Latest Blog Posts

by Evan Sawdey

10 Nov 2015

“Music is our strongest antidote to feelings of emptiness and disquiet.” So says Phil Jamieson, one of the founding members of Caspian, and truth be told, it’s hard to disagree with the man.

After all, although Caspian only formed back in 2003, the Massachusetts-bred post-rock collective have already carved out a unique niche for themselves as masters of multi-layered catharsis, their songs ranging from aggressive hard rockers to thickly melodic acoustic laments to experimental electronic pieces, and somehow, just somehow, they always manage to keep it together. In fact, in his 2010 review of the re-release of Caspian’s first two notable forays into the world, PopMatters’ own Zach Corsa summed the band up thusly: “To put it in so many words, if you had to point to one lasting document, one Exhibit A to testify for the validity and emotional power of the entire instrumental post-rock genre, then you’d be hard-pressed to pick a more winning example than Caspian’s brilliant The Four Trees.”

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

6 Nov 2015

Klinger: First of all, yes. We’re back. We decided to take the summer off, then yada yada yada… and now we’re back. Tanned, fit and rested.

When we started this Counterbalance project back in the fall of 1987, we were young and naive, and possibly a bit foolish as we were still learning how to do this whole “writing about music” thing. So much so, in fact, that we managed to write several hundred words about The Velvet Underground and Nico without ever mentioning John Cale by name. It really was an oversight on our part, and one I’ve been kicking myself over for nearly 30 years. But since then, so much has happened. The Berlin Wall has come down, the Internet has presented an avenue for our correspondences, John Cale’s occasional collaborator and foil Lou Reed has passed on—and I have become completely obsessed with Paris 1919.

by Sloane Spencer

27 Oct 2015

Aaron Lee Tasjan writes folk songs for an indie rock crowd, weaving storylines with humor and social commentary. His debut full-length album, In the Blazes, includes friends from his former band, Everest, at the helm, and the vibe of Elliott Smith’s studio, New Monkey. Tasjan is touring heavily in support of the album, opening for Ray Wylie Hubbard, and playing solo and band gigs across the country.

by Evan Sawdey

22 Oct 2015

Photo: Dustin Senovic

Hether Fortune (neé Hether Fedewa) has probably been in your favorite Bay Area rock act at some point or another, whether it be your affinity for Blasted Canyons, Bare Wires, or Hunx & Hix Punx, Fortune has punched her time card with each one of them, to say nothing about her time with Wax Idols. In his 2013 review of Wax Idols’ sophomore set Discipline & Desire, he admired Fortune’s unique attitude and bravery for evolving from snotty garage rock kid to a post-punk craftsman, noting that debut album “No Future was Hether Fortune sounding angry. Discipline & Desire, her follow-up on Slumberland Records, is the sound of Fortune digger deeper into the root causes of this anger. Remarkably, she’s turned a corner on the morbidly engaging Discipline & Desire and exposed that aforementioned trouble that was originally lurking around the corner. Discipline & Desire may be the title of the record, but what’s heard throughout the record is an unabashed sense of desperation.”

by Ian King

20 Oct 2015

Emil Amos is currently a part of no less than four different musical endeavors, but the one he is most recently focused on, and the one he has pursued the longest, is his own: Holy Sons.

The Portland, OR songwriter and multi-instrumentalist sits behind the drum kit for both the instrumental rock band Grails and the experimental trio OM, and produces psychedelic sample-based hip hop with fellow Grails member Alex Hall under the name Lilacs & Champagne, yet has still released a dozen Holy Sons records over roughly 15 years. This past March, Lilacs & Champagne released the excellent Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh, and now Amos has followed that up with Fall of Man, possibly Holy Sons’ most accessible collection of songs to date.

//Mixed media

Beyoncé and When Music Writing Becomes Activism

// Sound Affects

"The overall response to Beyoncé's "Formation" has been startlingly positive, but mostly for reasons attached to political agendas. It's time to investigate this trend.

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