ prog/folk diversions. The band test drives their sound through a series of strange avenues but it still—thank goodness—sounds like Fleet Foxes. This is a band stepping out of its comfort zone and sounding so much better for it. [9/10]

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