“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?
Well, it’s happened. Crash Chords covers the topic of… DEPRESSION. But first, we look at the pain, the comedy, and the minor nuisances of the subject through the lens of today’s album, Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet) by stage veteran Loudon Wainwright III. This album is brought to you by our returning guest, Painless Parker. Practically a veteran in his own right, Painless helps us through the episode with some of his own aptly-focused tunes. So stick around for that and our post-album take on today’s much-maligned, and oft-avoided subject.
Happy Thanksgiving from Crash Chords! (If today’s album & analysis should find its way into your extra-long weekend, we’ll be giving plenty of thanks indeed.) Ripe for the picking, we look at an album that debuted at #1 in the U.K. this September, the plaintive This Is All Yours by the English band Alt-J (or “∆”). Then, following the album, we briefly discuss the impact of varying an album’s style as opposed to its mood.
This week Matt chats with the singer-songwriter from Juneau, Alaska — and Rennaissance woman of lyrical subjects — Marian Call. After the release of her newest record, Marian Call Sings the Classics Vol. 1, she is well on her way through her Autumn Tour from Portland to Portland. She’ll find herself in NYC on October 19th at 6pm, performing at Rockwood Music Hall at 196 Allen St. She can also be found on MC Frontalot’s new record Question Bedtime, in the song “Mornings Come and Go.” Today, she shares her thoughts on the process of making a new record, with various “nerdigressions” from comic books to Doctor Who.
Today we’re joined by an especially talented folk singer and member of The Waysties, Molly Herbert-Wilson. Kicking us off with a performance, she then takes us into her album pick, The Once by The Once. This self-titled debut is a varied medley of folk tracks that Molly admits contributed to her own personal folk tradition… As such, we then cut to Matt Storm’s “away” interview with Molly where he gets the chance to dive into those career origins a little further. And keep your ears open for more performances throughout!
Today’s band, the English guy-girl duo Slow Club, dips from modern Indie-Pop back to 60s/70s-era Motown for their new release, Complete Surrender. First we take a trip through the album, and then, as per the present case of genre-meshing, we take another trip a through a thesis: “Pop music looks toward the future while Indie looks to the past.” Any validity? That’s today’s question. (Opinions & comments encouraged.)
Welcome to our favorite Calgarian’s special day! That’s right, the renaissance man of the Indi-Folk world, Chad VanGaalen, has released a new album, Shrink Dust, the subject of today’s analysis. We also take some time to discuss fans’ expectations of a given artist’s work based on prior conditions. Artists may often govern our tastes, but our tastes certainly don’t govern them! Ergo, some personal tales. Enjoy!
We’re returning to an old favorite this week with the cheerful theatrics of three musical robots: Steam Powered Giraffe. Incidentally, another old favorite (guest Nelson Lugo), is returning to us! For review, he delivers us Steam Powered Giraffe’s third studio release, MK III. (To hear our review of their second album, see Ep. #39!) And stick around, because after this fun-filled excursion through the band’s most daring product yet, we get to hear all about Nelson’s excursions through the world of magic and theater, namely his upcoming show, “Gathering the Magic.” Enjoy!
This week’s review features an eclectic album of covers whose native genres have been turned on their heads to suit the creative muse of former Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman, Mark Kozelek. Join us as we hash out this unique acoustic cover-album, Like Rats. Afterwards, we talk more broadly about what it means to “cover” existing music. Whether true to the note or fundamentally overhauled, why do some covers inspire us anew, while others fall flat on their face?