Author: Eric Swedlund
Eric Swedlund is a writer, photographer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. A former award-winning daily newspaper reporter, he specialized in science, technology and higher education. Now primarily a freelance music writer, he focuses on indie, rock, folk, country and soul, and frequently travels for music festivals. His writing regularly appears in the Tucson Weekly, the East Bay Express and Zocalo Tucson. He took up photography as a toddler, and somehow never dropped it, these days focusing on portraits, nature and concerts.

The spiraling space-funk at the heart of Gardens & Villa’s Dunes could only be called “Echosassy.” The album’s fifth track is the mesmerizing template for Gardens & Villa’s sound, a synth-rock that knows its history, with more than a subtle allegiance to the sci-fi notion of retro-futurism. (More…)

Artists get second chances all the time, but no one gets a resurrection.  So, Mike Doughty had only one choice: take the few minutes of the day his head was clear to race out in front of his alcohol and drug addictions, or to continue killing himself. (More…)

Woody Guthrie’s two greatest gifts were the deceptive simplicity of his songwriting and his unshakable devotion to sharing the power of music with everybody. The first chorus on New Multitudes, the latest collection of his songs, is remarkable for just how exquisitely it captures and frames both of them. (More…)

To wear armor at all is to need protection, to fear wounds beyond what the body can sustain. So when that armor begins to fail, the resulting vulnerability is so much worse than an unguarded safety. On his sixth album under the Crooked Fingers name, Eric Bachmann takes a songwriting trip into a state of such startling vulnerability that it’s hard to count all the wounds contained in its 11 songs. (More…)

I pedaled leisurely rather than furiously, making no quick turns, hopping over no jutting tree roots, never trying to weave in and out of the other riders. But there I was, on the Helltrack qualifying course, riding BMX with the likes of Eddie Fiola, Martin Aparijo, Kevin Hull and Everett and Beatle Rosecrans. (More…)

A three-day music festival like Outside Lands is hectic and exhausting no matter how you approach it. So, I try to pare down the wish list, not rush from stage to stage to see every single band I’m interested in, and let the festival vibe take care of whatever other decisions need to be made. Recapping the experience without running over the itinerary isn’t much easier. But paying attention to what isn’t on stage is a start. (More…)

I first saw Richard Buckner perform a decade ago, at the now-defunct Nita’s Hideaway in Tempe, Ariz. Call it an intimate performance, or call it a half empty room; Buckner hadn’t really made a name for himself yet in Arizona. I was seated at a small table. I could’ve put my feet on the stage if I’d leaned back in my chair. Buckner was touring with a pedal steel guitarist. This was already three fantastic albums into his career, so I guess the acquired taste tag had already been placed on the deep-voiced, brooding singer. (More…)

“If you’re lookin’ for me, you better look outside” sings John Gleason on the opening song of We Can Take Care of Ourselves, the fourth album from Roadside Graves. It’s a simple statement, a simple moment repeated in a song that’s anything but. (More…)

“Green & Dumb,” any one of a dozen songs that could rightly serve as a calling card for Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, came late in the band’s 2011 Circus Mexicus set and as their fans have come to do, I joined my friends arm-in-arm, all of us swaying in time with the ballad. (More…)

The muse of that isolated winter is gone, replaced by a muse that’s on the run, loose in a wide world. Bon Iver, the band that had its phoenix-like beginning with the muted and hushed For Emma, Forever Ago, is now fully awakened. His recuperation complete, Justin Vernon is free to explore, reaching for a host of new sounds to adorn the band’s second record, Bon Iver. (More…)