Dec. 11, 2013
Dec. 9, 2013
When reflecting on a past relationship, one song can bring back a tidal wave of memories.
You go to a party with someone new; and just as his hand reaches for yours, the turntable clicks to a song that your first love used to play for you on lazy Sundays.
You have a record that you used to enjoy, but now resent; every chord reminds you of her.
You're picking up milk at the grocery store when you hear a song that you danced to at a wedding once, and that stab of recognition is enough to make your lungs gasp for air.
"You're the reason why I'll move to the city/You're why I'll need to leave." - Sharon Van Etten
When I met you, I was all of 18. I liked Coldplay and Damien Rice. You introduced me to Bob Dylan, Spoon, and Nick Drake. To the tune and timbre of your records, I fell in love.
We cooked pasta to Andrew Bird. We fell asleep to Iron & Wine. We sang in the car to The Avett Brothers.
Dec. 9, 2013
Dec. 6, 2013
As Greg Kot and I gear up for this weekend’s airing of our favorite episode of Sound Opinions all year—the annual Best-Of Recap—here is part three of my look at my Top 30, starting from the bottom and working toward No. 1.
10. Low, The Invisible Way (Sub Pop)
Ten albums in to a consistently solid (if not often truly extraordinary) career as the reigning masters of slo-core, guitarist-vocalist Alan Sparhawk, drummer-vocalist Mimi Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington, working with producer Jeff Tweedy at Wilco’s North Side loft, studio, and clubhouse, produced a typically dynamic, melodic, emotional, and gripping effort that stands as their finest ever, thanks to the strength of the songwriting. Or maybe it just arrived at a time when I needed it more than ever before.
Dec. 5, 2013
As Greg Kot and I gear up for this weekend’s airing of our favorite episode of Sound Opinions all year—the annual Best-Of Recap—here is part two of my look at my Top 30, starting from the bottom and working toward No. 1.
Today: numbers 20 to 11. (See: Numbers 30-21)
20. Willis Earl Beal, Nobody Knows (XL Recordings)
This former bedroom artist may be a true eccentric and a real original, but that doesn’t mean his music isn’t accessible to the rest of us, especially now that he’s realized his vision in a proper studio with a crack band, making his search for true and meaningful connections in this instant-gratification world of digital emphemera all the more poignant and infectious.
Dec. 5, 2013
Dec. 4, 2013
Chicago has long been dubbed "The City that Works," come Snowpocalypse or high water.
Our springs begin late with constant drizzle, melting in to hot summers that end too soon. The crisp bliss of fall is even more agonizingly brief, with winter nipping at November, setting its icy talons by Black Friday, and casting an inescapable grey pallor over the city from December through March.
Chicagoans then transition into their preferred roles.