If I am relatively unimpressed by The Hold Steady’s latest efforts, then I suppose it is my own fault for expecting the near-impossible: significant improvement for every consecutive album, sky’s the limit, onward and upward and all that. Mind you, I had started off on the ground floor with the wryly positive jams and interlaced narco-religious metaphors of go-together concept albums Almost Killed ... Continue Reading
On an average day, the digital megalopolis of Facebook amounts to little more than a time-consuming distraction—a bottomless pit into which millions of people consign countless hours of their waking day.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is not an inherently negative service. It has near-limitless potential as an information-sharing tool, and operates as a wondrous mix of instant messenger, bulletin ... Continue Reading
With a little help from his Friends, Height has crafted a real stunner.
Bed of Seeds is the culmination of a process that began when Height with Friends isolated themselves in the woods of Western Maryland, focusing on new beginnings. This is a necessary process for any artist to go through from time to time, especially those dealing with the modern maze of making beats and rocking rhymes.
W ... Continue Reading
Despite having heard them described as such, Vancouver-based pop-rock ensemble The New Pornographers have never truly struck me as a “supergroup”. Sure, they’re an undoubtedly polished pop-rock act with whole albums’ worth of sing-along choruses and damnably catchy power-pop hooks to their credit—but a supergroup? Really? Were late-80’s and mid-90’s Canuckle-pop and -punk up-and-comers like Zumpan ... Continue Reading
Metalheads are a strange breed, and an admittedly mixed one at that. You have your operatic dramatists and your fantastical lyricists, your screaming leather-fetishists and your acid-washed power-balladeers, your self-taught speed-freaks and your classically-trained technicians, your nihilistic misanthropes and your born-again proselytizers. Horn-throwing headbangers with a shared passion for eard ... Continue Reading
“Easy Listening. The most apropos of the unofficial umbrella terms for the multiple permutations of mid-century or mid-century-imitative soft pop in Snob vogue since the nineties: lounge-core, space-age-bachelor-pad music, Jimmy Webb’s songs for the Fifth Dimension, just about anything by Burt Bacharach, etc. A problematic term in that it’s employed contemptuously in some quarters and with rectori ... Continue Reading
It may not happen all too often, but, every now and again, I’m fortunate enough to stumble across something that makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, the Universe is conspiring to do me a favour. Typically, this vague “it” is something that I may never have found out about (let alone paid attention to) under normal circumstances, but, when I finally do sit up and take notice, what initially strik ... Continue Reading
We all have them: friends whose eyes and ears we trust and whose interests are frequently far removed from our own. They run the gamut from Canuckle-pop fiends to prog-metal heads, indie rock shufflers to hip-hop heroes, spoken word enthusiasts to sonic experimentalists, garage punks to grassroots folkies, devout C-86’ers to Afrobeat auteurs, etc.—aural specialists of every creed and calling. Idea ... Continue Reading
In the world of music, there are performers and there are artists.
While it may read like a repurposed Volkswagen tagline, this statement—rather, the sentiment it conveys—highlights a sometimes not-so-clear demarcation between what one might call “transient” and “lifer” musicians, the casual hobbyists and the consummate professionals, the hometown heroes and the breakout success stories, those ... Continue Reading
All you lot currently prying yourselves from the icy grip of the Snowpocalypse may hate me for writing this, but I actually like the wintertime. I like the solstice/holiday season that kicks everything off, and I like the cold nights that are perfectly suited to heavy blankets, long books, and hot cups of tea. I like wool coats and sweaters, scarves, gloves, and knit caps. I like snow (yeah, you r ... Continue Reading