Welcome to today’s discussion on Varmints by Anna Meredith, the Scottish composer most recently known for drifting between contemporary classical and electro-pop. Varmints flexes her composers’ muscles and takes her “maximalist” sensibilities just a step further, but how big of a step? Let’s find out together! And of course, check out [1:59:02] to hear a self-analytical discussion on our practice of podcast “pre-listens”, i.e., a group run-through. If we assume that tastes are contingent on whatever we’re exposed to, then what about the people we listen to music with? Do friends and colleagues affect our enjoyment of music, like a contagious wave of laughter? You tell us!
This week’s album adventures are brought to you by listener Mark H. who has suggested we dive into the acronymic namesake of a curious collaboration: Glasgow-based Franz Ferdinand & Los Angeles-based Sparks. Together, they form the “supergroup” called FFS, sporting a sole self-titled debut (FFS). Join us in this intensive analysis and share your thoughts! (We even throw in the bonus tracks to honor the FFS deluxe version.) True to form, we also take a few moments at the end to expand on Ep. #179‘s “Bonus Tracks” discussion by adding some thoughts and theories on the thematic applications of bonus tracks.
Welcome to the first episode of 2016! Join us as we kick off the new year with a new microphone and Björk’s torrid divorce album, Vulnicura, released early last year. Afterwards, we dive into some more heavy material concerning music at large: how easy it is to grow “out of touch”, internet marketing, and postcapitalism! Should be a fun year…
This week we wrestle with the latest project by Ben Folds, this time a solo work (as a follow-up to our much earlier review of the same artist, then with the re-formed Ben Folds Five). In his latest album, So There, the famed pianist is working in two new arenas: the chamber ensemble and the orchestra. Join us in an analysis of the first eight tracks, where he supplements his pop stylings with the incredible talents of yMusic—a New York-based ensemble known for their intensive composer collaborations—and then for the final three tracks, each one a movement from Ben Folds’ much-awaited piano concerto (recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra). Afterwards, stick around for a recap of the vinyl resurgence, as discussed in CC: Autographs Ep. #28…. but this time with Jon!
To kick off “Season 4”, we look at a fairly big name from across the pond: Florence + The Machine. Joining our recent lineup of dynamic female singer/songwriters, Florence Welch (with her expansive melodies and enchanting lyrics) appears to bring it home once more with the vastly-titled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. (Just how big and how beautiful remains to be seen.) So go ahead, join in the analysis, and field your opinions in the comment board! Afterwards, stick around for a hefty discussion on the fairness of lyrical criticism. Have you ever seen a gem of a lyric fly under the radar? Or an overrated lyric reach Pulitzer acclaim? We’ll be exploring the possibility of a double standard in the critical approaches to lyrical verse vs. standalone prose today on the Crash Chords Podcast!
Blur’s evolution as a brit-pop/alt-rock band from their formation in 1988 to their 2003 album Think Tank cannot be understated. But after a twelve-year hiatus, and the return of core member Damon Albarn (now of Gorillaz and solo fame), how will Blur’s long-awaited LP, The Magic Whip, fare? After peering deep into the full album, we take some time to discuss the “many-hat musician”! What are the long-term effects of an artist who dabbles in multiple projects?
This week we explore the much-awaited solo project of Damon Albarn, the English singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist behind such projects as Gorillaz and Blur. His album is called Everyday Robots, and we’re breaking it down. Afterwards, we discuss the conflicts of passion and fluidity in songwriting, particularly with respect to concept albums. Often conceived from a singular inspiration and executed with a singular ambition, it’s easy for artists to overlook aspects of their work when a theme takes center-stage. Does this leave audiences wanting more or does it blow over with the more concept-minded clique?
This week we dive into last year’s LP, Swing Lo Magellan, by Dirty Projectors. Then we preface the topic of “interpretation” by hashing out the distinctions between artists’ music and their visual affectations.