Thursday, March 31, 2011


My interview with Faust's Jean Herve-Peron is up today at BLurt.

Here's a bit:

"There is one word that would describe Faust very much, very well and it's dilettantism," said Jean-Hervé Peron, who has, for nearly 40 years played bass in the band. He has been asked, just previously, if there is a thread that ties his seminal Krautrocking outfit together, through multiple line-ups, genre experiments, periods of dormancy and even across two distinct bands that are named Faust. "But I mean ‘dilettantism' in its primal sense, which comes from ‘delight' and ‘joy.' It was all about enormously enjoying what we were doing, believing deeply in what were doing, not considering, and not -- I'm sorry, I'm going to use a rude word -- not giving a shit whether we were accepted or not. We didn't care about anything like this. We just cared about the urge, the inside urge. So there was no concept. It's all guts and emotions."



Jookabox's Eye of the Fly (out April 26th on Asthmatic Kitty) is insane in all the right ways, a complicated mess of folk, hip hop, rock, electronica, dub and a half dozen other things that somehow, in combination, makes perfect sense. It's super peppy and rhythmic, too, so if you've got to do something awful, like run eight miles at 6:45 in the morning, it kinda helps.

Jookabox, if you're just coming into this, is Indianapolis' Dave Adamson, and Eye of the Fly is, supposedly, his last album. Too bad. It's a good one.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bibio's Mind Bokeh

I have a review of Bibio's Mind Bokeh up at Dusted today.

The art for Bibio’s last album, Ambivalence Avenue showed a tree-lined street, colors faded to nostalgic, bone-white hues like an old postcard. The music inside was similarly scratched and faded, acoustic guitar strums and piano chords and children’s cries worn to traces and obscured by a scrim of crackle and hiss. Mind Bokeh, two years later, is, by contrast brightly colored, both on its cover and inside. The acoustic guitars have mostly been replaced by synthesizers, keyboards and electric guitars. There’s a sheen of 1970s fusion funk to the entire enterprise and a less reflective, more hedonistic air.

The rest

There's a sampler you can listen to at Warp.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile's been doing some shows with J. Mascis lately, one of them in Brattleboro, which is close, but I didn't go. From what I hear, it was mostly acoustic, but J. got off the stool a couple of times to do some Dinosaur tunes...and also, from what I hear, Kurt Vile was in quiet, jangly mode, but still pretty riveting.

Anyway, there's a new folky, acoustic KV album out now on Matador called Smoke Ring For My Halo, which I have been enjoying (but I like the full-band stuff better). Here's "Jesus Fever".

And here are the two of them doing "Make It Right" in Philly, which is Vile's hometown.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cave Singers

Not sure you remember my hissy fit about the Cave Singers…(the “I’m Fucked” post from January 24, which seems to have been read mostly by Secretly Canadian publicists)…The article came out okay, nothing special. A very short version ran in the Spring print issue of Blurt, and the online version (slightly longer) is here.

Here’s “Swim Club”

So all’s well that ends well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thrill Jockey comp to benefit earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan

If you have any doubt about how awful things have gotten in Japan, post-earthquake, post-tsunami and now post-nuclear emergency, I would recommend this New Yorker article…if you can get past the part about the Japanese kindergarten that survived the tsunami intact because it was on a hill, only all the kids were already on a bus going home and drowned anyway. I just sat there, blinking tears, for about five minutes before I could bear to go on.

Anyway, Thrill Jockey, which you can probably tell, is one of my favorite labels, and releases nothing but quality, is doing a fund-raiser in which you, the music lover, purchase 64 tracks for $15 and the money goes towards recovery efforts in Japan.

Also, the Boredoms are donating 100% of the profits on all their record sales to the relief effort, so if you’ve been thinking about stocking up, now is the time.

Here’s Thrill Jockey’s press release, as well as the track listing at the bottom.

THRILL JOCKEY Announce TWO Benefit Efforts For Japan!

Benefit for the Recovery In Japan Compilation

Download Available Here For $15 (see below for 64 song track listing):

Benefit for the Recovery in Japan, a compilation album with contributions from over sixty diverse artists from around the world, will be released today via Thrill Jockey's Fina-Music online digital music store. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this compilation will go directly towards the recovery and relief effort taking place in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan and the resulting nuclear emergency. This massive set contains nearly five hours of music and features tracks by a wide range of artists including Christian Fennesz, Shinji Masuko (Boredoms/DMBQ), Prefuse 73, Tim Hecker, Tunde Adebimpe, School of Seven Bells, Zeena Parkins, Bear In Heaven, The Ex, Deerhunter's Bradford Cox, Oren Ambarchi, Akron/Family, Sam Prekop, Ben Frost, Rhys Chatham, and many others.

Here’s the track listing, which looks awesome and worth way more than $15
Track List:

Part One:

01. Fennesz: "Fearless"
02. Helado Negro: "Cabeza Bella"
03. Stephan Mathieu: "(Excerpt from) The Floating World"
04. School of Seven Bells: "Midnight Sun"
05. Lawrence English: "Hotaru"
06. Noveller: "Darkheart"
07. Zeena Parkins: "The Letter"
08. Tom Carter (of Charalambides): "Mended"
09. Akron/Family: "Deep Kazoo"
10. The Ex: "Cold Weather Is Back"
11. Shinji Masuko (of Boredoms/DMBQ): "Botsuon"
12. Oneohtrix Point Never: "The Inside World"
13. Tokimonsta: "Sound Caves"
14. Joshua Abrams: "Jackdaws"
15. Keith Fullerton Whitman: "Anzac #3"
16. Ben Frost: "Snćugla"
17. David Daniell: "Shiho-hiru-tama"
18. Grouper: "Cassiopeia"
19. Tape: "Mirrors"
20. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: "Moon in a Dewdrop"
21. D. Charles Speer: "Steel Infant"
22. Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl): "Blue Veil"
23. Blackshaw, Wood, Wood & Tomlinson (James Blackshaw & Hush Arbors): "Are You Alright? (Chump Change)"
24. Nat Baldwin (of Dirty Projectors): "In the Hollows"
25. Chris Forsyth & Shawn Edward Hansen: "Dirty Pool Blues"
26. Zelienople: "Stone Faced About It"
27. Elm (Jon Porras of Barn Owl): "Diamond Dust"
28. Lobisomem: "Kusha"
29. Stabbing Eastwood (Tunde Adebimpe & Ryan Sawyer): "Thundersnow Mountain"
30. Alan Licht & Greg Malcolm: "Natasha Utting Reporting"
31. Scott Tuma: "To: Hasty"
32. Rhys Chatham: "Prayer for the People of Fukushima"

Part Two:

33. Prefuse 73: "The Only Climactic Dissonant Hums"
34. Growing: "Untitled"
35. James Plotkin (of Khanate): "Broken '96"
36. Totem Test: "Pulse Prayer for Japan"
37. Marcus Schmickler (of Pluramon): "2.71828 Up"
38. Tim Hecker: "Hatred of Music (Double Gate Mix)"
39. Sylvain Chauveau: "Colours in Darkness"
40. Bear In Heaven: "The Days We Have"
41. Spires That In The Sunset Rise with Michael Zerang: "Collision Theory"
42. C. Spencer Yeh: "Solo Violin March 13th 2011"
43. Lau Nau: "Oi Kuolema"
44. Oren Ambarchi: "Merely A Portmanteau"
45. Warm Ghost: "Uncut Diamond (Dripping Pollen Mix)"
46. Bradley & Geofrey (Atlas Sound + White Rainbow): "Mr. Stephen's Private Service"
47. Peter's House Music: "Half Step"
48. Leb Laze: "Da Plane Da Plane"
49. Matthewdavid: "Stop Laughing / Be Honest"
50. Sam Prekop: "Lakes River"
51. Simon Scott: "Of You (Before 2082)"
52. Tetuzi Akiyama/Jon Mueller/Jim Schoenecker: "Untitled"
53. Shelley Burgon: "Let It Be New"
54. Giant Sand: "Recovery Mission"
55. William Tyler: "Tears and Saints"
56. Mountains: "Still Life"
57. Ben Vida: "Quadsweep +2 (snkglazz iii)"
58. Maria Chavez: "Natural Disaster #2_2011"
59. Cleared: "Nova"
60. Neptune: "FIG IV"
61. Water Fai: "Tokitomori"
62. Parts & Labor: "Dokonimonai"
63. Jackie-O Motherfucker: "Blood of Life"
64. Greg Davis: "Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani"


What with interviewing David Bazan and reviewing Danielson’s new The Best of Gloucester County, I’ve been on a little bit of a Christian kick. Not that either Bazan or Danielson really fits that category…or David Eugene Edwards, who is probably my favorite in the rockers-who-grew-up-as-fundamentalists category. Anyway, here’s the Danielson review:

No one makes a joyful noise like Daniel Smith. The tree-costumed ringleader of the Christian-themed, folk-tinged, Danielson project sings in a scratchy, trebly voice that is barely able to contain his excitement. Happy cacophonies of guitar strumming, banjo rattling, pot-banging and glockenspiel tinkling bash and clatter in his wake. Everything is tinted in bright primary school tones, emotions unfiltered, arms up, mouths stretched wide. He and Wovenhand's David Eugene Edwards are friends, but their artistic interpretation of evangelical Christianity could not be more different. Edwards is trapped in a nightmarish vision of Revelations-style judgment. Smith is a preschooler singing "Jesus loves you" at the top of his lungs.


“Grow Up”

“People’s Partay”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frederick Squire

Another good one from the Blue Fog label, up in Canada. The label is run by Rick White, who was in Eric’s Trip. Julie Doiron was also in Eric’s Trip and this is her friend and collaborator Fred Squire, whom some of you might remember from that really exquisite Mount Eerie album Lost Wisdom a few years ago. The record’s called March 12 and it’s been out for a while.

A ghostly aura hangs around Frederick Squire’s “You Sing High and We Will Sing High,” the loveliest and best of this solo debut’s 10 songs. It’s in the piano, its oddly echoing notes sounding as if they come not just from another room, but a barely remembered time. It’s in the smoke-ring harmonies that curl in wreathes around Squires whispery vocals. And it’s in the melody itself, which lofts upward weightlessly, wafting up in octave-size leaps, without a hint of physical strain. The song itself is simple, sparsely arranged for piano, guitar and voice and closely tied to traditions like folk, gospel and blues. Yet, it seems to transcend this simplicity, opening a door into a strange, haunted landscape.


“The Future of Tradition”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eleventh Dream Day

I really liked Riot Now!, the latest from intermittent Chicago-land post-rockers Eleventh Dream Day, out a week or so ago on Thrill Jockey.

My review, which was also in the print magazine, is up today at Blurt.

It’s short, but here’s the main bit:

Rizzo and co-founder Janet Beveridge Bean share vocals, Rizzo's a serrated growl made for cutting through bullshit, Bean's a shock of melodic sweetness and light. A conversation rumbles underneath between Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs and Bean on drums. Keyboard player Mark Greenberg locks in on organ, transforming repetition into hypnosis on album highlight "Sonic Reactor." The tune slows and dirties a classic soul riff, using Keith Richards' trick of playing horns on guitar. Later a long psychedelic solo careens over the rhythmic pulse, a bit of chaos integrated into the album's tightest beat. Softer, more melodic, but just as powerful is "That's What's Coming," whose folky contours bend under the force of wailing guitars. "Freefall is the best/It's when you can't rest," sings Rizzo on the track.

The review in its entirety can be found here.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pascal Pinon

More of that dreamy, breezy Scandinavian pop, this time from two girls about the same as my son…damn, I’m getting old. Anyway, it’s fresh and sweet and unaffected and if you like Lykke Li, you might enjoy their self-titled album, out since late last year on Morr Music.

Here’s a bit from my Blurt review, which ran today:

Fresh as flowers with dew still clinging to the stems, this debut album from a pair of Icelanders distills extreme youth into an elixir of sweetness, transparency and light. The two girls, Jófríður and Ásthildu, were 14 when they started playing together, and they sound it. Here on this charming collection of songs, they trade whispered confidences and wry self-deprecation with one another, their voices light and uninflected with vibrato.


Here’s “New Beginning”

Monday, March 21, 2011


Picked up Party Store over the weekend and it's a good one. I had been a bit leery of it because I knew it was all DEtroit techno covers, but damn, there's something about the way the Dirtbombs (rough, warm, dirty) play this kind of material (cool, stylized, precise) that makes it extra fun. And, you know, who doesn't want to hear Mick Collins try on a German accent ("Sharevari")?

Clearly, though, the best track is "Good Life"

And here's the original, by the Inner City

Friday, March 18, 2011

Phantom Payn Days

This is Juergen Gleue from the also neglected, also excellent German psychedelicists known as 39 Clocks. His mid-1990s solo output now available on DeStilj's wonderfully creepy and whispery and beautiful, shades of Velvet Underground and hints of lo-fi things to come (like Pink Reason, for one).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goofing off again…New Zealand style

I am just now catching up with Surf City’s Kudos a fuzzily glorious, guitar-fractured pop album that will, I think, even without the antipodean reference, make you think about the Clean. Which is always a good thing. The record came out late last year to a certain amount of bloggy acclaim on Fire Records. Check this one out:

“Crazy Rulers of the World”

By the way, speaking of New Zealand, that new David Kilgour album Left By Soft is pretty damned great, a bit heavier (it is, after all, recorded with the Heavy Eights) than the last couple, more guitars, more distortion. I’m going to review it for Blurt, so I will undoubtedly have more to say about it after more than one listen, but for right now, great stuff. What a surprise.

I'm home again and the snow is finally melting. You can hear running water everywhere.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eiyn Sof

Hey, I'm in NYC again.

This time I came down for a reading of a play that my friend David has been working on. David Oei used to be my running parter, but more importantly, he's a classical piano player who has worked with Richard Foreman on a bunch of his plays, this time, on the play Yiddisher Teddy Bears, as musical director. So the play got put on once, several years ago, at the Sundance Festival and the Public Theater is thinking about doing it again. In order to decide they have a reading, with all the actors but no staging, props, costumes or lighting. They get 28 hours or less to rehearse. This is particularly difficult in this case, because the play is basically an opera (music by Stewart WAllace) and the vocal parts are extremely difficult. But anyway, I went this afternoon, and it was pretty amazing...I hope they get to put the play on for real.

Meanwhile, Dusted has run another of my reviews, this one by an artist who calls herself Eiyn Sof (when she is not going by her real name, which is Melissa Borawski).

The term “Ein Sof” comes out of Jewish mystic theology. It’s a phrase for the unphraseable, a pair of words that stands in for the infinite-ness of god. It’s something that, almost by definition, no one can get a handle on. The harder you try to force it into words or thought, the more it slips away. Eiyn Sof with a “y” is a musical project that is likewise hard to pin down. It employs the simplest sort of instruments, the most fragile kinds of melodies to reach for the ineffable.


Borawski also did a listed for us a while back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sin Fang

Much better…Summer Echoes, a new album from the Iceland pop singer of Seabear and Sin Fang Bous out now on Morr Music.
With a slightly changed name and a pack of Icelandic all-stars, Sindri Már Sigfússon returns to the hinterlands of wistful melodic pop. His Sin Fang project is now on its second outing, following the 2009 debut Clangour (under the Sin Fang Bous moniker), and follows, by a year, the Seabear breakout We Built a Fire, one of 2010's best, least-heralded albums.

The rest (it’s short)

“Always Everything”

La Sera

I didn’t care much for this Vivian Girls offshoot, can you tell?

When did girl-pop get to be so prim and ladylike? La Sera’s Katy Goodman plays bass in Vivian Girls, a band that has already sanded most of the edges off Black Tambourine’s dreamy cacophonies. Here, in her first solo full-length, she delves even further into music without friction, singing bland, inoffensive melodies in a voice that is expressionless and insubstantial. La Sera’s debut is the Kate Moss of garage rock, blank-eyed, pretty and dangerously thin.

And later

La Sera’s first album is well-behaved and pleasant, but distant, and hardly the kind of band you imagine Patti Smith or Chrissie Hynde or Mia Zapata kicking the barriers down for. It’s as if women-led music was leading in the same direction as fashion, toward a waifish ideal that has no guts, no hips, no sway and no bottom.

The rest of my review at Dusted

“Devil Hearts Grow Gold”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eternal Tapestry

Crap it’s Monday again…after an extremely busy weekend, which involved two nights stay in lovely (not!) Tilton, NH for a ski meet, then a frantic drive on Sunday morning to Brattleboro for a rehearsal which, it turned out, wasn’t that critical. Don’t have kids. You’ll spend your life in the car, driving pointlessly from one place you don’t want to be to another.
Anyway, back to work, at least briefly. I’m going to NYC on Wednesday, because my friend David invited me to a reading of a play he’s working on (he’s the music director…it’s a Richard Foreman play and the reading is at the Public). So I’ve got a shit-ton of stuff to do before I leave, most of it paid and extremely boring, but meanwhile, Dusted is running a review of the new Eternal Tapestry record that I wrote while a tiny bit hammered. See if you can tell.
“Galactic Derelict” is everything that psychedelic guitar rock should be. Its pace is measured, funereal and bashed out like a prizefight on toms and cymbals. Its bass churns up from the bottom, all storm and turmoil and rumored violence. The guitars hiss and moan and careen in wild arcs, long notes prism-shattered through finger-wiggling vibrato. The wah-wah spits and growls like a giant cat, back arched, neck fur spiked, claws out, dangerous. This third track, the single from Eternal Tapestry’s Beyond the 4th Door, makes the case that droning psychedelia can still be visceral, even thrilling for listeners and not just self-indulgence for wayward guitar players.


“Galactic Derelict”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

'Best' new music

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do if I’m going to post all my stuff that’s been running lately at Blurt. First off, I got the new issue in the mail yesterday, and it looks really nice, despite the fact that it continues the worship for P.J. Harvey’s awful Let England Shake. (She’s on the cover.)

I’ve got a few things in the magazine, reviews of Eleventh Dream Day and Six Organs of Admittance, interviews with Cave Singers and Explosions in the Sky. I’ll probably link some of this up soon, but for now, here are reviews of two “best new music” albums that I didn’t like nearly as much as some people.

Cut Copy’s Zonoscope…where I noted that “You get the sense that a lot of polish has been applied to surfaces that just aren't very substantial.” More

Toro Y Moi’s Underneath the Pine…which I liked a bit more, but still found kind of light in the tail, observing, “Underneath the Pine wreathes delicate little melodies and fleeting thoughts in a haze of 1970s funk-psych-soul pheromones, so that even the most calorie-free sentiments achieve the heft of sensuality. To say that Underneath the Pine is heavier on style than substance is to miss the point. Its glossy, glassy style is so extreme as to become the substance.”


“Still Sound”

I have this very amorphous theory about how a generation whose main social interaction occurs through FaceBook and Twitter may not be equipped to handle actual human emotions, and so, seeks out diluted, plasticized versions of them in music and other arts…but it’s probably all bullshit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gang of Four

My not entirely negative review of Gang of Four’s Content, which has been out since late January on Yep Roc. The review runs at Dusted today.
“Who am I when everyone is me?” That’s the question that Jon King asks in “Who Am I,” one of 10 new songs on Gang of Four’s first album of new material since Shrinkwrapped in 1995. Since then, a whole wave of Gang of Four acolytes have come and, for all intents and purposes, gone — Liars, The Rapture, Radio 4, Franz Ferdinand among them. So, “Who am I” is a fair question, though perhaps a half a decade tardy. When you’re a vastly influential, much-imitated band that has been out of the game for a while, what do you do to distinguish yourself from your imitators?
There are two options, really. One is to become more yourself than anyone else. The other is to become something entirely different.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wow…Get Help

This doesn’t happen nearly often enough, this thing where you put a new record that you know nothing about on the player and it just…knocks your head off. But it does happen sometimes and it’s happened just recently with Get Help, a Boston band led by Tony Skalicky of the Beatings (a band I seem to remember hearing good things about, but never really followed up on). Anyway, there’s a new record called The Good Green Earth coming in May on Midriff Records, and it’s fantastic hard-edged power pop with some sort of a mid-1980s college radio vibe showing through (I close my eyes and think, sorta REM, sorta Feelies, sorta Jason Falkner but not really any of them). Here’s a track from their blog which didn’t quite make the record. It’s called “Lives We Lead.”

Now I’m going to see if I can get someone to let me write about this.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Royal Baths

Creepy, dark and very much in the shadow of VU, Royal Baths’ Litanies very much hit the spot over the weekend, though I’m far too late to do anything about it. It’s on the Woodsist label, which people seem to have turned on lately, but it’s really not the sort of sunny, loosely-strung garage psychedelia that you might expect. The closest recent reference is probably the XX, but there’s a bit more spine here, somehow. Here’s the free mp3 track “Nikki Don’t”.

And the obligatory live footage

We lost power in a wind storm early this morning and just now regained it. I'm a bit behind on everything, but at least the heat's on again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stuff I’ve been listening to for no reason at all…

Kind of liking the new Radiohead, though I’m not really enough of a fan to say where it fits into the band’s continuum or enough of an expert to review it. I guess what I’m enjoying, as an ex-drummer (a bad one, but still), is the complexity of the rhythms, and, also nothing to do with drumming, the different layers of temperature that co-exist in some of the tracks, the warmth of the bass in “Lotus Flower” for instance next to the chilly ethereality of Yorke’s voice.

I also got onto a mild Pretender’s obsession a couple of weeks ago, and listened to The Singles five or six times when I probably should have been hearing review CDs. What a voice that woman had, anyway, surprisingly sweet and pop even when she’s at her toughest. “Middle of the Road” is my favorite….not as crazy about the later stuff (like that painful “I Got You” cover she did with the guy from UB40, what a come down from sleeping with Ray Davies).

And finally, I reviewed the new Gang of Four, which, as Otis pointed out when I asked for it, is actually more like Gang of Two. It’s not terrible, and maybe I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was a Gang of Four wannabe like Glasvegas or Bloc Party or something rather than the remains of the actual deal. Still, I have to say that the absolute best part about reviewing it was listening to GO4’S Peel Sessions, if only to confirm the vertical drop.

Have a good weekend – and why not try listening to something you don’t have to? It’s fun.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sonic Youth's latest...a soundtrack

Simon Werner a Disparu is a French-language murder mystery movie, apparently starring attractive high school students of both sexes...I don't know much more about it, except that it was the occasion for Sonic Youth's latest musical endeavor, an all-instrumental soundtrack that is far more austere and atmospheric than anything Sonic Youth has done in a while. I've been liking it a lot, especially the last two tracks, "Au Cafe" and "Theme D'Alice", which have that have a casual, epic heft to them that reminds me of "Diamond Sea." I'm not sure that the whole album can stand on its own, but these two cuts are really, really good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stars of the Apollo

Someone at Dusted shared his copy of the excellent Stars of the Apollo, a compilation of big band jazz, blues and early R&B recorded at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. It's a pretty amazing list of performers -- Billie HOliday, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and, as they say, many more. The songs are relentlessly entertaining and, in at least a couple of cases, surprisingly frank about sex, drug use and alcohol.

Here's Bessie Smith's contribution

And the very suggestive "I Want a Hot Dog for My Roll" by Butterbeans & Susie

Double Star

I got the nicest note yesterday from Tara Key about this review, a collaboration between Key (who was and is the main driver behind Antietam) and Rick Rizzo of Eleventh Dream Day. It’s called Double Star, and it’s lovely…out this week on Thrill Jockey.

I said:
As an album, Double Star is unusually serene, its cuts following minimal riffs over light-filled landscapes, changing very little as they go. There's a degree of variation from track to track. "Rizzo Starts," for instance, is built on a sunny Appalachian blues lick (and both he and Key are from Kentucky, so why not?), while "Insanity Stomp" has a Sonic Youth-ish bent distortion to it, one guitar keeping time, the other arcing and fuzzing with abandon. Yet even the most electrified songs here have a calm center, a mode of circular repetition and drone that clears space within the noise. Moreover, the quiet ones, "Roundabout Ways," for instance, marshal the most extreme sort of clarity. Here, a three-note riff stops just short of being a melody, through repetition gaining a kind of mystical surety. Each note is lovingly shaped and lingered on, framed by little explosions of drums and cymbals.



Also, this is kind of cool. I'm on the masthead at Blurt now as a contributing editor. Just happened yesterday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Listen to Wye Oak’s Civilian

I’ve been quite enjoying Wye Oak’s fourth and latest full-length Civilian, out next week on Merge Records. Wye Oak, if you’re just coming in, is a husband and wife duo out of Baltimore (the band name comes from Maryland’s state tree), who make dreamily introspective indie rock out of the standard textures of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Jenn Wasner, the singer, has a soft, mesmerizing voice that spreads a calm over even the most strident guitar-centric riffs. Her partner, Andy Stack, plays drums primarily, but also other instruments. It’s a fairly dense, enveloping sound. You’d never know there were just two of them.

Here’s the title track from Civilian, which is a good bit more jangly and folk-based than most of the album, but a very pretty song.


Also, you can stream the whole album now at NPR. Why not check it out?