Colin Wessman

All The Feels

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

So far, my reaction to this new Courtney Barnett record has been “this is really good, but not that exciting”. Which is a pretty shitty reaction, considering anything really good should be appreciated at face value for its really good-ness. But, maybe chock it up to the fact that Barnett released an unsurprisingly solid collaboration with Kurt Vile last year, and therefore it feels like it hasn’t been that long since we’ve heard from her, despite the fact that it’s been three years since her tremendous 2015 solo debut. Continue reading

Retrospecticus: Neko Case

Neko Case is un-fucking-stoppable. In fact, I’m not sure there’s any person in the past 20 years who’s been involved with as much great music as Neko Case. Not only has she had one of the most fruitful, consistently rewarding discographies of any singer-songwriter in recent memory. But in addition, she has been an integral part of Canadian power-pop supergroup, The New Pornographers, who’ve been just as consistent as Case has been in her solo work. Then on top of that, you have projects like 2016’s excellent Case/Lang/Veirs collaboration, as well as the fact that she’s appeared on underrated Northwest classics like Cub’s Betti-Cola or Visqueen’s Message To Garcia.

So needless to say, looking at Case’s discography is not going to be filled with the kinds of weird peaks and valleys that one looks for in a retrospecticus. As I’ve said, she’s been very consistent, an attribute not typically valued in rock and roll, but one that makes sense for an artist that really didn’t come into her own until she was in her thirties. That said, I think despite the fact that most of these albums will hover around 4-stars ratings-wise, each album provides something new about Case’s personality and her music that revels in its bittersweetness. Which I can only assume will continue on her latest album Hell-On, which comes out this week. Continue reading

Pitching Tents 19: Star Wars Spin-offs

Hey everybody, there’s a Star Wars a-comin’! I don’t know if there’s as much excitement for the Solo: A Star Wars Story as there has been for the past few Star Wars movies. But well, I think Star Wars fatigue was somewhat inevitable. Still, from the TV promos I’ve seen, critics supposedly think Solo is “fun” and “exciting”, so I guess there’s that to look forward to. Also, what I’ve kind of gleaned from reviews so far is that it’s inoffensively passable. In other words, it’s a Ron Howard film. On this episode of Pitching Tents, the boys try to buck the trend of bland fan service-y Star Wars spin-offs and pitch something truly daring. But you know, also won’t piss off fans as much as an actual good Star Wars movie like The Last Jedi did.

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Who’s That Girl?

New Girl is a show that I’ve consistently found myself being surprised by, despite the fact that I’ve never had particularly high expectations for it. After all, the show’s premise was as basic as sitcom premises get – a newly single girl moves in with a bunch of single dudes and they like, get into hijinks and stuff. Yet the basic-ness of that premise is what allowed its writers the freedom to go in so many delightful directions. And in the process made me keep watching in an era where it’s become increasingly hard to stick with a show for more than the first three seasons or so. Continue reading

DirtySexyCool

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

Upon hearing the first single from Janelle Monáe’s latest album, “Make Me Feel”, my first reaction was, “wow, that sounds a lot like Prince”. Which shouldn’t be surprising, considering Prince came up the last time I reviewed a Janelle Monáe album, which Prince actually appeared on. So it’s not a stretch to assume that since The Purple One’s passing, he’s been on the minds of a lot of R&B/pop artists of Monáe’s sensibilities, which kind of brings up an interesting idea. Continue reading

The Second Annual Mildly Pleased Criterion Draft

Didn’t get enough of Colin, Sean, and John talking about snooty arthouse movies in the dead of blockbuster season last year? Well, have we got a treat for you! Once, again these three lads will embark on another July filled with nothing but reviews of movies that have been put out by the fine folks at Criterion. And because the NFL draft just ended (or maybe it’s still going, I don’t know…) it’s time for the drafting of which films will be watched over the course of said month. And because it’s just the way we roll, we took an entire podcast to figure out who gets to review what movies. See you (and by you, I mean literally that one snob out there who’ll actually be interested in these reviews) in July! Continue reading

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I Feel Ya, Dog

Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog

I’ve liked Philadelphia indie rockers Hop Along for a while now, but I think I’ve only recently cracked the code as to what makes them special. And that’s that on first listen they seem like the most typical amalgam of what an indie rock band would be expected to sound like: the crunchy guitars, the sneaky rhythmic patterns, the token lady lead singer surrounded by bearded bandmates. But when you actually listen to them closely, there are a lot of things that make Hop Along less than typical: the odd song structures, the leftfield brazenness, and a lady lead singer whose explosive vocals are far more raw and uncompromising than pretty much any lead singer going right now. Continue reading