Author Archives

Sarah Flynn

Polly Scattergood

What’s most remarkable is that no matter how far into the depths of despair Scattergood reaches (and when she channels death by suicide as in “Untitled 27″ or by cancer in “Breathe In Breathe Out”, those depths are very deep), her work retains a strange sense of hope. read more »

POSTED May 29, 2009 11:15AM IN THE TRIPWIRE TAGS: , , , , , , ,

Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I’m Swollen is an album full of sounds: organs and horns are not used shyly, and they provide an appealing backdrop to the disturbed themes that circle through its songs. More consistent than its predecessor but less immediate than The Ugly Organ, it covers not-unfamiliar terrain while managing to make progress on a larger scale. At its best, it’s remarkable; at its weakest, it’s unapologetic. read more »



A rare gem from one of New York’s first most eclectic groups, Dissolver has been an awfully long time coming. Originally scheduled for release three years ago and tweaked, re-tweaked, renamed, and finally landing this past month via Narnack, Iran’s third album is their most straightforward yet. read more »

POSTED March 11, 2009 3:42PM IN THE TRIPWIRE TAGS: ,

Little Hells

A singer-songwriter’s fourth album is a difficult thing; it is not easy for a solo artist to maintain a sense of style and self without falling into the trap of the too-same. For Marissa Nadler, this challenge is made all the greater by the increasing critical acclaim each release has brought her. With Little Hells, she reveals a remarkable sense of growth while maintaining the rich, haunted sound that has become her trademark. read more »


Working On A Dream

Working on a Dream is by no means a bad record; in many ways, it’s what we have come to expect from Springsteen’s current incarnation. It is the product of a songwriter who is no longer just struggling with the disconnect between his character’s struggles and his own fame. He’s also a man facing the natural decline of his career in the time of the collapse of the industry that made him famous in the first place. Bound not only to contractual obligations, but to those of a collective perception of what his success should mean, he has found himself amidst a mess of expectations. read more »

POSTED February 9, 2009 5:44PM IN THE TRIPWIRE TAGS:


Asobi Seksu has spent the last few years crafting a solid sense of self as a band; in that time, they’ve moved away from obvious shoegaze comparisons and towards a firm but floaty aesthetic that tingles with more than a hint of sex appeal. By no means does the group lose this aesthetic on Hush, their third full-length album and first for Polyvinyl Records. All of the pieces are still here; at base, Hush has plenty of slinky pop moments couched in an ethereal shroud of keys and guitars. At the same time, it’s strikingly obvious from the the opening notes of “Layers” that there’s a new thread emerging in the Asobi Seksu story. Where their last album Citrus held a sharper, more upbeat feel, Hush begins like an indie rock operetta, building up in intensity but never quite taking itself seriously. read more »

POSTED January 30, 2009 4:43PM IN THE TRIPWIRE TAGS: ,

Vulture Whale

Say what you will about the failures of 2008, but from it we’re learning: If people won’t even buy a boring Guns N’ Roses or R.E.M. record, then they’re not likely to turn an ear up to a lackluster album they haven’t yet heard. We’ve become searchers for what’s interesting, and we lack the patience to uncover potential layers in the seemingly bland. read more »

POSTED January 7, 2009 5:31PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (1)

Fire On Corridor X

Rather than distract or overwhelm, these shifts are subtle and engaging. Like the best kinds of noise, Fire On Corridor X is comforting; like the best kinds of art, it continues to surprise. read more »

POSTED December 17, 2008 4:17PM IN THE TRIPWIRE TAGS: , ,

War Elephant

War Elephant is easy to love for those automatically drawn to its main attributes: warm, scratchy vocals and guitars, fuzzy basslines, and the merging of indie singer-songwriter charm with vintage country accents. Front man John McCauley is twenty-two going on fifty-two, and his songwriting shows an unpolished but compelling level of promise that draws comparison to Two Gallants or M. Ward. read more »

POSTED November 5, 2008 3:10PM IN THE TRIPWIRE

Photos – Company Of Thieves @ Kenny's Castaways | NYC

Luckily, every year most of us overcome the urge to be completely lazy and, when we’re lucky, we walk away with a restored sense that new and inviting things are happening in our world of music. For me, that moment happened in the most unfortunate of CMJ venues [Editors note: yes, that does say Kenny's Castaways]. read more »

POSTED October 29, 2008 2:23PM IN THE TRIPWIRE