Five things you need to consider before investing your hard-earned cash.
from NBC News Top Stories https://ift.tt/2AbBnJZ
Five things you need to consider before investing your hard-earned cash.
from NBC News Top Stories https://ift.tt/2AbBnJZ
Ashley Graham has been breaking all kinds of barriers in the modeling world lately.
The curvaceous brunette beauty walked the runway today during H&M Studios Autumn/Winter 2016 show…
from E! Online (US) – Top Stories http://ift.tt/1RqlTjE
Wonder if Susie Moss is waiting by her phone for a ring from Bing?
In an effort to put you into nostalgia overload, we present you with a very fun fact about that one show you might have…
from E! Online (US) – Top Stories http://ift.tt/1KdYqEQ
Timing is everything. We’ve known for a while that Mark Kozelek was going to be releasing a Christmas album before the end of the year, but for much of that time Kozelek was riding a wave of goodwill following the release of (the still very good, even if I’ve stopped bringing it up at parties) Benji. Now Sings Christmas Carols finally comes out and it feels like an unwanted present from the obnoxious uncle you try and avoid at family gatherings. What happened in between? Kozelek saw the reaction he got from a typically cranky and offhand comment about War on Drugs’ music bleeding into his own at a festival and somehow thought releasing not one but two songs and a t-shirt about it would be amusing to someone other than himself. Suffice to say the joke isn’t funny anymore, and Kozelek is looking pretty sad, not to mention that he’s probably alienating new fans he may have acquired since Benji’s release. And now we’re supposed to allow him into our homes and into Mom and Dad’s 5xCD changer, slotting his CD next to Dolly Parton and Nat King Cole and A Charlie Brown Christmas? If nothing else, we can be thankful that Kozelek finished this album some time ago, so he didn’t alter his version of “The Christmas Song” to include the line “Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, War on Drugs can…”
Anyway. If you can listen to Sings Christmas Carols and think, “This too shall pass,” knowing that by Christmas 2015 Kozelek will have become bored of this game and we’ll have moved on to the next internet beef, you may well enjoy this one. There’s no doubt Kozelek has a voice suited to the material, that he comes up with solid guitar arrangements, and generally imbues these songs with a sense of calm and contemplation. This is by and large a traditional Christmas album all the way, something that you could play for your parents and have them say, “Hey, that’s better than the weird one you brought last year.” He layers his voice into a mini choir for the a capella on “O Come All Ye Faithful”, throws a funny spoken word interlude into “Christmas Time Is Here” that pokes fun at his sad-sack persona, and includes an overlooked Christmas-themed song into the mix, the Pretenders’ “2000 Miles”, which really should be a standard. It’s just voice and guitar throughout, but Kozelek’s nylon string work is consistently engaging, even as he falls back on some of his go-to fingerpicking patterns.
But the album’s strengths—the relaxed vibe, easy prettiness, and earthy undercurrent, all appropriate for a bloated eggnog buzz—happen to be qualities Kozelek can conjure at will. He has a weird way with covers; he can make any song sound like a Kozelek song, but that’s a double-edged sword. When he tackles someone else’s music it almost always sounds good, but there is rarely any depth, and the actual content can seem irrelevant. Two previous covers collections, the AC/DC set What’s Next to the Moon and Tiny Cities, featuring Modest Mouse songs, were more about domination than interpretation. Kozelek smothers the songs in his own aesthetic, and the same holds true here. The main differences being, Christmas songs lend themselves well to his particular concerns, and not too many people are thinking about the deeper layers of meaning inside “O Christmas Tree”. Is it going to bump Low’s Christmas out of the rotation? Not likely. But it’s not bad, and it very well may sound better with each passing year.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1uyRPNe
For an album about marriage, Deptford Goth’s Songs rings as lonely as breakup debris. The second LP from UK-based singer and producer Daniel Woolhouse, Songs isn’t quite the folksy confessional its title implies. This isn’t Songs of Daniel Woolhouse; you won’t find a “So Long, Marianne” in its ranks. Instead, Songs—maybe titled so simply as recompense for last year’s punny Life After Defo—winds in tender and occasionally cathartic circles, focusing on the fears that accompany an intimacy that’s supposed to be permanent.
I mean, how do pessimists pair off? How do you put down your melancholy long enough to say, “Hey, we’ll probably like each other forever”? And once loneliness is legally written out of your record, where do you put the sadness that mysteriously hasn’t vanished now that you sleep next to the same person every night? Woolhouse’s Songs circles through these problems of commitment as he tries to situate himself as one half of a stable whole.
“Every new day you can set on fire everything that you own,” Woolhouse sings on “A Circle”. He can build a house, he knows, but not one that won’t burn. This is a guy who’s clearly in love and still can’t help being a downer. “I fell down/ Things all look bad to me,” he sings on “We Symbolise”. “Love stings, everything goes,” he muses on “The Lovers”. What’s more, he’s got to weigh in his headspace with another person every day of his life. If there’s danger, it’s shared, for good or bad: “I saw the weight in your eye in the corner of the night.” In marriage you get to be loved, but you also have to be constantly seen.
Behind his accented murmurs, Woolhouse fills out Songs with bolder strokes than the pale production of Life After Defo. His synthesized instruments all sound synthesized— strings, drums, flutes, and horns plop directly out of a keyboard, and he does nothing to obscure it or make any stab at realism. Acoustic instruments would have projected a sense of collaboration, of others sharing a room and playing with him. Surrounded by fakes, Woolhouse sounds completely alone.
It’s there in his solitude that he can get at the roots of his worries. Woolhouse knows that for some of us, getting what you’ve always wanted prompts the question of whether or not you’re even worthy of it in the first place. Throughout Songs, he yearns to be better—to be the sort of guy who deserves the love he wants. “Make me good,” he pleads on the beautifully revolving “Near to a River”. “Make me kind. Lift my body up. Make me kind.” He repeats the words like a mantra as the song overflows, carrying him away on its surf.
Even within the safety of companionship, the outside world threatens danger. “Find each other, cause it’s all we’ve got,” Woolhouse sings on “A Circle”. When he gets far enough outside of his own head, his expressions of love are charmingly simple: “You’re a human, and I like you the best.” That’s it. That’s all there is. He cuts out the sparkle from romance, knowing that it alone won’t save him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t take root in it, can’t wear it like armor. “We’ve got peace in us,” he concludes on “Two Hearts”, the first in the album’s delicate two-song finish. “Love, love is enough.” Then, on “A Shelter, a Weapon”: “If you want me, you can have me ’til the end of time.” There’s no guarantee anything lasts that long, but he’s willing to fight for something like forever.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1s6CSLC
Mainstream success has mostly eluded the Twilight Sad, which is somewhat disappointing and even more surprising—their compatriots We Were Promised Jetpacks and Frightened Rabbitstill fill rooms in the States despite being only slightly more “pop,” proof that a certain kind of Scottish miserablism will always play well overseas, especially when delivered with a whiskeyed brogue. Consequently, when you’re the most successful and long-running band with the word “sad” in its name, the obvious question is, at what point does such a staunch commitment to misery become, well, kinda miserable? In the case of the Twilight Sad, it takes about a decade, as everything from the title of Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave to its uncertain sonic direction tells of a band feeling trapped within their own reputation.
Which is somewhat disappointing and even more surprising—Twilight Sad have always been savvy about anticipating diminishing returns. Following their gripping and enduring 2007 debut Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, Forget the Night Ahead served as the prototypical, “darker, more difficult” sophomore LP, quite the accomplishment considering the already downtrodden emotional tenor that preceded it. But rather than sinking deeper into the murk, Twilight Sad maintained their essence while swapping out almost all of their superficial sonic signifiers—turbulent guitar noise and resounding drums were exchanged for icy synths, frigid post-punk, and clangorous drum machines on No One Can Ever Know. In between, they’ve stripped down and reworked their originals for live performances and EPs, and have been open to remixes of their own work. Point being that they’ve covered far more territory than you’d expect from a Scottish mope-rock band and Nobody Wants to Be Here wisely attempts to reestablish the Twilight Sad in 2014 by offering a comprehensive overview.
In a sense, that much is accomplished—while the Twilight Sad keeps the machinery around in a supporting role, these are guitar and drum songs, as they were in the past. Meanwhile, Fourteen Autumns producer Peter Katis returns with a booming, room-filling expansiveness that once tied Twilight Sad to his previous charges such as Interpol and the National. But rather than demonstrating the range of Twilight Sad, Nobody Wants to Be Here coalesces every one of their modes into a gray, midtempo whole that curtails the extremism on both sides. Eerie synth wobbles interrupt the hypnosis brought on by the cyclical opener “There’s a Girl in the Corner”, but otherwise, the electronics cloak Nobody Wants to Be Here in musty shadows. Andy MacFarlane’s once-volcanic guitar work has cooled to an ashy remnant, as he favors curlicued melodic patterns that also recall the National more than, say, Mogwai. Meanwhile, drummer Mark Devine remains curiously underutilized, forgoing both his punishingly loud thumping on Fourteen Autumns and Forget the Night Ahead and the militant precision of No One Can Ever Know—the title track and “Last January” respectively recall the obsessive locomotion of No One’s “Sick” and “Don’t Move”, and later on, “Drown So I Can Watch” is only a slight variation on “Last January”.
James Graham colludes with his band’s most sedate arrangements rather than contrasting them, which increases the difficulty of him getting his point across. This, despite his knack for threatening, tensile mantras—“So cold I know where you go/ Telling me no,” “So we dance to save them all,” “She’ll carry me away from here.” As usual, the song titles are evocative (“In Nowheres”, “Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep”) and his performances are expressive, but Graham’s words always withhold something crucial, strongly suggesting either childhood trauma still yet to be processed, or deep-seated romantic troubles yet to emerge. This had usually been compensated for by a jarring musical rupture or an unexpected leap in his vocal range, but Twilight Sad are stingy with any sort of catharsis and so their sonically warmest and most accessible album is their most emotionally impenetrable.
The mixed messages encoded in Nobody Wants to Be Here were hinted at in an interview with Graham from earlier this year; he claimed a rejuvenated interest in the concept of the Twilight Sad but only after a difficult writing process and a year’s worth of discouragement in light of the cool reception that met the underappreciated No Can Ever Know. It certainly couldn’t have helped to see former touring member Martin Doherty use them as a foil for the neon-lit synth-pop he now creates in Chvrches—he told us, “I’m having more fun on stage than I did in previous bands,” the implication being that, hey, being in the Twilight Sad was bringing me down, man. That was the case for Graham too, as he expressed a need to return to making music that works in a big room; and perhaps it’s in a live setting where one can truly bear witness to the Twilight Sad’s newfound commitment, as the lack of palplable passion on Nobody Wants to Be Here is, once again, somewhat disappointing and even more surprising.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1thSfpO