Don’t be scared by the title: No previous knowledge required. I’ll be your test subject.
The perils and pleasures of an artist’s profound consistency.
That he performed his ode to cunnilingus while wearing a black cotton sack dress made it all the more a shining example of unselfconscious sexual expression.
A hometown show that wasn’t really a hometown show.
Fanciful acoustic guitar passages, a wealth of sonic detail on songs that could have been rendered bare, the sense that we’ve caught the artist at a turning point, in his moment of greatest aloneness. Is this Rebo’s Workbook?
Dream-pop double header, a.k.a. Hurry Up, We’re Awaking
The style of her lyrics is the result of a practical consideration: Hyvönen’s train of thought is too highly associative to be forced into a rhyme scheme.
“God is in the art, that’s what I think. Until the money comes.”
The recollection she continues to whistle up is primarily of herself, which is not to call her selfish or uninspired, but to say that the voice remains, ageless and immune to authority.
Some of the sonic details the band so effectively rescued from their studio recordings are nameless, and some spring from the great register of fair use rock ‘n’ roll gestures.
On the title track, he avoids articulating the syllable-final r’s and leaves the ess a hissing pivot between e’s, so the word “hairdresser” ends up almost all vowel. Appropriately so: Despite the scratchy, hard stop rock ‘n’ roll world he inhabits, Hunx has always lived in his vowels.
Ambiguous words among artfully framed mountains: The art of interpreting cover art.
The latest (if not greatest) of the Portland Lauras to capture my attention with a type of folk music that offers Oregon as one of America’s last uncharted places.
It’s the kind of album our species is programmed to make in abundance but that rarely ends up very good, as energetic and melodic, short yet transcendent in its repeatability as It’s A Shame About Ray … And it’s now being toured across America!
How can ghosts have gravitational pull?
We always hope that a band will have the inherent gravity needed to overcome the fracturing of its individual parts, but not all bands are as committed as The Rosebuds.
“What’s more popular here these days, ice sculpture or butter sculpture?”
This collection of twelve songs, culled from a theatrical folk concert first staged in 2009, is all interiority and bed-ridden body-pondering, rarely suggesting a dramatic component and cohering beautifully without it.
Suddenly, it’s as if Bill Callahan belongs to us on some cosmic level.
His description of the genesis of Zen Arcade led to a sort of heartbreaking admission that the album means more to others than it does to him, that he had outgrown the feelings it documents by the time they’d been written down and recorded.
Confuse your contemporaries.
All art is abstract art. The Cars are fairly artful and surprisingly abstract.
He emerged like a half-remembered American nightmare: striped tights over black Speedo, leather jacket, cap and bowtie, “Hunx” scrawled in pink lipstick across his chest, penciled-on mustache à la John Waters and pitch-black hair…
A perfectly balanced double bill, almost too much for the strongly beating heart.
Fun fact: Kim Deal mentioned she has a sister who lived in St. Paul for nine years, on Grand Avenue. Could she have meant equally rad sis Kelley?
A sound with no extra fat, and its embodiment in the frighteningly muscled arms of Robert Grey (formerly Gotobed), the Clint Eastwood of drummers.
Something transcendent was implied, I believe, in the night’s most interesting visual element, more transfixing even than all the bright lights: the slow soaking with sweat of Dan Whitford’s button-down shirt, turning dark outward from the armpits until no dry spot remained.
Five men, three acts, the cold north, and the Friendship Principle.
I suppose it was inevitable that I would someday soon witness the iPad keyboard app used live in concert, and now I have, the Trash Can Sinatras being the unlikely conjurers of the winds of change.
Gosh, he even took an early break, in lieu of a break before the encore, for his explicitly stated “need to pee,” and then came back to the stage and continued to play with a purity that had no memory of bodily functions.
In the realm of back-catalog-heavy concerts by veteran artists, this definitely fell under the category of “nostalgia trip,” but some unresolved questions linger.
Lonely Scientist arrives as silvery and hushed as its evocative cover art, peering through the windshield and wondering which came first, the big empty landscape or man’s bemused and lonely reaction to it via acoustic guitar.
Superchunk make music about the pleasures of hard work, and they wouldn’t have returned for any other reason.
Martin Devaney, The Mad Ripple, Sons of Gloria, Ryan Paul, glorious things of ragged rock ‘n’ roll beauty and the spirit of ’85.
She’ll take you there, and you’ll know what that means when she does.
Rock ‘n’ roll laid claim to the vertical, and allowed its audience to look heavenward.
A merely good album that still manages to put me in greater awe of its creators, as it makes more apparent than ever the slippery and mercurial nature of their writing and recording process.
He stopped frequently to smell his armpits and channel their rock ‘n’ roll energy, shouting “Fuck yeah!” before starting the next song.
More praiseful prose and phlattering photographs: the Teenage Fanclub lovefest continues.
She can really play it, she can really lay it down. Not a household name, but she’s been in your head all day. It would be so cool to be like Laura, Laura Veirs.
A big, big rock ‘n’ roll show, just the right size in fact, not so big that the band’s personality diffuses in the arena air before it reaches the back row.
A second consideration of the Pavement reunion tour, but mostly an excuse for some excellent photos.
Mark Kozelek’s fourth album under the Sun Kil Moon moniker is by far the most sparsely arranged, but to call it simply a guitar-and-voice album is misleading, given the fullness of his singing and playing.
You can always expect a sing-along at a show by any musician who recorded a great song in the year 1984, but this one’s opening lines (“I was 21 years when I wrote this song / I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long”), and simple, permanent arrangement made it quite a bit more transcendent than the average.
Lou was Lou, Wye Oak killed, and Young Man are on their way.
This new noise pop duo may have been raised in a boarding school secretly operated by Slumberland Records, where the only classes are rudimentary music lessons and the only homework is the complete recordings of Black Tambourine.
Deerhunter and their friend Panda Bear release lovely new singles in advance of forthcoming albums. They dub these “7-inches,” though both are available digitally.