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Album Reviews
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Les Heures de Raison (Minty Fresh)

The band name "Soy un Caballo" means "I am a Horse" in Spanish, the group's lyrics are in French and the main songwriting duo of Aurlie Muller and Thomas Van Cottom come from Belgium. Luckily for those skittish about a little taste of the exotic, not everything about Soy un Caballo will be foreign to savvy music aficionados...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 13, 2009

Live in London (Columbia)

Given the intimacy of Cohen's songs, and the worn warmth of his voice, there's something slightly off-putting about picturing him performing in a 20,000-seat arena. Maybe that's why it's so charmingly reassuring when, announcing a set break during the close of "Anthem," Cohen offers a "Thanks for your kind attention...
Album Reviews
Friday, April 3, 2009

Middle Cyclone (Anti-)

You'd think the well of country-twang guitar chord permutations would have long ago run dry. Yet Neko Case consistently manages to dig something new from the reservoir, sweetening it with rustic themes of nature, animals and alternating violence/calm of weather. "Marais La Nuit," a 30-minute field recording of a bog...
Album Reviews
Friday, March 27, 2009

Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future (Blue Note)

The Bird and the Bee's 2007 self-titled debut garnered moderate attention, with opening track "Again & Again" finding its way into an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" by subscribing to the Garden State Rule: Twee acoustics and loungey jazz with danceable electronics make for the best accompaniment to romantic melodrama.
Album Reviews
Monday, March 9, 2009

Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

For its eighth full-length, Animal Collective has pulled together its most like-minded set of material, making for the group's most consistently listenable, even poppiest album, to date. Each track builds through a tension-and-release pattern based on layers of modal drones and sound effects, with Brian Wilson harmonies dropping in and out as choruses whenever appropriate. Gone are the usual free-folk elements...
Album Reviews
Monday, Jan. 5, 2009

The Bunny Boy (Santa Dog)

Although the wacky, anonymous, eyeball-mask-wearing members of The Residents make a point of labeling it a collection of "pop songs," The Bunny Boy isn't simply a pop album. It's also a cryptic Internet series that "inspired" the album, a live performance piece, a yet unavailable companion album-all inspired by a mysterious package supposedly sent to The Residents' compound. And, of course, it's all part of the concept/performance.
Album Reviews
Friday, Nov. 28, 2008

Live in Gdansk (Columbia)

No, we didn't ask for an album featuring another recording of "Breathe," leading into "Time," leading into "Breathe (Reprise)," as happens on tracks two through four on Live in Gdansk. But Pink Floyd completists (we are legion) will want it anyway. However, if you're truly pink, you're also asking yourself, "Where are the Syd songs like 'Dominoes,' or obscure oldies like 'Wot's Uh the Deal' (I know they were played-I checked the blogs)?"
Album Reviews
Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

Chemical Chords (4AD)

After 1999's Cobra and Phases, critics decided Stereolab's well-tested formula of space-age lounge-rock had become too listless, too meandering. Then, with 2006's Fab FourSuture, the group had seemingly pulled a 180, now scorned for being "too dance-oriented." Chemical Chords should be seen as a return to form by even the most jaded and fickle of critics. There's the experimental side (the obliterating "Pop Molecule" and "Nous Vous Demandons Pardon"), which harkens back...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

03/07 – 09/07 (Thrill Jockey)

The duo High Places defies categorization. This collection of recordings previously available on 7-inch vinyl or exclusive to the 'Net has the uncanny ability to not only get you dancing, but to also serve as suitable listening while reading a good book before bed . . .
Album Reviews
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)

David Berman’s latest is an album where the sleeve art outshines the record itself. Think of your most hated prog album (is it Yes’ Topographic Oceans? I bet it’s Yes’ Topographic Oceans) and you’ll get the picture. A beautiful sepia-tone painting depicting Babar (that’s right; the beloved elephant) amidst jagged rocks . . .

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