Album Review: Post Tropical

Post Tropical by James Vincent McMorrow (Vagrant, 2014. 42 minutes) James Vincent McMorrow (b. 1983) is an Irish singer and songwriter. His debut album Early In The Morning was released in Ireland, February 2010, and in US/Europe in 2011 to widespread acclaim.  Suited for Winter Despite what the title may indicate, McMorrow’s sophomore release Post Tropical is an album perfectly suited for the winter months. Lucky for McMorrow, much of the country has been under blankets of snow and vortexes of polar doom. There is something of the stark calm of winter that McMorrow adheres to inherently, something which begs us naturally to move forward after a much needed season of calm. McMorrow, through his haunting falsetto voice, finds a way to communicate music in a way few… Read More →

Andrew’s Top 20 Albums of 2013

I have a theory, even if it is slightly unfounded, that when Arcade Fire took the Grammy win for Album of the Year a while back, the entire music industry changed. Suddenly loner acts and those without a record label signing them became viable artists doing more than just breaking even. I tried to limit my choices to a mere ten, but couldn’t do it. There’s a lot of good music out there. So, here are my top twenty for the year. Every day the order changes, but this is where I’m at now. 20. Lady Gaga — Artpop I have always loved Lady Gaga. Her performances border on depraved artistry, wearing meat coats and the like. Nevertheless, her music is a constant… Read More →

Album Review: Days Are Gone

Days Are Gone by Haim

Days Are Gone by Haim (Columbia, 2013. 44 minutes) Haim is a band from Los Angeles, California comprised of sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. A Trend Is But a Repeat of the Past With music, it seems as if we’re repeating ourselves every 20 years. The 90s mirrored the 70s. The aughts mirrored the 80s. Now it sounds like we’re giving a run at the 90s. When I was heavily involved in music during high school and college, I had a tendency toward demonizing these repetitions. I would mock popular music and be the first to point out how a musician sourced influences from the past. If I had to look at it introspectively, I would say my views… Read More →

Album Review: The Last Ship

The Last Ship by Sting (Cherry Tree, A&M. 66 minutes) Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on October 2, 1951. He is best known for his singing career, both with the 1980s band The Police and as a solo artist. Sting is also a distinguished songwriter and actor, as well as an active philanthropist in causes from environmentalism to human rights. Telling the Story in Music Arguably, it’s been since 1999 since the venerated former frontman of The Police came out with a good solo album. But, with The Last Ship, Sting has joined the elite circle of 80’s musicians who have joined Broadway. Of course, Elton John is in the circle as well… Read More →

Album Review: Mosquito

Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Dress Up, Interscope, 2013. 47 minutes) Yeah Yeah Yeahs is an indie rock band from New York City consisting of Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase. The band has released 4 studio albums, 3 of which have been nominated for Grammys. Mosquito Metaphors Have you ever felt like your significant other is a parasite? Have you experienced those days where you continue to give and he continues to take? Is it frustrating trying to balance the ship? Is it even worth continuing? Whether you’ve been married for 30 years or have only been dating for a couple months, relationships ebb and flow. Thus, it can be easy to liken relationships to warfare. Someone lives… Read More →

Album Review: The Weatherman

The Weatherman by Gregory Alan Isakov (Suitcase Town Music, 2013. 41 minutes) Gregory Alan Isakov is a singer-songwriter. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he immigrated to the United States as a child, and was raised in Philadelphia. He began touring with a band at the age of 16 and has been influenced most by the music of Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps and Bruce Springsteen. He now resides in Colorado.  Heavy Mellow I was sitting in my car driving down the road in the middle of the night. I knew there were a few albums that I needed to get into, so I put on Isakov’s newest release, The Weatherman. I found it a suitable audio journey as I braved the dark freeways of the night. At the same time, I found that Isakov’s… Read More →

Album Review: Amok

Amok by Atoms for Peace

Amok by Atoms for Peace (XL Recordings, 2013. 44 minutes) Atoms for Peace is an experimental rock super-group consisting of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker of Beck and R.E.M. and Brazilian instrumentalist Mauro Refosco. Still Ok Computer It all started with Ok Computer, perhaps the most iconic and acclaimed record of the 90s. In an era where the Internet and computers in general began to emerge as a dominating force in everyday life, Radiohead and Thom Yorke embraced technology with open arms. They said “ok” to these advances and their music reflected that response. Where the band used to record music in the general style alternative rock, everything post OK Computer… Read More →

Album Review: Trouble Will Find Me

Trouble Will Find Me by The National

Trouble Will Find Me by The National (4AD, 2013. 55 minutes) The National is Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Scott Devendorf, and Bryan Devendorf. The band has released 6 full-length albums. Let It Be When you find yourself in times of trouble, what comes to you? What speaks words of wisdom? Where do you go? In those dark places where trouble might find us, we all seek our buoys, those things which speak truth to our soul. Perhaps it’s a book. Maybe a painting. Potentially a collection of songs? While I personally won’t go so far as to say Trouble Will Find Me is my muse, its content and production make it a front-runner. In short, this album sticks… Read More →

Album Review: Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil

Rachmaninov: All-night Vigil, “Vespers” by The Latvian Radio Choir (Ondine, 2013. 62 minutes) The Latvian Radio Choir, founded in 1940, is regarded as one of the top professional chamber choirs in Europe. The choir gives at least sixty concerts annually in Latvia and abroad, and regularly appears in theatrical and multimedia events. Latvian Gold The small country of Latvia is around the size of West Virginia. But, surrounded by other Baltic neighbors, it boasts over a 1.2 million Latvian folk songs. With such a rich heritage in song, the country holds regular choir festivals, where twenty thousand or more singers show up to participate in song together.  Among the many choirs in the country, the best is most likely the Latvian Radio Choir. I… Read More →

Album Review: Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend.

Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend (XL, 2013. 42 minutes) Vampire Weekend is an American rock band from New York formed during the member’s time at Columbia University. The band has released 3 studio albums to critical acclaim. We All Change Whether Evangelical, Catholic, Buddhist, agnostic, or atheist, it seems as if the belief tradition in which you grew up changes with age. Some completely shift from one side of the spectrum to the other; others discover a more nuanced change, keeping the root beliefs but applying them differently. What was once blindly accepted due to parents’ beliefs now becomes something worth testing. Is this belief true? Does it withstand scrutiny and a critical eye? On the other… Read More →