Category Archives: Reviews

Music to Your Ears: Pink, St. Vincent, Robert Plant, and Stars

It’s been a strange week as it’s cooled down – baseball is winding down, hockey is warming up. I didn’t really feel like writing anything about basketball because, frankly, I’m no expert in the sport. I can’t definitively discuss what it takes to make it in the NBA. It also doesn’t really interest me, especially when you have super-teams forming left and right, forcing parity out of the window. What I do love to discuss is music, so I’m sticking to that:

St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

Annie Clark has slowly metamorphized into one of the most artistically dynamic artists in pop music working today. Similarly to her contemporary – the enigmatic Sia Furler – the sound of St. Vincent has evolved from bare-bones romanticism to full-fledged grandiose. Discordant trumpets and embellished synths are her instrumental calling card, and in her previous two albums, 2011’s Strange Mercy and 2014’s self-titled effort, she used them to great success. Here she expands on that cacophony of sound, a synthetic symphony that doesn’t let up until the last drop beat. The most interesting thing here is how diabolically sinister the whole album feels. I talked a few weeks ago about The Mynabirds album Be Here Now, and how singer Laura Burhenn wrote it with the fresh American election hanging heavily on her mind. It’s certain St. Vincent has followed suit in that regard, among other intensely personal experiences that have influenced the stories within Masseduction. She’s turned out what could potentially be her greatest album, but I may need a few more listens before I decide – yet that’s obviously worth it.

Key Tracks: Young Lover / Happy Birthday, Johnny / Los Ageless

Continue reading Music to Your Ears: Pink, St. Vincent, Robert Plant, and Stars

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Music to Your Ears – Wolf Parade, Cults and Marilyn Manson

Now that we’re heading into fall, hoping the unseasonable warmth evicts itself from our lives, let’s dive into what the music world has for us:

Cults – Offering

Cults literally saved my life in 2011. No, I didn’t fall in with the wrong crowd and discover how to be true to myself or any of that bullshit. The synthpop duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion formed earlier the year before in New York City subsequently dropped a bomb on my heart, in the form of their self-titled debut. Songs like “Go Outside,” “Oh My God” and especially “You Know What I Mean” broke me down and formed the person I would soon become, self-loathing and bittersweet rolled into a ball of complicated neuroses and overfeeling idosyncracies. Anyway, enough about me – the band helped me through a lot of personal distress and move on from it, empowered. So my hopes were real high on their second album, Static, which debuted in 2013. Obviously I would be a little let down after the first album had rapidly become one of my favorite all-time records, but Static was still more from the same band I’d fallen in love with, albeit a bit dull. The whole thing felt a bit rushed, and only one or two tracks still find themselves in my rotation. Now that some time has passed, the group is back with their latest, Offering. While it is again more of the same sound, the work is a linear piece, like one long song. Some may find that detrimental, and I expect to mostly want to listen to this in one sitting rather than include songs in playlists, I think it works well (and better than Static). Follin warbles further feelings such as “Drifting through the silence/ Searching for guarantees” and continues the hopeful nature of the previous two albums by claiming we all have the answers within us. For me, it’s a welcome relief to know they’ve continued to manage such affectations and maybe more fans will turn up to discover the fuzz-pop wonder within this cult of sound.

Key Tracks: Recovery / Natural State / Clear From Far Away

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Wolf Parade, Cults and Marilyn Manson

Podcast October 9 – Batman and Harley Quinn, Hell or High Water and The Last Jedi Trailer

Like a certain Jedi character from the end of The Force Awakens, Cory has been missing for some time. In his stead, while we search the endless universe for his whereabouts (hoping he will some day do the right thing and return to save the galaxy), Jimmy has ably stepped up to discuss new movies and recent events.

This go-around, Tristan and Jimmy watched one of last year’s Best Picture nominees, Hell or High Water, a potboiler that stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as modern cowboys sticking it to the bank by heisting them to pay their loan back to the same bank, while sheriff Jeff Bridges attempts to track them through the Texas midlands.

They follow that up with a discussion on the most recent DC animated film, Batman and Harley Quinn, which features Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester returning to their ’90s animated roots as Batman and Nightwing, and co-stars Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) as the titular clown queen who teams up with the pair to help stop her good friend Poison Ivy from doing the wrong thing and turning every living creature into plants.

Afterwards, they discuss some current events – like the weekend ouster of Harvey Weinstein from his own company after sexual harassment allegations actually worked to stop an offender from continuing to benefit from silence.

The final segment, the pair watch live the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer and analyze it just a bit too much…

Listen in below, and remember to comment responsibly!

Music to Your Ears – Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Shania Twain and Wolf Alice

Yeah, yeah I know, another day, another week of falling behind. Life comes at you fast, you gotta know when not to mind that last week’s music is now this week’s music. Here’s some reviews, enjoy:

Miley Cyrus – Younger Now

I have been lauding the genius of songs “Malibu” and “Younger Now”, the title track off of Miley Cyrus’ newest edition. What I wasn’t ready for was that these would be the only two great tracks. Don’t get me wrong, Miley is making some good stuff, but it all sort of blends together. After you get past those two singles, a strangely indigestible duet with Dolly Parton pops up, “Rainbowland”. It stops the album flat and you’re not quite sure if you care to continue. The effervescence of the first two songs never truly returns, as songs like “I Would Die for You” and “Bad Mood” re-hash many of the same notions and never really attempt anything exciting instrumentally. Eventually the whole thing fades into the background and you may find yourself wishing for the younger Miley, one that was more fun and entertaining.

Key Tracks: Malibu / Younger Now / Inspired

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Shania Twain and Wolf Alice

Music to Your Ears – The Killers, Fergie and Sleeping with Sirens

This is a big week for us here, as we welcome the onset of autumn. The Killers have released their first album in five years, while Fergie has her first in eleven. We have another album from Canadian songstress Lights, and two post-hardcore bands with new music: Circa Survive and Sleeping with Sirens. Check it all out below, starting with the return of everyone’s favorite Springsteen impersonator:

The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful

This has been a long time coming – the culmination of a long career for Brandon Flowers and company that has produced a total of five albums as well as a rarities record, which by now is much adored by their fans and critics alike. Flowers came into his own on his second solo record, 2015’s The Desired Effect. Before this, especially indicative on the previous solo work, 2010’s Flamingo, he was considered jokingly too much of a Springsteen knockoff. Since then, luckily, Flowers found the right amount to represent his hero, and utliized his own talents to formulate a beautiful collection of albums, each better than the last – starting with the last Killers album, Battle Born. The sound the band has cultivated over the last fifteen years is a blue-collar one, by way of Vegas. The glitz of the strip poured itself all over the first album, and by the time it was clear that Flowers’ fandom of Bruce would color everything after, it was Sam’s Town. Perhaps letting loose his intentions too early, it was only a matter of time before they got it right. Wonderful Wonderful takes off like a shot with a rocket of a song in the titular track, followed quickly by the first single “The Man” which I reviewed favorably enough earlier this year. The Killers certainly aren’t stuck in a “Rut” like the next song suggests, as it continues to climb favorably towards the peak song, “Run for Cover”. Unfortunately, despite the perfection of that Thunder Road sound Flowers has always desired, it stumbles towards the end, with a strange namedrop or two and a bit too much of sentimentality and nostalgia. Then again, wasn’t that what most critics complained about with Bruce?

Key Tracks: Run For Cover / Tyson vs. Douglas / Rut / Out of My Mind

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – The Killers, Fergie and Sleeping with Sirens

Podcast September 25th – Assassin’s Creed, It and mother!

As it’s been for about two months, we’ve been keeping afloat here at the Interjections podcast by supplementing the journeyman Cory Taylor with the capable Jimmy Milliron – where he and Tristan More discuss films as well as current events.

The films discussed this week are Assassin’s Creed, a late entry in the 2016 holiday season that saw the adaptation of the stealth-driven action video game starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; It, the latest book-to-screen version of the creepy clown classic from Stephen King that debuted two weeks ago; and another horror, but of the psychological and metaphorical variety, mother! which stars Jennifer Lawrence as the titular character who must learn how to live with her increasingly oblivious husband played by Javier Bardem.

All this and more below, but first we talk about the biggest goings on of the week – including most importantly the on-field demonstration of kneeling during the National Anthem at sporting events. Listen in to get Tristan’s and Jimmy’s takes on what is easily the hottest topic this past weekend:

As always, remember to comment responsibly.

Music to Your Ears – Foo Fighters, Rostam and The Lone Bellow

Wasn’t sure if I’d pick this up this week, but beyond the new Foo Fighters album, I didn’t expect anything new. I was able to scrape together a few new albums and a single, though. Take a look:

Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

Woof. I was deeply enamored with Ariel Pink’s 2010 album Before Today, which featured the fantastic track “Round and Round”. He followed that up with a stellar album Mature Themes, in which the great song Kinski Assassin kicked off the action. Unfortunately for us, this newest album is dead on arrival. Screeching out of the gates, “Time to Meet Your God” is a grating request to turn down your speakers. “Feels Like Heaven” attempts to remedy the misfire by toning down the instrumentals, but the singer-songwriter doesn’t seem to care if this fades from memory before we even finish. The prevailing mood settles somewhere between ethereal and downright dull, but there’s at least one bright spot in all of this: “Bubblegum Dreams”. My ears perked up as it started, as it was more traditional Ariel. Perhaps that was the point, to try to branch out, but I think he just reached out in the wrong direction.

Key Tracks: Bubblegum Dreams

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

I’ve talked at length at the dearth of good rock music prevailing in radio these days. I was thinking today, however, that it’s just that pure rock has escaped to the fringes – the indie, the clubs, the nostalgic cover bands. There’s nothing wrong with it, there’s nothing wrong with the change – as we evolve to a new form of rock, people that are thirty and older will have to discover something new to enjoy or grasp on to the last straws of rock, like two weeks ago when Queens of the Stone Age released a great new album, Villains, or now – a fantastic new album from classic nineties and aughts band Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl has been a mainstay on the scene for over three decades now, and it’s great to hear him admitting that sensitivity can funnel its way into his songwriting, like in my favorite track from the album, “Happily Ever After (Zero Hour)”. About two-thirds of the way through Concrete and Gold it feels like Grohl and the rest of the group just want us to relax, not worry about the end of the world, but take in their version of “It was all well worth it, I have no regrets”. Never fear though, true believers, there’s plenty of loud music to be had here: the one-two punch of first single “Run” and intimate rager “Make It Right” allow us back into the fray of Grohl’s world. After, second single “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” reminds us that latter-day Foo Fighters is anthemic but still full of pulp. The rest of the 11-song album is much of the same, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to the collection.

Key Tracks: Make It Right / Happily Ever After (Zero Hour) / Sunday Rain

Rostam – Half-Light

I have to preface this by saying that I’m very happy Rostam Batmanglij has still found a way to get his voice out there, it’s definitely one of my favorites – and one half of the reason why I loved his old band Vampire Weekend in the first place. My fear, however, is that much like another favorite band – Panic at the Disco – he was the weakest link. Time will tell of course, like it has with Brendon Urie and his extensive discography, but my guess is that I will still love Ezra Koenig’s version of the group, and at least admire what Rostam does from here on out. It may be that the group’s fracture comes not like the one that did in the pop group Fun. but rather more that Rostam branches out all the time much like Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla eventually did a few years ago. As this record goes, it’s a fine solo debut, with much of the music intimately familiar with his previous work. As I listened through, I could call out which tracks sounded like old Vampire Weekend ones. That isn’t entirely a bad thing: “Wood” has an Indian instrumental base that immediately reminds of “One (Blake’s Got a New Face)” – a track from Vampire Weekend’s titular 2008 effort. “Bike Dream” is a dizzying revelation that has to be a play on massive hit “Diane Young”. “Never Going to Catch Me” has all the flair of “Everlasting Arms” sans the heart. All in all, it’s a fine thing that Rostam has done, and I hope he bucks the trend, ultimately working well alongside his reformed former band.

Key Tracks: Bike Dream / Don’t Let It Get to You / I Will See You Again / Gwan

The Lone Bellow – Walk Into a Storm

Speaking of the evolution of rock, a recent theme in popular music is the folk-rock movement. I hesitate to call it a bad thing, as many do – they cite weaker efforts from The Lumineers or Of Monsters and Men or Mumford and Sons. As I’ve been a long time fan of The Decemberists, I can see why this trend has picked up during the last decade. There was a need for more relatable tunes, and given the penchant for top-40 to feel edgy and alternative by picking up unknown bands, they latched onto the pseudo-country sound of these bands and ran with it. I don’t mind at all, as much of the music is full of emotions I want to hear about in music. The Lone Bellow, in particular, have a good grasp on what makes for a good album – as their newest starts out with a road-trip worthy song “Deeper in the Water” we ride along with them on a journey towards satisfaction. While the rest of the album doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of elation, I can imagine this being on Zach Braff’s short list for a new film, or playing in the back end of my next cross-country excursion. If nothing else, take a listen to “Come Break My Heart Again” an ode to those lovelorn lovers stuck in purgatory after a breakup.

Key Tracks: Deeper In The Water / Walk Into a Storm / Come Break My Heart Again


Next week is a big one – The Killers, Fergie, Chelsea Wolfe, Camila Cabello and Fergie! We’re going to do our best to get the facts to you as soon as they’re available!

Until next time…