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by Jeff Strowe

12 Oct 2011


It’s with great fanfare that Ryan Adams’ highly anticipated new album, Ashes and Fire, is released this week. The past two years have found Adams basking in the glow of marriage to Mandy Moore (who makes some guest appearances on this album), conquering some damaging dependencies, and struggling to combat Meniere’s disease. A few years before that, a stage fall and subsequent wrist injury forced him to completely relearn the guitar. So, needless to say, life is never dull for Adams, and he is back with a sparsely elegant album full of the acoustic balladry that has taken him about as far into rock stardom one can get these days.

This ‘50s inspired black and white video that accompanies first single, “Lucky Now”, finds Adams alternating between periods of brooding introspection while performing the song and then later navigating the vintage boulevards of a throwback Los Angeles in a fine looking classic car while being suspiciously eye-balled by a group of tatted-up, letter jacket clad cuties. The “Fire” of the album’s title is well-represented as both the burner on the stove and the fire in the fireplace is left alone to engulf Adams’ house in flames as he dismissively leaves through the front door. What’s less unclear is whether the gal pack from the street, wracked by vengeful thoughts, is partially responsible for the arson. Regardless, the imagery suits the regretful longing of the song’s tone well, and Adams’ voice is in fine form throughout.

by Brad Washington

12 Oct 2011


In 2005, Death Cab for Cutie released their mainstream breakthrough Plans, which went platinum in the US. “Narrow Stairs” (2008) followed and went to number one, while this year they released Codes and Keys. With the urge to keep delivering music to their fans, DCFC is taking the Kanye West approach in dropping a new song every week for their new remix EP Keys and Codes Remix EP until it’s release date of 22 November. The first remix, which debuted Tuesday, was “Doors Unlocked and Open” by Cut Copy. The track has an electric house party pop feel. Definitely a tune worth it’s seven minutes.

Death Cab for Cutie - Doors Unlocked And Open [Cut Copy Remix] by deathcabforcutie

by Jane Jansen Seymour

11 Oct 2011


Portland-based band Portugal. The Man. recently released a video for their song “So American” off the new album, In the Mountain, In the Cloud. Directed with a slight hand by Nik Zogratos, the footage follows the band through an idyllic day off. It begins with frolicking at the beach, showcasing juggling skills with empty Coors bottles and by nightfall a backyard BBQ with friends turns into a low-key jam session while passing the Maker’s Mark. These relaxing scenes belie singer/songwriter John Gourley’s pleading lyrics, “There’s a madness in us all.” And for now, the band is busy on tour (check them out at dates here).

by Ian Mathers

11 Oct 2011


At first it’s kind of hard to make out what’s going on in this Rollo Jackson-directed clip for Junior Boys’ “Banana Ripple”—it’s all well-lit ice and feverish design work—but in making a video for the full nine-minute-long original instead of some sort of single edit of the song, Jackson gets to explore his visual ideas as thoroughly as “Banana Ripple” does its sonic ones.

by Jedd Beaudoin

11 Oct 2011


While gearing up for the follow-up to 2010’s And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, Icelandic music master Ólafur Arnalds opted to offer fans a week-long writing and recording series, allowing fans to follow the process as he releases the songs the same day they were written and recorded. Arnalds has done this before. His 2009 sessions included collaborations with fans via Twitter as they submitted artwork to accompany his music. He also collected and released the tracks as Found Songs and he will do the same for this current round of compositions.

This lot, called Living Room Songs, is already available for pre-order, for those who fancy having the songs in one, high-quality package. The sessions, which spanned from October 3-9, are, of course, now over but you can still watch performances from Arnalds’ apartment and even download the songs (albeit in a format unlikely to please audiophiles) for free.

The results are, musically speaking, expectedly strong. Then again, the beauty of all this is that you can decide for yourself. Just watch and/or listen.

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