Jason Gubbels

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Review: Charlie Puth’s Dire ‘Nine Track Mind’ Proves That We Can’t Handle the Puth

Go ahead, blame Wiz Khalifa. Casting about for some kind of hook delivery system to anchor Furious 7’s lugubrious elegy "See You Again," the guy…
Jason Gubbels / January 27, 2016

SPIN World Report: Radiohead Guitarist Aids an East-West Summit, Karina Buhr Punks Brazil

This latest dispatch from the great musical world extending beyond American shores is dedicated to the inauthentic, with absolutely no pejorative connotations intended. Let the…
Jason Gubbels / January 22, 2016

Review: Erykah Badu Continues R&B’s Longtime Game of Telephone on ‘But You Caint Use My Phone’

In this pop moment of 17-38 squads, Gap Band pastiches, and Queen Adele looming on her throne, how bizarre that 2015’s runaway cultural convergence should…
Jason Gubbels / December 1, 2015

SPIN World Report: Mbongwana Star’s Congolese Street Music, Fabiano Do Nascimento’s Afro-Brazilian Folk Shredding

The term "world music," ick — a marketer’s desperate pitch more than tangible genre, suggesting either Yankee provincialism (there’s Americana, British rock, and, um, The World) or…
Jason Gubbels / August 14, 2015

Review: Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba Shred Without Guitars on ‘Ba Power’

Bassekou Kouyaté’s band is Ngoni Ba, which translates roughly as "The Big Ngoni," a pretty terrific description of what Kouyaté’s selling, if you know what…
Jason Gubbels / May 11, 2015

Review: Built to Spill Enter the Rock-Will-Never-Die Stage on ‘Untethered Moon’

Even in those bygone days when guitar wranglers prowled all-ages clubs, Doug Martsch’s method seemed messianic: six strings exploring the sublime. Nominally indie after nearly…
Jason Gubbels / April 22, 2015

Review: J. Cole Goes DIY on the Reflective ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’

"No singles." So decreed J. Cole in mid-November, when word first came of his December surprise. And detractors might nod to themselves, "Mission accomplished." Zero…
Jason Gubbels / December 9, 2014

Review: Foo Fighters’ ‘Sonic Highways’ Is the Missing Link Between Dio And Big Star

These are weird times for alt-rock lifers. During a recent week-long residency on Late Show with David Letterman, the Foo Fighters hauled Zac Brown onstage…
Jason Gubbels / November 11, 2014

On Handjobs and Hopelessness: The Lovesick Zeal of Jenny Lewis’ ‘The Voyager’

"I've been wearin' all black/ Since the day it started." That's how Jenny Lewis opens The Voyager, even though her third solo album features the…
Jason Gubbels / July 28, 2014

Parquet Courts Are Inscrutably Awesome on ‘Sunbathing Animal’ (Which Does Not Sound Like Pavement)

Parquet Courts are tough lads to nail down. There are geographical inconsistencies at play: Denton, Texas-based band makes good in Brooklyn. There's lyrical obscurantism masking…
Jason Gubbels / June 2, 2014

Unsung Guitar Heroes Wussy Nail Rust-Belt Americana on ‘Attica!’

Over the last decade, Cincinnati garage/pop/folk practitioners Wussy have refined a winning formula. Every 15 months or so, they break from full-time jobs (stonemasonry, waitressing,…
Jason Gubbels / May 5, 2014

The Afghan Whigs Trounce Corgan, Channel Usher on Righteous Comeback ‘Do to the Beast’

Allowing for grumbling from small cohorts of naysayers, it seems safe to posit that the Afghan Whigs have overseen the most artistically successful alternative rock…
Jason Gubbels / April 13, 2014

Jon Langford Questions War, Puff Pieces on Delightful ‘Here Be Monsters’

Welsh-born Chicagoan Jon Langford boasts a unique creative energy, unless you can name another individual who helped pioneer cowpunk (Fear And Whiskey) while contributing artwork…
Jason Gubbels / April 1, 2014

The Hold Steady Reboot Their Sad-Bastard Rock Moves on ‘Teeth Dreams’

Craig Finn's the kind of rock and roller who references W.B. Yeats and John Berryman because he's dog-eared their paperbacks, not just because he likes…
Jason Gubbels / March 25, 2014

Beck Harvests Some West-Coast-Folkie Sunlight on the Stark, Lovely ‘Morning Phase’

Before considering whether Beck's first album in six years is really Sea Change II (spoiler alert: not exactly), a slight detour into armchair psychology seems…
Jason Gubbels / February 24, 2014

Dum Dum Girls Convene Their Own Dead French Poets Society on ‘Too True’

On their expertly arranged and fleet-footed third album, Dee Dee Penny and her Dum Dum Girls (current lineup: Jules, Sandy, Malia) exemplify what is hereby…
Jason Gubbels / January 16, 2014

Numero Group’s ‘Purple Snow’ Captures the Pre-Prince Weirdness of Minneapolis Funk and Soul

Midway through Prince's 1985 Purple Rain tour — 98 shows, 1.7 million tickets sold — an innocuous object entitled The Minneapolis Genius appeared in record…
Jason Gubbels / December 3, 2013

The Civil Wars’ Anodyne New Album Could Use Way More Incivility

"I wish you were the one that got away," murmurs Joy Williams, one minute into the self-titled sophomore album from the Civil Wars, and while…
Jason Gubbels / August 5, 2013

Gogol Bordello, Big-Hearted Gypsy Punks, Breathe Fire, Radiate Warmth on Sixth Album, ‘Pure Vida Conspiracy’

You need proof of punk rock's cultural relevancy in these defiantly non-punk times? Just consider recent blows against the empire from Russian media stars Pussy…
Jason Gubbels / July 24, 2013

The Dillinger Escape Plan, ‘One of Us Is the Killer’ (Party Smasher Inc./Sumerian)

Ever since they crawled out of Morris Plains, New Jersey, in 1997, Dillinger Escape Plan's death-metal blast beats, hardcore stop'n'starts, art-prog grandeur, and mosh-pit grind…
Jason Gubbels / May 14, 2013

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