Nels Andrews Sunday Shoes (Little Kiss)
Nels Andrews' most recent release finds him fronting El Paso Eyepatch, his live band that features multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Richards. Like Crazy Horse, EPE can be incendiary and legendarily powerful when it comes to extended jamming and/or solo sections that swell and recede in ocean-like waves of sonic resolve. But the 'Patch's work on this batch of Andrews' songs is more restrained for the most part, showing yet another side of this fine collective of talent and passion. Andrews' melodic structures recall Lyle Lovett, while he's vocally on-par with guys like Josh Ritter. Nice!
Secret Machines Now Here is Nowhere (Reprise)
Why is this review so long in coming? Because I've spent months trying—unsuccessfully—to identify the Pink Floyd influence everyone seems to connect to Secret Machines. I hear Zeppelin, Queen, even Poster Children, but I'll be damned if anything on ... Nowhere transports me to the dark side of the moon. As it was with the Darkness, there's a shit-ton of hype surrounding Secret Machines, and most of it's warranted. But ... Nowhere inexplicably begins to unravel by the time “Pharaoh's Daughter” tracks, and never recovers the classic rock angularity that opens the record.
Wilco A Ghost is Born (Nonesuch)
After the sacking of guitarist/songwriter Jay Bennett following the completion of 2002's brilliant Yankee Hotel Foxtrot I was nearly certain I'd never like another Wilco CD. So much for that. Ghost ..., like every record Jeff Tweedy and Co. have made since their 1995 debut is an entirely different animal than any of its predecessors. There's a Let It Be quality at work on Ghost ... that signals, perhaps, that Wilco find themselves once again standing at a crossroads—an ominously beautiful place that could just as easily be the beginning as the end.