Country reviews, 2006-’11

Gary Allan, Set You Free Gary Allan has long been one of country’s most velvet-voiced beautiful losers. But on Set Me Free he lets the crazy out, howling psychobilly graveyard threats in “Bones,” interrupting a recovery meeting church organ to blame mental ghosts in “It Ain’t The Whiskey,” vegetating in his hotel room while college… Continue reading Country reviews, 2006-’11

Everclear review, 1997

One of my few section-fronting (and therefore longer) lead reviews in Spin. For some reason I don’t get, Generation Xers (or youngers) who write about music do not seem to remember Art Alexakis all that fondly. Perhaps they just weren’t old enough for him at the time. Spin, November 1997

Bad Brains profile, 1987

Frank Kogan had a field day way back when with my delusion that anger is an emotion that needs to be “earned,” whatever that could conceivably mean. (I blame my guilt-ridden Catholic upbringing.) Also, had I been aware at the time, it would’ve made sense to inquire about Bad Brains’ now well-documented history of homophobia,… Continue reading Bad Brains profile, 1987

The Donnas review, 1998

Flipping the jailbait groupie script that had defiled hard rock since it came to be, the Donnas had their concept down from the start. All they needed to do from here was master more and more Ratt and Crüe chords, to kickstart the use-’em-up-and-toss-’em-out’s heart. Spin, March 1988

Colourhaus review, 1992

“Forget foxcore,” this starts out. And guess what? I did forget foxcore. I forgot such a thing ever existed, I forget what it was, and I never found out what the fox says…Foxette? Foxygen? Oh fox it, here’s Wikipedia: “Foxcore is a 1990s rock music genre of bands featuring female singers. According to Joanne Gottlieb and… Continue reading Colourhaus review, 1992

Sonic Taxonomy: ’90s Eurocheese

Social networks and global economics of scale have since flattened the world –- Europe’s pop turned more soul-conscious, America’s more synth-conscious, and most everybody’s wound up occupying watered-down middle ground. But back in the ‘90s, before MySpace and iTunes (or Friendster and Napster even), continental Europe was free to be a happily clueless bubblegum island… Continue reading Sonic Taxonomy: ’90s Eurocheese

Sonic Taxonomy: Oz Rock

As connoisseurs of marsupials and platypi have always known, evolution in Australia happens in a parallel manner to elsewhere — but sort of upside down, occasionally even laying eggs. So an American trying to sum up Australian rock history in just eight albums is probably about as foolhardy as if, well, an Aussie tried to… Continue reading Sonic Taxonomy: Oz Rock