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“A Crow Looked At Me” Mount Eerie

Mount Eerie

A Crow Looked At Me Album Review

P.W. Elverum & Sun

Released March 24, 2017

Genre: Singer Songwriter

 

Phil Elverum’s long running musical project has released a new album in response to the untimely and tragic death of his wife. Although this is indubitably a difficult album to sit through because of the subject matter and the extremely graphic descriptions of grief, A Crow Looked At Me is an amazing experience.

Mount Eerie has delved into many different sonic territories to provide a soundtrack for different themes, but this new album is almost completely stripped down to guitar and a few other acoustic instruments. These instruments, which all belonged to Phil’s deceased wife, Geneviève, help make the album feel extremely intimate to the point where I felt like I was invading a recording session. The extremely in-depth analysis that Phil gives to describe his grief also feels invasive. The way he attributes his natural surroundings (living in the Pacific Northwest allows him to be around a lot of nature) to memories of Geneviève is touching and haunting as well. It is clear that everything reminds him of her absence. His voice is also quivering at every note, even though he sings comfortably in his range throughout the whole project. Some songs, like the very last track “Crow,” end abruptly, creating a jarring effect on the listener. It actually feels like a last breath being cut short every time Phil does it.

I haven’t even gone into how he references his one-year-old child and how he can’t imagine how she’ll live without her mother. In short, this is an extremely emotionally taxing album, but it feels so real (because it is) and it hits home no matter who you are or who you’ve lost. Please listen.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Real Death, My Chasm, Crow

LEAST FAV TRACK: N/A

SCORE: 9.0/10

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FESTIVAL REPORT: Fortress Festival

Cover Photo By Jon Birondo

Fort Worth had their first annual Fortress Festival, with a stunning lineup to accommodate. Modern hip-hop staple Run The Jewels, shoegaze legends (on the first stop of a reunion tour) Slowdive, electronic mastermind Flying Lotus, and dynamic electropop duo Purity Ring. Spread out between the Will Rodgers Memorial Center and the Fort Worth Modern Museum of Art, the two-stage festival held their ground despite the inconsistent, frigid, and windy weather. With a lineup of varied musicians, local food trucks, and an organized staff that accommodated everyone as best as they could the festival was a smooth success, and showed that Fort Worth can make their mark on the music festival scene here in North Texas.

Day One’s chilly weather detracted from the experience; some festival goers coming in shorts, before being greeted with strong winds and 60 degree weather. Despite this, the headliners did what they could and helped the audience enjoy the weekend. Dallas native Blue, The Misfit’s set was greeted with a brief amount of sunlight amidst his energetic set. Blues-rock group Houndmouth wrapped up the last amount of daylight before Flying Lotus took the stage. Performing an eclectic DJ set that ranged from trap remixes of the iconic Twin Peaks score, to Kendrick Lamar instrumentals, to a Captain Murphy segue, Steven Ellison brought the house down behind his psychedelic stage set-up. Run The Jewels closed off the night with an energetic set that composed of songs from all three LPs. Day 1, despite the conditions, still brought what it offered.

Photo By Zachary Taylor

Blue, The Misfit // Photo By Zachary Taylor

Day 2 brought about an eclectic array of musicians against a sunnier albeit chilly and windy backdrop. Chicago country-soul group Whitney perhaps brought one of the best sets of the weekend at the Modern Stage, which included flying hats, a baptism, and a kiss in the water. The return of Slowdive was the day’s biggest event; the 22-year reunion for the shoegaze giants was marked with eager fans left and right and BIG demographic change from country-rock group Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. The transition from both sets saw cowboy boots traded in for canvas Vans sneakers. Once the English rockers came to the stage it felt like 22 years had not passed as they played through songs old and new; the result being a cathartic hour as the sun set. Purity Ring followed which brought a playful and beautiful stage design to their witch-house/electro-pop songs. With the day before as a precursor, more people were prepared for the cold nights making this day a memorable one for the books.

Slowdive // Photo By Jon Birondo

Slowdive // Photo By Jon Birondo

With an impressive arsenal at their disposal, Fortress Festival proved to be a massive success, with tickets for next year’s fest already on sale. The smooth turnout combated chilly weather and windy conditions, but they persevered. While the two-day duration made it hard to see other headliners, in exchange for other ones (Alvvays, Peter Hook & The Lights, S U R V I V E) it’s safe to say fans were content with what they got. The organization of the festival, despite the confusing layout amongst a block of Forth Worth, proved that Fortress Festival’s presence in North Texas is here to stay.

Photos By Jon Birondo & Zachary Taylor. Special Thanks Emily Cline of The Dentonite.

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“Pure Comedy” Father John Misty (QUICKIE)

Father John Misty

Pure Comedy. Album Review

Sub Pop

Released April 7, 2017

Genre: Piano Rock, Singer Songwriter, Baroque Pop

Father John Misty follows up his celebrated second album, I Love You, Honeybear, with the mammoth Pure Comedy, a mostly piano rock-laden affair with monstrously long tracks. Although piano rock, especially compositionally winding piano rock, can be tiring, Josh Tillman uses extremely readable lyrics coupled with his amazing voice to make this one of the most exciting releases of 2017 so far. Both personally and socially critical, Tillman’s essays are accompanied by moving ballads that are well-paced.

This isn’t the joyous and sweet celebration that the last album is, but it’s still an essential listen.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Pure Comedy, Leaving LA

LEAST FAV TRACK: N/A

SCORE: 9.0/10

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JMBLYA DALLAS 2017 TIPS

That time of the year is upon us again.  For the fourth year in a row, JMBLYA is coming to Dallas this Friday to blast the bass and get you jumping.  Easily the most popular festival of its kind in Dallas, everyone and their dog is going to be at the Coliseum Parking Lot at Fair Park (actually, pets are not allowed, unless they’re service dogs—click here to see other FAQs).  Having seen the likes of Future, Post Malone, Rae Sremmurd, and Travis Scott in the past, JMBLYA will feature artists such as Migos, Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert, Steve Aoki, and Chance the Rapper, who is headlining (click here for the full lineup).  Obviously, it’s going to be a good time, but there’s some things you should know if you’re going.


Water:

Definitely bring an empty water bottle or Camelbak to fill up once you’re there. Bottled water is going to be expensive (at least $4 a bottle). Plus, who wants to lose their spot just to go spend more money on something they’re going to sweat out or pee out?

Weather:

JMBLYA is an outdoor event, which means a lot of exposure to the Texas sun.  You lucked out this year because it should only be about 78°F with a 0% chance for rain.  In the past, it’s reached over 100°F, with people passing out on the concrete.  This does not mean drink less water.

Travel:

Parking starts at $10 and is going to be hard to come by.  The easiest way to get to JMBLYA is to take the DART and get off at Fair Park, if that’s an option for you.  A Day-Pass only costs $5, and you get the satisfaction of helping save the environment.  Click here for more info on getting to JMBLYA.

Spending Money:

I’d recommend at least $40 if you plan on buying food, water, and/or merch.  Speaking of merch, you can pre-order merchandise here to pick up at JMBLYA, so you can skip the line and get what you want.  Preorders close at 8 PM (Central) on Thursday.

Entry:

Doors open at 12 PM, but you can show up any time.  Re-entry is not allowed if you leave, so keep that in mind.  See below for set times.

 

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Written with the help of Aaron Olivo (@JUGGALONE) and Alec Shea (@Asap__alec).

Follow @THEJMBLYA on Twitter for more updates as Friday approaches.  Visit JMBLYA.COM for more info.

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“Lens” Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

“Lens (ft. Travis Scott)” Track Review

Self-Released

Released April 23, 2017

Genre: Alternative RnB

Another piano-heavy tune from the camp of Frank Ocean graces our ears this week. It’s an intriguing ditty that has a Travis Scott feature that heavily influences the sonic soundscapes of this track. The quivering synths and heavy autotune are very Travis-specific. The autotune would normally bother me, but it makes sense in the context of this song which talks about fame. You could say the autotune represents how media sees famous people as objects and robots and not people, hence the autotune. Frank’s vocals are still impassioned despite all the effects. Enjoy!

SCORE: YAY