January 20, 2021

Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles – Interscope

By Kristi Kates | Oct. 26, 2019

British singer-songwriter Fender is an interesting case. A storytelling performer primarily influenced by Bruce Springsteen, he’s openly hostile to what he calls “wimpy” performers like James Bay and Ed Sheeran. Nevertheless, his latest, an album of modern folk-rock compositions, lumps him into the same category — though the attempt to outdo them is far from successful. Particularly painful is the title track (with an out-of-place saxophone), the haughty “Privilege,” and the weird “church-y” venting of “Saturday.” * ½

Moving Targets – Wires – Boss Tuneage
Boston rockers Moving Targets — whose frontman Kenny Chambers recently relocated to north Texas — are still cranking out the fast-paced, noisy melodies that they’ve become known for, even as Chambers has been restructuring the band. There’s still that base of ’70s punk-inflected rock (think The Ramones/Sex Pistols), but these tunes are a little more open and upbeat melodically, with ringing chords (“Fear of God”) and catchy bridges (“Stone”) sure to thrill fans on their upcoming European tour. ** ½

Nicholas Cole – The Weekend – Trippin Rhythm
Cole’s fourth solo album, which has already spawned the single “Sugar,” showcases Cole’s extensive keyboard skills on percussion/synth compositions that lean equally on rhythm and ambient keys. But this time around, he’s adding in some unusual collaborations — most notably former American Idol finalist Elliot Yamin (on “P.Y.T.”), Japanese guitarist Kay’ta Matsuno (“Should’ve Been Us”), and contemporary jazz guitarist Chieli Minucci (“Soulmate.”) ***

The Glorious Sons – A War on Everything – BMG
Black Box Canadian rockers Glorious Sons are on album three, and it seems frontman Brett Emmons shares more of himself with each set released. On this one, he really lets it all out, highlighting personal relationships on “Pink Motel,” as well as a vendetta against his own mental struggles on “Panic Attack.” “A War on Everything” manages to combine the two topics, suggesting we throw all cares away to focus on a significant other. No matter the topic, all the songs deliver personal thoughts with a punch. ** ½


Sufjan is Back

Petoskey-born and raised musician Sufjan Stevens released his eighth studio album, The Ascension, last September, but for ... Read More >>

Author Alan Lightman Talks Progress & Patriarchy

Author Alan Lightman isn’t the type to take inspiration lightly. “Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea,&r... Read More >>

Little Traverse Inn & Gastro Pub

How often, especially in northwest Michigan, do you have the chance to sample both classic English pub fare and an array o... Read More >>

Are Co-Op Customers Subsidizing Dirty Energy?

Michigan environmental groups and clean energy advocates say a deal that Wolverine Power Cooperative entered into a decade... Read More >>