Jason Gubbels

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."…
By: 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…
By: 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 feature…
By: 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…
By: 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,…
By: 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…
By: 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…
By: 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 like…
By: 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 seem…
By: 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…
By: 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…
By: 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…
By: 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…
By: 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…
By: Jason Gubbels / May 14, 2013

Brad Paisley, ‘Wheelhouse’ (Arista Nashville)

If you can remember as far back as, oh, Sunday, a mere 24 hours before the world stumbled across an ungainly farrago entitled "Accidental Racist,"…
By: Jason Gubbels / April 10, 2013

Wire, ‘Change Becomes Us’ (Pink Flag)

Like nearly everything about this long-running musical project (one hesitates to call it a band), the title of Wire's new album is simultaneously cheeky and…
By: Jason Gubbels / March 28, 2013

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, ‘Push the Sky Away’ (Bad Seed Ltd.)

The gothic predilections of Nick Cave have always betrayed a Southern tinge. Perhaps it was the vast spaces of his native Australia or the literary…
By: Jason Gubbels / February 18, 2013

Dawn Richard, ‘GoldenHeart’ (Altavoz)

If last year's Armor On EP wasn't enough to convince skeptics that a member of the Diddy-assembled reality TV troupe Danity Kane had placed herself…
By: Jason Gubbels / January 16, 2013

Jah Wobble & Keith Levene, ‘Yin & Yang’ (Cherry Red)

Received wisdom suggests post-punk was all about anarchy kids discovering synthesizers and gloom, but the real breakthrough involved punk's first line of defense admitting that…
By: Jason Gubbels / December 18, 2012

The Coup, ‘Sorry to Bother You’ (Anti-)

Boots Riley is nobody's armchair Marxist, not with lifelong commitments to collectivism shoring up his I'm-a-Communist boasts. But an active role transferring Occupy Wall Street…
By: Jason Gubbels / October 30, 2012