Travis Bretzer: Making Love EP

Travis Bretzer's honest approach to songwriting comes through the otherwise scattershot Making Love EP.

Travis Bretzer

Making Love EP

Label: Mexican Summer
US Release Date: 2013-07-23
UK Release Date: 2013-09-16

The sleeve art to Making Love EP, the Mexican Summer debut by Edmonton, Alberta based songwriter Travis Bretzer, is not unlike a drunk Snapchat sent by a friend four or five happy hour cocktails in. It's a disorienting sight at first, but when the photo is experienced with the intentionally rough-around-the edges production of this EP, Bretzer's approach makes complete sense. There's a real intimacy to this music—with a title like Making Love, Bretzer's obviously not out to put distance between himself and the listener—and, for the most part, these five songs sound like they were recorded during a tiny bar show comprised of Bretzer and his friends. The result of all of this is that the EP is welcomingly unpretentious and honest; while not made up of the retreat-to-the-woods type of emotional poignancy so many crave, this is a collection of songs written by a guy just doing what the hell he wants to do.

There's an insularity that comes along with this carefree attitude, and it's the same thing that leads to Making Love a cluttered EP. Opener "Billy and I," a hodgepodge of Magnetic Fields-esque baroque pop and a warbly vocal in the style of Tom Petty, is all over the place production-wise, a feature that pops up more than once on the remaining four tracks. Bretzer's acoustic guitar is usually at the forefront, but the other backup instruments are left textureless and uninteresting. Bretzer would have been better off leaving these songs to be solo acoustic, as his arrangements indicate that the other musicians involved are merely placeholders. This guy has a head full of ideas and a genial spirit willing to share all of the notes he comes up with; it's hard to deny he's genuine, even though his slip-ups are hard to overlook.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.