Heartless Bastards – Arrow

There’s something unexplainably exhilarating about a rapid and dramatic change in temperature.  In Russia and Scandinavia they go from a hot sauna to a leap into freezing cold water.  Where I grew up in the Midwest, we’d go from a hot, sweaty mosh pit in a club with ear-ringing decibels to the subzero outdoor environs […]

Mayer’s Picks: Best Songs of 2011

I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2011 back in July (here). Rather than replicate that list for my full year review, consider this the addendum — the best songs from the second half of the year. When My Time Comes, Barnstar! (from the self-released C’Mon!) I somehow missed this song […]

Mason Jennings – Minnesota

Mason Jennings’ latest effort, Minnesota, is a lyrical romp with Jennings’ characteristic musical hooks that teeter on the edge of sappy but that work for him.  Every song on Minnesota is worth the listen.  The multi-instrumental Jennings opens with the subdued piano-based ballad “Bitter Heart” followed immediately with “Raindrops on the Kitchen Floor,” a retro […]

Q & A – Maps & Atlases

Chicago-based four-piece Maps & Atlases aren’t a math-rock band. O.K., good, we’ve got that out of the way now. Sure, there are some rather math-y elements to the band’s indie-folk informed sound, but not to the extent where those intricacies define their overall sonic contributions in the way that many would have one believe. While […]

Nick 13

By now, surely it’s no secret that country and punk go together about as good as peanut butter and chocolate. And typically, when these two classic American forms of music are welded together, the result seems to resemble a harder, thrashing product. Of course, the overall ethos attached to artists that practice either style in […]

Readers’ Pick: My Morning Jacket, “Circuital”

READERS PICK: MAY 2011 Twangville readers picked My Morning Jacket‘s Circuital as their favorite album of May 2011. If there’s anyone out there redefining classic rock it’s Jim James and My Morning Jacket. Circuital the band’s sixth LP takes me back to 70’s era Pink Floyd where sound was used to paint vivid pictures of […]

Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down

Covering the likes of Radiohead and Edgar Allen Poe in addition to her own superb songwriting, the single word to describe the latest effort from Sarah Jarosz would have to be “diversity”.  With a supporting cast of Americana and pop stars seemingly unavailable to any other musician under 70 years of age (Sarah was 19 […]