Category: Music

Megadeth’s snarling, paranoid Dystopia

Keepers of the thrash metal flame can breathe a raspy sigh of relief with the release of Megadeth’s Dystopia. After 2013’s Super Collider, an odd concept album gone awry, Dave Mustaine and company have returned to their blistering roots. The subject matter may seem metal enough, but a closer look at Dystopia reveals a very different perspective than is often found in the genre. While the “whole…  [more]

David Bowie and the passing of a Blackstar

When I was about 13 and consumed with self-doubt, desperate faith and a terrifying search for purpose, I found a world of adventurous, Jesus-focused music that was far off the pop radar. I dived head first down that rabbit hole, leaving most mainstream music behind. There were a few artists, however, who stayed with me during my sojourn. David Bowie was one. The first full-length rock album I bought with my own…  [more]

Travels, a Traveller, Whistles & Bells: the top 10 albums of 2015

When you spend your year listening to music, it’s hard to come up with a“10 best” list. So consider the following to be a collection of 10 impressive records from 2015 that you should not miss. 10. Kamasi Washington - The Epic Though he is most widely known as the cat who brought those cool jazz bits to Kendrick Lamar’s amazing To Pimp a Butterfly, Kamasi Washington sets his sights on the…  [more]

Scott Weiland and debunking the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle

We lost another rock star last week when Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver fame finally succumbed to the repercussions of decades of substance abuse and addiction. It’s a song we’ve heard too often. This time, however, even as the tributes and platitudes piled up, Mary Forsberg Weiland, the singer’s ex-wife and the mother of his two children, offered some brutal and painful…  [more]

Adele and Advent: worth the wait

If you’ve been following me on social media the past few weeks, then you know how much I adore Adele. I have been counting down to last Friday’s release of her new album, 25, and have now spent this past weekend listening to it on repeat. The anticipation was due not only to her amazing talent, but to the four-year hiatus since her last album, 21. 25 is on track to be a record-breaking album, projected…  [more]

Chris Stapleton and the triumph of twang

Expecting deep, soulful or truthful ruminations on love and the human condition at the CMA Awards might be as fruitless as hoping to find healthy food at a traveling carnival, but sometimes miracles happen. When Chris Stapleton won CMA trophies for Album of the Year, Male Vocalist and Best New Artist last week, many people had no idea who he was. Though he has been critically acclaimed, country radio has mostly…  [more]

Mining meaning from Blitzen Trapper’s All Across This Land

Portland’s Blitzen Trapper just released All Across This Land, their eighth album and — barring an intervention of supernatural proportions — likely my Album of the Year. I haven’t been this moved by a new record since Daniel Amos’ stellar Dig Here, Said the Angel in 2013. Like that gem, All Across This Land is a tight and visceral collection that unapologetically plumbs life’s big…  [more]

A toast, and a warning, from Alice Cooper’s Hollywood Vampires

Halloween comes early this year thanks to everyone’s favorite shock-rocking, snake-handling, perennially decapitated, thoughtfully Christian crypt keeper Alice Cooper. Along with Johnny Depp and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Cooper has assembled the super-est of supergroups to offer a loving yet chilling parody of rock-and-roll excess. The self-titled debut album by Hollywood Vampires is here - trick or treat…  [more]

Community vs. Cult of Personality (or 3 days at TIFF)

I met Sharon Jones at the Toronto International Film Festival last week. Well, at least I met her through Miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary about the contemporary soul/funk singer, with whom I had been woefully unfamiliar. Jones is a force. Like her hero James Brown, she has indomitable energy as a singer, dancer and band leader, especially in her live performances with her backup musicians, The Dap Kings. The…  [more]

Lamenting along with Iron Maiden

Few bands have the legacy and longevity of Iron Maiden. Forty years and 16 studio albums in, the British sextet continues to prove that they’re one of the most hard-working and ambitious heavy metal acts around. And nothing shouts ambitious like a double-disc album. As such, The Book of Souls stands out in Iron Maiden’s catalogue as a formal departure from their trademark, punchy bursts of metal. The…  [more]

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