Memory, Mend Me

Memory, Mend Me

I mean this as no disrespect to the long tenures, considerable talents, and sizable contributions of Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett, but I have always thought of Foo Fighters as “Dave Grohl’s band with Taylor Hawkins.” That perspective is not, strictly speaking, accurate, but it does seem to capture the spirit of the band. While Mendel [...]

What You Need, You Will Find

What You Need, You Will Find

I don’t know how to explain Mobile Steam Unit to you because I don’t know what Mobile Steam Unit is. They’re a band, sure, and they released their first full-length album, Desk Jockeys, earlier this year. Past that, things get murky fast. See, Mobile Steam Unit is a band that writes songs about business, often enough [...]

What If I Fuck It Up Like I Always Do?

What If I Fuck It Up Like I Always Do?

The French term terroir is vastly underutilized. The idea of terroir is that indirect factors like climate, soil, topography, and local flora can influence a wine’s flavor profile. It’s astonishing to me that a word like this—a word describing the phenomenon of external factors indirectly but materially impacting the development and end product of something extraneous—isn’t applied to essentially everything, all [...]

I Wanna Love Somebody but I Don’t Know How

I Wanna Love Somebody but I Don’t Know How

“Sucker’s Prayer” is the classic rock song buried on the synth-fever-dream that is the Decemberists' I’ll Be Your Girl, and it hides an extremely clever bit of thematic harmony. When the chorus comes in, supported by a literal chorus, it subverts standard tropes of unrequited or failed love by describing a non-existent one: I wanna love [...]

Don’t Ever Change, You Hungry Little Bashful Hound

Don’t Ever Change, You Hungry Little Bashful Hound

Few songs mix joyous sound, crushing heartbreak, and subtle humor more deftly than “14th Street,” the pinnacle of Rufus Wainwright’s Want One (2003). Wainwright’s show-tune-ready tenor sets the stage for dramedy from the song’s opening lines; honestly, I’m struggling to think of a more hilarious way to describe a lover than what Wainwright gives us: You’ve got [...]

A Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

A couple of weeks ago, when I ended up writing about the only Dave Matthews Band album that I actively enjoy, I had intended to write about “The Frame I: Betrayal in the Watchtower,” the finale from I the Mighty’s 2015 album Connector. I love “Betrayal in the Watchtower.” It’s narrative and epic and overwrought in all [...]

The Horrible Sound of Tomato

The Horrible Sound of Tomato

50 years ago today, Paul and Linda McCartney released Ram and more or less invented indie-pop which, as origin stories go, seems definitionally impossible given that Paul was arguably the most famous member of the most famous band of all time,1 but if you disagree, go and listen to the catchy, weird, aggressively lo-fi Ram and come back to me. [...]

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

As some bands age they become parodies of themselves, a problem that Coheed and Cambria can never have because, since their inception, the band has been too ridiculous to parody. For the better part of two decades, Coheed songs have been telling the story of … honestly, I’m not quite sure. A massive intergalactic war, maybe? [...]