Thursday, July 23, 2015

Silverchair - 'Freak Show'



The age gap between 15 and 17 is massive, though it doesn’t seem that way on paper. But for Australian trio Silverchair, those two years saw them evolve from boys to men. Their 1995 debut, Frogstomp, got figuratively stomped on by critics for its derivative grunge sound. Yet fans were enamored, seeing massive potential in singer-guitarist Daniel Johns, drummer Ben Gillies and bassist Chris Joannou.

Armed with fuzz pedals and teenage angst, Silverchair amassed a huge following— all before graduating high school.

So by the time they turned 17 and wrapped work on their second record, Freak Show, they were seasoned veterans. A newfound maturity could be heard in the solemn “Cemetery” and the orchestral “Petrol and Chlorine.” And the title itself spoke volumes about Johns’ internal battles, later revealed on album three, Neon Ballroom, as anorexia.


Read more at About.com.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

311's Self-Titled Album Turns 20



“One nation under a groove” is the longstanding motto for Midwest chillaxers 311. Front man Nick Hexum upheld the idea back in 1996, when his group’s third official album propelled them to stardom, and it’s served them well ever since. March 11 gets the Hive (the 311 fan base) buzzing annually in honor of these down-to-earth homies. (Well, as down to earth as they can be after obtaining throngs of admirers and enough money to buy private islands.)


It has been 20 years since the self-titled album, featuring the walloping single “Down,” made an impact. That woozy blue logo, suggesting a Spencer’s mentality of hydroponic delights and friendliness, found its way onto backpacks and bumper stickers. And Hexum, all frosted tips and beach-bum swagger, found his way into the pages of teen-dream publications.


Read more at About.com!

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.