Monthly Archives: April 2018

Rare Birds – Jonathan Wilson

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Genre: Pop/Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: “The world sucks right now and we need to figure out how to deal with that” is a pressing concern in our current neoliberal neoracist Trumpian landscape. But it’s a tricky thing to do aesthetically. Father John Misty, for example, sounds a lot like a pebble rattling around in a big rusty coffee can, basically the musical definition of bad faith. Johnathan Wilson — coincidentally a collaborator of Father John — manages to get the tone right. These songs are fragile and cynical, but also useful and meaningful.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Revamp/Restoration – Elton John

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Genre: Pop/Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating (Revamp): 3/10
Rating (Reestoration): 7/10
Commentary: Is anyone else excited about 2 full-length cover albums of Elton John’s music? Revamp features work by pop and rock celebrities, and it mostly sucks, serving up soul-less or tacky renditions of good songs. Restoration on the other hand features covers mostly by country music artists, and it is great. Stand-outs include a Don Henly/Vince Gill duet on “Sacrifice”, Chris Stapleton’s “I Want Love”, and Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris on “This Train Don’t Stop there Anymore.”
More info: here.
Listen: here (the bad one) and here (the good one)

Deux – Patricia Kopatchinskaja/Polina Leschenko

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Genre: Classical
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 9/10
Commentary: This violin/piano duo will melt your face off. Their wild (and virtuosic) take makes it hard to listen to any other recorded versions of these pieces. You get the impression that they probably ended their studio sessions by bashing the violin to pieces on the floor. Really unbelievably good stuff.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Shadow People – The LimiƱanas

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Genre: Psychedelic Rock/Garage Rock
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 7/10
Commentary: I have a weak spot for lo-fi psychedelic rock, and this is a great genre album. The strongest songs have a swampy- Iggy Pop/Exile-on-Main-Street vibe as well, which is hard to explain until you listen to it. Reviews have been mixed, but it is the first rock album so far this year that has been genuinely fun to listen to.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

The Deep & The Dark – Visions of Atlantis

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Genre: Symphonic Metal
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: This album represents a big change in line up for this bad, and I think the mix-up has worked really well. It delivers everything one expect’s from the genre: bombastic lyrics, backing string sections, harmonies, glockenspiel, big hair. This is a very cheesy, and deeply satisfying, album.
More info: here.
Listen: here.

Le Kov – Gwenno

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Genre: Folk/Pop
Format Reviewed: Spotify 320 kbps
Rating: 6.5/10
Commentary: This is a breathy, atmospheric pop-folk album by Gwenno Saunders, a musician with important political sensibilities. Her album before this one was mostly sung in Welsh, and this one is entirely in Cornish. What is great about this album, in addition to that, is that it sounds entirely engaged and contemporary, not stuck in some folky back-water. This is modern Cornish music.
More info: here.
Listen: here.