Jens Lekman, a Swedish chanteur nonpareil, has produced what is easily (at least, at this point in late February), my favorite album of the year so far. Blending styles as disparate as calypso, disco, folk, and indie pop, Life Will See You Now is a triumph of a record. Unabashedly, unreservedly, this is a fantastic album. Occasionally, it suffers from an abundance of over-earnest, almost saccharine outpouring of emotion. But it’s forgivable under the circumstances – Lekman manages to make the songs on this album so heartbreaking, so real, and so cutting, that the odd misstep is waved away with few reservations.
The fourth episode of the Distant Stations podcast is now live.
Topics of discussion: Lucero’s 1372 Overton Park, The New Radical’s Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, thinly-disguised hero worship of David Duchovny and John Darnielle, and a double dose of Sufjan Stevens (with guest reviewer Ansley).
Well, that was a rough one. Ryan Adams’ latest effort, Prisoner, is a harrowing, and barely disguised, outpouring of catharsis stemming from his recent divorce and subsequent life apart from Mandy Moore. You can sense her presence, or perhaps rather her absence, looming in every corner of this album. You can hear the breakdown threatening to occur in every note Adams sings. It’s such a deeply personal thing that at times you almost feel bad for listening to it. Almost, but not quite.
I cant help but wonder what a world where Papa Roach got good, solid, weekly therapy would look like. It seems like every song that Jacoby Shaddix writes comes from a place of self-harm and self-hatred, and yet there is an overt and powerful catharsis from their energy and song-writing that a part of me will always appreciate – even as I steadily grow out of the hardcore sound. I will say, after returning to this band 15 years later (yes, you read that right…the album “Infest” came out in 2002), its really nice to see they’ve put the Rap-Rock sound to pasture… hopefully with a swift, painless bolt-gun shot to the brain stem.
I know I’m a day late to the party here, but here’s a Valentine’s-themed playlist to soundtrack the rest of your week. Whether you’re a grumbling cynic or a hopeless romantic, there’s something for you here – 31 songs about love, heartbreak, secretive trysts, and Kafka’s sex life. Enjoy.
Once, in a great long while, an album comes out that speaks to a generation. Every track, a master class in prose and lyrical ingenuity. An album with music so powerful it makes the great masters- Chopin, Mozart, Mercury, Bowie – spin in their graves so hard, the friction causes a tectonic shift that would bring the Titans to their knees.
“Is it finally true that we’re not getting any younger?” – “Boy Blue”, Track 8
Honestly? I kinda hate reviewing another album as impressive as this one. I’ve kinda become accustomed to tearing things down and yet, here we are: Listening to another master class in modern day Punk Rock that you should all start listening to right away.
The Menzingers knock it out of the park with their newest release “After The Party”, reaching deep into the nostalgia center of my brain while simultaneously forcing me to take a long look at my position in life; being forced to grow out of late nights, booze, and leather jackets. Like re-reading yearbook comments from friends you haven’t seen in a decade, just before walking in to your high school reunion.
The third episode of the Distant Stations podcast is now live.
Topics of discussion: Is Beyonce a rock star and other Grammy related-questions, the impending doom and possible resurrection of college radio, Neko Case’s Blacklisted, Tsunami Bomb’s The Ultimate Escape, Deep Sea Diver’s Secrets (with guest reviewer Markie).
Hey gang, as it turns out: Punk is not dead! Despite all evidence to the contrary; here we have one of the bands that is bringing it back in full force. Priests’ first official LP hits you with all the grace and subtlety of a chainsaw to the kneecap, and you’ll love it. Seriously, if you’ve ever had one punk rock bone in your body you should stop what you are doing and find a way to listen to this album. Maybe you could even click here and give it a listen? I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.