Record Store Day

When I Reach That Heavenly ShoreIn what is already or is now becoming a yearly tradition, I’d like to nervously post about an album I’d really like to get on Record Store Day but secretly want to say nothing about on the off chance that someone in front of me in line at BK Music will see this, get excited about what I’m excited about and grab the last copy seconds before I can…

[takes a deep breath]

I have a FOMO problem. Me and Record Store Day were made for one another.

I’ve read quite a few ambivalent or outright negative things about Record Store Day this time around, and while I’m all in favor of a conversation about whether the event is doing all it can to keep the focus on helping independently owned music retailers, there’s one point you can’t argue down: RSD results in the release of some really unique and amazing stuff.

Case in point: When I Reach That Heavenly Shore. NPR did a First Listen of this haunting gospel compilation, and I’ve held off on buying it because I was hoping it’d be pressed to vinyl. This has required serious self control, because it’s not on Spotify, and the NPR stream has long since been taken down. Still waiting around for that Second Listen. Here’s hoping it happens on Saturday.

See y’all in line!

Edward W. Clayborn — “Let That Lie Alone” [Soundcloud]

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Laura Marling

Step 1: Immediately click on the link in this Pitchfork tweet about Natalie Prass’ performance on Jools Holland. Watch video of Prass’ A+ performance.

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Pokey LaFarge

Pokey LaFarge

Now that popular culture has fractured into tiny bits, with a niche community for pretty much anything you could take an interest in — old or new — the idea of cultural revival feels a little obsolete. You don’t need to wait around for something to become stylish again. Just do your thing, post a selfie where a community of like minds will see it and you might as well be living in the time and/or place of your preference. Let your freak flag fly and someone somewhere will start singing the corresponding national anthem.

That’s a little how I felt about Pokey LaFarge’s last few albums. He was flying his retrospective flag, and man was it fun to sing along. This is what I wrote about him last time around:

Setting aside for a moment that Pokey’s songs would sound great no matter how they were drawn, I think it’s unfair to say his style is borrowed from another time. Different genres may have their heydays — see Age, Jazz — but carrying on a lapsed tradition doesn’t have to feel like a resurrection. Music isn’t technology. It doesn’t become obsolete. You can employ whichever style works for you… as long as it flows through you genuinely and you have something to bring to the table.

Here’s the thing though: His new album, Something in the Water, takes that idea even further.

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You Watch That?!?

whiplash

Finally saw Whiplash on Sunday night. I had the house to myself after doing an early-ish Easter dinner with Mrs. YHT’s family in northern Virginia, and I’d been meaning to watch the thing for ages, but this scathing piece by Sound Opinions host Jim DeRogatis was getting in the way. This wasn’t a Bob Dylan situation — you either love his voice or you hate it — DeRogatis’ thoughts punctured an acclaim bubble that had gotten huge, at least in terms of what I’d read and heard, and it complicated the idea of watching Whiplash. Should I consider this a guilty pleasure? Am I buying into something harmful?

Now that I’ve watched it, I believe the answers to those questions to be no and no, though I wasn’t so sure when Mrs. YHT called from her parents’ house to chat when I was about a third of the way through. Had the film continued on what seemed to be its likely trajectory — teacher yells, some students cower, this one steps up — I would have felt differently. And from a super zoomed-out perspective, that kind of is what happens, but it’s what happens along the way that keeps Whiplash from being exploitative or clichéd.

[Editor’s Note: Don’t want the movie’s plot spoiled? Stop reading now. And don’t listen to the song embedded at the bottom of this post.]

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Avers

Can’t let the week come to and end without saying a few words about Avers’ fantastic set at the tUnE-yArDs show on Monday.

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Son Lux

Son Lux

Got to see Son Lux open for tUnE-yArDs on Monday night. I’d consider it a new speed record for a band going from unfamiliar to beloved.

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Sufjan Stevens

sufjan stevens

One of the key benefits criticism can provide is clarity. I am so thankful for this Pitchfork review of the new Sufjan Stevens album.

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