Happy New Year from Crash Chords! Due in part to the holidays, but mostly to flu season, we took a short break and now it’s time to play catch up! It’s the race to Ep. #225 as we kick off the year with FIVE consecutive days of the Crash Chords Podcast. Today we commence with the first in the lineup by following through with our December guest’s own listener pick. Many thanks to Mike Rugnetta for spurring us to tackle the third signed album by Childish Gambino—that is, the stage name and alias for actor and comedian Donald Glover—euphorically titled “Awaken, My Love!” Come join us for an analysis of the album and also for a discussion on music suggestions that always seem to come with warnings and caveats.
Here’s a proposition: a three-hour long Mike Rugnetta extravaganza! In the wake of his appearance on ‘Crash Chords: Autographs’, in CCA Ep. #43, we’re pleased to re-introduce the one, the only, Mike Rugnetta for the full Crash Chords experience. Famed for hosting the PBS Idea Channel, a popular internet series that examines “the connections between pop culture, technology, and art”, Mike sits in for a 30 min. follow-up interview, during which we prod into some new features on the Idea Channel, Mike’s long-held interest in critical theory, the re-launch of his Reasonably Sound podcast, and fittingly, his own compositions. Finally, @ 0:29:20, we commence with the big tamale: quality time spent in a succulent critical analysis of Mike’s album of choice, Without My Enemy What Would I Do by Made in Heights. With Mike fully in his element (and the rest of us seated & caffeinated), all that’s missing is a dutiful audience! To join in, just chew on the album a bit, strap in, ponder, and play.
Let’s have a look at an album called Monument Builders by Loscil, a project by composer Scott Morgan. An ambient/electronica work at its core, Monument Builders was inspired by the Philip Glass score to the experimental film Koyaanisqatsi. The album spurs us to tackle a rare form of composition—the Vancouver native’s unique brand of structured ambient minimalism—before entering our follow-up discussion on the importance of volume in music. (Hint: it’s pretty important.)
We just wanna tell you how we’re feeling; gotta make you understand…. the power of analysis. As the title suggests, Rick Astley is 50! After taking an extended hiatus in order to raise a family, he’s finally back to celebrate his age and other fortunes in his new album, aptly titled 50. Join us for a breakdown of 50, and also for a hefty discussion [@ 1:36:40] on the ‘memification’ of music, comedy, and social media art. So please, don’t give us up, and don’t let us down… because we know the game, and yes, we’re gonna play it.
We’ve got an exciting project lined up for you today: the Austrian rock band Second Relation and their third album Eno. Peppered with the perks of pop music and the soul-satisfying rewards of art rock, Eno is a must-experience for progressive rock fans and music lovers in general. You know the drill; listen to the album yourself first, then join us in a track-by-track analysis of Eno and Second Relation’s fascinating attempt at musical portraiture. Afterwards, stick around for some brief theorizing on whether we, as people, have personal “themes”—simple narratives that the media we consume could easily, or not so easily, portray.
Clear your day for Leonard Cohen. (Well, a least a portion of it.) With his soft vocals and poetic flair, Leonard Cohen has been speaking to a generation of poets as well as musicians ever since the 1960s. Today we’ll be speaking to both camps as we take on Cohen’s latest album You Want It Darker. Also, stick around for a brief compare & contrast discussion on universality and general appeal vs. the personal effect and specificity.
[Edit: This episode was released three days before Leonard Cohen’s unfortunate passing. We are deeply saddened by his loss and we hope this episode is taken as a celebration of his work, despite its ill-timed release. The following interpretations of his final album and life’s work are opinion-based and, we hope, considerate of his legacy.]
Batten down the hatches… Tidal Wave, the seventh studio album by 17-year rock veterans Taking Back Sunday, is our task for the week. Despite some occasional changes in the band lineup, the group has retained enough stability to turn out albums with consistency and class. We hope you’ll honor that consistency and join us for an analysis of the group’s latest creation, Tidal Wave. Afterwards, stick around to [2:02:20] for a preview on a little experiment of ours: Does music stack up to the 7 Basic Plots of plot-writing (as are often found in literature)? Are the journeys equatable, or does music simply go rogue?
Grab your passport. Today we’re taking a trip through the island of Ushant — that is, Eusa (in Breton) — the inspiration for EUSA, the latest album by Ushant resident and French composer Yann Tiersen. As Crash Chords has never before had the opportunity to sit with a pure piano work, EUSA keeps us on our toes as we discuss Yann Tiersen’s trademark style and the album’s mysterious sequence of introductory “paths”. We chat about imagery, minimalism, what is and isn’t certainty/reality, and then let our hair down with a topic on good ol’ fashioned boredom in a media-rich culture.
Brace yourself for Love Streams… the “streams” being the conjurings of one Tim Hecker, a Canadian electronic artist who, with the help of his Icelandic colleagues, has turned out a record that focuses more on the indistinct (and occasionally indistinguishable) textures/soundscapes than on more well-defined figures. Sporting a whirlwind of choir, woodwinds, static, and plenty of food for discourse, we’ll be analyzing Love Streams from top to bottom before indulging ourselves in a topic on music listening habits. From time and place to ambiance and mood, how do we slice up our daily routine to accommodate the wide world of music? When a specific mood is on the docket, who should accommodate whom?
Take a risk on FISK! Overdue for some band bonding, today’s “evening with” presents the NYC-based punk garage band called FISK, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Freddie Heinemann, drummer Brandon Jacobs, and the latest addition, CiCi Young (a punk rock bassist from China who makes a late appearance in today’s episode — so stick around for her abridged, yet fascinating life story). On topics such as “making it” in the music business, the pitfalls of perfectionism, vexing venues, and the trials & rewards of playing in NYC, we’re glad to feature FISK in the limelight of their new EP Stun to Kill, and, as always, to feature their music: two studio tracks and a live & local performance at the Crash Chords studio.