Mackenzie Wilson

  • Nada Surf, 'Lucky' (Barsuk)

    On 2005's The Weight Is a Gift, this Brooklyn-based trio -- best known for their smart-alecky '96 alt-rock fluke "Popular" -- searched for big answers with mature introspective songcraft (produced by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla). But the quest for enlightenment ends on their fifth studio album, as Matthew Caws sings matter-of-factly, "Life is just bets anyway," on the mildly anthemic "See These Bones." Nada Surf face everyday life's cacophony with a pleasant, unfaltering, even sugary approach. The acoustic-driven jaunt "I Like What You Say" and wearily hopeful "Here Goes Something" (about being a young father) arrive with uncertain smiles as the band spools out comforting melodies, taking life in stride. Now Hear This: Nada Surf - "See These Bones" DOWNLOAD MP3 More on Nada Surf: Nada Surf Challenge 'Authority' Gettin' 'Lucky' With Nada Surf BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • British Sea Power, 'Do You Like Rock Music?' (Rough Trade/World's Fair)

    Since their 2003 debut LP, these Brighton-based lads have developed their own eccentric rock curriculum, and here they touch on the topics of Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr, the great skua seabird, Kevlar, and the flooding of an island in the River Thames. But with guitars that ring and roar and percussion that gushes and thunders, they finally turn their lyrical peculiarities into a legitimate churn of ideas, rather than a posturing diversion. From the dirty punk of "A Trip Out" to the glimmering hope of "Waving Flags," the band's third album even recalls Arcade Fire's epic drama. Now Hear This: British Sea Power - "Waving Flags" DOWNLOAD MP3BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • Nicole Atkins & the Sea Perform 'War Torn,' Chat 'Neptune City'

    Before the rush of the holiday season set in and New Year's resolutions were casually put in place, Nicole Atkins & the Sea stopped by the Spinoffices to churn out a blissful rendition of "War Torn," one of themany sultry dramas featured on Atkins' latest studio effort, Neptune City.The Asbury Park-based songbird, whose album bares the namesake of herseaside hometown, also divulged her favorite bits about growing up inNeptune City. "I think everybody has a good equal dose of love and hatefor where they grew up," Atkins shared. "But the neighborhood I live inis called Shark River -- it's part of Neptune -- I live right acrossthe street from the river, and there's a bird sanctuary. There's tonsof beautiful herons, swans, and geese." Want to know moreabout Ms. Atkins? While she proudly boasts her quality Pink Floyd leadriffage, Atkins isn't just a strumming girl with a guitar.

  • Siouxsie, 'Mantaray' (Decca)

    After reigning over the Banshees and the Creatures for three decades, punk's newly divorced, 50-year-old leading lady goes it alone, exclaiming, "I feel a force I've never felt before" on the swaggering dance-club slayer "Into a Swan." She never lets up, turning Mantaray's vibrant emotional current of noirish cabaret slinkiness ("Drone Zone"), industrial-tinged languor ("Loveless"), and divine pop elegance ("If It Doesn't Kill You") into a dazzling headfuck. Slight echoes of her past work seep through, but mostly she's casting a refreshing new spell. BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • O'Death, 'Head Home' (Ernest Jenning)

    This Brooklyn-based quintet's punk-rock hoedown may sound like a kitschy joke. But vocalist Greg Jamie, who howls like Neil Young and hollers like Tom Waits, exudes an odd dignity and a restless intensity, and the band never lets up, from the hillbilly stomp of "Allie Mae Reynolds" to the banjos and brass of "Busted Old Church" to the high lonesome thunder of "Only Daughter." Head Home's wailing roar may not be authentic, but it's a flat-out hoot. Now Hear This: O'Death - "Down to Rest" STREAMING MP3 O'Death - "All the World" STREAMING MP3 BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • Go 'Sleepwalking' with Jeff Klein

    Before he became a regular member of Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers, Austin-based crooner Jeff Klein was busy cultivating his Hustler ways -- his third solo LP, 2005's The Hustler, that is, a rich songbook heart-drenched in burning guitar riffs and twisted personal reflections a la Ed Harcourt and Son Volt's Jay Farrar. Between playing solo gigs and touring in support of the Singers' Powder Burns, Klein logged in 238 total shows in 26 countries, yet the road-weary Klein didn't miss a beat penning new tracks. "Sleepwalking," one of the many lush standouts featured on his forthcoming digital-only EP, I Sing the Body Electric, captures Klein's triumphant return to the solo spotlight. Once again, Klein's skilled guitar work is as razor-sharp as his signature shredded vocals, and lite tympani arrangements soar around velvety harmonies for a soothing rock ballad.

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