John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John — This Christmas (Universal) The pairing is complete nostalgia. There is no other reason that John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are together for a Christmas album aside from the fact that they were both cast together in a small little movie musical called Grease over thirty years ago. Grease has … Continue reading John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
Cat Power — Sun (Matador) The story goes that when Chan Marshall set off to begin the follow up to the very hard to follow up The Greatest, she presented her progress to a friend. She could tell that the new material didn’t grab her friend in quite the manner that she hoped, and after … Continue reading Cat Power – Sun
Joyce Manor – Of All The Things I Will Soon Grow Tired (Asian Man) I guess I’m supposed to ignore the fact that Joyce Manor do little more than deliver a very competent blend of late 20th Century punk rock and praise them for their “honesty” and “DIY ethos.” There’s a place for that, particularly … Continue reading Joyce Manor – Of All The Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
Husky — Forever So (Sub Pop) Our favorite Seattle label is now making its way down under to find the next big thing up here. Husky represents their first signing from Melbourne, with the moniker actually the first name of the band’s guitar and vocalist. The only “Husky” I knew growing up was the name … Continue reading Husky – Forever So
Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth (Nuclear Blast) To be honest, I would rather see Testament included in the “Big 4” line-up than Anthrax. The lineage is there and, most importantly, the band has parlayed its third decade into an example that even headliners Metallica should have considered well before the submission that was Death … Continue reading Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold (Sub Pop) After a decade long hiatus between studio albums, Beachwood Sparks returns with The Tarnished Gold, their latest attempt at channeling the ghosts of Laurel Canyon. Their country rock is tightly packaged through campfire picked guitars and a slue of pedal steels, just the way it should be. … Continue reading Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold
The Fall – Ersatz GB (Cherry Red) Featuring the same band found on Your Future Our Clutter, The Fall’s twenty-ninth album sonically mirrors the previous effort with Mark E. Smith incorporating even more marbles in his mouth. And since Clutter was such a winner, Ersatz GB is more of the same, with the only disappointment … Continue reading The Fall – Ersatz GB
The BoDeans Indigo Dreams (Oarfin) At the time of this writing, BoDeans’ founders Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas have stopped working with each other after being together for over a quarter-century. For reasons not entirely known-except between Neumann and Llanas-tension had been building to the point where Llanas failed to show up to a gig … Continue reading The BoDeans – Indigo Dreams
The influential band gets back together without its original rhythm section.
Chris Walla produces an E.P. for his own label, an imprint of Atlantic/WMG.