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Friday, Jun 21, 2013
The Fiery Furnaces vocalist saves the best for second-to-last on her latest solo LP.

The best love songs belie their sentimental affection with thinly veiled layers of desperation or obsession. Take Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man”, where the songwriter betrays his creepy devotion with promises like “I’ll examine every inch of you,” or Prince’s “If I Was Ur Girlfriend”, in which the Purple One channels his lovesick obsession into envy of the intimacy his girlfriend shares with her female friends.


The latest entry in this tradition is “Other Boys”, the fantastic climax of Eleanor Friedberger’s aptly titled Personal Record. (The Fiery Furnaces vocalist these days has a knack for moving penultimate tracks—2011’s Last Summer had “Owl’s Head Park”, the singer’s richly woven tribute to the spacious Brooklyn park.) “Other Boys” may well be the world’s (or at least this decade’s) most quietly heartbreaking ode to polyamory, as Friedberger tackles a laundry list of “other girls” her partner is seeing—“the blond who’s in a band with her twin,” “the spider you kissed in her stairwell”—over a sly waltz, her voice growing increasingly desperate during the song’s chorus refrain: “There are other boys, too / But don’t let it worry you.”


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Friday, May 24, 2013
New tunes from Vampire Weekend, the National, Telekinisis and more, plus notes.

With Memorial Day the official start of summer, it’s time for another playlist to indulge in over the long weekend (along with the long awaited, new episodes of Arrested Development). Highly anticipated albums by Vampire Weekend and The National were released this month, along with new music by Deerhunter and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Newcomers such as CHVRCHES and Hands fill out the list with new tunes from Yo La Tengo, Foals and Telekinisis and more. Time to fire up the grill and crank the tunes.


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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Another anthem for this summer's soundtrack.

Here come the summer anthems—Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Empire of the Sun’s “Alive” are already getting plenty of airplay, and now there’s “Dumb Disco Ideas” by DFA artist Holy Ghost! Check out the recent Red Bull Academy film, “12 Years of DFA Too Old to Be New, Too New to Be Classic”, about the label (home of LCD Soundsystem, YACHT and Holy Ghost!)  Their credo is basically that all music is dance music, if it’s any good.


Tagged as: dfa, holy ghost
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Ben Watt's rain-soaked number of pop-folk melodrama, "North Marine Drive", didn't exactly make him a household name when he released it a long time back. But it leaves behind the lingering air of cold nostalgia decades later.

Ben Watt, better known as one-half of alterna-pop British duo Everything But the Girl and now a successful DJ and remixer in his own right, humbly began his career with his debut indie effort, North Marine Drive back in 1983. While the album reached number one on the UK indie charts, the success of Drive was ultimately overshadowed when Watt teamed up with Tracey Thorn to create the band that became synonymous with a burgeoning sophisti-pop trend, taken to mountainous heights by other acts like the Style Council. Everything But the Girl displayed a keen sense of irony and literary wit that gave their brand of new wave bossa nova a sharper, biting edge. Later on, they would transform their twee sound into a grander, nearly cinematic form of electronic pop that not only brought them wider attention but much more lucrative rewards as well. Watt’s indie solo album was all but forgotten at this point, at times appearing in-print and then later disappearing from the market in accordance to the ebb and flow of EBTG’s success.


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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013
When I talk about metal music I don't typically make reference to terms like "optimism", "hope" or "sunny afternoons". But just as other genres have their emotional orientations, metal too can offer a spectrum of perspectives -- even if not as often.

I went on record saying that Torche’s Harmonicraft is my favourite metal album since Tool’s Ænima. Though the IT department has since had to replace the ruined keyboards of my co-workers who spat out their coffee at such a bold assertion, I maintain that position. But let me explain.


They’re not musically similar in any way. I’m not comparing the two as much as I am merely observing that they’ve both lingered on my personal short list since their release more than any other records.


Tagged as: metal, sludge, torche
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