Past Stories

The Weekly Jive

Switchfoot—The Best Yet (Columbia/Legacy)That a band like San Diego’s Switchfoot is releasing a greatest hits album only six years after they pranced onto the scene as so much milquetoast for montages is a real shou...


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Juana Molina—Un Dia (Domino Records) Probably due to language xenophobia, Argentina’s Juana Molina remains an over-looked artist on the post-folk scene, though there are few better at rearranging the music&rsqu...


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KINGS OF LEON—Only By The Night (RCA) Tennessee family affair Kings of Leon—alongside Arcade Fire and almost anything to do with Jack White—are part of a mainstream movement towards more organic, sepia-toned ...



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Holy Sons—Decline of the West (Partisan) There’s something about cats who do organic basement recordings that has them reaching for capitulatory bliss—it’s a giddy thing to brush-up against absolute zer...


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oRSo—Ask Your Neighbor (Contraphonic)  Look before you listen, and the instrumentation on oRSo’s latest—cello, violin, celeste, clarinet, trumpet, alto-sax, vibes, euphonium, etc.—anticipates lush c...


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Lindsey Buckingham–Gift of Screws (Reprise)   Every so often, music magazines publish lists of the best ________ (fill in the blank), ultimately leading to debates between critics and fans. After Rolling Stone ...



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dan le sac Vs. Scroobius Pip—Angles (Strange Famous) Nobody will ever accuse Scroobius Pip of being a constipated writer, as the very white British rapper let’s fly all that’s on his mind—and what’...


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Various Artists—Sounds Eclectic: The Next One (KCRW) Growing up pre-Internet in San Diego, I sometimes took my lunch hour in optimum locations just to hear KCRW’s signal static-free—the Santa Monica-based stat...


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DragonForce—Ultra Beatdown (Roadrunner) More like ultra beat-off.  This ludicrously masturbatory, over-caffeinated fourth offering from these Brit metal caricatures is a regimented blizzard of twin-chipmunk guitars, ...



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Jennifer O’Connor—Here With Me (Matador) You can admire the brass on Jennifer O’Connor, if not her new record. The publicity for Here With Me calls out non-gal-pals Chan Marshall, Jenny Lewis and Leslie Feist,...


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Death Vessel—Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us (Sub Pop) Not that long ago a release on Sub Pop from an act called Death Vessel would have melted your speakers in a maelstrom of sludge and grunge, and probably come with&h...


Oxford Collapse, Soulfly, Oneida

Oxford Collapse—BITS (Sub Pop) Two years ago Oxford Collapse’s Remember the Night Parties snuck onto a few Best Of year-end lists, mine included; mid-way through their latest, I had to replay Remember to make sure I...



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Scars on Broadway—Scars On Broadway (Interscope) It was easy to assume that vocalist Serj Tankian was the mind of System Of A Down and guitarist/singer Daron Malakian the metal. That is until, with SOAD on open-ended hiat...


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Windmill—Puddle City Racing Lights (Friendly Fire) Matthew Thomas Dillon goes by the name Windmill, as in ‘tilting at,’ and that’s as good a place as any to start with the fanciful-and-melancholic Puddle...


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Foreigner—No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner (Rhino) Foreigner were a multi-platinum turn-of-the-1980s soundtrack, their savvy fusion of strapping songcraft, barroom guitar, tinkling keys and Lou Gramm’s ga...



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Ratatat LP3 (Beggars Xl Recording) Instrumental rockers come in so many different flavors the palate reels: the epic (Mogwai, EITS), the minimalist (Eluvium, Album Leaf), the exotic (Friends of Dean Martinez, Grails), the coll...


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Beau Jennings—Beau Jennings & the Holy Tulsa Thunder (Silence Records) This solo debut from the lead singer of the Oklahoma-born band Cheyenne is the kind of record that might have survived the cut-out bin when gas wa...


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Various Artists—Big Blue Ball (Real World) Talk about long gestation periods. Culled from single recording weeks in 1991, 1992 and 1995 when Peter Gabriel hosted 75 international artists from 20 countries at his Real Worl...



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Adem—Takes (Domino) It seems these days every musician has in their contract—the one signed in blood at Robert Johnson’s crossroads—a covers’ record requirement. With the surprise factor vanquished...


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Aimee Mann—@#%&*! Smilers (Super Ego) The title of Aimee Mann’s latest album refers to annoying people who always urge you to smile (insert preferred curse word). It speaks volumes. Not exactly Mrs. Happy Go Lu...


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Chris Difford—The Last Temptation of Chris (Airline Records) When a songwriting partnership like Squeeze’s Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have been crafting world-class ditties for decades one begins to wonder, we...



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The Dresden Dolls—No, Virginia . . . (Roadrunner) With each album Boston’s vaudeville tandem The Dresden Dolls puts out, it seems they stray a little farther from the psycho-cabaret and the mephistophelean antics th...


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Emmanuel Jal—Warchild (Sonic 360) It’s the American rapper’s sacred arch—to lionize the bottom while flaunting gratuitously from the top. As hip-hop artists are prone to spit about the economic reality o...


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Greeley Estates—Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East (Science) State-of-the-arrggght screamo from this steadily rising Phoenix quintet: split-personality singy/screechy vocals; unusually articulate, grandiose guitars; ...



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Tokyo Police Club—Elephant Shell (Saddle Creek) Elephant Shell is a right little charmer. After all the fuss about Tokyo Police Club’s debut EP, A Lesson In Crime, a couple of years back, it seemed that the buzz wou...


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Sevendust—Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow (7 Bros/Asylum) If heavy metal is the cockroach of rock & roll—despised by many yet almost admirably resilient—then Sevendust may just be the cockroach’s cock...


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The Brian Jonestown Massacre—My Bloody Underground (Cargo) Ah, Christ—here we go again. The problem with Anton Newcombe is that his pen has always been faster than his brain. It’s listenable, alright, but the ...



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Constantines—Kensington Heights (Arts & Crafts)  We hear a lot about rock & roll’s redemptive powers, most of it rote and rarely lived in. Not so Canada’s Constantines, one of the few acts wi...