June 24, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Capacity – Big Thief

On their second full-length effort Big Thief successfully avoid the sophomore slump. Adrianne Lenker's storytelling reaches new emotional depths and achieves a level of lyrical beauty that one could call a Masterpiece

How do you follow up an album entitled "Masterpiece?" This is a question Big Thief had to address when working on their second LP. With only a seven-month break after releasing Masterpiece, they didn't give themselves much time to contemplate the answer.

I have nothing negative to say about this album. When I listen to Capacity I get a feeling of enjoyment and emotional connection to something larger than myself that is rare in music. Lenker's storytelling skill has evolved to a point that nearly matches the beauty of her vocals. On the track Mythological Beauty she illustrates the vast responsibility and love a mother has for her child screaming, “You held me in the backseat with a dishrag/Soaking up blood with your eye/I was just 5 and you were 27 praying don't let my baby die.” This song is the emotional peak of the album, showing the delicacy of life and the love and beauty of our closest relationships.

Capacity is my favorite record of the year so far. I get chills listening to it and discover something new and beautiful with every listen. “There is a child inside you who is trying/To raise the child in me.” Listening to this album brings me closer to this child like state and reminds me of the beauty and frailty of life. I don't know what more you could want from listening to a piece of music.

June 19, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Planetarium – Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner & James McAlister

Planetarium originated a few years ago as a live performance and has now found its way to becoming an LP. This album definitely has some high points but it gets old pretty quickly.

With its 75 minute running time Planetarium overstays its welcome a little bit. The album is beautiful and skillfully crafted but I was pretty bored with it after about thirty minutes.

This might have been better suited being an actual score to a planetarium feature. I usually love most everything Sufjan does but this album just seems pretty pointless to me. If you are tripping on acid or hosting a space-themed sleepover this album is great but it doesn't offer much in the realm of actual music enjoyment.

There are some great songs on the album but overall it is pretty underwhelming.

Best Tracks: “Venus”, “Saturn”, and “Mercury”

June 19, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Crack Up – Fleet Foxes

It's been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album and a lot has changed. Josh Tillman has become the Father and lead singer Robin Pecknold enrolled at Columbia University.

I was never a huge fan of these guys back in the day. I enjoyed their self-titled debut but didn't really listen to Helplessness Blues all that much. This is still definitely a Fleet Foxes folk album but the tone is much darker and the music more complex.

It starts off with Pecknold singing "I’m all that I need and I’ll be till I’m through," a dark sentiment and a continuing theme throughout the record. There are ancient roman and Civil War references throughout the album as well, perhaps the result of being in a college atmosphere.

The music is grand and beautiful. The skill needed to produce this level of music is immense. The album won't appeal as much to the mainstream as some of their past work, there isn't really a single on the record besides maybe "Third of May / Odaigahara."

In the end the album comes full circle. Pecknold describes it like this: “If the record is about any one thing, I’d say it’s just—no one can go it alone,” Pecknold finally says. “No one is an island. That’s the main take away from my experience of the last few years.”

The six year wait was definitely worth it. This album is brilliant from start to finish.

Best Tracks:
“Third of May/Odaigahara”, “If You Need To, Keep Time On Me”, and “On Another Ocean (January/June)”

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