For a woman who just turned 51, Juana Molina still sounds remarkably youthful. Wed 21, her first album in five years, bounces and hops to the infectious vocal harmonies she weaves throughout its uniformly excellent tracks. More refined and alive than previous efforts, Wed 21 is a uniquely compelling piece of art-pop and one of the finest albums of the year. Continue reading
What better way to return from a two month blog absence than by tearing into something you love. Oh Arcade Fire, I treasured you so. You could (mostly) do no wrong. Funeral and Neon Bible stand as two of the best albums of the 21st century and The Suburbs, well, it had its charms I guess. But even the minor disappointment of that last release pales in comparison to the deep, haunting sadness Reflektor makes me feel. Continue reading
I guess this is semi-regular now then. Emphasis on the ‘semi’.
This time I’m rattling through a whole bunch of stuff that came out absolutely ages ago but that I either didn’t care enough about (Wavves – Afraid of Heights, The Icarus Line – Slave Vows) or was intimidated by the prospect of reviewing (Grant Hart – The Argument).
Enjoy the words. Continue reading
Whatever happened to Madchester? Listen to northern sad-men MONEY and you’d think it never even happened. All mournful wails, plaintive piano and glacial tempo, The Shadow of Heaven is a far cry from the drug-fuelled funk chaos of the likes of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Gone is the blissful euphoria of the 90s and in is the slow-burning sadness of the recession hit teens.
It’s fortunate then that the quality of the music on Shadow of Heaven remains as strong as its forefathers – the prospect of listening to a band weep that ‘Even ghosts must raise their hands, just to stare into the gloom’(Christ) whilst accompanied by anything other than the most shimmering of shimmery guitar and choral of pained choirboy vocals is almost as depressing as some of MONEY’s cheerier efforts. Continue reading
A hopefully semi-regular feature where I rattle through a few albums that recently saw release but either weren’t good enough or big enough to merit an individual review. This week it’s psychobilly, garage rock polka and indietronica releases that contain some of the songs of the year but plenty of flaws too. Continue reading
I often quietly complain about the productivity of modern musicians; disparagingly comparing the likes of Arcade Fire (3 albums in 12 years) to bands like Creedence Clearwater (a 4 year career that produced 7 albums, including 3 in 1969) and asking why they can’t make music at a rate that even comes close to this. Touring, side projects and personal lives are reasonable explanations, but one section of the industry seems peculiarly free of these obligations: Singer-songwriters.
Loud City Song is Californian Julia Holter’s third album in as many years, each being released to widespread acclaim, and in particular her latest effort. What is perhaps most notable about her releases, more so than the speed and consistency with which they’re churned out, is the steady progress of each new effort. Continue reading
Odd Future have work to do. 18 months ago they were the biggest new movement in rap; a collective filled with artists of enormous potential held together by the abrasive leadership of Tyler, The Creator. But, after Tyler’s failure to develop on WOLF, the quiet hum of dissent at their relentlessly vulgar and pointedly offensive lyrics has grown into a chorus of criticism at a collective grown stagnant. The weight of restoring the faith now rests on Earl Sweatshirt, perhaps the most disturbed of an already dark bunch and widely regarded as their best natural rapper, and his sophomore release Doris. Continue reading