Latest Blog Posts

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

29 Jan 2016


Klinger: So for those of you who are paying attention, we’re trying something different around here. When we were covering the Great List in numerical order, we just took turns. Then, once we started talking about critical acclaim using our own choices, we each led off talking about our picks. Now, in an effort to shake things up a little bit, we’re forcing the other one to start talking about our selections first. Flying in blind, without a net. For those of you who aren’t paying attention, you can skip this preceding paragraph.

Except I’m afraid our inaugural effort will be a little anticlimactic, Mendelsohn, because the album you’ve chosen is one that I’m not only intimately familiar with, it’s an album I actually choose to listen to in my spare time. Nilsson Schmilsson is for some reason the only Harry Nilsson album on the Great List, clocking in at a criminally underrated No. 938, which tells me that something has gone horribly wrong around here. It may have been his commercial breakthrough, and it did birth two superhits with “Without You” and “Coconut”, but it’s hardly the lone tentpost in Nilsson’s career. The album represents a break from his earlier, more baroque albums, placing him smack dab in the juicy mainstream center of the 1972 pop scene. And I guess anything that puts a talent like his in the public consciousness is a net gain for society. But I’d hate to think that Nilsson will be best remembered for singing a couple hit songs and being next to John Lennon when he punched a waitress. He was a gifted songwriter and a hell of a singer who deserves a lot more acclaim in his own right. Is that what led you to pick Nilsson Schmilsson, Mendelsohn?

by Sachyn Mital

27 Jan 2016


Last month, PopMatters hosted the premiere of The Stone Foxes’ live performance video for “This Town” from their September release Twelve Spells. The week before the premiere of their video, The Stone Foxes were in New York City for a sweaty, headlining show at the Mercury Lounge. They also visited a studio to record some tracks for the world wide web. We had a beer and hung out with the guys in between recording sessions and got to know them a little better. Drummer and singer Shannon Koehler co-founder the band with his guitarist/brother Spence and their friends, Brian “The Buffalo” Bakalian on bass, Vince Dewald on guitars and Ben Andrews on guitar and violin, round out the group.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

22 Jan 2016


Mendelsohn: I have gone on record that I don’t particularly like ‘achingly beautiful’ records. In the long decades since we began Counterbalance there are two that probably qualify for the ‘achingly beautiful’ category: Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I’m sure I am missing a couple. There is probably a Nick Drake record I should include and an AC/DC album or two—although they contribute to a different kind of ache. I would like to add an another record to ‘achingly beautiful’ list (not the head-aching list). Please turn your attention to the xx’s self-titled debut.

by Evan Sawdey

21 Jan 2016


Photo: Tina Brindel

Maritime’s journey has been one of upsetting people’s expectations.

When the group was formed, the excitement of merging the members of the now-defunct Promise Ring (Davey bon Bohlen and Dan Didier) together with the then-finished Dismemberment Plan (bassist Alex Axelson) was enough to send the writer of your nearest indie-rock Blogspot into a spasm of delight. Yet the group’s first-ever set, Glass Floor, arrived in 2004 with a hushed murmur, as this new band was intent on exploring exploring mellower, acoustic textures that caught fans of both the Ring and the Plan off guard. Despite its somewhat muted reception, Glass Floor contained some rather lovely, beautiful moments, along with “Someone Has to Die”, a song that was soon picked up by The Onion’s A.V. Club as the soundtrack to their long-running Undercover series, which, in an intresting twist, was updated in later seasons to “It’s Casual”, off of 2011’s Human Hearts.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

15 Jan 2016


Klinger: Remain in Light. When you talk about Talking Heads, you’re going to have to talk about how great Remain in Light is. People love that album, and rightly so. Few albums have brought such a diverse array of musical styles into one funky intellectual gumbo of sound. After that, you’ve got to talk about those great early records—77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music. Bold statements that bring the daring of punk into tight focus while maintaining pop sensibilities. Smart, funny, fearless. Brilliant.

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