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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
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+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
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+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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Saturday Looks Good To Me
Every Night

Fred Thomas has a way with denouement. No matter that his music makes you want to roll up the carpet and call over a few friends. The ember-sifting lyrics of the Michigan band Saturday Looks Good to Me offer sharp, honest reflections. Hearts have been hindered, and the couple rendered in song couldn't be more broken up if they tried.

Every Night, produced by Thomas and His Name Is Alive's Warn DeFever, pairs favorites from a vinyl fan's record cabinet — I hear The Association, the emotion of Small Factory and girl-group greats like The Shirelles — with modern life (and love). SLGTM ably reference the heightened production of both Phil Spector and the more soulful Bert Burns (The Drifters, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke…) while still sounding emergent and contemporary.

Every Night is the follow-up to last year's All Your Summer Songs, a record that introduced the band and its unique sound to a larger audience than the previous scattering of singles, compilation appearances and enthusiastic live shows. Imagine a musical gathering to tip Lambchop's roster with many of the same instruments, including harp, accordion, lap steel, organ and trumpet.

Pretty girl vocals float up throughout, with Thomas either trading off or assuming the lead. The setup works very well, as all of the credited female stylists — newcomer Betty Marie Barnes joins longtime members Kelly Jean Caldwell, Erika Hoffman and Ko Melina — provide just the right airiness or wronged finger-pointing essential to romantic entanglements. What distinguishes this bandshell from, say, Ladybug Transistor — as good as they are — is the use of vintage sounds that still allow for punk and indie-rock influences.

"When the Party Ends" is an ideal example, entering with a fervent guitar strum reminiscent of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" until loosening into a more keen than maddening rhyme scheme. Thomas calls you on what you probably already think about the kind of people who would play this music, on what trendy pretense the associations are founded: "They know the demographic that we represent/ Because they heard all of our secrets through the heating vent/ So write another song about your discontent/ And wax nostalgic for a time less turbulent/ With metaphors like closet doors that won't open/ And you can use your list of words that rhyme with 'opulent.'" "Lift Me Up" is another standout, so infectious with a Johnny Marr-like guitar and harp glissade. The chorus betrays a girl's tumbling heart: "Baby, baby you make me so nervous!/ I think you do it on purpose (I know you do)." Then she'll tell him that she's leaving anyway.

Saturday Looks Good to Me has too much fun with romantic ballast. Call Fred Thomas a realist in the vein of Stephin Merrit's 69 Love Songs, where lovely arrangements coat some thinking pills. Likewise Thomas is unassuming enough to think that mundane postcards, like New York City, have any affecting melancholy left in them. They do. The usual remnants of a break-up story sound intimate and relevant on Every Night — not to mention modern and polished.

by Jennifer Przybylski

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