Friday, June 19, 2015

Featured in Alternative Press July 2015

My review of the new Desaparecidos album, Payola, is featured in the July 2015 issue of Alternative Press. Purchase the magazine here or at your local bookstore.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear Terrestrial Radio – An Open Letter for Improvement

Photo by Strecosa/Pixabay/Creative Commons

Hi. I still listen to you. Not as much as I did in college while working at a bakery, listening to KROQ and K-EARTH. But I still do, when streaming audio gets choked by unreliable Wi-Fi. Or the perils of selecting literally any song becomes my Sophie’s Choice. You are a passive listening experience, but I can’t just sit back and consume obediently anymore.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Straight Dopamine on the New Third Eye Blind Album

The pop-driven wordsmiths that led a “Semi-Charmed Life” in 1997 are back. Dopamine is Third Eye Blind’s first album in six years, following the hefty Ursa Major. Front man Stephan Jenkins has indicated Dopamine will be his band’s last proper record— this one faced a half-decade of lineup changes, lawsuits and writer’s block. Dig deeper below into the album’s addictive sound and why Destiny(‘s Child) steered the course of the foursome’s songwriting.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Swallow It Down as 'Jagged Little Pill' Turns 20

How to explain Jagged Little Pill, that monster-seller alt rock album that turned a bubbly Canadian singer into the poster girl for pissed-off women? Was it a man-hating screed forged from the ashes of grunge? Was it mainstream pop with a troubled streak? Was it art or the calculated plot of a super-producer of schmaltz?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Having a Ball with Barenaked Ladies

Photo by Matt Barnes

A great big obstacle comes barreling toward the determined team. They’ve seen it before: a sphere of wonder and doubt so bright it blinds. As they face it head-on, background noise and flashbulbs distract from the awaiting menace. It looks like curtains for the foursome, but then, ZING! They score the theme to TV’s most popular comedy. Here it comes again, faster than before. CLANG! They co-write a song with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, while he’s in space.

And with just the right combo, BAM! Extra ball.

Silverball is the 14th full-length album from the Barenaked Ladies, that cadre of rock comedy from the great white north. After parting ways with founding member Steven Page in 2009, the remaining gents amped up their camaraderie and have taken the world on fearlessly. Front man Ed Robertson says in a press release that Silverball was characterized by the least amount of self-doubt from the Ladies since their 1992 debut, Gordon.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

U2 Create Experience of a Lifetime in Concert

U2 perform in Vancouver in May 2015. Photo by Kevin Mazur

U2 are the Tomorrowland of rock. Both entities thrive on optimism, togetherness and fantastic showmanship. But their unabashed idealism rubs people the wrong way. Both are accused of messianic posturing, reveling in hypocrisy thanks to their corporate backing (Apple and Disney, respectively).

But the main trait shared by the House of Mouse and the Irish stalwarts is the hope they give to fans. That same luster in the eyes of U2’s audience members at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on May 27 appears in the eyes of first-time visitors to Disneyland.

Simply, the experience is magical.

Read the full review at

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Michael Bland - The Soul of Soul Asylum

“When I pick up the sticks, it’s serious business,” says drumming guru Michael Bland. At 19, he joined Prince’s New Power Generation and survived an unparalleled trial by fire. Now he’s logged 10 years as the rhythm-keeper for rockers Soul Asylum, thriving on the unpredictable energy created with front man Dave Pirner, guitarist Justin Sharbono and bassist Winston Roye.

Even with a CV that includes auditions for Madonna and Nine Inch Nails, and gigs with Nick Jonas and Paul Westerberg, Bland still pounds the pavement. This chat came from his personally reaching out to us on Facebook about Soul Asylum’s summer trek with the Meat Puppets. The drummer says that contacting music lovers organically is in his band’s best interest. Pirner and the original lineup cultivated their following on college campuses and via furious gigging around showcases like South by Southwest. Bland suggests it’s only natural to return to those roots as the Minneapolis quartet finish work on a new record.

Photo by Jules Follett