On The Record

Album reviews in 30 seconds or less.

By Bill Chenevert
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted May. 4, 2010

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The Hold Steady

Heaven is Whenever


Sounds Like: The Brooklyn behemoth delivers on a guitar-heavy rock record that features Craig Finn’s voice and lyrics, bordering on emo anthemic.

Free Association: The drama is palpable—Oh, to be a critically acclaimed rock band!

For Fans Of: Ted Leo, Modest Mouse, talk singing.

 The Besnard Lakes

AreThe Roaring Night


Sounds Like: Breezy and ambient indie rock from a Montreal husband and wife-driven team of musicians including classical strings and gritty guitars.

Free Association: Pink Floyd fanatics smoked a ton of weed and wanted to slow things down.

For Fans Of: Swimmers, Sigur Ros, Dears, Canada.

Peggy Sue

Fossils and Other Phantoms

(Yep Roc)

Sounds Like: Sparse but powerful full-length debut of folk from two girls who sing and a guy from Brighton with dark lyrics.

Free Association: A haunting record with gorgeous vocals. A winner of a debut, for sure.

For Fans Of: Dodos meets Regina Spektor, M Ward, Bon Iver.

Mike Patton

Mondo Cane

(Ipecac Recordings)

Sounds Like: The Faith No More alum sure can use his voice box. Here he sings mostly in Spanish and with a touch of kitsch, but totally authentic.

Free Association: His Eureka, Calif. roots really show here, rocking a chulo vibe.

For Fans Of: Mexico, camp, horns, Zappa, Mr. Bungle.

George Stanford

Roll Away

(Gbones Music)

Sounds Like: Soulful former-Philly singer- songwriter’s got a beautiful voice on this EP following his debut blending Americana, bluesy country and simple melodies.

Free Association: Our girl Lissie shows up on the perfect “Don’t Be The One.”

For Fans Of: Martin Sexton, Josh Kelley, Lisa Loeb.

Natalie Merchant

Leave Your Sleep


Sounds Like: 26 songs inspired by folk, big-deal poets, and Americana performed with lots of help from different bands backing her throaty voice.

Free Association: There’s no questioning her talent, but this is for adults with kids.

For Fans Of: 10,000 Maniacs, O Brother Where Art Thou, riddles and fables.



(Self Released)

Sounds Like: Philly boys done good with a seamlessly complex tempo-changing rock record with the occasional trumpet and trombone.

Free Association: Finally, a new band that sounds like they’re not just ripping off their favorite bands.

For Fans Of: Pavement, Shaky Hands, harder Spoon.

The Sadies

Darker Circles

(Yep Roc)

Sounds Like: Toronto boys’ eighth studio effort is a gem of sad but beautiful country-tinged garage rock that somehow channels 60’s surf.

Free Association: Too bad Neko Case left. She’s the only thing that would make this record better.

For Fans Of: Jayhawks, Lambchop, Silver Jews, Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

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Comments 1 - 2 of 2
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1. Brad said... on May 5, 2010 at 07:22PM

“Nice Mexico pun in the Mondo Cane review, but I'm pretty sure he's singing in Italian. Maybe next time we could fact check a bit?”

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2. Anonymous said... on May 7, 2010 at 11:01AM

“re Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep:
You write, "There’s no questioning her talent, but this is for adults with kids."
As an adult with kids, I suspect I should be offended. What are you trying to say?


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