Natural Habitat

An Album By


Review by

Listen now

Valaska, the performing name for the solo effort of frontman Dave Valdez, brings a show-gazer indie effort for his first full-length release. It’s instrument rich (think ukeleles, strings, flutes), which makes the effort hard to drop into a category, but it’s easy to describe: bland. “On The Surface”, the album’s opening track, is bare bones and sounds like what a pop-core band would do when asked to record an acoustic version of one of their songs. Jump over to “In Voids” and, if it weren’t for Valdez’s tone, you’d think you were listening to a track Randy Newman wrote for the next Disney film. The problem with all of it is that it’s just a little too ho-hum. It sways like you would if you were a buoy in the ocean, but if the wind never got over 10 mph. It’s not enough salt and pepper, but it’s certainly not unseasoned. It’s Grant Wood’s American Gothic incarnate. Some more spice would do the record well.


Payable on Death – P.O.D.

A Voice of Life

Almost 27 years after the band's first studio album, P.O.D.'s message is arguably more important than ever. "I believe (our message) is even more relevant now than it was then. If you really listen to 'Youth of the Nation,' we still have these tragedies going on. There’s a lot of searching still going on out there."


Full Feature
Tigerwine 2020

A Disparate Vintage

On Tigerwine's latest, 'Nothing is for You,' vocalist and lyricist Trobee departs from the band's last effort as a concept record to write about an array subjects. Notably, Trobee tackles his evolution from rigid belief system to an acceptance and understanding of other ideas: "Through touring and becoming close with those very people I was taught to be afraid of, I realized how untrue it all is."


Full Feature
Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

Full Feature
HM covers from over the years

HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.


Full Feature
All Features