Author: Michael Hoinski

  • Belles on Wheels

    What a sight—two pinups sitting on lawn chairs underneath a fake palm tree inside an Ace Hardware in Kansas City. Imagine the awkward pickup lines they must inspire. Excuse me, ladies, but I’m in need of a giant . . . wood screw. Can you . . . point me in the right direction? Save […]

  • Texan Troubadour Turns Near-Death Into New Life

    When he started coughing up blood, Alejandro Escovedo realized another drink might do him in. Three (presumably sober) years later, Austin’s prodigal son delivers The Boxing Mirror, a hallucinatory account of his near-fatal battle with abstinence and Hep C. What better for his underappreciated career as the Great Brown Hope of alt-country/rock/punk than a brush […]

  • Amateur Proselytizing

    “Some call me Allah, some call me Dao, some call me Buddha, some call me now,” Mason Jennings bellows on “Some Say I’m Not,” before letting out a chant worthy of Ram Dass (whose new-age mantra “Be here now” is co-opted for the album opener). It’s an audacious one-two punch for a white-bread singer- songwriter […]

  • No Continuity

    Members came and went during Los Angeles–based Idaho’s early-’90s pioneering (along with Low and Red House Painters) of slowcore, but Santa Monica schoolyard chums Jeff Martin and John Berry remained intact as the nucleus—at least until Martin tired of Berry playing shows with a broken heroin needle in his arm. After a hiatus, Martin eventually […]

  • Three Times a Crybaby

    Ryan Adams should quit reading his own reviews. He’s been dubbed a crybaby ever since (and probably before) he left a peevish message on Jim DeRogatis’s voice mail. Yeah, he later conceded to giving power to the criticism, but still he offered this to Pitchfork: “If someone calls [me] a really horrible name, and prints […]

  • A Soundtrack for Cindy

    Timing’s everything. When James McMurtry conceived Childish Things—part protest album, mainly roadhouse-jukebox filler—he hadn’t a clue that Cindy Sheehan and her acolytes would soon thereafter descend on Crawford, sparking an anti-war (and pro-war) movement in need of a soundtrack. Rallying cry “See the Elephant” finds young ‘uns Pete and Johnny trading in their Sunday suits […]