Author : Bill Lamb

  • Music Reviews: Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Pentatonix, Deerhunter

    Demi Lovato :: ‘Confident’ The fifth studio album from Disney pop graduate Demi Lovato kicks off with two of the most bracing, upbeat pop singles of the year: effervescent “Cool For the Summer,” a late summer radio hit, and the title track, a stomping empowerment anthem. But they are a misleading kickoff for a more intense, moody and emotional album. Lovato’s almost overpoweringly bombas.... Read More
  • Music reviews | Janet Jackson, New Order, Chvrches, Silversun Pickups

    Janet Jackson :: ‘Unbreakable’ Fans of Janet Jackson have had a rough decade, suffering through three lackluster albums since 2004’s Damita Jo. It has been seven years since her last album but her reunion with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on Unbreakable is a triumph. The title song is an easy, soulful callback to past successes, as is the intimate “After You Fall.” Jackson explore.... Read More
  • New music from Keith Richards, Lana Del Rey, Don Henley, Duran Duran

    Keith Richards :: ‘Crosseyed Heart’ Crosseyed Heart is the first solo album from Keith Richards in 23 years, coming a decade after the last Rolling Stones album. Without Jagger, Richards is free to indulge in blues and country as well as rock ’n’ roll. He even digs into reggae on the cover of Gregory Isaacs’ “Love Overdue” and a straightforward folk reading of the Weavers’ classic .... Read More
  • Music reviews: The Weeknd, Ben Folds, The Arcs, Low

    The Weeknd :: ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ Canada’s Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, has been inescapable this summer. Steeped in memories of classic 1980s-era Michael Jackson, his single “Can’t Feel My Face” has gone all the way to No. 1 on pop charts. However, those who only listen to The Weeknd on the radio will be unaware of the more wide-ranging, aggressive music to be found on Beaut.... Read More
  • Returning from hiatus, Desaparecidos gets the timing just right

    It has been 13 years since their first — and, until now, only — album, Read Music / Speak Spanish, but today’s iteration of emo/punk band Desaparecidos will sound very familiar to fans of that initial release. But according to guitarist Denver Dalley, the new album, Payola, released earlier this year, was never meant to be a recreation of Read Music / Speak Spanish. “We were trying to .... Read More
  • 3rd time charms again for Testa Rosa

    “Pretty” is not an adjective that tends to apply to the Milwaukee music scene, but it’s one that has been leveled at — and embraced by — pop rock band Testa Rosa more than once. Betty Blexud-Strigens and Damian Strigens, the couple who lead the band, haven’t lost any of that shine as they gear up for the release of their third album. But the appropriately titled Testa Rosa III is tem.... Read More
  • Music reviews: Wilco, Rob Thomas, Carly Rae Jepsen, Beach House

    Wilco :: ‘Star Wars’ Ever wondered what Wilco would sound like if they simply walked into the studio and let the tape roll? Now you can find out, thanks to their new album Star Wars, a self-released, super-DIY record that sounds even better than many of the band’s more intricately constructed past works. In the midst of all of the fuzzy guitar and avant-pop rhythms, there is an elegant grace.... Read More
  • New music | Dr. Dre, Luke Bryan, Ivy Levan, Grace Potter

    Dr. Dre :: ‘Compton’ Just as hip-hop legend Dr. Dre announced that Detox — the legendary album he’s been working on for more than 15 years — had finally been scrapped, he released a whole new project: Compton, named for the LA neighborhood he calls home. He’s also promised it will be his last. The new release coincides with the upcoming biopic Straight Outta Compton, which tells the st.... Read More
  • New music | Jill Scott, the Bird and the Bee, Titus Andronicus, Benjamin Clementine

    Jill Scott :: ‘Woman’ The talented R&B vocalist Jill Scott has taken a long, roundabout path to her fifth studio album, Woman. But it is worth the wait. Never content with the grooves of conventional R&B, she smooths things out on “Fool’s Gold,” digs deep into gospel wailing on “You Don’t Know,” and explores Prince-influenced territory on the slinky “Beautiful Love.” “Closure.... Read More
  • Music reviews | Tame Impala, RS, Nina Revisited

    Various Artists :: ‘Nina Revisited ... A Tribute To Nina Simone’ When listening to the legendary Nina Simone, you rarely just heard her sing. She made you feel what she felt and wrapped you in her powerful experience of the song in question. As the belated appreciation for her talent continues to grow, this new collection of interpretations of some of her greatest performances is tagged to the.... Read More