The sixth episode of the Distant Stations podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.
Topics of discussion: Pardon our errant yelping, Zach Braff problems, Sunset Rubdown’s Dragonslayer, Atmosphere’s When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold, The For Carnation’s The For Carnation (with guest reviewer Ryan Usher), Mark Kozelek is kind of a dick, and SXSW: the annual Austin shit blizzard.
Did you know that March is the most haunted month of the year? Sure, you’d think it’d be October or November. I certainly did. But you’d be dead wrong. Blame the Romans or something. Regardless, in keeping with that arcane bit of spiritual trivia, here’s a playlist about ghosts, phantoms, hauntings, and shades. Keep yourself safe out there – watch out for vengeful spirits, and always keep some kosher salt on hand. Ghosts hate that shit.
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 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.
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).
Japandroids has always been a frenetic, freight train of a band, blending the driving fury of classic rock and punk bands like Springsteen and The Replacements. 2012’s Celebration Rock was a perfect encapsulation of the duo’s aesthetic – eight gutpunching rock anthems barreling off into the night from the very first note, and never letting up until the very last. Sadly, Near to the Wild Heart of Life does not reach those same highs. While the record is cleaner, a more proper studio creation, than previous efforts, it suffers from its abundance of polish. Ultimately, it is much tamer than its title would indicate.
With its sweeping orchestral flourishes and heart-on-its-sleeve lyrics, it’s pretty clear that Little Fictions, the seventh studio album from British band Elbow, is a love letter to someone. Nearly every song is infused with some kind of romantic sentiment, be it desperate longing to regret or stupidly giddy happiness at being with someone you adore. In the wrong hands, these songs could be overwrought, even saccharine. But the members of Elbow have twenty years of songcraft under their belt, and they know how to treat these tracks with the quiet tenderness and breathing space they deserve.