Harmlessness – The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

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  Beloved emo super group The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No longer Afraid To Die’s Harmlessness begins with a track entitled “You Can’t Live There Forever”, a portrayal of mental illness that commences with intimate guitar work before building into a massive orchestral lament.  TWIAP’s 2nd album is driven by this duality, the deeply personal at the forefront of expansive instrumentation.  Clocking in at 53 minutes, Harmlessness is a profoundly well composed effort that offers sublimely grandiose, yet wholly human moments. Despite the outward beauty of Harmlessness, its core is punk. At the LP’s prettiest, most […]

Take One – Sands, Fonnesbæk, Riel

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    Take One, a two-disc highlight reel of the trio’s two-night stint at Copenhagen’s Montmartre jazz club, does not reinvent the wheel. They don’t bolster their tunes with ethereal choirs like Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, or add “programming” to their instruments like Terence Blanchard or Ambrose Akinmusire; in fact, they only play one original composition. They also don’t stitch together a concept album about death from a series of short, electronic-laden tracks like Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!; all their tracks stretch out close to 10 minutes. The Epic and You’re Dead! are fantastic, by the way, but this acoustic […]

Ambsace – James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg

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    James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg’s second record as a duo, Ambsace, deceives. An archaic word for throwing the lowest possible dice roll (snake eyes), “ambsace” seemingly promises a sparse and damning album–not so. Yes, most tracks feature only the two guitarists on acoustic 6-strings, but their winding paths and lofty affect occupy more space than most death metal. And yes, some tracks, primarily their cover of Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine,” creepily stalk with sinister prowess, but they also add more color and youthfulness to the pleasant chiller vibe painted across the others. This is the kind of vertigo-inducing […]

b’lieve i’m goin down… – Kurt Vile

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American guitarist and songwriter Kurt Vile’s sixth album b’lieve i’m goin down… is a restrained, contemplative exploration of folk and psychedelic music. These factors make for a listening experience that is thematically and sonically engaging.   Vile’s signature guitar tones are present throughout most of b’lieve I’m goin down… However, he shares the space with a variety of other instruments. For example, banjo (which I had not heard on a Kurt Vile song before) stands as the most prominent instrument on the track “I’m An Outlaw”. In another instance, a flood of fuzzed out organs dominate the last two minutes […]

Mozambique – Wired For Sound

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  I am breaking the KDIC norm of covering brand-spanking-new releases for this review of Wired for Sound – Mozambique. Why? This album is important. And damn is it good. To understand why, you first need some background on Wired for Sound, the project responsible for its existence.   Backed by the Open Society Initiative for Souther Africa (OSISA) NGO, musician Simon Attwell and social anthropologist Kim Winter built a portable recording studio running both on battery and solar power. The solar power allows them to record musicians in certain impoverished and rural provinces of northern Mozambique. For Attwell and […]

Poison Season – Destroyer

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After reaching huge critical and commercial acclaim with their 2011 album, Kaputt, indie rock heavyweights Destroyer have returned with their 11th studio album, Poison Season, a cinematic, sonically ambitious exploration of loss, love and urban life. With each album they have released over their nearly 20-year career, Destroyer has explored new spaces and evolved their sound. Few bands can claim to have dipped their toes in as many sonic territories as Destroyer; they’ve put out releases of unlistenable lo-fi, epic baroque pop and what many have called “Yacht Rock” – in reference to their 2011 effort. Often, they will transition between […]

Breaker – Deerhunter

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Deerhunter’s latest single from their new album, Fading Fronter, opens with a pop shimmer. For the first time, we hear lead Bradford Cox and guitarist Lockett Pundt duet during their collaborative career. Cox, known by many for his often outlandish performance style (see: Cox sporting a black shaggy wig and two bloody finger stumps as he slumps off the stage at a performance on Jimmy Fallon, or perhaps his hour-long My Sharona cover at a concert in Minneapolis in 2012), serves as a foil to Pundt, the hardly interviewed and mellow-voiced guitarist, who contributes vocals to some of Deerhunter’s best […]

Apologues – Masayoshi Fujita

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Berlin-based musician Masayoshi Fujita joins the Erased Tapes family of experimental minimalism with his second album, Apologues. Working with the same mindset he brought to his debut album, Stories, Fujita’s vibraphone conjures mystical tales and imagery. This time around, however, he adds orchestration to his compositions. That was no easy task. In an interview with music blog TheFourOhFive, he admits to having almost no formal vibraphone training, and never studied compositional music theory. “I just learned it by doing it and it was a lot of fun.” Bless you, Masayoshi Fujita, you give me so much hope in life. Given […]

Misty Flats – Goldberg (Reissue Review)

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  “Goldberg knew exactly what he wanted: to capture the sense of being in transition, the atmosphere indivisible from its symbolic portent.” – liner notes, Peter Relic 2014 In 1974, as both the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement lost steam, Thomas Goldberg transposed the nation’s liminal weariness through his own experiences. In other words, Goldberg’s sound and storytelling reflect its historical context, constantly shifting and fluxing through genre and emotions. I’m reviewing Misty Flats now because I feel the uncertainty of a new period–starting another year at Grinnell, declaring a major, navigating social tides, having internal debates about identity […]