Latest Blog Posts

by John Bergstrom

14 Dec 2009

cover art

Depeche Mode

Sounds of the Universe


Review [19.Apr.2009]

What of interest can a 30-year-old band bring to the table on its 12th studio album? To a lot of Depeche Mode fans, Sounds of the Univere was a disappointment because it didn’t represent a logical progression from 2005’s Playing the Angel. For a globally popular band, though, Depeche Mode have rarely made the expected, path-of-least-resistance move. Instead of dismissing the meticulous, streamlined, analog synth production, though, why not embrace how eloquently it meshes the band’s earliest sonic tendencies with the emotional maturity and songwriting development of later years? “Wrong”, for example, was a brilliantly terse, tongue-in-cheek perversion of the band’s, and its fans’, doomy image. Just as impressive was the emergence of singer Dave Gahan as a songwriter nearly on par with old hand Martin Gore. Instead of loathing Songs of the Universe for not being another Playing the Angel or Violator, why not love it for what it brought to the table? And that was plenty.

by Sean McCarthy

13 Dec 2009

cover art

A.C. Newman

Get Guilty


Review [22.Jan.2009]

A.C. Newman’s last solo album was aptly titled The Slow Wonder because it took a few listens to sink in. No such problem exists on Get Guilty, Newman’s insanely catchy follow-up. In addition to being instantly appealing, it’s also a top contender for the title of “Best Late Night Album” of the year. The album is the aural equivalent of an empty house as drummer Jon Wurster creates an open, uncluttered sound, especially on “The Palace at 4 a.m.” For pop lovers, there are too many moments of beauty to list on Get Guilty, but put the gorgeous string introduction to “Young Atlantis” right at the top. A New Pornographers album can’t come soon enough, but this near-classic will definitely hold listeners at bay for at least another year.

by Tyler Gould

11 Dec 2009

Holly Miranda
The Magician’s Private Library
Releasing: 23 February

This debut album from Holly Miranda was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. “Forest Green Oh Forest Green” is worth a listen. Its tinkling melody is almost too precious, but the ramshackle instrumentation adequately musses up any lingering sense of cutesiness. Good show.

01 Forest Green Oh Forest Green
02 Joints
03 Waves
04 No One Just Is
05 Slow Burn Treason
06 Sweet Dreams
07 Everytime I Go to Sleep
08 High Tide
09 Canvas
10 Sleep on Fire

Forest Green Oh Forest Green [MP3]

by Louis Battaglia

11 Dec 2009

Bringing together the soulful folk of Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project and the systematic, Steve Reich-like patters of fellow Wisconsin natives Colonies Collection of Bees, Volcano Choir’s “Island, IS” represents an inevitable (but perfect) distillation of electro-folk. Vernon’s layered vocals float atop dense, alternating melodic lines that are warped by samplers. Driven by tapping, but tense percussion, the song’s structure propels Vernon’s wail to a crescendo unlike what we’ve heard from Bon Iver. The song’s finale is perhaps one of the finest minute-and-a-halves of music to be heard this year. 

by Chris Catania

11 Dec 2009

With the sizzling and joyous track “Surprise Hotel”, the debut album of Los Angeles afro-pop collective Fool’s Gold erupts with an exotic mix of African rhythms, percolating rock melodies, and purring synths. You can’t just listen. You must dance. The fantastic fusion of music and lyrics (sung mostly in Hebrew) sends you on an ancient journey that’s majestic, yet intimate—and more unique than most contemporary afro-pop attempts. Never letting up, the song celebrates the communal and spiritual ferocity of Fela Kuti.

//Mixed media

Robert DeLong Upgraded for 'In the Cards' (Rough Trade Photos + Tour Dates)

// Notes from the Road

"Robert DeLong ups his musical game with his new album In the Cards and his live show gets a boost too.

READ the article