Nothing Shines Like Neon by Randy Rogers Band

Nothing Shines Like Neon Randy Rogers Band ★★★☆ Less cyberpunk than expected, but still full of little pleasures.         As an album, Nothing Shines Like Neon has some peaks and valleys; “Rain and the Radio” and “Old Moon New” both do what they’re trying to do well, while a song like “Actin’ Crazy” seems either so steeped in jargon (or just plain not well written) that it makes a whole mess. But as a total package, the record is so suffused with interesting imagery and sonic moments that it comes out ahead of being flattened. That imagery is the neon, and admittedly some of the interest...
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Editor’s Note: Ghosts of Country

For the release of the first issue of the Quarterly Review of Contemporary Country, the editor reflects on the major theme of the first quarter of 2016: ghosts. To download the issue in full, visit HERE.   They’re in the title of Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20 and in Megan & Liz’ “That Ghost.” They’re present in the buried harmonies that abortively open Gene Watson’s Real. Country. Music. and in the obsession with legacy that drives Hank Williams Jr’s It’s About Time into a wall. That Malcolm Holcombe’s haunted seems a given, but the same could be said of Dianna...
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Another Black Hole by Malcolm Holcombe

Another Black Hole Malcolm Holcombe ★★★★   Hearing the spit bubble up on Holcombe’s lips is the make or break moment, and goddamned if he didn’t make it.       If the best albums use their opening seconds to indicate what’s in store, then Another Black Hole opens with deception. Based on “Sweet Georgia,” you might be lead to believe that you’re in for a pleasant little twang with a bit of a dark side. It’s fitting, in its way; this is an album about dying, and spitting, and not minding how much you hate it. The spit’s literal, and it’s remarkable. By “To Get By,” Holcombe’s already...
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Countach (For Giorgio) by Shooter Jennings

Countach (For Giorgio) Shooter Jennings ★★★★ Countach (For Giorgio) is an always interesting, and often incredible, explosion of the deep seventies.       The seventies were the decade of punk and disco, of Pinochet and Thatcher and the Historic Compromise, when AIDS and Reagan loomed. It's when Outlaw Country came into its own, the same way that cyberpunk would later in the decade; by positioning itself explicitly against the work of women in the genre the decades prior. Which is all a way of saying that as left field as outlaw disco might sound on its face, Shooter Jennings' Countach (For Giorgio) actually makes plenty of sense....
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Welcome to the QROCC

Welcome to the Quarterly Review of Contemporary Country, a digital zine featuring reviews and discussion of new country music. Issue one of volume one will be live the first week of April, 2016. The first issue will include reviews of albums and music videos released over the first three months of 2016. As the QROCC continues, I hope it will include things like editorials and more. For our purposes, country's going to be a bit of a wide net. While my own background and taste tend toward straight up pop country, the music being discussed will range from that, to Americana, alt-country, bluegrass,...
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