Musical Review: How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

 How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser (Playing at AlHirschfeld Theatre, 2 hours and 45 minutes) Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway, John Larroquette, Tammy Blanchard, and Christopher J. Hanke. On Broadway For those unaware, my wife and I recently returned from a trip to New York. I had the opportunity to present a paper at an international business ethics conference and we spent some time afterward “vacationing.” If I had to pick one unanimous piece of advice given by those who have traveled to New York before us, it would be “see a Broadway show.” Since tickets cost an arm and a leg, Tara and I waited… Read More →

Album Review: The Rip Tide

The Rip Tide by Beirut (Pompeii Records, 2011. 33 minutes) Originally the music project of New-Mexico-native Zach Condon, Beirut is an indie rock band which combines Eastern European music, Balkan folk, and Western pop music. While traveling through Europe in his youth, Condon fell in love with world music. This love prompted musical experimentation that resulted in the band. While attending the University of New Mexico, Condon recorded his first record, GulagOrkestar, in his bedroom. He shopped the record to labels and ultimately signed with Ba Da Bing! Records. Before releasing The Rip Tide, Condon founded Pompeii Records giving him full control over his music. Evaluative Difficulty I find it difficult to review music. Of all art forms, it is… Read More →

Album Review: If Not Now, When?

If Not Now, When?  by Incubus (Epic Records, 2011. 50 minutes) From California, Incubus is a rock band comprised of Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger, Jose Pasillas, Ben Kenney, and DJ Kilmore. With seven full-length albums, Incubus has reached multi-platinum sales and is arguably considered the most successful rock band of the early 2000s. Gaining prominence during the nu-metal trend of the late nineties, Incubus is often classified with Limp Bizkit, Korn, and P.O.D. Yet, the band’s style contains alternative rock, hip hop, jazz, funk, and metal influences. Post-Hiatus After years of constant touring, Incubus faced a dilemma: either they continued prolific songwriting with diminishing returns or they take a break, fall in and out of love, experience life in all… Read More →

Album Review: Burst Apart

Burst Apart by The Antlers (Frenchkiss, 2011. 41 minutes) The Antlers is an indie rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. The band is a three-piece outfit consisting of Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner, and Darby Cicci. Originally a solo project created by Silberman, the band formed after Silberman self-released two records. The best songs later became Hospice, an acclaimed record independently released by the band. After the success of Hospice, The Antlers signed with Frenchkiss Records. With Burst Apart, The Antlers look to build on the success of Hospice. The Cultural Sensation that Was Emo Before a careful evaluation of Burst Apart commences, we must begin by exploring the nature of emotion-based music. Rooted in the cathartic tones of Sunny… Read More →

Album Review: Little Hell

Little Hell by City and Colour (Vagrant Records, 2011. 49 minutes) Dallas Green – who performs under the ironic moniker, City and Colour – first entered the music scene with the post-hardcore Canadian band, Alexisonfire. Having already released two albums as a solo artist – Sometimes and Bring Me Your Love – Green has encountered considerable success in his native Canada. He has won a MuchMusic Video Award, Juno Awards for Alternative Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, and has been named artist of the year by Chart magazine. Modus Operandi Honestly, my critical modus operandi for music reviewing is based on structures, creative musicianship, and lyrics. If an artist exhibits strength in one area, I am… Read More →

Album Review: Gloss Drop

Gloss Drop by Battles (Warp Records, 2011. 52 minutes) Battles is an avant-garde rock band from New York City. Originally formed as an underground supergroup, each musician carried successful careers outside of the band being associated with groups such as Don Caballero, Lynx, and Helmet. The band began with Ian Williams on guitar, Dave Konopka on bass, John Stanier on drums, and Tyondai Braxton on vocals and guitar. The band released Mirrored, its first full length, in 2007 to glowing reviews. In 2010, Tyondai Braxton left Battles to work in solo projects. With a hole in the vocalist department, Battles recorded its second album, Gloss Drop, with stand-in singers. Gloss Drop peaked at 98 on the Billboard Charts. Summer Camp… Read More →

Book Review: Bright’s Passage

Bright’s Passage: A Novel by Josh Ritter (New York: Dial Press, 2011. 208 pp) Hailing from Moscow, Idaho, Josh Ritter is best known as a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter. With his songs containing distinctive narrative lyrics, a jump to full-length fiction offered the natural next step. A graduate of Oberlin College with a self-created major of “American History through Narrative Folk Music,” Ritter launched his career in Ireland with the help of Glen Hansard and the Frames. While on a recent tour, Ritter began writing Bright’s Passage and after significant edits, released it with Dial Press on June 28, 2011. Currently, Ritter lives in Brooklyn. Literary Songwriting As a musician and an avid music fan, Josh Ritter’s albums have graced my… Read More →

Album Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver by Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar, 2011. 39 minutes) Founded by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, Bon Iver is an indie folk band featuring Vernon, Michael Noyce, Sean Carey, and Matthew McCaughan. The band began when Vernon self-released his first record, For Emma, Forever Ago, after spending three months working through the breakup of a band and a relationship. With much critical praise surrounding the first record, Vernon signed with Jagjaguwar. In the wake of For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon collaborated with Kanye West on his latest record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Bon Iver released its self-titled second record on June 12, 2011 and entered the Billboard charts at number 2. Sending Chills Down the Spine In certain ways, music contains… Read More →

Album Review: Codes and Keys

Codes and Keys by Death Cab for Cutie (Atlantic Records and Barsuk Records, 2011. 45 minutes) Formed in Bellingham, Washington under the shadow of Western Washington University, Death Cab for Cutie is Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Walla (guitars, production, keyboards), Nick Harmer (bass), and Jason McGerr (drums). The band signed to Barsuk Records off the strength of an early demo written primarily by Ben Gibbard. On Barsuk, Death Cab released four albums to much local and critical acclaim. Transatlanticism – perhaps the most famous release from their time on the Barsuk label – launched Death Cab as an international act. In 2004, Death Cab signed a worldwide deal with Atlantic Records and soon after released Plans, an album… Read More →

Album Review: Strange Negotiations

Strange Negotiations by David Bazan (Barsuk Records, 2011. 41 minutes) A prolific songwriter, David Bazan began his career as the front man of Pedro the Lion and continued playing in the band The Headphones. Located in Seattle, Washington, Bazan currently works as a solo artist. Known best during his Pedro the Lion days for his theologically rich lyrics, Bazan’s time in The Headphones and as a solo artist depict a philosophical shift as his lyrics combat his problems with alcohol and Evangelical Christianity. Curse Your Branches – considered by many, including myself, to be a masterpiece, is Bazan’s first full-length record as a solo artist. Bazan lives in Edmonds with his wife and daughter. A Complicated Relationship I have a… Read More →