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
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
The music I grew up with is a decade old now and that terrifies me. In my mind the late 2000s were a beautiful period of experimentation and growth and honest, unabashed wonder. I was swept up in the pitchfork content mill and every major release felt like an event and another bud on these vast musical branches I was incredibly eager to claim as my own. I jumped from Yo La Tengo into Animal Collective into Deerhunter and beyond. Everything felt and still feels like it was contributing to a staggering musical epoch that ended, coincidentally, once I grew … Read More
I was never one to consider meditation. Not only can I not get my legs into the requisite pretzel, but the process always seemed rarefied to the point of comedic exaggeration. People finding transcendence in ohms and ahs and incense sticks. There seemed to me a very drink-the-kool-aid aspect to the whole business. And that’s how I probably would have kept on if not for Sleep Cycle, the first and only solo album from Animal Collective guitarist Deakin. It would be hugely presumptuous of me to say that Sleep Cycle is an album about meditation. I don’t believe that to be … Read More
The internet has made the act of finding music a lot easier, but it is more of a repository than it is a guide or an informant. Unless you’re willing to put in the hours, it is very easy to bypass oodles of very helpful data without even knowing it exists. You can flit through youtube videos of ethiopian pop music for hours, but you’re not going to get the vital context that goes with it unless you pursue that information yourself. It is terrifyingly easy to treat the internet as a limitlessly vast, incredibly shallow pond I mention this … Read More
I want to start by saying something about my own current emotional state before I get into my thoughts on Jim James’ latest solo effort, Eternally Even. I don’t really even need to get into all of the extremely obvious political goings-on; everyone knows what happened. But I will say it has me feeling extremely numb and cynical. So I’m listening to Eternally Even through ear muffs, viewing it through a grayscale lens. I know I’m supposed to be objective, and I don’t think this necessarily biases me against Jim James, who I generally like. But I feel responsible to … Read More
About a decade ago, it was decided that all games would be rpgs. So now every game has leveling mechanics. Every game has bars to fill up. It’s extremely rare to find a progression system in a game that isn’t basically an RPG progression system. You shoot guns to level up guns. You buy gear with money. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless, of course, you’re an RPG. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an RPG. It’s an RPG’s RPG. But it’s living in a world of shooter RPGs and action game RPGs and sports game RPGs. And that’s … Read More
Hamilton Leithauser has a frayed rope of a voice. Like he just got done playing an entire show (plus encore) but now he’s gonna sing another couple ditties just for you and he isn’t gonna tone these puppies down none, no. He’s gonna go for the rafters again. What is a rafter but something to shake? This worked excellently in his old band, the Walkmen. They were the classiest group of disheveled NYC punks you ever saw, and they ended their career on a series of high notes that includes the wonderful album Heaven. Leithauser’s back now, but he’s paired … Read More
Preoccupations is out now, courtesy of Jagjaguwar.
Damien Jurado – Visions of Us on the Land Visions of Us on the Land is out now, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.