Dan Bejar, the lead man behind the Destroyer moniker, frequently seems an enigmatic figure within the indie rock community. Despite his noteworthy contributions to the New Pornographers and Swan Lake, Bejar has always maintained an aura of detachment from his collaborative projects. Stylistically and temperamentally, he has never quite fit in with the rest of his sprightly New Pornographers bandmates, an impression reinforced by his oddly captivating stage presence with the band when I saw them last July. Disheveled and aloof, yet constantly in control, Bejar commanded the audience’s attention with incredible ease. On his latest Destroyer release, Kaputt, Bejar continues to surprise with stealthily entrancing songs that intentionally linger long after the music has stopped.
While perusing the music blogosphere, I find it difficult to conceptualize just how much music exists. Countless artists churn out thousands of songs a day, most of which struggle to find a pair of receptive ears. A shame, no doubt, as musicians like the sincere Carl Hauck deserve better venues than dusky college bars in central Illinois. But earnestness alone won’t win fans, which may make Hauck’s music more fitting for a smaller audience simply seeking a sense of approachable intimacy. Read More »
On paper, collaborations between established musicians inherently pose an element of intrigue and anticipation. The pervading expectation is that two artists, respectively, will be making something entirely new, perhaps even something greater than just “Musician A” + “Musician B.” But does either party actually benefit from the other’s addition? How will the stylistic leanings of one artist mingle coherently with the defining features of the other? Does Bad Books actually make for good music?
Even before opening up the CD case for I’m Having Fun Now, I had strong reservations about playing over half an hour of potentially PDA-saturated tunes. It doesn’t help that the promotional photos leading up to the album release present lovebirds turned band mates Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice betwixt the sheets, or that the backside of the CD cover features J&J in a candid moment of parking lot intimacy. Mercifully, Jenny and Johnny avoid back-and-forth, Sonny and Cher proclamations of starry-eyed love on their debut album, and instead offer a straightforward and pleasant record indicative of two people perfectly happy to be sharing their music.
Hailing from Blacksburg, VA, Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing does not shy away from the dream association; instead, he welcomes it from the very first track, “Live in Dreams.” With Gemini, Tatum constructs a musical world saturated with shimmering synths and reverberating guitar, creating the blissful mood that never falters for the duration of the album. His voice floats and drifts, sometimes for several seconds, seeming both all-encompassing and completely out of reach at any given moment.
Maps & Atlases
4 out of 5 smilies
“I don’t think there is a sound that I hate more, than the sound of your voice.” Yikes. No, these are not the words of a recently burned high school boy, scribbling furiously on a scrap of crumpled college-ruled paper to his ex-gf of all of three weeks. Rather, this is the very first line melodically uttered by Maps & Atlases’ lead singer Dave Davison on the band’s debut LP, Perch Patchwork. But much like the songs that ensue, these lyrics prove to be more playful than contemptuous, setting the tone for the Chicago group’s entirely refreshing first full-length effort.
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by Scott Lensing
4.0 out of 10 disappointed fans
There it was, on display at the Whole Foods register, double-teamed by Jack Johnson and Michael Bublé: Infinite Arms, the latest release from Band of Horses. “Bwah?” No one around me would have known it, but I was immediately ashamed. How did my beloved band find themselves in the snoozer company of adult-contemporary all-stars who rhapsodize about banana pancakes (delicious, no doubt) and impersonate Frank Sinatra? Read More »