First order of business: Taking a break from music reviewing. You see, it costs money. Second order of business: Still plan on rambling on my blog. Oh so many of you enjoy it oh so much. Third order of business: Since it’s been half a year of futzing with music, I might as well give you my recommendations for these six months worth: -Animal Collective, “Merriweather Post Pavilion”: Named after an actual venue (where AC played), this hyper-electronic pop mix-up is great fun on the senses. Sure, it takes a little while to get used to the sonic mish-mash here, but the effort definitely paysRead More →

Paolo Nutini, “Sunny Side Up” – To listen to him, you wouldn’t think the kid’s barely in his 20s; au contraire, you’d guess from his voice he’s at least 50. But aside from an old voice, and aside from the freaky-looking cover, it’s a fairly passable and laid-back album that uses reggae and olde-tyme swing in the form of harmonicas, walking basslines, and muted horns. There isn’t a whole lot that pokes itself out here in the opening tracks, that is to say, there isn’t much in the acoustic setup that surprises there, and these tracks (“Candy” and “Coming Up Easy”) play straight-through and thankfullyRead More →

Lucky you, two weeks at once. Just remember to chew before swallowing: Iron & Wine – “Around the Well” A collection of songs spanning I&W’s three LPs, folk ranging from soft acoustic to slightly electric. Some of the early stuff ranges from listenable to not fully there (“Friends they are Jewels” falls here, still a bit sonically vacant), and much of the best material are the acoustic inbetweens, which tend to have better developed 2nd choruses; “Swans and the Swimming” sounds like it should finish “The Creek Drank the Cradle,” and much of the second album, including the gorgeous “Sinning Hands,” makes this worth theRead More →

Big Business, “Mind the Drift”: Heavy stuff. Strangely, though, it feels more loud than substantial (see track 4, “I Got it Online”). But “The Drift” is pretty hard-rocking good; the whole album, which consists of more distortion and yelling than songwriting, is something of a disappointment. Doesn’t add much, if anything, to the genre. Magnolia, “The Wooden Birds”: Light guitar with soft vocal harmonies not unlike Yo La Tengo’s. “Quit You Once” feels uncomfortably incomplete, and this album, too, is just lacking a bit of a punch; probably changing their musical voice a bit, as well as layering a bit more would help to fleshRead More →