PopMatters caught Glenn Tilbrook‘s acoustic set at Nashville’s unassuming, friendly 3rd and Lindsley in September 2013, while in town for the Americana Music Fest. It gave us a thrill, to see the Squeeze man up close in such a laid-back, comfortable setting, far removed from his stadium shows’ past.
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Jim Carroll does not like compromise.
He is, after all, a Chicago boy who makes no qualms about his displeasure not only with pre-packaged pop stars, but also the very music industry he is a part of. Following Unicycle Loves You’s Brian Deck-produced debut album in 2008, Carroll’s once-DIY solo project has morphed into a full-blown band, and with each record, they seem to be changing up their style, moving from power-pop to garage-crunch with surprising ease, and never staying in the same place twice. Actually, that last part is quite literal, because after years of pounding the streets of the Windy City, the group only recently moved to New York City, and now the Big Apple, along with the rest of the world, gets to hear the band’s latest opus, The Dead Age, once and for all.
When We Are Scientists first began making waves in the press with their second album With Love and Squalor in 2006, the group wound up being pegged as one of the most prototypical indie rock groups out there: a trio that played quirky-smart guitar rock songs that sounded like fellow power-pop enthusiasts the New Pornographers with maybe a bit more caffeine and a few rays of sunshine rubbed off the sheen. The group could get goofy, but they never played up the comedy too deliberately.
If anything, Barzin Hosseini is a bit unassuming.
You see him, he’s very quiet about his ambitions, but you find out that his long-running musical project, simply called Barzin, has been putting out music for more than a decade now (having formed all the way back in 1995), and also learn of how this Canadian has produced records for the likes of Memoryhouse—all on top of releasing his own book of poetry—and this quiet character slowly comes into focus.
Yet if Barzin stands for anything, it’s assuredly for quality music, and his lush, lavish fourth album To Live Alone in That Long Summer manages to simultaneously sound sonically expansive even as it possesses the emotional intimacy of a home-recorded acoustic ballad. His production skills are very much in top form here, and songs like the tremolo lament “Lazy Summer” and the affecting “Stealing Beauty” only help further Barzin’s unique aesthetic.
Now, of course, Barzin tackles on the unique challenge that is PopMatters’ 20 Questions, here revealing an affinity for the radio DJ from Northern Exposure, sage advice learned from Frank Zappa lyrics, and has some choice yet reasonable words for his town’s mayor, Rob Ford ...