Good Day for Music

And not just because the new My Morning Jacket and Lil Wayne records are out. In fact, the two records I’m most excited about today haven’t been released yet. Click here to stream the new Sigur Rós. Click here to stream the new Hold Steady. My Albums of the Year list is already filling up … Continue reading

Blitzen Trapper [Spanish Moon, March 12, 2008]

Sometimes there’s a lot to be said for having little to say.  So goes the theory, at least, with Portland’s Blitzen Trapper, whose Wild Mountain Nation barnstomps across genres – stoner country, junk-pop, experimental noise – with little message but large footprints.  Wild Mountain Nation, the group’s third self-released record, was picked up and distributed … Continue reading

Built to Spill [Howlin’ Wolf, March 3, 2008]

In 1997, Boise, ID, guitar-stretchers Built to Spill released Perfect From Now On, a sprawling record that patches together bits of Neil Young guitar, Pink Floyd atmospherics, and singer Doug Martsch’s star-gazing lyrics with melodies to match.  Though they had already released a couple of well-received indie pop records on Up that caught the ear … Continue reading

The Fiery Furnaces Will Rock You

The Fiery Furnaces Will Rock You It’s never been terribly easy to listen to the Fiery Furnaces.  I first encountered them with 2004’s epic Blueberry Boat, a schizophrenic rock opera as hyper as its breakfast-cereal name, which, until the release of this year’s Widow City, was considered their most accessible record.  The group, whose primary … Continue reading

Midlake [Republic, January 25, 2007]

These days, any mention of Fleetwood Mac would be bound to devolve into fits of laughter centered largely around Stevie Nicks’ witch-like wardrobe. But not in Denton, TX, home of Midlake. The native Texans (save LSU graduate Eric Nichelson) have made a name for themselves with the same sort of soft rock gentility that Ms. … Continue reading

Explosions in the Sky’s Chris Hrasky [Republic, March 7, 2007]

I think it’s safe to say that we are a region equally accustomed to both tragedy and comedy. We have shown the rest of the country that it’s okay to laugh when you cry, that we are more than King George’s Court Jester. We are inherently self-obsessed, forever wary of outsiders (except those named Drew … Continue reading

Mute Math [Voodoo ’07]

The soundtrack to Transformers: The Movie is about what you’d expect from a Michael Bay movie: plenty of heavy pop-metal, rap-rock, and a new Smashing Pumpkins song.  But tucked away at the very end of the CD is a reinterpretation of the classic cartoon’s theme song.  The cover is so out of place with its … Continue reading

Don’t Call ‘Em Post-rock: Do Make Say Think

Don’t Call ‘Em Post-Rock: Charles Spearin of Do Make Say Think “You know what happens after rock ‘n’ roll?” a good friend once asked me.  “All lead singers die.”  He was referring, of course, to post-rock, the catch-all term for diverse groups like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, and Rachel’s, bands whose … Continue reading

Coming Clean with the Meat Puppets

Coming Clean with the Meat Puppets Interviewing Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets is about as easy as pinning down his band’s ever-shifting style.  The 49 year-old singer and manic guitarist shifts moods and thoughts as effortlessly as he does genres, particularly on Rise to Your Knees, the Puppets’ new record, which marks the return … Continue reading

Sufjan Stevens: All Dressed Up and 48 States to Go

“All research, he decided, begins with your imagination and with your intuition, relying heavily on the convictions of the heart.” — Biography of Sufjan Stevens, Listening to his records, one gets the sense that Sufjan Stevens lives in the clouds. Not in that vapid, no-place-like-home-Toto sense, but in a very literal sense. He lives … Continue reading