“Pebble” is a multi-genre banger

Every song should take you somewhere. Tugaloo’s “Pebble” takes you to places without you even realizing it. The song starts, and your first thought is that you’ve stumbled upon a solid singer-songwriter acoustic piece. It builds a bit, it’s all lovely, then after a minute comes a shift. And from that point on, it keeps […]

Joy Oladokun’s “Taking Things for Granted”

There’s this ritual you may or may not be familiar with, called immersion baptism. It’s an evangelical Christian thing, and generally involves people in their teens or adulthood formally becoming members of a church. Stay with me – it’s my partial analogy of Joy Oladokun’s song “Taking Things For Granted.” One of the meanings attached […]

Neil Young Hits the Vein on “The Needle and the Damage Done”

It’s January 19, 1971. Contrasting the cold winter evening, Toronto’s Massey Hall is a radiator of heat, energy, and electricity. Omemee, Ontario’s (about 175 kilometers NE of Toronto) prodigal son, Neil Young, has returned for a much-anticipated, sold-out performance. The stage is sparsely occupied, as his band Crazy Horse is nowhere to be seen. Despite […]

Meditation in loss: “Holy Smoke” by Nicki Wells

It seems fitting that “Holy Smoke” is highly minimal. It’s a track that invites you to quietly join it in the open space, to have the room to feel what you need to as the track slowly calms you. Nicki Wells seems to have been influenced by a wealth of different musical styles but here […]

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Whispers his Alienation on “Wolf Among Wolves”

She holds a phantomShe kisses and she hugs himAnd I am notAverse to how she loves him Why must I live and walk, unloved as what I am? If the opening verse of Will Oldham’s (AKA Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) melancholic masterpiece does not immediately thrust one into existential catatonia, then perhaps one should search their […]

Mark Lanegan Performs his own Exorcism on “The Beast in Me”

The ol’ in-laws. Typically tolerated rather than cherished, “put your best face on and get through the dinner, already” kind of fodder. If you’re English singer-songwriter Nick Lowe, however, this trope could not be farther from the truth. Not when your (ex) father-in-law is The Man in Black – Johnny Cash. It’s 1994 and Lowe, […]

Demanding Answers on Tom Waits’ “What’s He Building?”

The American Dream. Long heralded as one of life’s ultimate destinations, it immediately evokes untattered images of picket fences, manicured flora, children’s laughter, and, of course, “keeping up with the Joneses” – the everlasting opportunity to peek over said flora in attempts to truly understand and out-class your neighbors. Now, what happens when we subtract […]

Old Friends, New Friends writes lyrics to get lost in

Life, in many ways, is a set of routines. Some are small, such as putting the cutlery away in the correct order. Some are a little bigger, such as putting the recycling out on the allotted night.  Other routines impact us in ways we don’t always recognize. “Now That You’re Older”, the debut single from […]

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