Okkervil River — The Stand-Ins

Usually I don’t do this, but I’m kinda proud of this review, and I think that this record (and Okkervil’s previous record, The Stage Names), present points worth talking about.  Which reminds me, please feel free to use the comments section to discuss this kind of stuff.  One of the great things about the internet … Continue reading

Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue

Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue Secret City Records – 4 Stars Ladies and gentlemen, by now you should be familiar with the fruit of Montreal’s scene: Islands, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the mighty Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, et al. But you don’t know Montreal. No, until now the scene has lacked a unifying voice, … Continue reading

Animal Collective – Water Curses EP

Animal Collective – Water Curses (EP) Domino – 4 stars Picking up where the dense digistry of last fall’s Strawberry Jam left off, Water Curses finds America’s favorite animals tracking an uncharacteristically spare, wild territory.  While the tracks, which were recorded during the sessions for Strawberry Jam, retain the frenetic programming and glitchy percussion of … Continue reading

Evangelicals – The Evening Descends

Evangelicals – The Evening Descends Dead Oceans; 3 ½ Stars The Evening Descends opens with all of the drama of a Max Fischer play.  Guitars chime like harps, a few scene-setting sounds echo about, and one can mentally see the cheap curtain being raised on a still-drying set.  But unlike the Rushmore character (and perhaps … Continue reading

Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark

Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark New West Records; 4.5 Stars Despite their reputation for being the South’s most lovable drunks on stage, the Drive-By Truckers have always found their home on record. Never has this been more true than on Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, the Athens five-piece’s latest record. Despite losing the brilliant … Continue reading

Travis Morrison – All Y’all

Travis Morrison Hellfighters – All Y’all Barsuk – 4 Stars 2004 found erstwhile Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison releasing his first solo record, Travistan, which was given the deathly 0.0 by Pitchfork.  This roughly amounts to high indie treason; at the height of their powers, the Plan were the P’fork set’s biggest band (in 2002 … Continue reading

The National – Boxer

The National – Boxer Beggars Banquet – 4 Stars The splash page on http://www.americanmary.com, home page of Brooklyn’s the National, features a rather candid black and white picture of the band and several friends in front of a building in what appears to be New York.  The picture is a bit grainy, a bit out … Continue reading

Mogwai – Mr. Beast

Mogwai – Mr. Beast Matador – 4 stars Post-rock as a genre takes itself so seriously that it’s easy to forget the soul of the music; bands like Gregor Samsa are too busy beating the listener over the head with a sign that says “This is beautiful and it huuurts!” to bother with subtle touches, … Continue reading

King Louie – Memphis Treet

King Louie and the Loose Diamonds – Memphis Treet Empty Records – 3 ½ Stars King Louie looks like a human rendition of Simpsons bully Nelson Muntz.  Perhaps more excitingly, he sounds like Elvis Costello’s Attractions fronted by a drunken Nelson, his throaty growl sounding eerily similar to the trademark “hah-hah!”  While this may sound … Continue reading

I’m Not There OST

Various Artists – I’m Not There Columbia; 4 stars To try and sum up I’m Not There, the thirty-four song soundtrack to the Todd Haynes Dylan biopic of the same name, is about as futile as trying to draw a conclusive summary of Dylan himself.  Haynes took a shortcut by casting six lead actors as … Continue reading