Molars Made with no audience in mind.

exegese des souffles

Colin Stetson's new album, All This I Do For Glory, is an incredible album, and I mean that in the most literal sense: that I cannot believe that music like this exists. The new music seems like a distillation of his aesthetic and his technique, the songs feel sharp and willful and hard and yearning, somehow approaching a limit. When I saw him in concert some time in the fall of 2013, I was awed by what he did alone on stage. From way back in the crowd where I was, his silhouette suggested something more like a volunteer firefighter wrestling a humongous piece of plumbing pipe, but he produced unearthly sounds. All This I Do For Glory is a tremendous achievement, I think that's fair to say, but not one that everyone will admire, I guess; for me, there's a lot there, the album is spectacular and I listened to it maybe twice a day for a month. It is absorbing. There's no one making music quite like this: haunting, urgent, vivid, human, wild. One of the best albums of the year so far.

[BUY All This I Do For Glory]

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De kranten

A newspaper on fire. An old magazine left in a patch of blackberries. Drops of water on the trunk of a cedar tree. The music on Ian William Craig’s Slow Vessels is here, barely. Smudged. Hazy. Covered. Momentary. The songs on Slow Vessels are all compressed versions of songs that were on Centres, Craig’s album from 2016, an album that was even more smudged and stretched-out and distorted. It’s fascinating to hear artists take their songs and turn them inside out, or essentially rewrite them like Craig does on Slow Vessels. His voice is at the front of the songs here, though, a voice that sounds like it belongs in a play, in a musical, or as the second lead in an opera, stealing all the scenes.

[BUY Slow Vessels]

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De bossen

Woods' mini-album, Love is Love, is pretty hopeful, all things considered. The band remarked that they recorded it in the two months after the U.S. election, when many people felt despondent and hopeless and isolated and crazed (I felt all those things, plus an incredible and never-receding anger that shaded into sadness that so many other people could be so stupid and short-sighted and selfish and hateful and fucked-in-the-head and devoid of any fellow feeling for other human beings). It's nice to hear music that celebrates love and hope and warmth. This is a good album, with buoyant tunes.

[BUY Love is Love]

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Been on a break

Got married at the end of April in California and, after four great years there, moved north to Washington state. Settling in. Starting to understand the customs up here. People at work keep shouting the names of lakes at me, urging me to visit and swim. Someone, a stranger, put a chainsaw in my hands the other day and gestured towards the woods as one would hand a bat to a toddler and point to a piñata: with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. I am immersing myself in the culture here. The other night my wife and I went to a restaurant that was playing nothing but Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, and Soundgarden. It felt right. The dark green branches/light green spring buds of a Douglas fir against the freakish blue of the afternoon sky is a sight. The sun doesn’t go down until late in the night here. This is all to say that the blog will be back on its semi-regular schedule soon, for the readers (?) and bots (?) out there who’ve been waiting patiently for an update. Hope you’re all doing well.

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I am a thought leader, I will lead your thoughts

This song is very good and extremely catchy. I have woken up in the middle of the night with this song stuck in my head, which is how I usually know for sure that a song is both good and catchy (though I’ll admit that this rule of thumb has its limits, since I’ve woken up with bad songs stuck in my head too, in addition to good songs that were so catchy that they made me feel a little sick. Spoon songs often fall in the latter category; there is something in their music that seems to disrupt my brain chemistry). Diet Cig make fun music.

[BUY Swear I'm Good At This]

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Natural Devastastion

The book of pictures. Each page contained 100 images. Each page was a sentence that you understood through the pictures. The book contained 200,000 pages. It told the story of a young woman, born in 2025 and abandoned by her parents in an ocean-adjacent town in Florida, who becomes a member of a group of guides that helps people retreat from their lives along the old coast and move inwards, into the middle of the country, where the land is still dry. The young woman has a special understanding, it seems, of what it means to leave and be left, and so she helps the flood refugees to resettle, to reform their new identities in their new communities. She helps the surf-shop owner become a baker; the resort owner becomes an electrician (she’d always loved the mystery of wires and outlets). She keeps making these trips, out to the coast and back, helping people find their new homes, never resting, always traveling, retreating from the encroaching ocean, the sight of which she cherishes, the mesmerizing motion of those hot waves coming in and in and in.

[BUY Images]

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If you love a plant, set it free

Can you not get into this groove? Corollary question: why would you not desire to get into this groove? It is a downcast groove, sliding, sure, but it's there, it's supportive in its way, it's accommodating. Guitar and horns say, Welcome, friend, sit yourself right there, you look tired, take the best spot on the couch. Do you want a beer? Help yourself to the snacks there on the table. Casual and charming. Low-key as hell. Like a bizarro Steely Dan, but way less fussy. The Spirit of Hang-outs presides over this album.

[BUY The Band]

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Greyhounds at Cafe Van Kleef

Jay Som’s Everybody Works is one of the best albums I’ve heard in 2017. 100% enjoyable from beginning to end. There are the songs that rush, like Take It and 1 Billion Dogs, full of energy and the spirit of Yo La Tengo at their most sprightly; carefully observed songs like The Bus Song, Baybee, and One More Time, Please (which has what sounds like a beautiful little piano move that reminds me of early Microphones tracks); and songs like (BedHead) and For Light that are slow and striking and elegiac. This is an album packed with ideas and awesome melodies and it all flies by so fast. So many good lines too--one that just popped into my head, from Remain, "Our pinkie promises/were never meant for this."

Everybody Works is that rare type of album that’s both immediately rewarding and stands up to repeated and intense listening. I’ve been listening to the album once a day or more for the past month and a half and I’m still finding new things about it that I love. This album definitely deserves a ton of attention.

[BUY Everybody Works]

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The Taste of Hellheat

Walking in Austin, through frightening heat. To a grocery store for a $6 bottle of water to share between 5 people. The streets were full. Partiers, revelers, motorcycles. Everything radiated. We walked and wandered. Barbecue at a place down the street. One of us didn’t love the okra. Someone broke the glass on the front door of the place we were staying—not us. Outside, smoking cigarettes, talking for the sake of talking, listening to the conversations of passersby. Cold beers inside. We watched the Euros when we could, through the doors of bars and on the TVs in the airport.

[BUY Reproduction, Knife in the Water's excellent new album]

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Le serpent noir

Restraint and control. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are restrained on Fireproof, and it sounds good on them. You can hear that there’s energy there, waiting, ready to be released, but that tension is put to use in service of the song. The guitars on Fireproof sound a little like those on Radiohead’s Morning Mr. Magpie—truncated, cut-off, but also permitted to progress through a cascading series, with a spare note here and there flying off and ringing out; it’s all tension, suspense, the stress of keeping it together while not having it together at all.

[BUY The Tourist]

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