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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Mary Sullivan


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Record Routine: Big Boi and Phantogram find gold on collaborative 'Big Grams'

Many times collaborations between great artists don’t work. This isn’t because of a lack of musical ability or poor production, but instead the artists are focused on their style or outperforming the other and not about the mix as a whole. Other times, artists work so impeccably well together that you almost forget it’s a collaboration and look forward to the new group’s next project. Big Grams, the hip-hop project from Big Boi and Phantogram, falls into the latter category with their debut, self-titled EP.

V
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Record Routine: Wavves breathe life into pop-punk genre

Wavves’ Nathan Williams is not ready to grow up. On the contrary, he seems to want nothing more than to Benjamin Button back to ninth grade where he can bask in all of his confused, bored, self-doubting teenage glory. Fortunately for us, this contradicting adult-teen-angst makes for fantastic songwriting, showcased in every pop-punk, noise rock infused minute of Wavves’ fifth installment, V.

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Record Routine: She & Him fizzle in effort to capture classic sound

Since the 2013 release of Volume 3, She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have switched to Columbia Records to release their covers album, Classics, December 2. Joined by an impressive 20-piece orchestra that Ward arranged, Deschanel takes the lead on most of the tracks. The song choices are, in fact, classics, and though the duo do a beautiful job at recreating each one with their own little quirks, the songs have all been covered hundreds of times, leaving little room for originality and a lot of room for scrutiny. 

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Record Routine: Family matters on Teddy Thompson's latest effort

“Sean Lennon, you know what I mean/ Born to the manor, never quite clamoring free/ It’s family” Teddy Thompson sings on the first track of collaborative Thompson album Family. Overly hyperbolic comparisons aside, Teddy has some pretty big shoes to fill in the folk music industry. His father, Richard Thompson, is considered one of the best acoustic guitarists of his generation and is a renowned composer across many genres, while his mother, Linda, is a respected folk singer (the two toured together for ten years before the end of their professional and romantic partnership). The album briefly reunites the two legends, along with other musical geniuses of the Thompson family (such as Teddy’s siblings Kami and Jack, as well as his nephew Zak), for a family affair of epic folk music proportions.

AJ Davila
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Record Routine: Puerto Rican garage rocker releases stunning sequel to debut album

Just a little over nine months ago, AJ Davila of Puerto Rican garage rock band Davila 666 released his first solo piece, Terror/Amor, via Nacional Records. Davila has released his sophomore album Beibi alongside a new Davila 666 album, on top of touring the U.S. with both projects. For Beibi, Davila moved over to Burger Records, a DIY-based independent label that promotes its music organically through vinyl, cassettes and insane tour caravans of outrageous garage/punk rock bands throughout the country. Burger’s focus on the audacious purity of rock ’n’ roll parallels immaculately with Davila’s Beibi, one of the best “sugary, flower-punk” garage albums of the year (since Terror/Amor, of course).

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Record Routine: Liz Harris taps into break-up emotions on latest effort

There are two kinds of breakups—a dramatic eruption of passion and anger in a be-all-end-all final blowout and a slow, fading death of passion without any fireworks and an overpowering sense of “throwing in the towel.” The first category is glamorized in television, movies, music and pop culture—its excitement and emotion lures in the audience with each fight and each tear. The latter, then, is frequently overlooked because it lacks a climactic boiling point and seems uneventful to a third party. However, it is often a far more painful experience.

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Record Routine: OK Go fail to impress on fifth album

For some reason, I just don’t think I will ever be able to take OK Go seriously. It might have to do with the fact that their first viral explosion—the “Here It Goes Again” video—came out during the peak of my YouTube awareness curve. This being my first impression of the band, I can’t help but group OK Go in my middle school brain with the “Muffins,” “Shoes” and “Old Greg” videos—compiling this time of my Internet life into one big, bad comedy sketch.

Banjos!
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Record Routine: married banjo stars marry many genres on new banjo showcase

It’s hard to believe an album of two banjos, one voice and no other instruments could keep a listener captivated for its 45-minute endurance, but musical duo Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn make it look effortless on their first self-titled album, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn. The married couple’s first collaboration together combines Washurn’s traditional folk stylings with Fleck’s Grammy-winning crossover genres—diffusing the banjo into jazz, blues, classical and funk. The track list contains both original pieces and unique covers and classics.

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Twin Peaks converges on The Frequency with friends and tasty music

Approaching the hole-in-the wall haven that is The Frequency, I could feel some real live music magic in the air. The rest of the square was pretty much dead, but the lull of bright lights and cigarette smoke lured us magnetically towards the end of the block, where we found musicians and concert-goers alike basking in the awesomeness of the first quarter of the night.

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