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Showing posts from March, 2018

Week In Reverse 3/31/18

I definitely listened to more albums (especially new releases) this week than I wrote about, but sometimes you just don't have anything to say about a record. Music sure is weird.

Run the Jewels - RTJ2 (2014)

One of the best rap records of the decade and of my three all-time favorites. Quite literally, RTJ2 is why I listen to and enjoy hip-hop at all. The beats are filthy, varied, and incredible. Mike and El's wordplay is unparalleled - hilarious, deliberate, no holds barred. Plus, this is still the only rap album I've heard that references "Little Shop of Horrors."

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes (2002)

I would be lying if I said that I didn't listen to albums because of their critical acclaim. Source Tags & Codes is the quintessential example of that for me. It got a perfect score from Pitchfork back in the day, and based on that alone, I gave it a listen. Unfortunately, that often creates unnecessary expectations f…

Watch The Shackletons' Video For "Minnesota Girls"

The Shackletons are one of my go to bands when I need to prove to someone that Minnesota puts out some of the best music in the country. Their December 2017 EP Second Attempt soundsexactly like writer Jay Gabler's description of the band. He said, "Imagine Connor Oberst with a John Belushi attitude, fronting The Hold Steady." The quirkiness you'd expect from a band described that way comes through on the music video for their song "Minnesota Girls." The band is clad in tacky plaid suit coats with streamers covering the room they're playing. The video is funny, weird, and the perfect way to celebrate Minnesota and its girls.

Watch the video below.

New Music Friday 3/30/18

Surprise new Weeknd album (EP? who knows), a pair of excellent hip-hop collaborations, and more in this week's new albums! Happy Good Friday!

The Weeknd - My Dear Melancholy, (XO/Republic)

Toronto's (other) favorite is back with a surprise new album/EP/mini-album. Six new songs over 21 minutes, featuring contributions from frequent collaborator Frank Dukes, Mike WiLL Made-It, Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Skrillex, and a lyrics/composition credit from Nicolas Jaar of all people. French techno artist Gesaffelstein, best know for producing two tracks on Kanye West's Yeezus, is the only formal feature on My Dear Melancholy,. The new project follows the Weeknd's contributions to the Black Panther album and his 2016 smash Starboy.

Listen on Spotify here.
Listen on Apple Music here.

Amen Dunes - Freedom (Sacred Bones)

Fifth album from Damon McMahon's psych-folk outfit. Partially inspired by McMahon's mother's cancer diagnosis, Freedom was created o…

Heart to Gold Release New Music Video and Announce Album

It has been a little too long since Minneapolis punks Heart to Gold released new music. Thankfully, the people do not have to wait much longer for a follow up to their 2016 EP Still Stuck. The band released a music video for their lead single "Difficult" from their new album set to be released in April. Much like the sound of the band's music, the music video features a full on party with the band in the in the middle of everything. "Difficult" is loud and in your face. It is everything that is right with a Heart to Gold song.

Watch the video for "Difficult" below.

Watch The Music Video for Charlie Parr's Song "Dog"

Giving an animal a human persona is one of the most common things pet owners do. They become members for their family and become larger than life to the humans who take care of them. For singer-songwriter Charlie Parr's album Dog, released in September of last year, he took this idea to a whole new level. During the writing for his last album, Parr began to experience the resurgence of the depression he's had since he was young. As he wrote about his depression the focus shifted from an autobiographical nature to him writing from the prospective of a dog.

In an interview with The Current's Andrea Swenson about the song "Dog," Parr spoke about his depression and how said, "In the beginning, the song wasn't about a dog. It was about depression. As I worked the song it became to be more about a dog." Parr used his own dog Ruben and a stray who lived outside of a friends house as models for the song.

The music video for "Dog" features a woman…

Week In Reverse 3/24/18

Guitars, ambient, and Animal Collective! Even more weird, awesome music this week.

Board of Canada - Geogaddi (2002)

The sophomore release from Boards of Canada provides more of the same as their iconic debut, Music Has the Right to Children. The two records are mirror images, from sound, aesthetic, to even the roughly 70-minute run time. Music is the brighter of the two, the wholesome and optimistic twin. Geogaddi is earthen and doused in shadows. Fortunately, the quality of the music is similar. The gurgling beats and waving synths permeate every nook and cranny of Geogaddi, and the album is all the better for it.

Max Richter - From Sleep (2015)

As much as I love Max Richter's work, the only way I'm ever going to listen to the full 8.4 hour Sleep is if I'm asleep. Fortunately, he had the genius idea to release an hour-long selection of tracks from the full album. Featuring violinist Ben Russell (Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire) among others, From Sleep is collection of drow…

New Hammock Collaboration Announced

Ambient composition duo Hammock has announced a new collaborative project with Delaware singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan under the name The Summer Kills. Additionally, the group released the first single, "Collide," from their upcoming album, Last Night We Became Swans. The album will be out this spring. The Summer Kills is intended to be "a study in contrasts" and mixes the grandiose and spacious ambient textures of Hammock with the intimate vocals and songwriting of Ryan. The album is mixed by Peter Katis, who has worked on the last several Hammock albums and has produced/mixed records by Japandroids, The National, and Interpol (including Turn on the Bright Lights). Hammock released a four-track EP last month, and the incredible Mysterium in 2017. Matthew Ryan released his twelfth album in 2016, the Brian Fallon-produced Hustle Up Starlings. The trio collaborated previously in 2011 for the "Like New Year's Day" single, which will appear on the new al…

New Music Friday 3/23/18

Another week, still no dollars! I can't wait to never get paid for this. At least the music is pretty good sometimes.

Preoccupations - New Material (Jagjaguwar)

While recent singles may have established a newer sound for the Calgary post-punks, their third LP stands toe-to-toe with their previous two (almost) classics. After reissuing their debut EP Cassette in 2017 and releasing their second self-titled album (after changing their name from Viet Cong to Preoccupations) in 2017, this is the band's "newest material" (I'm not sorry). Included singles such as "Espionage," "Antidote," and "Disarray."

Listen on Spotify here.
Listen on Apple Music here.

Jack White - Boarding House Reach (Third Man)

Jack White is making Jack White weird again. His experimental third album follows a one-off single ("Battle Cry" in 2017) and a duet with Elton John for the American Epic documentary. His last solo release was 2014's Lazaretto. The …

Preoccupations Release New Single "Disarray"

Just days before the release of their new album New Material, Preoccupations released a new single with a music video. "Disarray" follows suit with the previous two singles, but the track focuses more on the mood rather than the punishing drum beats or gritty production that the band has had on past records. The guitars, drums, and bass sit in the back while the synths provide the atmosphere. New Material is out March 23 via Jagjaguwar.

Watch the video for "Disarray" below.

Week In Reverse 3/17/18

Yet another entry in my weird journey of listening to a weird collection of albums and songs.

Perfume Genius - No Shape (2017)

It feels like at least once a week, I revisit an album that I listened to at some point in the last couple years. More often than not, these albums were hyped up and celebrated upon release. I see the album pop up somewhere and think to myself, "Hey, I never really got into this when it came out. Let's listen to it now!" And it's always oddly rewarding. No Shape was the first Perfume Genius album I heard, because I had somehow managed to inadvertently avoid all of his previous work up to that point. I enjoyed is passively on the first time through; the second time was incredible. The production on this record is impossibly gorgeous. It's like a downpour of beautiful synths and drums. "Slip Away" is just a fantastic song on every front (yeah, I know it's the single, what of it?). Tracks like "Otherside" and "W…

The Decemberists I'll Be Your Girl: Review

Over eight albums, the Decemberists have built a career on making music that lets the listener know that the band not only plays acoustic instruments, but that they also read a lot of old books. The band has drawn inspiration from history, folklore, and other old-timey sources to spin epic tales full of beautiful melodies and poetic lyrics. However, it seems the Decmeberists have decided to upset the applecart a bit with their newest album I'll Be Your Girl.

Front-man and songwriter Colin Meloy branched out from large narratives to standalone songs that act as a collection of standalone vignettes. What follows on I'll Be Your Girl is 40 minutes of mismatched song ideas. The first single, "Severed," is the band's best impression of a new wave band. The song itself is captivating, but it is an example of what Meloy and company are looking for something to do something new.

The first half of the album is pretty solid. The opening track "For Once In My Life&quo…

New Music Friday 3/16/18

Another week, another batch of new releases! A bunch of highly anticipated indie, two collaborations, and Rich Homie Quan!

Mount Eerie - Now Only (P.W. Elverum & Sun)

Phil Elverum is back with a spiritual sequel to last year's devastating A Crow Looked At Me. The new album explores the same themes, but with a wider scope. It is Elverum's ninth release as Mount Eerie. Includes the previously released tracks "Distortion" and "Tintin in Tibet."

Listen on Spotify here.
Listen on Apple Music here.

Yo La Tengo - There's A Riot Going On (Matador)

Legendary indie rock/pop group release their fifteenth album. Sharing a title with Sly and the Family Stone's classic, the album is inspired by the "confusion and anxiety" of modern times. Follows 2016's split with Bardo and 2015's "covers" album Stuff Like That There.

Listen on Spotify here.
Listen on Apple Music here.

The Decemberists - I'll Be Your Girl (Capitol)

Eighth album …