record-reviews

Review: Daisyhead- The Smallest Light

Daisyhead proves on their full length debut “The Smallest Light” that they have a refined sound to share with the world. The four-piece Nashville band are breaking out of one of the most vibrant music scenes in the country and certainly show their rising merit with this offering. Combining tight driving rock tunes like the album opening Defenselessness with a group of down tempo hymns like Lead and Inanity, theypaint a layered picture that is full of emotion and raw feeling.

The glossy sounding production on the album is dominated by tones of echoing heaviness. The rhythm section drops in and out of the forefront with a steady pulse. Some of the tunes seemingly bleedtogether with a hypnotic quality that borders on droning. Key tracks such as Naked and East Bend standout by taking on weighty subject material with deep introspection. At best they achieve a bursting soundwith focused poignancy that recalls early REM. Some stretches of the album get a little lost in the shuffleand come off as just another generic shoegaze sound.  This collection of songs may lack some versatilitybut tries to make up for it with thematic cohesiveness both sonically and lyrically.

“The Smallest Light” was officially released March 3rd on No Sleep Records.

By: Brent Dylan

Ed Ward on Johnny Cash's first self-reinvention:

In 1955, John R. Cash was a sometime auto mechanic, sometime appliance salesman who liked to play the guitar and sing, mostly gospel songs. The “R” in his name didn’t stand for anything — and, in fact, he’d been named J.R. at birth and had to come up with “John” when he joined the Air Force. He’d spend the rest of his life reinventing himself.

Image of Cash courtesy of Columbia

BEST OF THE BEST OF 2012: NPR’S TOP 50

It’s that time of year again: anus itch season. Talkadoodles and decidamathons. Music music guess what’s what. A time when publications that talk about music release their you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours list of artists whose record labels bought ad space or sent free download codes. Or, less cynically: music from the year, presented in a more digestible form than most of the time, cranked out and hastily invoiced by beleaguered critics everywhere, hopefully in time to get the poor bastards on the bottom rungs of the biz a little extra holiday cash, and editors and mid-tier scramblers can wait out the clock until the new year by dicking around on Twitter and calling it business. Yes, that’s the least cynical version I can think of for what happens every December with the lists. It’s a mad dash to be the first to limp to the finish.

The good news for regular citizens is you can finally just read one thing and get some straight answers out of people. Or at least less crooked answers. Most of the time music reviews are complete bullshit, like that timesomebody at Vice didn’t like the new Metz album because apparently in that particular 20 minute chunk of their lives they had a migraine and the drums kicked too much ass for them to handle without pukeyfacing. Music reviews are bullshit because the person writing them is getting paid somewhere between zero and some piddling useless amount of dollars, and therefore there’s no stakes, and therefore say whatever you think is best to keep the piddling useless dollars coming in, and do it quick with the first thought that pops into your head because your opinion will never matter as much as word of mouth plus time anyway, and it’s not like the free download is a huge favor because the internet exists. BUT: end of the year lists pare down all that regular bullshit and focus on the bullshit that these people apparently actually believe.

I am a fan of year-end lists because they serve as a roadmap to what kind of people believe what outlandish bullshit things. I like to take these lists, most of which consist of stuff I never heard of because I’ve managed to limit my informational intake to hyper-specific, reliable filters which generally do not waste my time telling me about stuff I have a low chance of actually liking, and attack them with my own kneejerk bullshit. Why? Because that’s even lazier and more cynical than writing a list of my own, and it results in more piddling useless dollars for me. You’re welcome.

Take for example the alphabetically arranged non-hierarchical list supplied by the poor deluded fucks at NPR. Alright gang, let’s riff. Let’s have an NPRty.

Ab-Soul, Control System

I’m sure NPR likes this because this guy is saying some moderately thoughtful stuff and the beats are less predictable than usual, but who actually wants to listen to a song called “Double Standards”? Why stop there? Why not a club banger called “Airport Security”?

Alabama Shakes, Boys And Girls

Making music your parents would like isn’t just for the Fleet Foxes anymore.

Alisa Weilerstein, Cello Concertos (Elgar & Carter)

Look out Yo-Yo Ma, there’s a new cellist in zzzzzzz

Alt-J, An Awesome Wave

Here’s the first of probably many entries on this list which seems like its primary reason for existing is to be transition music on NPR. Like there’s some report on a Peruvian ballet troupe struggling to make art with their limited resources, and then this pops on for fifteen seconds to help convince you that what you just heard was in fact very interesting and not a desperate attempt at interestingness which combines several things you don’t care about. It is relatively high energy, but stark and dramatic at the same time, and it’s constantly throwing “interesting” sounds at you, like bassoons and toy pianos, and layering everything a million times for no reason. And now here’s Terry Gross with “Fresh Air.”

Andy Stott, Luxury Problems

This is the kind of electronic music you’d hear in a modern art museum and it’s actually more boring than silence.

Astro, Astro

A nice lil’ multi-culti entry for NPR, this one apparently a Chilean version of MGMT. There is actually some very cool shit going on in Chile right now. This is the Wavves to that cool shit’s Thee Oh Sees.

Berlin Philharmonic, St. Matthew Passion

You know who I love? Classical radio DJs. They’re the best. Just in general, when people are only into classical music: the best. I mean, terrible, yeah, but taking the stance that nothing good has happened for over a hundred years is incredible. I can just picture them wincing at the overbearing city noise and fully bear hugging not just their ears but the entire sides of their heads in agony as a wailing ambulance drives by them on the street. Classical-only people are so prim and snooty and delicate they’re like some vestigial form of cultural renegade. I imagine if you pushed one over they would just lie there totally fucked like an upside-down turtle. You’ve got to love it when human society subverts nature and allows people like that to exist.

Meek Mill, Dreamchasers 2

I feel like hip hop at this point is as horrible and predictable and soul-crushing and ceaseless and artless and stagnant as the poverty and violence on the streets it comes from. This guy tells the narrative of how he grew up in a terrible place, sold drugs, and then became successful while so many others didn’t, and his embrace of every trapping of his prosperous lifestyle is fueled by guilt and regret. You may be familiar. Also: you can dance and fuck to it and play it real loud in a car with a lot of bass. Not that NPR listeners are doing those things. Instead they’re nodding their heads to the narrative and saying “oh, isn’t it awful” and “good for him.”

Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man In The Universe

Damon Albarn picked Womack up off the scrap heap and produced this album. It’s kind of like an extremely crappy version of the Rolling Stones reviving Muddy Waters’ career, or a more commercial and electric version of Jon Spencer and R.L. Burnside. I wonder if Bobby knows or cares what the hell is going on here.

Bomba Estereo, Elegancia Tropical

You can guess what this sounds like: an impulse buy CD at a fair trade coffeehouse.

Brooklyn Rider, Seven Steps

If you type “Brooklyn Rider, Seven Steps” into Google, the first results are Amazon, Brooklyn Rider’s website, Brooklyn Rider’s website, Brooklyn Rider’s website, and NPR First Listen. They’re a string quartet, FYI. An extremely well organized one. With a name that sounds like they should be a 2000’s synthpop version of Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Cafe Tacvba, El Objeto Antes Llmado Disco

If a band from Mexico sounds like 70’s Italian prog (think Gentle Giant plus opera) meets Animal Collective (i.e. post-digital American prog), are you allowed to not like it? Not if you’re NPR.

Carla Morrison, Dejenme Llorar

The score so far. Hip hop: 2, soul revival: 2, classical: 3, Spanish language pop: 4, bland Indie pop: 1, minimalist techno: 1, boring: yesalways.

Cat Power, Sun

Cat Power is the musical equivalent of Say Yes To The Dress (the least intolerable reality show my girlfriend watches).

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Fugazi, Washington, DC USA, 3/03/88 (FLS #0015)

Photo © by Bert Queiroz

The third show at the Wilson Center. Note that Fugazi played at this venue exactly 6 (first show) and 3 months earlier. The band plays a short set of nine songs as part of a benefit for the Christic Institute, and does not headline as both False Prophets and Kingface followed suit on this particular occasion.

However, what this recording lacks in length and sound quality (I’d rate this show as “good” personally), the band definitely makes up in terms of performance. Basically, this is a no-nonsense, straight-up gig that hardly features any stage banter (aside from a tongue-in-cheek sneer at Fidelity Jones for “cashing in on punk rock”), yet includes an overall great and vigorous performance by all.

As was the case at the St. Stephen’s Church Cafeteria a couple of months prior (see FLS0002, September 26, 1987), the Intro to this gig features the outlines of a song that doesn’t seem to have left the drawing board; whereas Ian also added some lyrics to the song at St. Stephen’s Church, you now just get a short instrumental as people gather inside to attend the rest of the concert.

All in all, the somewhat jumbled ending to Bad Mouth and sloppy guitar breakdown at the end of Suggestion are the only (minor) blots on an otherwise very convincing and ardent performance in my book. If pressed to pick a favorite, I’d probably go with And the Same or especially Burning, as Joe prolongs the bass intro to accentuate the mood and Guy literally growls and snarls his way through the lyrics.

The set list:

1. Intro 2. In Defense of Humans 3. Furniture 4. Merchandise 5. Interlude 1 6. Burning 7. Interlude 2 8. And The Same 9. Interlude 3 10. Song #1 11. Bad Mouth 12. Suggestion 13. Break-In

'As a cohesive piece – and I carry no qualms in confirming it appearing thus even from an inaugural run-through – it quite incontrovertibly ranks right up there with Untogether among the most challenging records of the decade to date.’

Dots & Dashes review Calgary trio BRAIDS flourish emphatically on their sophomore full-length effort, Flourish // Perish.

Dismantling Summer
  • Dismantling Summer
  • The Wonder Years
  • The Greatest Generation
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Dismantling Summer - The Wonder Years

8.3 out of 10

After building hype with their first single “Passing Through A Screen Door”, The Wonder Years are back it again with more suburban woes. “Dismantling Summer” is an ode to a sick comrade who suffers during the year’s most celebrated season while his friends frolic about. Through it all, Dan Campbell questions his own toughness and sincerity repeatedly “If I’m in an airport/And you’re in a hospital bed/Well, then, what kind of man does that make me?.” More calculated muting, high-toned solos and thunderous cymbal crashes gives Campbell traction as he drives his pride into the ground. The track is another display of overall maturity in musicianship as TWY improves on captivating bridges between the verses and the chorus and maintains highly intense anecdotes through Campbell’s self-bashing. It’s sounding to be some of the best work from the suburban romantics as they get set to release The Greatest Generation on May 14. 

Ken Tucker reviews Bob Dylan's newest release, “Another Self-Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10" from Columbia Records.

 [S]elf-Portrait just did not fit in with its era, with its moment in pop culture and in Dylan history. Which, in retrospect, seems to have been Dylan’s intent. Now, a new collection includes alternate takes, demos, and songs that weren’t included in the original double-album. What emerges is a Self-Portrait with more vivid detail and brighter, sharper colors.

Hillary Clinton's email server was in her house, registered under a fake name

The fact that she set up her own private email server explodes any arguments that perhaps Hillary Clinton is ignorant of email technology. The fact that she registered her secret email server under a fake name explodes any arguments that she intended to adhere to Federal disclosure laws. 

from Associated Press:

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives.

[…]

It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches. Hoteham was listed as the customer at Clinton’s $1.7 million home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua in records registering the Internet address for her email server since August 2010.

The Hoteham personality also is associated with a separate email server, presidentclinton.com, and a non-functioning website, wjcoffice.com, all linked to the same residential Internet account as Mrs. Clinton’s email server. The former president’s full name is William Jefferson Clinton.

read the rest

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we are witnessing the implosion of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign before it even gets started.