Is it weird for a band’s so-called “comeback album” to be your favorite thing they’ve ever done? This is a question I find odd, because I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever been forced to seriously consider. I mean, yes, there have been albums by returning long-dormant bands that have been quite good in the past (Sleater-Kinney’s recent album comes to mind). But really the only example that’s coming to mind is when Superchunk came back in 2010 with Majesty Shredding, which I’m not entirely sure is my favorite Superchunk album, but might be my favorite Superchunk album.
Though to be fair, the only Slowdive album I’d heard previous to their 2017 release is their most acclaimed album, 1993’s Slouvaki, which is an album I like, though maybe I’ve never been enough of a hardcore shoegaze fan for it to really stick with me. Which is why it’s surprising that I’ve been digging this self-titled comeback album from Slowdive, their first in 22 years. But I think the reason why has to do with it transcending being a mere comeback album, because like any great late-career rock album, it dares to look not just backwards, but forward as well.
Well, not forwards per se (this isn’t future rock), but it certainly looks at the present. Meaning Slowdive sound quite contemporary here, with some amazingly atmospheric production and a scope that’s wide, but never loses sight of sharp songwriting. I suppose the easy modern band to compare this album to is Beach House. Though you can’t really accuse Slowdive of ripping off Beach House when I’m sure they (or at least their contemporaries) had a sizable influence on this younger band. But whatever the case is… much like Beach House, I have a hard time effectively writing about music of this sort, since it appeals more to a kind of sensuousness that’s hard to put into words. So I’ll just say it’s a very pretty album that shows a band sounding better than they ever have, even if you’re not a big enough Slowdive fan for that to mean anything.
Favorite Tracks: “Star Roving”, “Go Get It”, “Falling Ashes”
Powers Boothe has died and I’m sad I haven’t heard much about it. I get it, so many actors and musicians die so frequently. It’s impossible to properly honor them all. Therefore, I thought I’d try my best by talking about my favorite Powers Boothe performance in the grossly underrated 1981 survival thriller Southern Comfort.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Out of all the Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy may be the most un-Marvel. Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Feige and his buddies at Marvel have built a good foundation for storytelling. Marvel films are action packed, have great characters, big laughs, and bigger spectacle. They’ve taken classic storylines and timeless characters and made them shine on the big screen. What’s unique about the Guardians of the Galaxy characters is that before these movies they were nothing.
The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
The New Pornographers are a good band.
This is probably as close to an irrefutable a fact as– ah shit. I already did this intro for my Spoon review. But, basically I’d say the same principals that guide how a longtime indie rock fan like myself processes a new Spoon album is about the same as how I process a new New Pornographers album. Continue reading
“Do the Shins write catchy songs?” Don’t take this statement as “Do the Shins write good songs?” They do for the most part. I’m asking if any random blue collar slob walked into a karaoke bar and tried to sing any Shins song other than “New Slang“ could they nail even fifty percent of the right notes? I’ve probably heard “Phantom Limb” and “So Says I” hundreds of times but no way could I ever belt those tunes in a sing-a-long. This is a factor that has for years held me be back from loving The Shins. Their songs (or at least singles) are too complicated.
After 16 years and eight movies, pretty much everyone is in on the joke when it comes to the Fast and Furious series. We all know the first four fluctuated between kinetic messes and charming absurdity, and that the fifth through seventh are insanely entertaining. But eight is a lot of movies, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rarefied air the franchise is now breathing. This is how many Harry Potter movies there are (not counting Fantastic Beasts). This is double Hunger Games. We’re talking James Bond, infinite franchise territory. With that in mind, I’ve been looking for the right James Bond movie to compare F8 to, and despite the icy connection to Die Another Day, I think it’s Spectre.
Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
I know, I know. I should probably be writing about the new Kendrick album instead of a month old Aimee Mann album. Oh, see what I did there? This album isn’t even a month old yet and feels way older. In fact, it’s not even three weeks old (our culture is screwed btw). But either way, these past couple weeks, Mental Illness has been a great “early morning” album for me, as it makes no attempt to hide its melancholy, but for that reason is a nice warm-up for whatever anxiety each day may bring. Continue reading