Author Archive

Lykke Li – I Never Learn

May 6th, 2014
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The Soundtrack to Your Break Up

When Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li burst into the American music scene in 2008 with her debut LP Youth Novels, she seemed like the next up-and-coming Scandinavian pop star—quirky and individualistic, with an album full of songs produced by Björn Yttling, one-third of the hip trio Peter, Björn, and John. But on I Never Learn, Li’s compact third album, there’s little upbeat pop to be found. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews ,

Pixies – Indie Cindy

April 29th, 2014
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Don’t Call It a Comeback

The Pixies are a band with a huge, looming reputation—they’re one of the most loved bands to come out of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s—and their fans await their work with equally huge expectations, especially since they haven’t released a full-length record since 1991’s Trompe le Monde. But even considering this album isolated from the Pixies’ previous material, as its own product of a new decade and a new lineup (as the band is now minus former bassist Kim Deal and plus Paz Lenchantin), it sadly disappoints. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , ,

TEEN – The Way and Color

April 23rd, 2014
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Chilled Out

On their second full-length album The Way and Color, Brooklyn quartet TEEN delve deep into the realm of psychedelia-influenced pop, infusing their songs with winding, colorful melodies that will leave you wishing for a real modern day Woodstock, headbands and peace signs (and maybe some glow sticks) and all. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

The Both – The Both

April 15th, 2014
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A Happy, Harmonious Union

Ted Leo (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann might not seem like the most obvious match, but the pair formed a fast friendship after touring together last year and decided to cement their newfound camaraderie with a collaboration called The Both. Leo and Mann release their self-titled debut as The Both this week on Mann’s own SuperEgo Record. Despite the seeming disparity between their styles and previous work, this is a sweet, incredibly harmonious union of two of today’s veteran musicians that pushes their talents in a new direction. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , ,

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