B/W: XTC – “Science Friction”

Discomfit Pop Any piece of music that conforms to your expectations of pop music (i.e. that said pop music be indelibly catchy, regardless of its content and/or trappings; expectations that overlap, but do not denote, Market Pop, which is a whole other kettle of fish) that—simultaneously—works to bring you out of your comfort zone (to “discomfit” someone is to make them uneasy, which can be done in myriad manners) and draws you into the purview of thought, however trivial or asinine or insipid or profound or deep or wondrous the thought may be. Use In A Sentence: XTC, Swindon’s finest, … Read More

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Australian songwriter Courtney Barnett blew up out of nowhere with her first major statement, a double EP called A Sea of Split Peas. She took boisterous garage rock and used it as a platform to express the myriad thoughts that hover around millennials, expressing fully and articulately the ideas that usually get watered down into one-off twitter messages. For me, songs like “Avant Gardener” and “Out of the Woodwork” illicit that strange sensation of having what you believe is a personal and unique thought expressed (better) by someone else. Through the whole album, Barnett takes traits that often evoke artifice ... Read More

The Go! Team – The Scene Between

I can think of a lot of shows I used to watch (or catch snippets of) on Saturday mornings, whether it was on Kids’ WB, Fox Kids or some other channel: Digimon, Pokémon, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs; Kirby: Right Back at Ya!; Power Rangers, several iterations of Transformers (including the underrated[?] Beast Wars) and a whole lot of repackaged Japanese weirdness—some show about a cavekid whose dad was a hammer(?) and something that was essentially Yu-Gi-Oh except cooking themed. If I ever went back to these shows, I imagine I’d consider most of them crap. As adult, I’ve more or ... Read More

Sean’s Favorite Albums of 2014

The crux (or cruces, perhaps) of this year-end list is this: since I find straight ranking personally inimical/off-putting/arbitrary, I’m going to largely dispense with it. The shape of this list (roughly) adheres to a pyramidal paradigm. It starts with the Apex (which is ranked numerically and contains five items) and from there descends along the Faces (ten albums arranged in chronological order) and ends with the Base (fifteen albums ordered alphabetically by artist). Hopefully this does not cause too much confusion. Apex Faces Base    

D’Angelo – Black Messiah

Like me, you may have come to know D’Angelo as a Y2K sex symbol — and, later, a one-off Judd Aptow joke — a reputation that apparently wrecked him as a human being. Indeed, that apparent appellation kept a wall between the R&B Jesus and me for the longest time. I didn’t think he was for me, straight white male I am. Well. After 14 years, after bloating and then descending into murkiness, to creep vampiric through other people’s recordings (that’s no slight against D’Angelo, but certainly a circumvention of the mythos that sprung up around the singer of “Untitled”) before gradually easing himself back into touring, … Read More

Grouper – Ruins

“Groupers can be found in every ocean on the planet. The specific habitat that groupers choose to live in, however, varies from species to species and depends on the age of the organism.” —“The Habitats, Behaviors, and Importance of Groupers (Epinephelus/Mycteroperca) in Coral Reef Ecosystems”[1]   A grouper is not one fish but many, a genus of the subfamily Epinephelinae, of the family Serranidae and so on. In the wider world of taxonomy, one might (fancifully) envision every grouper swimming together as one great fish, the one great Genus, the one great Grouper. And like the Simurgh of mythology, “an ... Read More

Listen-Along: Richard & Linda Thompson – “Shoot Out the Lights”

1) Don’t Renege on Our Love Tucker Phillips: The gallop of horses. Sean Reichard: I was just thinking that. It’s very gallopy. TP: Richard Thompson: the high plains drifter? SR: Maybe! He was the original guitarist in Fairport Convention. TP: This is good to know. I have no background with either Richard or Linda. Renege is a word that should get more use. SR: Linda was on the scene since the late 60s I think. Dated Nick Drake(?) TP: Dang. SR: Richard Thompson played on both Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter. TP: Double dang. Well, this seems a little sprightlier. SR: … Read More