Jun 02, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Whilst fellow purveyors of brittle and bruised Americana Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Damien Jurado have begun to embrace a fuller sonic palette of late, the music of Joshua Tillman maintains a stripped-down, world-weary restraint. Tillman's solo output—which stretches back to 2004—also differs considerably from the soaring chamber pop of the all-conquering Fleet Foxes whom he joined as a drummer in early 2008. More

May 29, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Of all the works released that strange, mystical year of 1959, none came close to the cultural saturation or financial bonanza of Time Out, by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Its million-selling "Take Five" single assured the full platter prominence in any personal stash, which is funny in retrospect, considering Columbia's initial reservations about its potential. Too weird, they said. More

May 29, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Charles Mingus was one prolific motherfucker in jazz's greatest year. That February he was bunkered in New York's Atlantic Studios whipping up Blues & Roots for the Ertegun brothers. Three months later he tromped off to 30th Street to drop Mingus Ah Um in time to be lugged by college swellheads to off-campus soirees. That November he was back in the studio yet again, prepping Mingus Dynasty for the new decade. More

May 29, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Released in 1960, Sketches of Spain marked Miles Davis' third collaboration with arranger Gil Evans. Their musical relationship was a mutually advantageous one: Davis got to explore different, even classical textures, and Evans got to hang with Davis, whose participation assured an audience for what might have otherwise been a painfully square adventure. Davis had cooked in Spanish before, most recently on Blue's "Flamenco Sketches," so this wasn't an impulsive veer for the sake of contrarianism. More

May 29, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Musicians don't like to be cataloged like insects, yet they end up filling in for the critic in the most humorous ways. Case in point:  Sean Rawls, the leader of the 15-strong San Francisco collective Still Flyin' likes to call his band's party-ready tunes, "HAMMJAMM" music. His words, not mine. It's the sort of sugarcoated-cum-caffeinated made-up genre that can soundtrack your beer pong sesh or pizza pig-out. You know what I'm talking about dude? More

May 26, 2009 Live Web Exclusive

As anyone who has been to a Decemberists show can testify, a show is certainly ensured. This year's The Hazards of Love, which acts more like a rock opera than all previous endeavors, was presented last Tuesday night on its own terms. With minimal stagecraft, The Decemberists performed Hazards in its entirety in their first set and a mixed bag in its second. More

May 26, 2009 Live

Extra Golden's Tuesday night show at an Albuquerque steakhouse famous for its prime rib and Salsa dancing was a pleasant surprise. More

May 25, 2009 Live Web Exclusive

"When Cheyenne and I do tandem beer drinking it means we're going to sing together," Will Oldham announced after he and singer/fiddle player Cheyenne Mize simultaneously swigged from their beer bottles. They were onstage at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston last Sunday preparing to perform the duet "You Want That Picture," from Oldham's 2008 release Lie Down in the Light. More

May 21, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Before they hit the big time and had money coming out of their ears, Death Cab For Cutie toured in a van, slept on floors and played small, smoky clubs rather than thousand-seater theaters and arenas. And, in between records (which were generally superior to their more recent work) they put out stop gap EPs to keep the bills paid and fans satiated between full-lengths. So now on the heels of last year's Narrow Stairs LP comes The Open Door EP, with four songs culled from the Stairs sessions and a ukulele-backed demo-version of Stairs' "Talking Bird." More