Category Archives: Singles

Music to Your Ears – Summertime Sadness

With the miserable delay I’ve suffered with everything, something had to give. I’m just skipping late August and September in a way, and giving you a best of for the Summer, as I’d planned for last week. Some of the best stuff may end up in my end of the year articles, so keep an eye out for those. They will be on time.

In case you want a brief recap of what was good and bad:

Good: St. Lucia, Hyperion; Pale Waves, My Mind Makes Noises; Metric, Art of Doubt

Bad: Carrie Underwood, Cry Pretty; Good Charlotte, Generation Rx

Finally, here’s a Spotify hub for the sixteen best tracks I heard this summer. There was no clear-cut domination, all of these sort of rotated through my brain. Hope you enjoy!

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Music to Your Ears: Eminem, Alkaline Trio and Paul McCartney

I somehow missed a week, Labor Day and the start of the NFL season threw me for a loop. Let’s take a glance at the latest two weeks, chock full of melodic, delightful oddities:

Eminem – Kamikaze

A surprise debut on the final Friday in August, this unsettlingly strange Labor Day rap album became more laborious as it went along. I used to think of Eminem as a malcontent intent on spreading venom that turned up as daisies at the end of the day. He always seemed to want to push the latest divisive sentiment, a shock jock stuck in a white rapper’s body. Coming out of Detroit, he always dreamt he was destined for something greater than his upbringing. Now that he’s achieved all that, even on the back of tracks that weren’t up to true rap standards, what can he lose? Kamikaze has been controversial for all the typical reasons, which makes it all the more boring when you realize the content isn’t even approachable to the outlier listener. In my hot take opinion, Eminem is long past his expiration date.

Key Tracks: Lucky You / Not Alike / Good Guy

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Music to Your Ears – Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol and Santigold

You may have noticed a drop in articles for the Music to Your Ears column. There’s a typical lull at some point in the year, as either interest in content itself drops for this writer, or work ramps up outside the Interjections blog and podcast. It’s never truly intentional, but sometimes becomes borne of necessity. Alas, July was one of those lulls, and while there was some good stuff – mostly singles from upcoming albums, it wasn’t worth taking time out of our busy schedules to write up what you might need to know. Honestly, I’m sort of disappointed in the recent trend of releasing five singles before an album debuts – it’s practically half the album, so I’d rather listen to it all when the whole record drops. That’s the case with our first review today:

Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You For Today

For the group’s ninth album, it’s all about retrospection. Frontman Ben Gibbard has gone on record as saying that he believes this is the perfect album for mid-life: he’s at the point at which he’s looking backwards as much as he’s looking toward his future, and that spills out through his music here. If you know anything about the guy, and he’s certainly the most integral part of the band, his love life has been first and foremost at the forefront of his art. His side projects and solo albums represent a side-ego, while his main through line has always been about attaining that which most of humanity strives for: happiness with a soul mate. For him to have gone through that and come back again alongside the literal manic pixie dream girl that starred in 500 Days of Summer, it’s a bit tough to separate his real-life experiences and the music he’s created. Certainly, it’s not like he’s attempting to hide that fact. When they were blissfully married, we had the sunniest output this one-time “emo” band produced: Codes and Keys. Once they’d divorced, fairly soon after the release of that album, we had the most dour sound: Kintsugi. Now that the dust has settled for several years, we have the phoenix that has risen since. It’s a thoughtful yet pained address to that hopeful child Gibbard once was: “It won’t end up like you predicted, but it certainly will have been worth it. Don’t regret it, you’ll love again.” He even manages to produce a meditative reflection on 2003’s track “Passenger Seat” in the sequel stunner “When We Drive”.

Chris Walla, longtime guitarist for DCFC, is gone for the first time since the group’s first album You Can Play These Songs with Chords. While his personal contribution may be sorely missing, it’s filled ably by Dave Depper and Zac Rae, who throw in their own style on first single “Gold Rush” and closer “60 & Punk”. The most poignant part of the album fills the middle of the album, where Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry pops up for backing vocals on “Northern Lights”. It’s still a little obvious that Gibbard misses his ex-wife, as he’s placed blantant references to her 2009 film by naming tracks “Summer Years” and “Autumn Love” It’s okay to have some subtlety, but it never really was Gibbard’s forte. Longtime fans will be thrilled to be lovelorn alongside Death Cab once again.

Key Tracks: When We Drive / Northern Lights / Your Hurricane

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol and Santigold

Music to Your Ears – Florence and the Machine, Gorillaz and Best of Spring 2018!

Distractions are no fun – with my birthday this past week and work consuming most hours, I fell behind on patching together the next handful of reviews. Let’s dive in to some recent music (really just stuff from the end of June):

Florence + the Machine – High as Hope

Cue the waterworks, Flo is on fire here. I think I mentioned in the preview review for stellar single “Hunger” that I think she’s an even better orator than Adele, pulling off her style with some flair. “Kiss with a Fist” seems a distant grungy memory now, with ten tracks dedicated to rough breakups, hardship, and finding hope in fellow female rock stars. The often serious lyrics are undercut by such melodious intonations that you’re taken aback by the craft presented by the South London performer. This is simply a must listen, an emotional sitdown with one of our most talented singers.

Key Tracks: Hunger / Big God / Patricia

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Music to Your Ears – Nas, Dave Matthews Band, Christina Aguilera and Mike Shinoda

With the World Cup last week, it became apparent that I was only going to get one article done. I chose that timely sports highlight, and figured I could compound the last two weeks together. In fact, there was really enough from both weeks to fill one week, so it all worked out just fine. Here’s what we’re listening to for the dog days of summer:

Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow

Our first stop, which came last week, was the highlight of my week for two reasons – I went to both of his Philly shows over the weekend! Truly I became immediately enraptured with this latest work from Dave Matthews and his band, and it is considerably well produced in light of following two lesser albums from the group. I wonder if there’s something to do with the bravado this band exudes in the face of darkness surrounding us in the outside world. For two nights in the BB&T Pavilion, it felt like Dave’s music could still save us and left us with hope for a better and more peaceful world, in spite of what was happening in the country around us. That’s what this album represents, and with intricately sublime guitar magic alongside his longtime fellow members Carter Beauford (drums), Stefan Lessard (bass) and Tim Reynolds (lead guitar). Dave stretches his voice in the remarkable “That Girl Is You” but he never overextends his welcome, easing back into the instrumentals on the intro to “Black and Blue Bird” – the incomprehensibly titled “bkdkdkdd”. Never doubt the fun this band has, even if it’s a language all their own.

Key Tracks: Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin) / That Girl Is You / Do You Remember

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Nas, Dave Matthews Band, Christina Aguilera and Mike Shinoda

Music to Your Ears – Kanye West, Father John Misty and Gorillaz

Never mind, there was plenty to talk about this week! Owl City is joined by ye himself, in a self-titled personal memoir inscribed with the statement “I hate being bi-polar, it’s awesome”. There’s also new stuff from Gorillaz, Neko Case and a surprisingly deft cover of Toto’s “Africa” by everyone’s favorite California neverbloomers:

Kanye West – ye

A musician’s career is a strange beast. None have been scrutinized in the past decade, I believe, as America’s beloved Kanye West. With his latest album releasing this past Friday, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he’s either aging out of his own genre or losing grip on reality itself. I know he’s capable of something artistically majestic; he gave us My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. By now, he’s reveling in his broken-ness. It’s somewhat a shame to watch Kanye go down this rabbit hole, as I think there’s still something left in the tank before he’s cast off to the elder statesman role. Maybe he’s just trolling us with the first few tracks, because the real meat of ye is in the second half, where Kid Cudi and Charlie Wilson drop in for “No Mistakes” and there are other uncredited guest spots from Cudi and a phenomenal find in 070 Shake, rescuing the lost cause in “Ghost Town”. I’m actually sort of disappointed that the last track, “Violent Crimes” ends so abruptly, as the album was starting to heat up right at the wrong moment.

Key Tracks: Ghost Town / No Mistakes / Violent Crimes

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Music to Your Ears – Chvrches, Snow Patrol and Courtney Barnett

Another week, another double dose forced because of busy work weekends. Actually, this weekend was our frequent podcast guest Jeff Seesselberg’s birthday – the big 3-0. So there was a pretty good reason I didn’t get a chance to slip this into the site, as I was working and helping to prep our big camping trip. Heck, I’m lucky I managed to see Solo at any point. As it is, last week was a bit slim with content (Now, Now and Courtney Barnett are our highlights). This week saw perhaps my favorite band releasing their third album (Chvrches – Love is Dead) and an old favorite, Snow Patrol, returning after a seven-year hiatus. Let’s check it all out:

Florence and the Machine – “Hunger”

The stark open, detailing an anorexia analogy for young love, positions Florence as the edgier version of Adele, the right shoulder devil to her left angel. She paints a feeling all too familiar, of unrequited adoration settled in past innocence. Ms Welch has grown considerably since the dog days of Kiss With a Fist, and this foretells a stellar record later this month. Her signature warble anchors us by the time the instrumentals strike up, otherwise we would sink underneath the weight of the metaphor. It’s a powerful punch, and one that will likely be bolstered by subsequent singles.

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Chvrches, Snow Patrol and Courtney Barnett