Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Year in Popular Music 2012: Album Highlights In The New Year

From Kurt Wagner, one expects brilliance.  With Mr. M, ballooning expectations need not be pricked and left to float sullenly back down to Earth. Deliverance!

Nottingham's gloomiest storytellers triumphantly return.

Lately, I genuflect at her genre-smushing, pop-deconstructionist altar and writhe like a Pentecostal minister with a rattlesnake in his knickers.  Having a rough day? Throw this one on.

Mr. Cohen is nearly an octogenarian.  If only all old people were this cool and productive.

 Put a bird on it.  Nellie is obsessed with the holy warbles of this amplified pastoral folk outfit.

Continuing with the avian theme, this may be Bird's finest album.  Full of sizzling fiddle, his trademark whistle, and bookish, sensible songwriting.  A bit darker than his other undertakings, but a nice listen throughout.

A wistful, sonically gentle offering from the Great Northwest.  The expressively pretty lo-fi piano/guitar work is offset by thematic content that would make Burroughs blush.

 More gifts from Seattle.  Jurado has made a strikingly cohesive album that fits almost any temperament.

 The funniest dude in Nashville strikes again...

Raw, arid, violin-driven post-rock from the Outback. Another unsettling Cormac McCarthian soundscape (think Blood Meridian) from Warren Ellis and crew.

Drifting back to my days at Clayton Middle School, these final two albums celebrate youthful angst, but in a canny, more-than-three-power-chords sort of way.  I haven't had so much fun shouting along to music since Fall Silent's heyday in the late Nineties.  The first two tracks on the Cloud Nothings offering are viscerally penetrating.

Lambchop. Mr. M | Tindersticks. This Something Rain | Grimes. Visions | Leonard Cohen. Old Ideas | Bowerbirds. The Clearing | Andrew Bird. Break It Yourself | Perfume Genius. Put Your Back N 2 It | Damien Jurado. Maraqopa | Todd Snider. Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables | Dirty Three. Toward The Low Sun | Cloud Nothings. Attack On Memory | Ceremony. Zoo

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hoi An: A Late Afternoon Boat Trip

All aboard...

Our overly-generous resort offered a free shuttle boat to Hoi An's city center.  While it was only a 7 minute trip, it sure was a treat to see the town from the sea with the sun waning and the wind whipping through our hair. Short but sweet.

The boatman has clearly perfected the VIS (Vietnamese Inscrutable Scowl)!

Captain Nellie! I took the helm while the guys took videos of our surroundings...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alec + Tina Wedding Extravaganza: Part Two

The ebullient yet nervy bride/groom pick their respective poisons before the ceremony commences and imbibe.

Photo ops...

The Official Press Conference for the news media.  Portions of which can be seen HERE.

The first dance...

Looking ethereal in white, glowing under the lights and the darkened sky.

To warm beer and inexorable uxoriousness!


The ceremony to end all ceremonies commences! Motorbikes and scimitars, fire and smoke, kisses and hugs!


Performance amid mayhem...

The End and the Beginning...