Music

78 posts

The Story of AC/DC by Susan Masino


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Rock biographies, particularly of bands, are an odd subgenre. With an individual singer or instrumentalist, the narrative may take any of the traditional “hero” arcs (rags to riches, unappreciated innovator’s ultimate triumph, temptation/fall and — usually — redemption, etc.), but the story of a hydra-headed rock band must adopt a more amorphous approach.

Orchestras, Oboes and Orgies


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“I was honest about my own behavior and that of others, yet stopped short of revealing 95 percent of the worst in our business. The nature of memoir is that of truth; only real people can illustrate real stories. However, a measure of effective journalism is its ability to instigate societal change, and only a picture based on truth can do that.”

Life, Death and Hip-Hop


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Within Hip-Hop we discover the struggle of the artist to make sense of their unjust world and to find the balance between their desires (and everyday survival) and the morality of their actions to fulfill these desires.

Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob

Album Review: Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob


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Heartthrob is deeply wounded and most of it is sad. Its emotional palette is reds and pinks, raw and tender, skin scrubbed too fiercely. But for all its sadness, all its discussion of never-going-to-work relationships, it’s an incredibly hopeful album. Not optimistic, per se but determined, teeth-gritted and snarling. Hope’s necessary for that, even if it is in small and ragged quantity. And hope’s never really stronger than when it’s down to its last shreds.

Album Review: Foxygen’s We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic


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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are songs that celebrate life instead of mourning love, and do so with aplomb.

Album Review: Wooden Wand’s Blood Oaths of the New Blues


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The listener is held in suspended emotional animation, waiting for a push in one direction or another, but destined to be disappointed in that regard.

Album Review: Andre Williams and The Sadies’ Night & Day


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Andre Williams spits out his philosophy against a background of organs and supporting vocals that evoke a blend of both haunted house and gospel house, spirits and the spiritual.

Album Review: Crystal Castles’ III


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After a high-pitched intro reminiscent of the entry into a horror film, the bass explodes into pulsing heavy distortion as gratifying as a welcome plot twist. Vocals blur into a winsome crackle of low and high notes that can only be experienced as emotional entreaties rather than explicit ones. As sense of the song is jettisoned, there is ascension into a state of pure rhythm.

Delilah - From The Roots Up, Illustration by Bee Johnson

Album review: Delilah’s From The Roots Up


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Probably the most pleasant piece of difficult listening ever, it slightly reminds me of early Tori Amos records for combining relatively hard topics with pop sensibilities to an eerie effect.

Purity Ring Shrines

Album review: Purity Ring’s Shrines


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James plays on her small-sounding voice a lot, which I found increasingly grating the more I listened to the album. It’s partly a personal intolerance for grown women playing twee but also there’s something frustrating about ambitious, wide instrumentals, whose breathy intimacy didn’t need any greater emphasis, being somewhat reduced by a vocal not always interesting enough to accompany them.

Album Review: Passion Pit’s Gossamer


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But like hunting for proof of Nessie or Bigfoot, these moments of inspiration that you took a smudgy photo of in your excitement vanish all too quickly, and you are left wondering if anything exciting actually happened at all.

Album Review: Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan


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We can never rediscover the true weirdness of the 1960s psychedelic movements without abandoning our own prohibitive – and inhibitive – self-awareness.