In which I get very personal and very effusive about Boyhood:
"Olivia reminds me a lot of my mother (though hopefully not in the way mentioned above; also, my parents are still together), thanks to Patricia Arquette giving the best performance of the year so far. Some of her mannerisms gave me whiplash, given how closely they hewed to my mom’s behavior. When Olivia asks Mason if he’s been drinking, she laughs at his answer and says they’ll talk about it in the morning. She’s a kind, giving woman who doesn’t always get the respect she deserves from her kids (as, it would seem, many deserving moms of surly teenagers don’t). I also see shades of my father in Mason Sr., though again with the distinction that he’s been around for all of my life (related: can we officially stop being surprised when Ethan Hawke is astounding, as he is here). The Black Album gift that he makes for his son is incredibly similar to a number of presents my father has given me, made with care and a desire to connect. If you were to combine my two little sisters, you would be fairly close to an approximation of the film’s Samantha (Lorelei Linklater is such a naturally gifted performer from the beginning; there’s something unnaturally strong in that bloodline). The older captures her occasional ebullience and the younger her loving eye rolling. When Samantha defends her brother backhandedly by saying that he just painted his nails to fit it, that mirrors a lot of the flashes of pure love my sisters and me show one another.”

In which I get very personal and very effusive about Boyhood:

"Olivia reminds me a lot of my mother (though hopefully not in the way mentioned above; also, my parents are still together), thanks to Patricia Arquette giving the best performance of the year so far. Some of her mannerisms gave me whiplash, given how closely they hewed to my mom’s behavior. When Olivia asks Mason if he’s been drinking, she laughs at his answer and says they’ll talk about it in the morning. She’s a kind, giving woman who doesn’t always get the respect she deserves from her kids (as, it would seem, many deserving moms of surly teenagers don’t). I also see shades of my father in Mason Sr., though again with the distinction that he’s been around for all of my life (related: can we officially stop being surprised when Ethan Hawke is astounding, as he is here). The Black Album gift that he makes for his son is incredibly similar to a number of presents my father has given me, made with care and a desire to connect. If you were to combine my two little sisters, you would be fairly close to an approximation of the film’s Samantha (Lorelei Linklater is such a naturally gifted performer from the beginning; there’s something unnaturally strong in that bloodline). The older captures her occasional ebullience and the younger her loving eye rolling. When Samantha defends her brother backhandedly by saying that he just painted his nails to fit it, that mirrors a lot of the flashes of pure love my sisters and me show one another.”

Marissa Nadler’s new album, titled JULY, has been released in the dead of winter. iankcory explores how that context shades this breakup record:
“July, Nadler’s sixth full length since her debut a decade ago, is an album concerned with the summer released in the middle of winter. Its also a subdued singer-songwriter record engineered by Randall Dunn, the producer for Wolves In The Throne Room and Sunn O))), with additional synthesizers from Steve Moore of the Prog Rock duo Zombi. Before a single note, all of that information will invariably color most listeners expectations. To be sure, nothing about July screams “summer”; in fact its mournful harmonies and languid pace make the record an easy fit to a grey morning or a 5pm sunset. This is anything but an accident though. By painting the summer in the shades of winter, Nadler reveals how a dissolving relationship can pollute everything around it by association.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

Marissa Nadler’s new album, titled JULY, has been released in the dead of winter. iankcory explores how that context shades this breakup record:

July, Nadler’s sixth full length since her debut a decade ago, is an album concerned with the summer released in the middle of winter. Its also a subdued singer-songwriter record engineered by Randall Dunn, the producer for Wolves In The Throne Room and Sunn O))), with additional synthesizers from Steve Moore of the Prog Rock duo Zombi. Before a single note, all of that information will invariably color most listeners expectations. To be sure, nothing about July screams “summer”; in fact its mournful harmonies and languid pace make the record an easy fit to a grey morning or a 5pm sunset. This is anything but an accident though. By painting the summer in the shades of winter, Nadler reveals how a dissolving relationship can pollute everything around it by association.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

A review of Mogwai’s new album, Rave Tapes: 
“Like most of Mogwai’s output since The Hawk Is Howling, the album is instrumental except for a couple of tracks. The most interesting of these is “Repelish” which has a Reverent named Lee Cohen taking center stage. Sounding both like a calm televangelist and confident academic, Cohen provides spoken word over the band’s subdued synth-guitar combo, going into an eerily in-depth “scholarly” analysis of the supposedly hidden and “subliminal” backmasked Satanic messages in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”. The end result is both creepy and fascinating, lingering long after you’re finished listening to it.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

A review of Mogwai’s new album, Rave Tapes

Like most of Mogwai’s output since The Hawk Is Howling, the album is instrumental except for a couple of tracks. The most interesting of these is “Repelish” which has a Reverent named Lee Cohen taking center stage. Sounding both like a calm televangelist and confident academic, Cohen provides spoken word over the band’s subdued synth-guitar combo, going into an eerily in-depth “scholarly” analysis of the supposedly hidden and “subliminal” backmasked Satanic messages in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”. The end result is both creepy and fascinating, lingering long after you’re finished listening to it.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

On Have a Nice Life’s long awaited sophomore album, the mood shifts from sadness to fear, by iankcory:
“Waiting six years for the Have A Nice Life record to arrive in the mail and only getting eight songs, including three that have floated around the web as demos for years, may seem like a bit of a rip off compared to the double disc excess of Deathconsciousness, but The Unnatural World’s brevity isn’t so much a sliming down as it is a condensing. The duo’s suffocating production style remains intact, but while this sound was a matter of limited resources in the past, here it reads as a more deliberate creative choice. Like with their early material, it’s often hard to tell if the wall of sound surrounding Barrett’s voice is being made by guitars or digital instruments, but whereas that kind of obfuscation was caused by excessive layering before, here even single sounds are difficult to place. Sometimes songs will feel like they’ve gotten louder without noticeably adding instruments or any individual sound increasing in volume. This only adds to the creeping suspicion that The Unnatural World is a haunted album. Barrett and Macuga’s voices wail in the distance while sudden bursts of unidentifiable noise burst out from behind corners and lights flicker intermittently across otherwise pitch-black tracks.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

On Have a Nice Life’s long awaited sophomore album, the mood shifts from sadness to fear, by iankcory:

Waiting six years for the Have A Nice Life record to arrive in the mail and only getting eight songs, including three that have floated around the web as demos for years, may seem like a bit of a rip off compared to the double disc excess of Deathconsciousness, but The Unnatural World’s brevity isn’t so much a sliming down as it is a condensing. The duo’s suffocating production style remains intact, but while this sound was a matter of limited resources in the past, here it reads as a more deliberate creative choice. Like with their early material, it’s often hard to tell if the wall of sound surrounding Barrett’s voice is being made by guitars or digital instruments, but whereas that kind of obfuscation was caused by excessive layering before, here even single sounds are difficult to place. Sometimes songs will feel like they’ve gotten louder without noticeably adding instruments or any individual sound increasing in volume. This only adds to the creeping suspicion that The Unnatural World is a haunted album. Barrett and Macuga’s voices wail in the distance while sudden bursts of unidentifiable noise burst out from behind corners and lights flicker intermittently across otherwise pitch-black tracks.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

On Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore album they play with the generic indie sound:
“Warpaint tries to break out of the indie curse on key signatures and attempts some radical changes in mood that are so immediate that for a second you think you’ve made the jump into listening to a track from Danish pop group The Asteroids Galaxy Tour or maybe even Phoenix before their unfortunate absorption by most modern car commericals. For example the key change in “Love is to Die” is a movement from B minor into what is most simply C# Major with the melody playing D# jumping up to G# (2nd to the 5th) played over the root note. It’s a move you don’t hear all too often these days but has always had a strong effect and fits perfectly with this theme of ‘sexy’ moves that Warpaint is preoccupied with. Choices like this, unexpected when you first listen to this album, really show that the mist-dominated field of hi-fi indie can extract itself from the mush it tends to create.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

On Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore album they play with the generic indie sound:

Warpaint tries to break out of the indie curse on key signatures and attempts some radical changes in mood that are so immediate that for a second you think you’ve made the jump into listening to a track from Danish pop group The Asteroids Galaxy Tour or maybe even Phoenix before their unfortunate absorption by most modern car commericals. For example the key change in “Love is to Die” is a movement from B minor into what is most simply C# Major with the melody playing D# jumping up to G# (2nd to the 5th) played over the root note. It’s a move you don’t hear all too often these days but has always had a strong effect and fits perfectly with this theme of ‘sexy’ moves that Warpaint is preoccupied with. Choices like this, unexpected when you first listen to this album, really show that the mist-dominated field of hi-fi indie can extract itself from the mush it tends to create.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

Against Me!’s new album succeeds by being both personal and universal, by iankcory:
“There’s a songwriting method that I’ve seen discussed by people like Bruce Springsteen and Win Butler that for a lack of a proper term I’ll call telescoping. The basic premise of telescoping is writing lyrics that zoom in and out from the general to the specific and from the universal to the personal. The effect is essentially the same as any other dynamic shift in music, the two extremes work to enhance each other. The personal lines give weight and significance to the universal ones, and the broader subjects help carry the more specific details over to a larger audience. By placing personal details in a larger context, telescoping can transform lines that would normally alienate listeners with their specificity into moments that actually make songs more relatable. The two songwriters I mentioned have long been accepted into the populist rock hall of fame, but I’d like to nominate a new member to that canon: Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

Against Me!’s new album succeeds by being both personal and universal, by iankcory:

There’s a songwriting method that I’ve seen discussed by people like Bruce Springsteen and Win Butler that for a lack of a proper term I’ll call telescoping. The basic premise of telescoping is writing lyrics that zoom in and out from the general to the specific and from the universal to the personal. The effect is essentially the same as any other dynamic shift in music, the two extremes work to enhance each other. The personal lines give weight and significance to the universal ones, and the broader subjects help carry the more specific details over to a larger audience. By placing personal details in a larger context, telescoping can transform lines that would normally alienate listeners with their specificity into moments that actually make songs more relatable. The two songwriters I mentioned have long been accepted into the populist rock hall of fame, but I’d like to nominate a new member to that canon: Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

A track-by-track review of Alcest’s Shelter:
“For a band that has been labeled as Black Metal for most of its existence, “Shelter” by Alcest is a departure from its roots into a brighter, effect-heavy land known as Shoe-gaze. The change may seem to come as a surprise or at least an attempt to follow in the steps of bands like Deafheaven who are also absorbing effects and an ambience into their work, but this album feels different than that. It is an album that was bound to happen. The aesthetic of shoe-gaze, that of a digital mist, has been the undercurrent of founder Neige’s (Stéphane Paut) musical language and style from the very beginning. A few of Alcest’s songs, like “Tir Nan Og” or “Sur L’océan Couleur Der Fer” or “Havens” all lack the heavy and driving vestments of Black Metal and are peppered throughout the albums as little questions to the audience. “Can I try this?” “Will you like this?” Neige seems to have always wanted this sound in his music and with the help of Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson “Shelter” is an album that accomplishes this magnificently.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

A track-by-track review of Alcest’s Shelter:

For a band that has been labeled as Black Metal for most of its existence, “Shelter” by Alcest is a departure from its roots into a brighter, effect-heavy land known as Shoe-gaze. The change may seem to come as a surprise or at least an attempt to follow in the steps of bands like Deafheaven who are also absorbing effects and an ambience into their work, but this album feels different than that. It is an album that was bound to happen. The aesthetic of shoe-gaze, that of a digital mist, has been the undercurrent of founder Neige’s (Stéphane Paut) musical language and style from the very beginning. A few of Alcest’s songs, like “Tir Nan Og” or “Sur L’océan Couleur Der Fer” or “Havens” all lack the heavy and driving vestments of Black Metal and are peppered throughout the albums as little questions to the audience. “Can I try this?” “Will you like this?” Neige seems to have always wanted this sound in his music and with the help of Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson “Shelter” is an album that accomplishes this magnificently.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

Tags: alcest
Milos Markicevic reviews the reissue of Grant Hart’s Good News for Modern Man: 
“The album also has Hart stretching his sonic palette as well—  ”Nobody Runs For Free” is particularly unique in its rockabilly style, as well as “A Letter From Anne Marie” which uses a backtracked guitar sample as the foundation throughout the song— both exemplifying Hart’s creativity. Rock purists need not worry as there is plenty of guitar on the record as well, particularly on the awesome album finisher “Little Nemo”. Although it’s personally not my favorite Hart record (that title is reserved for Intolerance), Good News For Modern Man is a great addition to Grant’s small but tight discography. Husker Du fans will find a lot to love here.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

Milos Markicevic reviews the reissue of Grant Hart’s Good News for Modern Man

The album also has Hart stretching his sonic palette as well—  ”Nobody Runs For Free” is particularly unique in its rockabilly style, as well as “A Letter From Anne Marie” which uses a backtracked guitar sample as the foundation throughout the song— both exemplifying Hart’s creativity. Rock purists need not worry as there is plenty of guitar on the record as well, particularly on the awesome album finisher “Little Nemo”. Although it’s personally not my favorite Hart record (that title is reserved for Intolerance), Good News For Modern Man is a great addition to Grant’s small but tight discography. Husker Du fans will find a lot to love here.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

Vinc2 delivers promise, but with too much of their influences overshadowing the whole, by iankcory:
“Luckily you’re playing a style of music that is entirely based on the creation of its own context.  You’ve done an excellent job at building a mood on this record. I’m reminded of summers that I spent with my parents in the isolated parts of the northeast, sitting by a lake while the sun retreats behind the hills or watching the fog float over a harbor in Maine. There’s a soft intangibility to the record that definitely calls to mind Eluvium, especially in the way that vocals are present but slightly out of reach. I was also unsurprised when I discovered that you had previously covered Sigur Ros, as there are hints of their compositional style poking through here and there. There’s a particularly great moment in “Waiting For My Number To Come” where the music seems to be rising towards something triumphant but receeds back into the murk before erupting. It takes a lot of guts to suggest something grand is about to happen and then shift away from it. Not to constantly reduce your music via comparison, but I was also reminded of Olafur Arnolds while listening to “Loneliness Has No End.” This is certainly not bad company to be in.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

Vinc2 delivers promise, but with too much of their influences overshadowing the whole, by iankcory:

Luckily you’re playing a style of music that is entirely based on the creation of its own context.  You’ve done an excellent job at building a mood on this record. I’m reminded of summers that I spent with my parents in the isolated parts of the northeast, sitting by a lake while the sun retreats behind the hills or watching the fog float over a harbor in Maine. There’s a soft intangibility to the record that definitely calls to mind Eluvium, especially in the way that vocals are present but slightly out of reach. I was also unsurprised when I discovered that you had previously covered Sigur Ros, as there are hints of their compositional style poking through here and there. There’s a particularly great moment in “Waiting For My Number To Come” where the music seems to be rising towards something triumphant but receeds back into the murk before erupting. It takes a lot of guts to suggest something grand is about to happen and then shift away from it. Not to constantly reduce your music via comparison, but I was also reminded of Olafur Arnolds while listening to “Loneliness Has No End.” This is certainly not bad company to be in.”

Read more at wineandpop.com

There’s promise and a stunning Matthew McConaughey performance in True Detective's premiere, but there's not a whole lot of new:
“But this is McConaughey’s show, at least for now. The man has been on a comeback tour since 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, one that crystalized in the 1-2-3 punch of Mud, Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyer’s Club last year. Now that he’s proven himself one of the most vital actors working today, he shows yet another angle of the character he originated in Dazed and Confused. Cohle is an older, more pained Wooderson, a variation that went through the loss of a child and a divorce and became a bit too interested in the world of sex crimes and murder. His brain is frayed, even in the 1995 material, and the flashes to 2012 are numbing. Whatever happens over the intervening seventeen years will seemingly screw the man up even more, which hardly seems possible after the aforementioned dinner scene. McConaughey imbues his character’s proselytizing with a heaviness, so what could seem like hippie-parody becomes an obvious shield against the world. McConaughey is also able to tie the chatty, frenzied Cohle in with the quiet, measured one that populates crime scenes and his home. They seem two halves an irreparably broken whole.”
Read more at wineandpop.com

There’s promise and a stunning Matthew McConaughey performance in True Detective's premiere, but there's not a whole lot of new:

But this is McConaughey’s show, at least for now. The man has been on a comeback tour since 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, one that crystalized in the 1-2-3 punch of MudWolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyer’s Club last year. Now that he’s proven himself one of the most vital actors working today, he shows yet another angle of the character he originated in Dazed and Confused. Cohle is an older, more pained Wooderson, a variation that went through the loss of a child and a divorce and became a bit too interested in the world of sex crimes and murder. His brain is frayed, even in the 1995 material, and the flashes to 2012 are numbing. Whatever happens over the intervening seventeen years will seemingly screw the man up even more, which hardly seems possible after the aforementioned dinner scene. McConaughey imbues his character’s proselytizing with a heaviness, so what could seem like hippie-parody becomes an obvious shield against the world. McConaughey is also able to tie the chatty, frenzied Cohle in with the quiet, measured one that populates crime scenes and his home. They seem two halves an irreparably broken whole.”

Read more at wineandpop.com