Through the Darkest Hour (Pavement)
Take Dee Snyder loaded on painkillers and Prozac, add some doomy, Sabbath-like guitar arrangements, mix it all up with a healthy helping of sinister, Slayer death-rage, and you would have a pretty good idea of what the Houston-based band Solitude Aeturnus' new album feels like - one of the longest, most depressing, and yes, darkest hours of your entire life. - Chris Marsh
Looking Back on Tomorrow (Wolf Tales)
For the most part, these are tasteful jazz ballads featuring guitar tones reminiscent of early Stanley Jordan. All instrumentals, they have a tendency to sound the same. They are broken up by the occasional adrenaline-pumping, Satriani-esque exploration. These have less charm than the ballads, but everything here displays a range of talent and emotion worthy of more than one listen.- Doug Jenks
Shane Cannedy's musical personae all seem to be folks lost on different stretches of the same road to despair, from the world-weary smartass who sings "You Can Go if You Want" to the heartbreaking resignation of the speaker in "Take This Stone." Which isn't to say that this isn't pretty funny stuff in places, because it is; it's also tuneful, original, and well-performed. - Lee Moore
Elysian Fields (Skinny Man)
Stricklan gently wanders the leas of folk, country, and blues, singing songs of saccharine love, big-sky nature, and restless travel with a voice resonating of Jennings and Fromholz. That and familiar hooks and riffs can wear thin fast. But "Holly" and "Do Some Good"are notable efforts, and the entire CD benefits from fine production and tasteful instrumental accompaniment, particularly the strings. - Stephen McGuire
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