Comparisons to a young Bob Dylan are inevitable. There’s the same sort of defiance, the odd insouciance, the long lines of poetry squeezed out and hacked out and blown out like kisses, too. The guitar work is very goodscintillating at times and always passionately wroughtbut it’s the voice that gets you. The voicechildlike but crotchety as hell, delicate but yearning, beautiful but completely wrong. The voice is what gets you. Kristian Matsson is The Tallest Man On Earth; he plays rock and roll, and plans to be forgotten when he’s gone.
Look: I mean, listen: I mean, look: I'm the sort of guy who is comfortable with the idea that there's more than just music to this whole hi-fi thing. It's not all about the music. That's bullshit. It's also about friendship and peace and art and beauty. It's about belonging. You can get into hi-fi even if you don't listen to music. What? Yes! It's about getting drunk and high and lost. It's about girls and boys. It's also about the gear. But you can get into hi-fi even if you don't like gear. What? Yes! It's about more than just what the gear does. It's also about how the gear looks when it does what it does. Hi-fi is a full-on sensory attack, a blissed-out mind-fuck, an ocean, a sky, a lion in the tall, yellow grass. We feel with our heads and our hearts, with our ears and our eyes and every little bit of our little human selves.
In the conference room, where I have lunch each day with two of my favorite people in the world (I am very lucky), I found myself tapping my fingers in constant rhythm against the long, veneered table. Why was I doing this?
That first morning, I woke and immediately began to worry. How would I know what to wear? What if there were train delays? What if there had been some horrible catastrophe requiring that I stay away from Manhattan?
If you were to do a Google image search on my work at Stereophile, you'd see that, basically, my days are simply filled with reading, writing, coordinating, and planning. No two consecutive days, however, are the same.
Lately, when I’ve been hungry for some good, uncomplicated, headshaking, soul-lifting songwriting, the kind that drops from the summer sky like a sudden shower and leaves a rainbow in its wake, I’ve turned to Slave Ambient, the sophomore release from The War On Drugs.
Recorded over the last four years in front man Adam Granduciel’s home studio in Philadelphia, Jeff Ziegler’s Uniform Recording, and Echo Mountain in Asheville, NC, the album is a drive to the ocean, windows down, head back, shades on. Acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers, drums, and Granduciel’s voice, rambling and drifting and howling, together recalling heat waves, long days, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
The July issue of Stereophile (which you should totally get a hold of; steal it, if you have to) includes Robert Baird's interview with Sonic Youth. Robert visited the band at their studio, Echo Canyon West, in Hoboken, NJ. I wish I could have been there. I would've laid right down on that floor and soaked it all up.
I should have known by the looks in their shining eyes. When people told me that I'd probably enjoy it, that it was probably a good idea for me to go, they were being coy. But never mind: No words could have prepared me for the enormity of the event, for the knee-weakening prospect of innumerable treasures. And so, on Saturday morning, when I decided to go to the WFMU Record Fair, I was entirely, woefully, indubitably unprepared. I am reminded of my first Consumer Electronics Show. You can't know what it's like until you've been. And only after it's over can you pretend to prepare for the following year. I will begin pretending to prepare for next year's event todaytaking for granted that next year will existbut, until then, I'm left wanting a do-over, wondering why didn't anybody tell me it would be like this, while nevertheless enjoying the few treasures I did come home with.
in stinctn. 1. An inner pattern of behavior that is not learned and results in complex animal responses such as building of nests and nursing of young. 2. A powerful motivation or impulse. 3. A natural capability or aptitude.