Review | I'm Not Alone I'll Never Be

A moment of honesty: I've been disappointed by a lot of the recent efforts by the artists I hold highest: the xx, James Blake, Beach House, Youth Lagoon and the rest. It would be unreasonable to call any of their records bad, or even anything less than solid, but I was underwhelmed by their inability to recapture the magic that brought them to the spotlight.

That is not the case with the National's TROUBLE WILL FIND ME. It could have been, and it looked like it was heading that way because the first two songs they released were blood-slowing trudgers. They man the album's first two slots, but after that, there is no slump for the National. I haven't listened to anything else this much all year. Lines are in my head when I wake, and the melodies dictate the motion of my day. It's as good as anything they've ever done, further cementing their place as a central, inclusive fixture in the indie rock landscape.

In all the National pieces I've read over the last couple of weeks, every music journalist and blogger seems to feel it necessary to address the criticism floating in the air. Meaning, I don't actually see a lot of the actual criticism, maybe they're random Twitterers and Hype Machine squatters, I just see a lot of pre-emptive defenses. By and large, this seems to be a beloved band, but I think we're pulled to justify them because, on paper, this band shouldn't work. In indie rock's culture of cutting edge coolness, where "trendiness" has been replaced by "relevance", a bunch of 40 year-olds in dark menswear making songs of constant sorrow shouldn't be an institution. But then you listen to them.

Read More

Album Release Wishlist for 2013

2013 still smells fresh and I'm getting impatient with the music industry's release schedule. There have been few drops in the periphery of my taste, but I could really use something big and powerful to punch me in the head right about now. I don't know what's coming this year, other than a new Thao and Youth Lagoon. Those are already on my List Of Big Deals. I have plenty of anticipatory excitement to spare, and it seems like in our day and age, the heads up & lead-in time is becoming shorter and shorter.

With that spontaneous nature of the industry in mind, this is what I'm hoping for in 2013. I'm hoping these bands will put out a press release over the coming 11 months with something to the effect of, "We're done with our new album, and it will be out as soon as I finish this sentence." Ever since IN RAINBOWS that seems to be a favorite buzz getter -- Death Grips did it most recently, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's how the new My Bloody Valentine comes out. With that in mind, these are bands that I miss and follow-ups I'm hungering for.

I would love to hear from you guys.

Read More