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.]
This week, Matt welcomes Sharon Knight, a Celtic/folk vocalist and mandolinist, hailing from San Francisco. With her latest album Portals and a music video for her single “Porcelain Princess” now released, Sharon chats with Matt about how long she was working on the new record and what went into creating the music video. They also touch upon her tour life, how she got started in music, when she started playing mandolin, and her Celtic/folk influences. With time to throw in her future plans and some information on the visual art she creates, here’s presenting Matt Storm and Sharon Knight.
Some have called him the greatest American songwriter — a merit worth examining as Paul Simon’s music continues to retain its luster from generation to generation. But should the acclaimed discography of Paul Simon tint our analysis of the musician’s latest album, Stranger to Stranger? …Hardly! Let’s feign ignorance together and investigate Paul Simon’s 13th studio album for all it has to offer. And don’t forget to stick around to the end as we launch into a fun and surprisingly multi-faceted discussion on cell phone audio, retracing its evolution, and predicting its future.
Today we’re exploring the latest release by indi/folk singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan called In the Magic Hour. Bear with us as we slowly peel back the onion that is In the Magic Hour and discover it for ourselves, right before your very ears. Contribute to the discussion in the comments below! What was your experience with the album? Plenty to mull over, indeed, especially in our topic, at [1:42:04], on the nature of obscurity in music. Is obscurity a true literary/musical device? Is it a fault? Or do we invent it when our comprehension fails us? Questions, theories, questions, theories… Hop in the circle!
Yup… we’re back to Steam Powered Giraffe. And it’s a special double disc day! The Vice Quadrant, the fourth installment of the steampunk / “broadway”-esque act (chronicling the adventures of three antique malfunctioning musical robots) was released September 2015, and, as promised in their previous release MK III, they’re in spaaaace! Although today marks a rare third visit to an artist for us (after episodes 39 & 72), the “space” sales pitch was simply too tempting to resist. We will, however, bite the hook on one count: being a double disc, an unstreamable album, and an extra long episode, this one’s likely just for the SPG fans. If you count yourself in that crowd—but still have a critical ear—then join us in this hefty analysis and share your thoughts below! Hopefully our ‘Disc Two’ “bookmark” at 1:23:30 will help manage your time.
Prepare yourself for the music & antics of special guest Killy Dwyer, comic musician and singer-songwriter of Kill the Band. (You’ll be hearing some of their work throughout the episode, so ears open!) And after a hefty interview with Killy herself — covering themes in her songwriting, her background, her studio work, her live act, and the state of the arts in NYC — we finally “lighten” the load at 1:01:44 with a discussion on Killy’s album choice, a short and cheery EP called Songs for Your Future by The Dreamstalks. (And of course, by “lighten” we mean “weigh it down” again with subjects of a fancifully child-scarring nature.) Enjoy!
This week we seek something HIGHER! Perhaps we’ll find it in Chris Cornell’s solo album, Higher Truth? Won’t know until we dive in. Climb aboard won’tchya? Afterwards, stay on board for a giant discussion on the concept and usage of the ‘Extended Play’, i.e., the EP. Not too big and not too small… why is this thing still around?! How did it start? How was it used? How IS it used? How SHOULD it be used?! Enjoy!
Today, Matt is joined by Carly Ritter, a country/folk singer-songwriter hailing from Los Angeles, California. With a self-titled debut now available on iTunes and Amazon, Carly Ritter chats with Matt about the time she’s currently spending in Nashville to hone her craft, and what she has come to learn from other songwriters. Hear her discuss the details of her songwriting process and where she pulls inspiration, all while stressing the importance of strong discipline when trying to learn anything with a creative mind. She also chats about the supportive nature of the independent creators community, and touches upon the works of bluegrass covers currently in the making.
“April is the cruellest month,” as T.S. Eliot put it. If rain and taxes weren’t proof enough, let’s tack on some death! Sufjan Stevens’ latest release, Carrie & Lowell, is not so much an expansion on his existing work as it is a trip down the bleak rabbit hole of life’s greatest mystery. With the untimely passing of his mother Carrie, Stevens drifts from the cutthroat realities of death’s aftermath to despair and bittersweet nostalgia. Join us as we join him on this harrowing yet preparatory journey. Afterwards, we address other methods of dealing with death. Seriously, don’t enjoy this episode too much!
Described as indie folk, indie rock, and baroque pop, most genres fail to capture the plethora of avenues used by The Decemberists to spin fanciful yarns to their devoted fans. Often celebrating antediluvian themes with modern sensibilities, The Decemberists have become the paradigm for making the old-timey “à la mode”. Let’s take a trip through their latest work, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World for today’s much-awaited analysis. Also stick around for a chat on what it means to employ research in the course of band-diving. Should the discography of a band be calling the shots?