Valerie Polichar portrait

Valerie E. Polichar


Valerie writes & publishes music reviews and crime, horror, literary and SF short fiction, and has edited the literary journal Grasslimb since 2002. She also sings/writes songs/records music under the name Huge Shark. By day, she’s an IT Director at the University of California and holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology.

Articles by Valerie E. Polichar

A pattern of raindrops on a window with the text "Too Many Souls - Avi C. Engel"

Avi C. Engel — Too Many Souls

Avi C. Engel’s Too Many Souls is mesmerising and otherworldly, existing somewhere in the dream state between memory and prophecy: a visit there will leave the listener quietly transformed.

Cover of handturner - Works and Shoots shows image of folding chairs collapsed inside a boxing ring

handturner — Works and Shoots

The album lives — compellingly, for those of us who embrace interstitial auditory spaces —between ambient texture and noise celebration.

Abstract cover of Often the Thinker - Sincere Insanity

Often the Thinker — Sincere Insanity

At its best, Sincere Insanity sews disparate sounds into a circle, bringing the listener back to themselves, as if to say — either about Often the Thinker or about any of us — “I contain multitudes”.

Taco Johnathan – I Want You to Have This

With I Want You to Have This, Taco Johnathan takes the punk genre by the throat and slyly subverts it.

LizZard – Eroded

Masterful, compelling progressive rock.

Short-Haired Domestic – S/T

Compelling, exuberant funk… a sunny, silly ride.

Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today

Tight licks, haunting halls of sound, and percussion that propels.

Beauty in Chaos – The Storm Before the Calm

Cool all over: the latest album from Beauty in Chaos is their strongest and most consistent to date.


Beautifully shadowy and complex, the superb Uspeh leaves the listener with a fierce sense of longing for something always just out of reach.


Bright-colored, catchy ‘80s-style pop with some seriously standout tracks

Eluvium – Virga I

A welcome ambient companion on long winter nights.

Armstrong – Under Blue Skies (Expanded)

A sunny summer jangle-pop playlist drenched in ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia.

Eluvium - Pianoworks

Eluvium – Pianoworks

Simple but elegant neoclassical piano offers lovely company – but it could have been much more.

The Blue Tapes House Band – Vol. 3: Chase Me Before the Plague

Mind-altering, disturbing auditory-noise brilliance from the creators of Blue Tapes.

Whale Fall at bluewhale, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

In a rare live show, Whale Fall displays their mastery of instrumental post-rock.

Whale Fall – Sondersongs

A superbly crafted, rich and varied sonic journey.

Lonesome George – Lonesome George Presents Burt Bachapack

Compelling indigenous hip-hop with dazzling musical breadth and political punch


Hotter-than-Aruba vocals against a darkwave throb of ‘80s synth lines, imperfectly engineered but nonetheless intoxicating.

Pale | Seas – Stargazing for Beginners

Indie-rock sweetness — the result of two years of seclusion — offers up bleak reality wrapped in a rich blanket of enveloping guitar.

Static in Verona – Secrets Like Shadows

A catchy package of harmony-centric power/dream pop featuring full-cream layered vocals and instrumentation.

Bodhi – Ineffable

Listenable, likeable melodic prog— bumpy, but promising — from the guitar player behind The Room Colored Charlatan

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