Much like Hootie & the Blowfish and Dave Matthews made the world safe once again for album-oriented rock, NEEDTOBREATHE occupies a cranny between Blackberry Smoke and the Avett Bros., making the world safe once again for watered-down Southern rock. Rivers in the Wasteland is akin to listening to The Black Crowes on a bender of iced tea and 3.2 beer. That’s not to say it’s all bad. The album’s more introspective moments relinquish some languid, beautiful sounds, but this one takes more than a cursory commitment to listen through, and most, I fear, won’t find it without getting bored first. Even so, it's a sophomore release worthy of your effort. (Michael Henningsen)
The Tower is not your typical Prosthetic band: There's no metal, no hardcore, no morose blackness. The Tower is, at its core, a blues band (albeit from Sweden). It is best described as offbeat, freakbeat and phantasmagorical psych-blues that exudes an ageless charm while striking eerie, dreamlike atmospheres. And out of that comes their debut release Hic Abundant Leones (which translates from Swedish as "bad luck boogie"). In some cases, it's dreamlike as a Crazy Horse record, dirge-like in others in a sort of Northern nod to Sabbath; there’s truly something here for everyone. (Michael Henningsen)
Dude, Todd Terje really is the king of Norwegian disco. Or maybe he’s the emperor of a subset of European electronic dance music that works energetic wonders as it grooves madly across this continent and that. The northland’s prolific DJ, mixmaster and producer puts aside his proclivity toward the background and assumes a relaxed yet regal role on his first solo release It’s Album Time. Filled with infectiously driven tunes that sometimes resolve in restrained snippets of melody and feature collaboration with Bryan Ferry, Terje’s first full-length record is sumptuous without sounding retro. Tracks like “Preben Goes to Acapulco” add a cinematic touch to the royal Norwegian flair. (August March)
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