The Muse Reviews: Youth Lagoon

True confession: I am more than a little ambivalent about living in the now. I’m nostalgic for old times, even though I was just as disapproving of those bygone eras back in the day as I am with this one now…character flaw, I know, one of many…so, I’m reading my accursed Facebook news feed (it’s 2014 after all) and some kind soul turns me on to Youth Lagoon. THANK YOU. Along comes some random kid from Boise, and all of a sudden I’m sold on 2014. Cheered up, glad to be alive, and looking forward to 2015.

Trevor Powers has said his music is about mental distress. Maybe, but it’s soothing and fun as heck. He has two albums. They are both great. You can order The Year Of Hibernation and Wondrous Bughouse from Amazon.

It’s hard to pick a favorite song, I really like all of them. Maybe Mute17, or Afternoon are good starting points. Through Mind and Back starts out like the Twilight Zone. And..my fave…music about outer space!

Glad to know you @youthlagoon!

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The Muse Reviews: Fever Ray

These recordings were released in 2009, but Fever Ray–a solo project of swede Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson–wasn’t on my radar until I started watching Vikings on the History Channel. If I Had a Heart plays during the opening credits creating an eerie, otherworldly feeling that really works for imagining the frightening and magnificent world of Scandinavia before Christianity.

Like the opening track, the rest of the album has an appropriately Nordic feel – a bleak, solitary elegance that that feels both modern and primal at the same time. It’s a good listen at bedtime, or any time you want to chill out and clear your head.

By the way, the series is completely fascinating and enthralling. You have time to catch up on the first two seasons before the Season Three starts next year.

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The Muse Reviews: Alvvays


This album comes in a gorgeous blue vinyl, and it’s been on heavy rotation at our house. Alvvays manages to be both upbeat and relaxing, and very, very pretty at the same time. The album is definitely worth repeated beginning-to-end listens, but my favorite tracks are the hit Archie, Marry Me which is just a fun commentary on modern love. I also really adore the last track Red Planet which is a great contribution to the genre of rock songs about life in space. Brilliant.

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The Muse Reviews: Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers

 

This is a cool looking album, for sure, and I have to say the music does not disappoint. Brill Bruisers is fun, loud, celebratory and triumphant. Champions of Red Wine is a great song—Neko Case’s voice sounds so sweet and pure here—but, really it’s all amazing. Backstairs is party music. Dance Hall Domine could be an inspiring track for your workout playlist. But maybe the best use for this album would be to save it for after a moment of personal triumph, settle in with some head phones and a glass of red wine, and just savor the feeling of victory. Super happy with this album, and counting the days until the live show.

 

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The Muse Reviews: Benjamin Booker

 

Wow. Wow. Wow.

There is a whole lot of Checkerboard Lounge here, plus the earnestness of Billy Bragg and the raw energy of the Replacements and an antique patina reminiscent of the “O Brother Where Art Thou.” Good for drinking coffee and psyching myself up for daunting tasks like cleaning the house or talking to people, that type of thing. Screw that. I am listening to this over and over again. For everything. At parties. In the car. Before bed. Whatever.

Benjamin Booker is playing in Chicago, on Saturday, at Schuba’s. The show sold out early plus it’s past my bedtime. If you got a ticket, or managed to see the guy open for Jack White, I am officially jealous of you.

Check out http://www.benjaminbookermusic.com and buy this album! There’s a lot here beyond the single “Violent Shiver”

@benjamin booker – so impressed and rooting for you (along with everyone else and their brother). Keep it coming!

 

 

 

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David Bowie Day

The Mayor of Chicago has declared September 23, 2014 to be David Bowie Day. So it seems an auspicious day to start my long-imagined, long-awaited (by me anyway) music blog. Of course, I completely excited about going to see the MCA exhibit, David Bowie Is, right here in my home town.

How much do I love Bowie? Here’s a bit from diary which includes all the love letters I will never send:

Dear David Bowie,

Thank you for being there for me my whole life like some kind of degenerate guardian angel. I sat mesmerized by the early days of MTV, felt like a found a kindred soul in “Ziggy Stardust” early on, sang along to “Suffragette City” when it was covered by the one decent live band I’d go out to see in high school. These days I find “Oh, You Pretty Things” comforting in spite of the subject matter and “I’d Rather Be High” poignant and fun. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication. You amaze me and I love you! -The Owl Muse

 

 

 

 

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