Tag Archives: New York

weyes

Album Review: Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth

 

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Natalie Mering, or better known by her stage name Weyes Blood, released her elegant new LP Front Row Seat To Earth a couple of weeks ago. The New York singer-songwriter’s second album released under Mexican Summer’s record label approaches the listener with tenderness and care through the whole tracklist. The realities of dealing with relationships and celebrating change in attitudes are central themes surrounding Mering’s latest project.

“Diary” is the first track off the LP that starts with a slow piano progression that feels heavenly to the effect of Mering’s beautiful vocals. The atmosphere feels intimate and sparks different notions of what Mering might be experiencing in her life. It’s almost as if she’s singing a personal passage from her own diary, informing the listening audience about how she feels. This sets the tone for the rest of the album which feels extremely personal from one track to the next.

The song “Be Free” is absolutely stunning, it pulls at your heart in the most comforting way possible. The guitar playing feels dreamy, Mering’s vocals towards the later half of the track resonate well against the brass instruments and finishes the song off exquisitely well. “Generation Why” was used as one of the singles for Weyes Blood’s latest record and discusses the idea of our current generation and dealing with change in everyday life. The gentle guitar plucking throughout the song is accompanied by violins that support Mering’s stellar harmonies on the track. At this point the consistency of the album feels satisfying and carries forth similar production within each song proceeding.

“Can’t Go Home” is the following track after “Generation Why” and utilizes a harmonizer for the background vocals, the effect feels like a beautiful outer worldly instrument. “Away Above” has cool synth work seeping its way through light guitar playing and pretty vocals that emulate a sense of sorrow that’s oddly uplifting at the same time. Mering addresses how confusing love can be, what it means to love someone, and how real that feeling can be to someone. It’s a harrowing track that is relatable for anyone facing the dilemma of what it means to have feelings of love resonating within one’s self.

Front Row Seat To Earth is a magnificent accomplishment for an album. Exceptionally touching and forward thinking, the latest LP from the New York songstress is one that should not be overlooked. Pick up this record and give yourself the pleasure of pulling up a front row seat to the experience. You’re going to want to be seated for the initial playthrough.

– Review by Michael Eidelson

strokes

Album Review: The Strokes – Future Present Past

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Future Present Past is the first release by New York City garage rock band The Strokes in three years. Now their second EP (the first being their 2001 debut The Modern Age), it is a huge milestone for the band. Since 2011, The Strokes have been toeing the line of audience’s favour once they regrouped post-hiatus to release their fourth album Angles. This marked the start of The Strokes’ later period, a clear deviation from their raw, gritty, calculated garage rock that fans fell for (and held onto with a vengeance). Their fifth album, Comedown Machine (2013), was an even larger step away from their early sound (i.e. Is This It), and while many diehard fans continued to follow the band’s artistic journey, others wondered whether The Strokes had lost their touch. Continue reading

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Album Review: Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

Screen shot 2016-04-08 at 1.18.16 PMEver since the world discovered Miles Davis, he was always seen knocking at the doors of musical styles not yet known. Miles, who rose to fame from the popular uproar of bebop in New York City during the 1940’s, was never content with staying in the same lane. By the end of the 1940’s Davis had introduced ‘cool jazz’ to the world with his Birth of the Cool sessions, and barely a decade later, turned the jazz community on its side again by debuting his ‘modal jazz’ style, backed by his album Kind of Blue, the success and praise of which has gained the album musical immortality. By 1967, Miles remained one of the most prominent jazz icons. However, the 60’s were ‘brewing’ and there was a huge influx of new musical styles that Miles Davis was not ignorant of. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter is quoted saying that at this time Miles was “…looking for something with more traction.”  At this point Miles was already being influenced by the R&B sounds of the decade; in addition, his soon-to-be second wife, Betty Mabry, introduced Miles to even more new sounds and fashions of the time. Miles was inspired to discard his fitted suits for the technicolor garb of the decade, and play the records of Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone.  With his 1969 release of In a Silent Way, a divergent and experimental fusion album, Miles had now almost completely alienated the jazz realm with his off-beat musical reinvention. However, In a Silent Way was only a prequel to Davis’s new style. In 1970 Miles would take a huge step forward, releasing his monumental, avant-garde album Bitches BrewContinue reading

diiv

Album Review: DIIV – Is The Is Are

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DIIV’s 2012 debut Oshin was one of the most widely received Brooklyn-indie albums we’ve had in the past few years; the band played shows incessantly and gained their fan-base with brutal force. Now in 2016, their long-anticipated sophomore album Is The Is Are, after several singles, has finally been released. Since their debut album, frontman Zachary Cole Smith and his girlfriend were arrested for drug possession, which was quickly followed by his entering rehab, and bassist Devin Ruben Perez made several offensive posts on 4chan that were seen as outrageous by fans. Needless to say DIIV followers expected a lot from Is The Is Are. Smith clearly wants to send out a new message that he and DIIV have deeply changed. (much of this change points towards the topic of addiction/sobriety). As Zachary Cole Smith puts it, “I feel like when discussing this album, a lot has been made of its relationship to drugs, and my own personal relationship with drugs…it is so important for me that this album register to people as being as true and as honest and as rooted in reality as possible.” Smith has promised to show his emotional development through Is the Is Are. The question remains, however: does the music show it? Continue reading

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Album Review: Ingrid Laubrock’s Antihouse – Roulette of the Cradle

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Sometimes the best music is built entirely on instinct. Music that doesn’t get caught up trying to fit into typical conventions of time and scale but instead only commits itself to pure human instinct and expression.  Free Jazz is a fantastic form of expression due to its spur of the moment nature.  When a member of the ensemble is feeling a certain way they immediately release this feeling using their instrument.  The other musicians in the ensemble can understand each other and utter their response to the music just released. It is conversational.  Despite having well thought out compositions played by expert musicians, the music of Ingrid Laubrock’s new release Roulette of the Cradle has achieved a level of conversational execution and instinctual expression typically found only in the live free jazz setting. Continue reading