Best Coast puts me in a good place, even though they play almost exclusively sad music. Reigning Queen of Upbeat Beach Songs with Downer Lyrics Bethany Cosentino teamed up again with musician Bobb Bruno for California Nights. The album came out May 5 and follows up 2012’s The Only Place and 2013’s Fade Away with more energetic songs about medicating depression.
I’ve long been a Sufjan Stevens fan. He is an intelligent, clever songwriter who seems to enter every record with an ambitious plan and the determination to carry it through, and his finest songs are charged with the strongest emotional resonance, especially “Chicago,” which with its anthemic strings, inviting mass choir, and straining but hopeful lyrics, is a soundtrack for new beginnings. This is why it is all the more remarkable for me that Stevens, has made the finest album of his career and one of the best of 2015 with Carrie and Lowell, a record about the ultimate ending.
I’ve done a little bit of writing about how amazing a year in music 2015 has proven to be so far. While I admit to feeling slightly let down by Modest Mouse’s release from a couple weeks go, I’m proud to report Death Cab’s latest doesn’t disappoint. Maybe Ben Gibbard does his best work when he is distraught, but heartbreak continues to suit him. For a deeper analysis on that point, and the idea that we’re always in a way coming of age, see NPR’s Stephen Thompson’s summation. As for me, I can say I like the first half of this album better than the second — but all around, I really enjoy it.
This year has already been a great one for new music, with the release of new work from Belle & Sebastian, Sleater-Kinney, and the Decemberists. The force of nature that is 2015 music continues tomorrow, with a new release from Jose Gonzalez. Vestiges and Claws is currently streaming on NPR First Listen, along with the latest from Public Service Broadcasting. But it doesn’t stop there — Here are some of the new albums coming out in the next few weeks for which I can barely contain my enthusiasm. [Read more…]
If you’re like many people, you watched the Grammy Awards on CBS last Sunday night. If you’re like even more people, you paid attention as the Internets blew up about some media-fueled spontaneous feud that may or may not lead directly to causing World War III.
Long story short: on Sunday, in a huge upset, alternative rock musician Beck’s Morning Phase won the coveted Album of the Year trophy over Beyonce’s self-titled silver lion of death that was widely expected to take home the tiny record player.
Arcade Fire grew to prominence as an indie-band, releasing the critically acclaimed Funeral in late 2004. Since then, they’ve released Neon Bible (2007), Grammy Award-winning The Suburbs (2010), and, most recently, the double album Reflektor (2013). This year, they’ve embarked upon a gargantuan arena tour, recently playing two nights at Chicago’s United Center on August 26th and 27th. Alex and I were lucky enough to find cheap tickets, and attended the concert in all of its stadium-esque glory.