John Tarpley has been a contributor and voice of critical dissent at Diffuser.fm since Spring 2012. In the last few years, he has served as the music editor of a fine, Southern alt-weekly; fronted a band that one of Tarpley's musical heroes has said, in so many words, was better than the Beatles; and moderated discussions and lectured on music at a small handful of particularly intimidating schools and universities. He tweets about music, Premier League soccer, and writing at @jttarpley.
Deadmau5, ‘Album Title Goes Here’ – Album Review
Since the late '80s, the music press has tended to get all lathered up every couple of years and yell, "EDM is about to take over! Guitars are dead!" It hasn't happened yet, and it's not happening now, so bump that whole idea. (It's not real -- it happens because sometimes we music journalists just don't have anything better to say, and we've gotta write about something to pay the rent.)
YOKOKIMTHURSTON, ‘YOKOKIMTHURSTON’ – Album Review
Oh, dear. This isn't what was supposed to happen. Yoko Ono, the avant-garde's often unfairly maligned, perpetually controversial ambassador to pop culture, wasn't supposed to make this. Not when she looked like she was finding her footing again, against all odds, in the 21st century.
No Doubt, ‘Push and Shove’ – Album Review
It's not a renaissance -- at least not yet -- but let's face it: We're living in a pretty OK time for corporate pap. All signs point to Brandy's next album being great, and even the surliest of dudes have enjoyed 'Call Me Maybe' -- even if they won't own up to it. Heck, 'Moves Like Jagger?' Pretty good song, all said and done. So what better time for No Doubt to hop back into the game? It's been a
Grizzly Bear, ‘Shields’ – Album Review
I've listened to 'Shields' more than any other album released this year. Grizzly Bear's previous three albums demanded intensive attention from knowledgeable listeners. And by design, 'Horn of Plenty,' 'Yellow House' and 'Veckatimest' rewarded an audience willing to put in the time to separate the layers of knotted, cryptic pop.
Dave Matthews Band, ‘Away From the World’ – Album Review
Dave Matthews Band have been an omnipresent noodle factory for the better part of two decades. By this point, you're going to be into Dave, turned off by Dave or, like most of us, harbor a long-hidden soft spot for Dave.
Cat Power, ‘Sun’ – Album Review
Each entry in the Cat Power catalog -- which, as a whole, is as high quality a body of music as you'll find in recent memory, period -- reflects a different shade of Chan Marshall's complicated personality.
Two Door Cinema Club, ‘Beacon’ – Album Review
The debut album from Two Door Cinema Club, 'Tourist History,' dropped in 2010, and from the spaz-pop drums in opener 'Cigarettes in the Theater,' the Northern Irish trio made it clear that they intended to carve out a spot for themselves in the ever-bustling field of new, hooky Britpoppers looking for a piece of success. Armed with a jittery affinity for melody and a power-pop sensibility derived
Imagine Dragons, ‘Night Visions’ – Album Review
The omnipresent single 'It's Time' (you've heard it during Wimbledon, the MLB All-Star Game, the trailer for 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' and, in a big seal of approval, 'Glee'), has kept Imagine Dragons in the spotlight for the better part of 2012. The track, with its earwig of a mandolin loop and bespoke anthemics, is the sound of Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire's better angels joining forces to b
The Heavy, ‘The Glorious Dead’ – Album Review
Ever since the 1950s, when U.K. music dorks first discovered (and promptly began fetishizing) the primitive bluesmen of the Delta, British bands have long been harvesting the sounds of the American South. Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Spencer Davis, Dusty Springfield, Mick freaking Jagger -- all of them paved the way for the likes of Primal Scream, Adele, Amy Winehouse, and, in this case, the Heavy,
Bloc Party, ‘Four’ – Album Review
It's just a shame. It could be worse, of course. You don't have to be a cynical muso to anticipate for a band to be a bit uninspired after a four-year hiatus. It's expected, right?