Portal – Ion

Ion is buried in details it willingly blurs. Ion can be summed up with an easy set of descriptors, to the point that I almost wrote this review with nothing but references to deep moans and explosions of shredded guitar tones. It might’ve looked like this:   I would’ve also probably set aside the track “Phreqs,” whose jogged two-chord march divebombs into the early half of the album and offers a nice break in the violence exploding around it. But, barring an eye in the storm, Portal are constant in their pace, to the point that I couldn’t zero in … Read More

scallops hotel – sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face

“I am emptying the sea into this hole.” So said a little boy to St. Augustine, when the Church Father asked why he was scooping seawater with a scallop shell into a little hole on the beach. Reportedly, this episode led Augustine to conclude that man could never understand God’s entirety. Apropos of this review, “I am emptying the sea into this hole” sounds like a line Milo—or, in this case, his alter ego Scallops Hotel—would rap, one of many he would rap, being such a profuse gentleman. This is not a putdown. Milo/Scallops Hotel has always had a way … Read More

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup

I wonder how seriously King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard considered the phrase “quality over quantity” when they committed to their absurd five-album release schedule for 2017. The idea of any band surviving long enough to release five albums is kind of hard to imagine, let alone a band surviving long enough to release five good albums. But King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard was going to do just that in a single year? Alright. Here we are almost a month into 2018, just enough time to evaluate that schedule’s ultimate payoff. With only hours on the clock before 2017 … Read More

Michael’s Favorite Albums of 2017

I’m a little short on summaries for 2017. My relationship with music was maybe the most distant it’s been in years – definitely since joining Hearing Double however long ago. There would be days where I wouldn’t even touch music, preferring to just bide my time in silence or commute quietly to wherever it was I was heading. This has way more to do with me than it does music at large, though. It’s not like music just stopped, or that 2017 was somehow a worse year for music than others. On the contrary, there were a few albums and … Read More

Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno – Finding Shore

I must admit, as someone who values texture in music, how the right tone or recording setting fleshes out and contextualizes the ideas in the music (the notes, the lyrics, the keys and tonal modalities, and so on). I have never been one for ambient music, which approaches, in as pure a manner as I surmise, texture qua texture. This isn’t to say that I hate ambient music, or practitioners of ambient music, but it’s a rare occasion these days when I find myself compelled to put on an ambient album. Why does one play ambient music? Is it a … Read More

Jeff Rosenstock – POST-

POST– never outright says what it’s following, even though the quickest glance through a lyric sheet could probably lead you to an obvious culprit. Within the first seven minutes or so, Jeff Rosenstock has already spat obtuse references to Middle America, media cycles and a wayward joke, seething with distrust, disappointment, and several other D-words before collapsing into good ol’ fashioned American boredom. But in those same seven minutes, Rosenstock’s swung a hard reference to the Crickets-by-way-of-the-Clash, parleyed through jagged emo-inflected pop punk and sunk his opening track into post-punk-lite. To the cadence of “You promised us the stars and … Read More

Remembering Tom Petty

I have no idea when I first heard a Tom Petty song. As far as I know, “Free Fallin’” and “Runnin Down a Dream” have been a part of my cultural lexicon since I first heard a radio. They’re omnipresent, the kind of pop songs played by radio sweethearts and bar bands everywhere. The radio loves them. Your local cover band loves them. Your mom (probably) loves them; mine does! That’s because Tom Petty, the singer and the songwriter, knew how to write for America. He knew how to make a song just vague enough for any American listener, with … Read More

Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

Lately I haven’t been reviewing that much music, and this lends each review a strange sense of weight. If I’m only going to review one album a month then there must be a reason why I choose THE ONE over the thousand other albums coming out every Tuesday and Friday. So why the hell do I keep reviewing metal albums? I don’t even like metal. I am a metal outsider. I am not a viking warrior or a slab of granite. I am wood or a soap bubble or something. I am just the shyest li’l sprig. And here I … Read More

Ryan Adams – Prisoner

I’ve heard a thousand records like Prisoner. They were the kind of albums I’d play on drives with friends, the kinds of records with just enough of a hometown bend and just enough of road-worn lyricism to sound endlessly familiar. They’re probably albums you’ve heard before, too. Think Tom Petty, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp and, yes, Bryan Adams. Acoustic guitars and harmonicas, country rock licks and big choruses, heart-on-sleeve clichés, houses, highways, girls, etc. I can’t deny how comfortable Prisoner is to me, actually. The sound Ryan Adams channels feels like the natural heir to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, … Read More

Michael’s Favorite Songs of 2016

Music is fun! This is what I’ve told myself these past few years at Hearing Double, in between bouts of prolific writing and the dry spells of Springsteen and Kanye, and this is what ultimately brought me back to the Hearing Double fold after another school induced drought. That, and the prospect of sharing my amateur musical opinions with a handful of complete strangers. Speaking of which… List season has basically passed, but I have a couple albums and songs I’d like to share with the hope that someone out there can find something they might have overlooked, or maybe … Read More