Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cold, nervous and Speck Mountain

Hey, welcome to the ice box...-4 this morning, and I've got to run outside today. Fortunately, very sunny today.

We are headed to NYC next week for unified auditions, a kind of combined cattle call for people who are auditioning for BFA acting and musical theater programs. Sean is trying out for Carnegie-Mellon, Syracuse, DePaul and Chicago College of Performing Arts, maybe a walk-in or two if he can manage it. They're all kind of lottery ticket schools that accept between 1-5% of applicants, so we're trying to be positive but also okay with rejection. Sean has been working very hard on his audition material, and I think it's really good, but what do I know? We were talking last night about all the mega-movie stars who probably couldn't get into Carnegie Mellon...anyway, that's what we're all caught up in, and I'll be glad when it's over.

Here's a review that ran yesterday of the new Speck Mountain.

(Carrot Top)

This third album from the Chicago dream poppers adds a certain amount of friction to the drift-and-drone aesthetic. As always, the main textures come from Marie-Claire Balabanian's codeine-coated, velvet-edged vocals, and from Karl Briedback's looming, echo-swathed guitar. It's the kind of sound that seems to settle in a haze, rather than moving forward, but here in Badwater, there's a new element. You can hear it the way Chris Dye's martial drumming punching through silky vocal billows in the title track, or the way that Briedback throws time-counting riffs into blues-y "Young Eyes." My friend Bill Meyer at Dusted once observed that Speck Mountain was a lot like Yo La Tengo, but without the rhythm. Well, this time, they've got the rhythm. Badwater is less about atmosphere, more about structure, and its songs seem more memorable but also less infinite than before.


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