Reviews in 200 Words

We’ve Moved!

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Check us out at Ringside Reviews from now on…we’ll get this re-direct figured out eventually…

The Decemberists, “We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11)”

In Album on March 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

I went to my first concert when I was about ten years old; yes, with my parents. It was The Grateful Dead (with Jerry), and Sting opened. I’m not even kidding. After that I was sort of hooked on concerts. When I was in high school I spent almost all the money that I could save on concert tickets. I’ve always liked the feeling of being overwhelmed with the sound. So, naturally, this dual album (triple, if you’re into vinyl) of songs recorded at various concert venues from April to August, 2011, makes sense to me. Some of the favorites are more upbeat/faster or made goofier or extended; we get the audience’s reaction, the onstage banter—a whole season of experience from a whole career of music. “Rise to Me” is a slowed-down version with a lot more twang than the original. “The Crane Wife 1, 2 and 3” is an epic 16 minutes. If you’re not already a Decemberists fan, this certainly seems excessive, but the songs really are different enough that it’s quite a collection. And the personality comes through: you’ll feel like you get to know Colin Meloy; he’s funny. This is his life. This whole thing feels like a journey–something to be proud of.

-Micah Ling

Click here to subscribe to the official Beat Jab Podcast via iTunes.

Click here for a Spotify playlist of the new Decemberists album “We All Raise Our Voices to the Air.”

Andrew Bird, “Break it Yourself”

In Album on March 9, 2012 at 6:38 am

This is like the perfect marriage between classical music and bluegrass; except, it’s more exciting than that. Maybe the perfect fling between the two. The two on vacation. It has its indie/rock moments—but in a truly impressive way—like when you read a poem that blows you away and then find out that it’s in perfect meter. Yeah, that’s probably just me. It has about a billion instruments (that’s an estimate), and they all just fit. He really can rock the glockenspiel; really. “Danse Caribe” is glorious: it confirms that he’s a pro. His voice is comfortable—you start craving it the way you crave the beach and big water. “Give it Away” is made by the asides (“Yeah I gave it away.”) It’s got confidence. It almost has a jam-band feel, just in that the instruments are highlighted and slowed down. What Bird is doing on this album seems only possible after such a prolific career; like learning the rules really, really well, so that you can start breaking them. “Hole in the Ocean Floor” is over eight minutes long, but he pulls it off: he flaunts the rules—he’s a master musician. This song has you thinking, “Oh wait, maybe I do like classical music…uh oh, what if I like opera?”

-Micah Ling

Click here to subscribe to the official Beat Jab Podcast via iTunes.

Click here for a Spotify playlist of Andrew Bird’s new album “Break it Yourself.”