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 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

May 20, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

It’s now been four years since The Rentals quietly reformed, under the leadership of founder Matt Sharp, along with new additions of singer/songwriter Sara Radle, violist Lauren Chipman, synth player Ben Pringle, and drummer Dan Joeright. More

May 20, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Cyndi Lauper said it best: Girls just want to have fun. Joining the pack of Swedish-imported fun is Stockholm-based, all-girl quintet, Those Dancing Days. Its name derived from the Led Zeppelin song "Dancing Days," the group of fresh-faced high school grads share more in common with fellow girl group The Pipettes or Blondie front-woman Deborah Harry than the heavy mysticism of Led Zeppelin IV. More

May 19, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Is the Mercury Music Prize an indication that you should stop doing what people seem to approve of so much? The prestigious award, given to one British artist annually, signifies the biggest contribution to British music for that year. Gomez were the recipients of that honor in 1998 for their debut, Bring It OnMore

May 16, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

On the documentary DVD that’s packaged with this live CD, Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn comments: “This band was created in sort of the shadow of the Replacements.” Nothing wrong with that, given that The Replacements recorded an influential string of classic studio albums in the 1980s, but it makes The Hold Steady a dubious band to release a live album. More

May 15, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Silversun Pickups are experiencing the opposite of most bands that share a similar sound. That sound being a wall of distortion, static, and fuzz that is part shoegazer—and in the Silversun's case, part Smashing Pumpkins. Usually the first album is one big, long sound occasionally punctured by a recognizable riff. In contrast, the second album is defined by morsels of hints-at-pop hits—which in the Silversuns case ended up being full-blown smashes.  More

May 15, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

In 2007, The Mary Onettes (pronounced like marionettes) released their self-titled debut full-length, featuring a sound reminiscent of bands like The Cure and The Church, whose pop melodies wrapped in lush textures and ethereal backdrops were second to none. This first single from The Mary Onettes' upcoming sophomore full-length picks up right where the band left off. More