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Review: Fitz and the Tantrums | Pickin' Up the Pieces

Dangerbird (2010)
The Achilles' heel of so many bands who try and go for that big vocal sound is that they can't really sing.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 31, 2010


Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs | God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

RCA (2010)
Beneath the crusty-mountain-man exterior and the surly attitude toward the entertainment business, Ray LaMontagne wants you to like him.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 24, 2010


Inside the retro-futuristic world of Stereo Total

All aboard electro-pop's Mystery Machine
The experience of watching Stereo Total (pronounced "to-TAL") live is a little like watching one of those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons — say, Scooby-Doo , where one second the gang are driving along in the Mystery Machine and the next second a rock song is playing.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 20, 2010


Brian Wilson | Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Disney Pearl Series (2010)
George and Ira Gershwin's music may have been the pop music of its day, but — like much of the Great American Songbook — it was more sophisticated than most of the pop of the '50s and '60s.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 18, 2010


International sounds of the future

Four who grooved to the space age
After all, the future is scary, but the past is fun.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 17, 2010


Eli ''Paperboy'' Reed | Come and Get It!

Capitol Records (2010)
Local boy Eli "Paperboy" Reed isn't so local anymore.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 10, 2010


Robert Schipul | Summersky

Starlet Records (2010)
From indie records to major-label releases, lots of new music is made in bedrooms.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 10, 2010


Arcade Fire | The Suburbs

Merge (2010)
"Half Light I" sounds as if it could be the soundtrack to an American Express commercial.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 28, 2010


Autolux | Transit Transit

TBD Records (2010)
As much fun as it is to be iconoclastic, it's tough for the art-rockers of today to escape the bones of the past when trying to break new ground.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 28, 2010


John Cunningham | 1998 - 2002

Ashmont Records (2010)
This reissue compiles two out-of-print albums from British songwriter John Cunningham — 1998's Homeless House and 2002's Happy-Go-Unlucky .
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 20, 2010


Sounds for older kids

Cambridge driven by Unrest
If there were a missing chapter in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life , it would be about Unrest, the DC-based experimental-pop trio whose leader, Mark Robinson, has called Cambridge home for the past 10 years.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 20, 2010


Hot freaks

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti leave home
Los Angeles is the land of the freaks — from subversive ones like Lindsay Lohan to out-and-out horror shows like Kim Fowley.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 20, 2010


The Russians | Crashing the Party

Moontower Recordings (2010)
Boston songwriter/producer Scott Janovitz left us wondering what his next big move would be after Dragstrip Courage in the early 2000s. The answer is the Russians, a studio-riffic expression of Janovitz's musical fancies, skills, and resourcefulness.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 07, 2010


Oranjuly | Oranjuly

Self-released (2010)
Three years is a long time to make an album. A band could either neuter every nuance that might have existed on the tape or patiently polish their songs like little gemstones.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 01, 2010


The Cure | Disintegration: Deluxe Edition

Rhino (2010)
Originally released in 1989, Disintegration is not just one of the Cure’s masterpieces — it’s also their commercial peak.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  June 01, 2010


Indian Jewelry | Totaled

We Are Free (2010)
Mystery and confusion are sexy, and Indian Jewelry get that.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  May 04, 2010


Rufus Wainwright | All Days Are Night: Songs For Lulu

Decca (2010)
Songs for Lulu features Wainwright alone at his piano — where, on previous records, the Canadian songwriter has mostly been as part of sprawling pop ensembles.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  April 21, 2010


Sightings | City of Straw

Jagjaguwar (2010)
City of Straw works less like a conventional album of songs and more like a portal torn into this esteemed NYC-based experimental trio’s ominous world of heavy industrial noise that stays open for just 40 minutes.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  April 15, 2010


Mood swings

Chris Pureka makes highs out of lows
There’s nothing like getting socked in the head with a big fat metaphor — and if it’s carried along by some solid guitar playing, so much the better.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  April 06, 2010


Liars | Sisterworld

Mute (2010)
Regardless of whether Liars have broken ground connecting the amateur groping of punk rock to the exotic modalities of modern (12-tone) classical and Eastern European music, Sisterworld feels utterly wrenched with bourgeois boredom.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  March 03, 2010


Dee's so fine

The girl-group delights of the Deelinquents
Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents co-founders Jen D'Angora (the Dents, the Downbeat 5) and Ed Valauskas (Gravel Pit, the Gentlemen) won't come right out and say that they had ambitions of ever forming a '60s-style girl group — they won't even come out and say they're married.
By: JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  March 02, 2010

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