Fans of both Hannibal Lecter and Brian Reitzell will be thrilled by the recent release of nearly five hours of music from the soundtrack to what may become known as the most compelling interpretation of Thomas Harris’s iconic character, NBC’s Hannibal. With 27 tracks, one representing each episode from both seasons (and an extra track highlighting some of the music in Season 2′s killer finale), there is much to absorb here. Even those who have never seen the show, or who have perhaps avoided it because they can’t imagine anything living up to Anthony Hopkins’s cinematic portrayal, will be seduced by the exquisite sounds contained within this collection.
O nostalgia is just a looking glass
It’s for us to distort and mold
Won’t someone please help me
I’m too young to feel this old.
—Merchandise, “Looking Glass Waltz”
The first track on Merchandise’s new album is called “Corridor,” a stunning instrumental track that feels like the introduction to a concept album. While After The End is anything but, it’s not a stretch to imagine the band tackling something like that one day. They’re full of surprises.
By Tyler Hodg
In a world with so many options, how does one decide on what genre to listen to? Well, “thank” Thank You Scientist for finding a solution to that problem. Categorizing this band isn’t easy and simply isn’t worth the effort. With the re-release of their album Maps Of Non-Existent Places, Thank You Scientist proves that you don’t need to be bound by genre, but by passion and creativity.
By Tyler Hodg
Tony Bennett is a clock that keeps on ticking. His career has spanned over 65 years and he shows no signs of slowing down. For his 57th studio album (!!), Bennett calls upon a familiar friend—Lady Gaga—to record a duet album of jazz standards titled Cheek To Cheek. What initially seems like an unlikely pairing is in fact something incredibly special; listening to this album is a reminder of how great these two artists truly are.
On her third solo album, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier treads her accustomed ground, while also shaking things up. Something Shines sounds like a Stereolab record, with space rock, jittering ‘60s tropicalia, and her trademark rich, distant alto. It also shatters song structure, abruptly changing to another style of music whilst in the middle of a song, like a collage. It’s a sometimes-frustrating album, with moments of brilliance.
One of the things that makes listening to music on vinyl different is how much attention must be paid to it. Putting an iPod on shuffle is easy, but not interactive. Listening to an album, or better yet, singles, makes me slow down, sit down, and actually listen to the music. It’s no longer background noise. It’s an experience.
Danish pop group The Asteroids Galaxy Tour have returned with a spacey (as one might expect with a name like The Asteroids Galaxy Tour), but still danceable, musical collage that breaks new ground for them and still sticks to their signature style. The duo of singer Mette Lindberg and instrumentalist Lars Iversen makes evocative electronic music that is made warmer by Lindberg’s delightful singing voice. She sings like Björk and Billie Holiday and Christina Amphlett were put in a juicer with a little honey. Kind of.
Todd Rundgren’s music has always been an acquired taste. His chart hits have felt like flukes, strange cracks in the system. You aren’t supposed to know who Todd Rundgren is. He leads a cult that resides so far underground, they may as well be Morlocks.
One of the reasons for this status is Rundgren’s musical twitchiness. He jumps from style to style, from Philly white-boy blues to synth-pop, from down and dirty rock and roll to salsa. Never knowing what he’ll do next is exciting for some, laborious for others.
In the late Seventies, Rundgren formed a band called Utopia. It was designed to be his big foray into progressive rock, exploring grand concepts and incorporating deep philosophical lyrics. As it gradually shrank from seven members to four, Utopia became one of the sharpest New Wave bands of its time, delivering perfect three-minute pop songs, deliciously textured with soaring, shifting harmonies.
It is difficult to categorize Stephen Emmer’s International Blue (produced by Tony Visconti). It’s an orchestral chamber pop album that showcases some of the finest baritone singers currently in the UK (Ultravox’s Midge Ure, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, Furlined’s Neil Crossley, and Cousteau’s Liam McKahey). It’s not exactly orchestra music, and it’s not exactly pop, but what it really sounds like is a soundtrack for a moody mid-1960s film, the kind where the actors wear amazingly fashionable clothes in primary colors and stare seriously off into the distance. It’s a fine album to mark the slide from late summer into autumn.
I turned on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle for Neko Case, but after it was over, I was a Jesse Winchester fan. Like so many who found him from Spectacle, Jesse Winchester felt like my own special secret, this wonderful, warm singer who drew me in and disarmed me with his completely singular voice.
No one sounds like Jesse Winchester. Warmth is the word I keep coming back to when describing his voice, like a warm blanket and a cup of tea, or strong reliable windows against a storm. He’s soothing. His voice is buoyant and gentle. He imbues his songs with honesty and can take simple phrases and make them magical. Unfortunately, he passed away in April of this year. He was one of a kind.