Beck – Morning Phase

“Can we start it all over again this morning?” Beck asks early on in the opening track of Morning Phase, his first album since 2008′s Modern Guilt. After a gorgeous 40 second instrumental opening, strings give way into the plaintive guitar strums of “Morning”, and it truly does feel like a something entirely new, a rebirth — which is odd, because Beck has specifically said this album is a spiritual successor to his 2002 masterpiece Sea Change.

And sure, the beginning of “Morning” has an uncanny resemblance to the beginning of Sea Change opener “The Golden Age.” And sure, all of Morning Phase is ostensibly similar to its much-vaunted predecessor. It does feature the same musicians and the same California-folk influence. And yeah, even the cover art (Exhibits 1 and 2) looks strikingly similar, Beck’s steady gaze staring out behind smears of orange and blue.

But hear me out: the truth is that it’s only similar in the sense that all music by an artist sounds similar to previous music produced by that artist. No left turn is truly a total departure: even the cold, Kraftwerk heartbeat of Kid A‘s “Idioteque” had its roots in the laserbeam percussion loop of OK Computer’s “Airbag”.

The point of all this is to get you to look at Morning Phase in the ways it differs, rather than its similarities, because these differences are what make Morning Phase the best Beck album since 1998′s Mutations.

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A Spring Break Playlist to Get You Excited for Coachella/Bonnaroo

Photo courtesy of bodyworker.org
Photo courtesy of bodyworker.org

Alright, so maybe Bonnaroo and Coachella are a bit far off in the future, but it’s never too late to get excited about their imminent arrivals! With Elton John, Kanye West, and Jack White headlining Bonnaroo; Outkast, Muse, and Arcade Fire headlining Coachella, and many more amazing musicians/bands showcasing their talents at the two festivals, there is much about which to be excited. Bonnaroo is a little more than 100 days away; Coachella is just 40 days away; and spring break 2014 is happening right now. As many people are parading off to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the beach for a week of relaxation and wild festivities, I’m sure they would appreciate a playlist to get them to where they’re going and make their trips more enjoyable. So, wherever you’re going for spring break, whether flying out or road tripping, or simply going home for some much-needed R&R after a stressful week of midterms, here is a playlist of catchy tunes by some of the artists who will be performing at this year’s Bonnaroo and Coachella to spice up your spring break!

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Top 10 Aphex Twin Songs

It’s no secret that Aphex Twin (AKA Richard D. James) is one of my favorite artists, but I can see how someone who’s yet to give him a listen might be intimidated by his scattered discography. Following are my picks for the top 10 Aphex Twin productions.

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St. Vincent Confidently Cuts To The Core of Her Sound

Album Cover courtesy of Pitchfork

Seemingly on the verge of a real popular breakout  for years after collaborations with David Byrne, Bon Iver, and Kid Cudi, it’s telling that Annie Clark decided to follow up her most successful (and best)  album yet with a self-titled affair. That it’s a fourth album is important as well: if third albums are about solidifying an artistic voice, a thing Strange Mercy did astoundingly well, fourth albums are about proving that you’re more. Some bands choose to build upon their sound like The National did with Boxer or Phoenix did with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, some choose to buck it entirely like Radiohead’s Kid A, or some bands depressingly regress like Metallica’s Black Album. No matter the quality, these albums frequently become a focal point in the discography: a tone setter for the rest of a career. Thankfully, St. Vincent offers a confident distillation of just what makes Clark’s project so fascinating without shedding her experimental roots.
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Is Aberdeen the next Graceland?

pacific northwest 799

Kurt Cobain, the famed frontman of Nirvana, grew up in Aberdeen Washington. In interviews, Cobain rarely mentioned the city, sometimes saying things like, “In Aberdeen, I hated my best friends with a passion, because they were idiots.” Later recounting his childhood, Cobain reflected on Aberdeen as “a depressed and dying logging town.”

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Would you like some Irish with that?: Kodaline w/ LP

Kodaline2

It has been on my bucket list since the beginning of my first semester – watch an awesome show at the Exit/In. That may be redundant, considering the bands that come to the venue are more likely than not, extremely talented. Some of them have been lucky enough to have their names written on a large wall behind the bar or on the grand mural outside the front door. Well, I would argue that the show I went to, Kodaline with the fantastic opener LP, should be put up next on that wall of fame.

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Live Every Week Like it’s Snark Week

http://www.chicagonow.com/lists-that-actually-matter/2013/08/work-hard-play-hard-snarky-puppys-michael-league-on-freedom-dedication/
http://www.chicagonow.com/

Earlier this week, Nashville was lucky enough to host one of the most innovative and creative bands in the business right now. Combining elements of jazz, electronica, rock, and everything in between, Snarky Puppy attracted probably one of the most demographically diverse crowds I have ever seen at a concert. It was amazing to see this band have such a crowd equally invested into their music, and taking a closer look at their work will show you how this was possible.

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