All posts tagged: Aaron Dessner

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REVIEW: Mylets – “Arizona”

Now, that is what the fuck I’m talking about. From the first grungy, then vaguely pixelated, guitar chords of album-opener “Trembling Hands,” Arizona, the second record proper by loop-rock “band” Mylets, just grabs you by the ears and controls you. It will not let go. Unlike last year’s predecessor, Retcon, a hit-and-miss affair that showed some great ambition but as many great gaps in songwriting cred, Arizona is an incredible, enlightening, engaging, wonderful record, made all the more beautiful and accomplished by the fact that it is the product of one man and one man alone, post-Tween uber-guitar-structuralist Henry Kohen. Now, let it be read into the record: Kohen always has had guitar chops. Anybody who ever has watched the guy on YouTube (Click here and here) or wondered how he stirs that brand of magic and mysticism from a series of whiz-bang sound-effects pedals knows this as drop-dead fact. But Arizona reveals him to be a songwriter of emotion beyond his years and also of surprising depth. Songs are ruminations more than collections of verses …

CD Review: The National, “High Violet”

I’m sure it is a little bittersweet when your band has its highest debut ever –#3 to be exact —  on the Billboard 200 album chart with its new, critically-acclaimed album, and the record that still sits at the top is from…Justin Bieber. I wonder if after celebrating the success of their new album, High Violet — perhaps with a delicious meal and a few beers — they discussed finding Bieber, shaving his head and throwing him into a dumpster like in some ’80s movie where the underdog gets revenge on the bully.  I’m guessing they’re more mature than I am. Though High Violet is the National’s fifth studio album, it is also an album of firsts — it’s the their first record since their brilliant 2007 release, Boxer; it is their first album on the 4AD label; and it is their first record to be recorded in their own studio in Brooklyn. In a little over 10 years, the National — who now reside in Brooklyn, but hail from my hometown of Cincinnati — …

CD Review: Various Artists, “Dark Was the Night” and “War Child Presents Heroes”

It’s no secret that tribute albums and charity compilations can be hit-or-miss affairs at best. In the case of the latter, all you can really do is be happy that you’re supporting a good cause, and hope that the music is more hit than miss. Two important charity albums have recently appeared, and when I say important, I don’t just mean for the causes they’re helping, but also for the virtual who’s who of contemporary indie artists that has contributed tracks to them. If you could somehow assemble all of the buzz that these artists have collected, you could light the universe. In other words, to the naked eye, it’s a music blogger’s dream. The Red Hot Organization has been using pop culture to fight the good fight against AIDS since 1989. They have released 14 albums together with related television shows and media events, and have raised $7 million to date. Their most recent project is called Dark Was the Night (4AD Records). It’s an enormous 30-song effort that has been curated by brothers …