Author Archive

EMA – The Future’s Void

April 9th, 2014
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Dark and Powerful

Enigmatic electronic artist EMA (Erika M. Anderson) has a knack for choosing strikingly appropriate titles for her songs and albums. The Future’s Void, her third album, teeters on the edge of a syntactical abyss: it’s either a depressingly cynical statement (the future is void), or a possessive, a taking hold and a staking out of unexplored, unknowable territory (the void of the future). It seems she chooses the latter, filling the void of the unknown with a haunting, memorable soundtrack sure to plague your dreams. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

Kevin Drew – Darlings

March 19th, 2014
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Effortless Cool

Darlings seems like just the right name for Kevin Drew’s second solo album. The Canadian musician and former Broken Social Scene co-founder released his first solo effort, Spirit If… in 2007, which included original material that reflected the experimental, eclectic, slightly rough around the edges sound that Broken Social Scene listeners would recognize and love. And it wasn’t surprising, given that the album cover read, “Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew,” situating him under the band’s umbrella even as he was venturing out on his own. But on Darlings, Drew takes a few steps further away, crafting a sound that’s more uniquely his own. Instead of the somewhat scruffy, intensely earnest music of BSS and his solo debut, now Drew comes off as mellowed-out and effortlessly cool, an indie darling who’s traded a sometimes muddled baroque sound for super chill synth-pop. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews ,

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

March 12th, 2014
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This Flight is Grounded

The Take Off and Landing of Everything, the new album from English rockers Elbow, follows in the wake of the band’s success with 2011’s Build A Rocket Boys!, which, like almost everything the band has done, earned them a spot high on the billboard charts. And while there’s something to be said for consistency and for longevity—this is the band’s sixth studio album since 2001—The Take Off and Landing of Everything falls short of the kind of epic gesture that even its name aims to achieve. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews

Bryce Dessner – St. Carolyn by the Sea / Jonny Greenwood – Suite from “There Will Be Blood”

March 8th, 2014
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The New Classical

It’s not too often that rock musicians delve into the realm of classical music, but The National’s guitarist Bryce Dessner and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood do just that on their new split EP, St. Carolyn by the Sea / Suite from “There Will Be Blood,” out this week on Deutsche Grammophon. Both musicians have composition chops—Dessner has worked with the Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass and released his solo compositional debut Aheym in 2013, and Greenwood has composed scores for several films in addition to There Will Be Blood, including Norwegian Wood in 2010 and, more recently, The Master in 2012. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , , , , ,

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

February 18th, 2014
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Folk with a Razor Edge

Missouri singer-songwriter Angel Olsen first appeared on the scene in 2011 with her EP Strange Cacti, around the time when she was working as a backing singer for Bonnie Prince Billy. Her vintage, soulful folk received a further outlet on her first LP, Half Way Home, in 2012, before catching the attention of the label Jagjaguwar. Burn Your Fire For No Witness is Olsen’s first full-band release, recorded in the Appalachian city of Asheville, NC with drummer Josh Jaeger and bassist Stewart Bronaugh. And while Olsen may be just beginning her career, this album has the wisdom, complexity and maturity of a veteran artist. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine

February 11th, 2014
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A Futuristic Jazz Cabaret

When a band names themselves after the Italian words for “crazy food,” you might expect their music to be a little off the beaten path. And Cibo Matto certainly don’t disappoint in that regard. The NYC-based band, founded by Japanese expatriates and all-around kick-ass girl-rockers Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, formed in 1994 and released two albums and a few EPs to critical acclaim before breaking up in 2002. The band reunited in 2011, joined by drummer Yuko Araki, and Hotel Valentine is their third full-length record and their first release since the ’90s. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Broken Bells – After the Disco

February 4th, 2014
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Not Fade Away

When indie darling super-duo Broken Bells released their self-titled debut in 2010, the music world collectively geeked out over the collaboration: take Danger Mouse (aka producer Brian Burton) and his danceable beats, throw them against The Shins frontman James Mercer’s mellow acoustic crooning, and you get a quietly dynamic blend of smooth pop. After the Disco continues the duo’s partnership, shifting it just a little further into the realm of the electronic, while still keeping Mercer’s melodic guitar and quavery tenor. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , , ,

Hospitality – Trouble

January 28th, 2014
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A Very Welcome Return

The first, self-titled album from Brooklyn trio Hospitality fit its name remarkably well—it was an accessible, incredibly catchy, cutesy indie-pop romp bound to steal your oh-so-hip heart. And while the band’s sophomore album, Trouble, caters less to the sparkly, pleasant pop sound, it’s just as endearing, and possibly even more so. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Warpaint – Warpaint

January 22nd, 2014
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Subtle Swag

Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore album might not strike you as “grrl-rock,” but the members of the L.A.-based band certainly have enough chutzpah to earn the name. On this follow-up to their 2010 full-length debut, The Fool, the women of Warpaint have crafted a refined and cohesive, darkly atmospheric swirl of indie-pop that manages to be at once dreamy and edgy—and that’s no small feat. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

M83 – You and the Night Original Soundtrack

December 6th, 2013
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Movie Musique

The art of film scores and soundtracks balances two roles—complementing and enhancing the plot, atmosphere, and aesthetic of the film, as well as standing alone as an individual album or piece of music. Not all soundtracks can or should straddle this line successfully, though, and that seems to be the case for M83’s original score for You and the Night, the first film by M83 frontman Anthony Gonzalez’s brother, Yann Gonzalez. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , , ,