Laura Veirs – The Lookout

For all our literary devotion to sunlit afternoons and dark nights of the soul, real life rarely works in such easy contrasts. Our gold medal moments are flecked with sadness, swollen in purples and blues under the skin, and we scold ourselves for allowing the compromise: this should be the job, the house, the lover, the moment. “How can a child of the sun seem so cold?” Laura Veirs asks on her tenth album The Lookout, and though the line appears only once in allusion to the Colorado native’s childhood memories, it is the question that permeates the entire record.

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Beach House – B-Sides and Rareties

‘All I wanted comes in colours,’ Victoria Legrand once sang, and while it’s tempting to mark that as a collection of euphonically pleasing words rather than a mission statement, there’s an element of both. Perhaps I’ve read too much into Beach House’s artwork over the years, but all those records seem to hold together as cohesive shades from start to finish: the woozy amber of the first two releases; Teen Dream’s pearly whites; the cobalt midnight of BloomDepression Cherry, of course. It’s no coincidence that their reviews tend to be written in visual terms, too, with inclusion of the term ‘widescreen’ increasingly mandatory since their 2010 breakthrough. Whichever way you cut it, Beach House records tend to come in colours.

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Pure Comedy and the infuriating charm of Father John Misty

You don’t need me to tell you this, but I’ll say it anyway: Father John Misty is kind of a dick. He fancies himself a loveable provocateur on Pure Comedy, singing about having sex with Taylor Swift on live TV and then recoiling in horror at the suggestion that it might have been, you know, a little provocative. He was supposedly tripping on acid during that performance, as he was for his car-crash interview with Radcliffe & Maconie, and he’s keen for you to know it. What a rock star! What a modern day Tim Leary! And of course, he hates “the intersectional-virtue-warrior style of music writing” that us modern scribes peddle, ruining whatever politically incorrect lark he imagines himself to be peddling instead.

How tempting it would be, then, to dismantle his 80-minute treatise on the globalised world with the kind of withering gallows humour he evidently deems himself to have mastered. To tear it apart, to denounce the whole thing as a pretentious, self-serving footnote in the annals of rock history. But I can’t do it. Some writers have compared him to David Foster Wallace’s portrayal in The End of the Tour, but my mind wanders instead to John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, finally listening to the demo tape handed to him by the obnoxious little punks on the street. Because, hand on furrowed brow, we must face the unwanted truth: Pure Comedy is a hot, brash, unbridled success.

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Heba is a debut for the ages from Lowly

lowlyheba“Cait #2” arrives less than halfway through Heba, the debut album from Danish quintet Lowly. At two minutes and thirty seconds, it operates as an interlude of sorts, a pleasant but functional aside traditionally assigned the role of breaking up a record’s less timorous moments. Now, despite also being one of the most affecting pieces of music you’ll hear all year, the track nonetheless performs as such a set piece here, and provides – for something quite so breathless – a breather. Why? Because Heba is dizzyingly opulent, an embarrassment of riches delivered with the grace and economy of those who know they have plenty in reserve.

They can afford it.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf