Arts & Events

James Blake has had ‘Enough Thunder’: more words, less womp

On his latest EP, “Enough Thunder,” James Blake steps further away from dubstep’s seemingly quintessential sound, the “womp.” Blake brings complexity to a genre whose creativity seems to be diminishing by the second. His specialty has always been minimalistic bass lines and delicately crafted beats, and he pushes the definition of dubstep even further on these new tracks. Blake leans more towards the emotive nature of dubstep. He is careful to not stray the line between his own personal brand of dubstep and dance music. It is entirely possible that...
Arts & Events

Zola Jesus’ indie-electronica brightens gray autumn days

If there was a musical response to Tacoma’s sunless winter weather, it would be gothic-pop princess Zola Jesus’ latest EP, “Conatus”. Zola Jesus, also known as Nika Roza Danilova, was originally trained as an opera singer; however, these days her voice sounds like a fiercer version of Lykke Li…in mourning. Danilova’s tracks drip with lovely string instrumentals meticulously laced into hearty synthetic beats. Despite the heavy emphasis on electronic noises and deep bass, this is not a dance record. Danilova has woven an aura of solemnity throughout the tracks and...
Arts & Events

Wilco LP triumphs

After visiting Toronto-based sandwich shop Sky Blue Sky, Wilco’s lead singer and songwriter Jeff Tweedy took to his Facebook page and commented that, “Lunch was really good, but, to be honest, I prefer their earlier more experimental sandwiches.” Critics and fans alike had berated Wilco for playing it safe on their albums after “A Ghost is Born.” The musical quality was still leagues above most of the younger rock bands playing on the radio, but Wilco had set the bar so high with their previous albums that it was difficult...
Arts & Events

For St. Vincent, champagne birthday not all that bubbly

For a woman who looks more doe-eyed and cutesy than Zooey Deschanel, Annie Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent, has a lot on her mind. At 28 years old, Clark makes it clear on her third album, “Strange Mercy,” that with age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes disappointment. Clark, whose voice sounds like a powerful hybrid of Karen O, Regina Spektor and Corin Tucker, pairs her pipes with fierce guitar licks and nicely synthesized beats. The musical arrangements are spectacular and neatly organized, but it is Clark’s haunting lyrics...
Arts & Events

Girls’ album addresses matters of the heart

If you approach Girls’ sophomore LP looking for an album riddled with metaphors about sex, drugs and singer-songwriter Christopher Owens’ tumultuous childhood in the Children of God cult, then you should look elsewhere. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” is a brilliant rock album that is all about matters of the heart. Among familiar classic rock arrangements, Owens has worked with fellow band member Chet White to create a story about the need for love and how disenchanting the journey to find it can be. The album kicks off with the upbeat...
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