Reviews in 200 Words

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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…

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Etta James (Tribute)

In podcast, Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 8:40 am

No doubt iTunes and Spotify have been blown up with Etta James searches since the announcement of her death last Friday. She was a legend. She is a legend. These people never really die. But the news is crushing: just the knowing that we won’t get any more from them—that we’ll have to savior what we already have. The first thing that I listened to when I got the news, was her rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” I know: not “At Last” or “I’d Rather Go Blind”? I always think it’s momentous when legendary artists try their hand at someone else’s material. I like that. An acknowledgment of admiration for other artists. A reminder that even the most famous—the most admirable—absolutely love the creativity of their craft, and are constantly learning. (Also, I kind of have a thing for Prince). But then I listened to “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” and damn: such an anthem of the dizziness that comes with falling in love. James has that intoxication: she gives me butterflies for real. Celebrate this woman and this voice—get the hell out of your chair and give the woman a movement.

-Micah Ling

An Argument With Myself (EP), Jens Lekman (Secretly Canadian)

In Album, Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Think The Magnetic Fields and Beirut and Beck. This guy is almost certainly charming and silly. I mean, he’s from Sweden: that’s cool. He’s been around the world; he’s worked in a bingo hall. This EP is a little popped up (almost reggae in style) compared to some of the ballads from previous albums. Be honest: most arguments that you have are actually with yourself. “Fuck you, no you fuck you.” Let’s all just say that. For real. Much like The Magnetic Fields, even the goofy songs are rooted in something that stings a bit. These songs are easy to sort of laugh off on first listen, but they echo beyond their first impression. Something that proves he knows what he’s doing. “A Promise” has a little lounge-singer going on, in a way that will make you move your hips. Sometimes it’s almost like he’s mocking himself. He’s got all the talent of a symphony and all the wit of Monte Python. It’s fun to listen to: he’s telling stories–exaggerated real-life. Small talk, gossip, inner monologues, “I’m sorry I’m babbling, hey how was your day?” These songs are short: this is a short commute EP, a getting ready for a night of goofing around thing to play.

-Micah Ling

tUnE yArDs: "whokill"

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm


It happens every day – creative people expressing themselves through art. It’s commonplace, and yet, still, sometimes, crossing paths with such creativity can be arresting. Listening to a Tune Yards album for the first time might just be one of those times. The work of one woman and a loop pedal, when Merrill Garbus puts her talents, energy, and oddly genderless voice to work, the results are quirky, twisty collages of music. Sometimes it doesn’t sound like much at all – rickety cacophonies, like a ship made of junk sailing on a quiet sea. Other times Garbus squeezes intricate groves out of her ukulele and a variety of drums. She makes this stuff live (both senses of the word are appropriate: as “in the moment” and also “living”). Listen to the album and then look up videos. On album, in concert – it doesn’t matter. This is a musician so committed and purposeful that it’s hard to not be overwhelmed. Jealous. She cites Central African music as an influence. It’s easy to hear that tradition of interlocking percussive beats wrapping together. But it’s not tribal. And it’s not familiar. And it’s creativity far from the commonplace.

~ Jay Cullis

Click here to subscribe to the official Beat Jab Podcast. This week preview tracks for tUnE yArDs’ new album “whokill.”

Phish, Charlotte, NC, 6/17/11

In Concert, Music Festival, Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This isn’t about punchlines.


We know: Endless songs. Noodly guitars. Spilled beers and dreadlocks and the idiots who took too much. No, not that.


Nor is it about people dropping whatever they’re doing (if only for a weekend), traveling miles to see a band they’ve seen 25, 50, 150 times – a band that’s been on the road for 30 years, accumulating as many detractors as they have fans.


It’s about novelty and the chase. It’s about logging dozens of shows, across dozens of years, hoping for one song. It’s about finally hearing that song on a muggy night in the most unlikely of places.


In a world of artificially shared experiences, it’s about standing in a field with twenty thousands people for one reason.


Celebration.


Many people could not care less about Phish. This isn’t about them. This is about the people who do care – the people who were there one night in North Carolina when all bets were off. This is about a brilliant show, satisfaction guaranteed.


It’s about holding on to something once meaningful and finding it’s still there. It’s about wondering “Can I still have fun?” and finding the answer is yes, yes – unequivocally, yes.

Phish – 6/17/11 “Jam > Ghost” from Phish on Vimeo.

Click here to download this week’s official Beat Jab Podcast, featuring a look at the Phish show in Charlotte, NC. And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast through iTunes. Click here to subscribe, or search “beat jab” at the iTunes store.

"Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes

In Album, Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm


Like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing at a Renaissance Fair, this shouldn’t work. Fleet Foxes shouldn’t be popular. They should be soundtracking bread sellers in a marketplace, or hounds hustling through the glen in chase of their quarry.


Yet is does work – better even than it did on their 2008 debut. To be sure, there’s nothing as immediately catchy here. In place of infectious hooks and enigmatic lyrics we instead get a cycle of songs so complex and dark and drop dead beautiful that it’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s the same band who caught us up three years ago.


This time around complexity dominates. We are swept from the prow of a ship to a sunset field. Fear is palpable. What’s awesome is also disturbing. Instrumental passages shepherd us from lyrically intense images of farms to orbiting planets to dying men on hospital beds. It all means something, but like children we find ourselves looking at the world in disbelief. How can it be? Joy and sorrow commingle here. We’re seeking, but there’s only uncertainty. We’re oscillating between anxious and content, pausing here and there to survey the scene. It’s a harrowing, magnificent scene indeed.

~ Jay Cullis

Click here to download this week’s official Beat Jab Podcast, featuring Fleet Foxes’ new album “Helplessness Blues.”

Sampler (Part 2): Key Tracks from the Best of 2010

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 at 12:32 am

For a limited time we’ve teamed up with watsonandcullis.com to host downloads of Jay and Micah’s Key Tracks. Click the link below to be directed to their site where you’ll find downloads of zip files that include all the Key Tracks from Jay and Micah’s Best of 2010 Picks.

And as always, if you enjoy any of this music, please support the artists by purchasing their albums.

Click here for the downloads!

Download Jay and Micah’s Key Tracks

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

For a limited time we’ve teamed up with watsonandcullis.com to host downloads of Jay and Micah’s Key Tracks. Click the link below to be directed to their site where you’ll find downloads of zip files that include all the Key Tracks from picks 10 through 6. And stay tuned next week for Part 2’s download of Key Tracks from picks 5 through 1.

And as always, if you enjoy any of this music, please support the artists by purchasing their albums.

Click here for the downloads!