Stephen Mejias
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Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 24, 2013 4 comments
Jenny Hval. Photo: Kasper Vogelzang.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t made much progress since the last Payday Albums post: I keep buying records, but the days don’t get any longer. What’s up with that? The number of LPs in my collection that have gone unplayed is growing dangerously large; soon enough, my collection will be made mostly of unplayed LPs. Meanwhile, I’m just plain running out of shelf space. What’s a guy to do? Buy a massive hard drive and convert to computer audio?

Hmm . . . I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

For now: Today’s payday. These are the albums I bought.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 23, 2013 2 comments
Julianna Barwick’s third full-length album, Nepenthe, is scheduled for release on August 20th, by Dead Oceans. Unlike Barwick’s previous work, largely self-produced in her Brooklyn bedroom, Nepenthe was produced and engineered in Reykjavík, Iceland, by Alex Somers. And while Barwick’s earlier work is made mostly of her own voice, Nepenthe features contributions from Icelandic band Amiina, guitarist Róbert Sturla Reynisson of múm, and a female choir.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 23, 2013 6 comments
I first became acquainted with Lindsay Dobbin’s work in 2010, when she released, under the name Broken Deer, a limited-edition cassette on Al Bjornaa’s Scotch Tapes label. The music sounded like it came from some other, remote time and place—hushed, fragile, inspired by dreams and memories.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 22, 2013 2 comments
Photo: Rick Bahto

Julia Holter’s new album, Loud City Song, is scheduled to be released on August 20th, by Domino. This is Holter’s third album in as many years: Her limited-release debut, Tragedy (recently given proper and deserving reissue treatment by Domino), was met by almost universal critical acclaim, while her follow-up, Ekstasis, expanded her sound, solidified her standing as one of today’s most exciting young artists, and was one of my favorite records of 2012.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 20, 2013 17 comments
Beautiful listening in Munich. Photo: Michael Lavorgna

We have to ask ourselves: Can all hi-fi shows be as efficiently run, popular, successful, and downright fun as the Munich High End Show? Is it possible to cultivate, here in the United States, that combination of heartfelt enthusiasm, relaxed atmosphere, and healthy balance of substance and style?

News, Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 10, 2013 0 comments
Stereophile celebrated 50 years of continuous publication in November 2012 and released its milestone 400th issue in May. The magazine remains committed to providing all audiophiles—young, old, enthusiastic newbies, and grumpy veterans alike—the tools necessary to get the very best from their systems and music libraries. To that end, we’ve bundled our hot-selling Recommended Components Collector’s Edition and our invaluable test discs into two neat and affordable Audiophile Essentials packages.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 08, 2013 0 comments
Conrad Standish and Tom Carlyon are formerly of the Australian noir-rock trio Devastations. While that band’s thoughtful, honest work could bring a listener to tears, Deleted Scenes, Standish and Carlyon’s debut as a duo, is much more interested in physical pleasures.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias May 08, 2013 9 comments
In today’s previous entry, I mentioned that Standish/Carlyon’s Deleted Scenes reminded me of Peter Gabriel’s early solo work. Fans of FX’s outstanding TV series, “The Americans,” will have noted that the season’s finale made fine use of Gabriel’s hit single “Games Without Frontiers.” That is, if those fans were already familiar with the song. I was not.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Apr 26, 2013 4 comments
Whenever I post one of these entries, there are at least a couple of readers who ask for reviews of the albums I’ve listed. And while such requests are quite reasonable, they take for granted that I’ve actually listened to all of these albums. Sadly, I have not.

Even sadder, I still haven’t listened to the albums I bought last payday.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Apr 11, 2013 0 comments
Electronic composer Markus Popp (Oval) may be best known for his terse, angular, and rhythmically complex micro-compositions, but he seems increasingly interested in making full-fledged songs.

With Calidostópia!, recently released as a download, he’s combined the glitchy pointillism of previous releases, such as 2010’s fascinating O (which I used as a test disc in my “Follow-Up” review of Simaudio’s versatile i3.3 integrated amplifier), with the voices of seven South American singers: Agustín Albrieu of Argentina; Andrés Gualdrón of Columbia; Maité Gadea of Uruguay; Hana Kobayashi of Venezuela; and Dandara Modesto, Aiace Felix, and Emilia Suto of Brazil.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 29, 2013 9 comments
Today’s payday. I bought just one title.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 27, 2013 4 comments

Sarah Lois Vaughan was born on this day in 1924, in my hometown: Newark, NJ. In this clip, taken from a 1958 performance, she sings “Tenderly.”

Thanks must go to Lester Perkins and Jazz on the Tube.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 27, 2013 0 comments
The strange trembling vocals, warm synth sounds, and chamber pop movements of Konkylie, When Saints Go Machine’s full-length debut, appealed to me in unusual fashion: slowly at first, confounding my senses for a time, before finally winning me over. With time and repeated listening, the album became one of my very favorites of 2011.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 15, 2013 5 comments
Today’s payday. These are the albums I bought.
Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias Mar 06, 2013 1 comments
While John Atkinson, Jason Victor Serinus, and many more of our friends and colleagues prepare for Axpona in Chicago, where they’ll face what we all hope is this winter’s last frigid gasp, I’ve got my eyes set on this summer’s Pitchfork Music Festival, to be held Friday–Sunday, July 19–21, at Chicago’s Union Park.

I hear it's gonna be hot.

Tickets are on sale now, with single-day passes priced at $50 and three-day passes selling for an attractively discounted $120. But, taking into consideration the outstanding headliners and the well-rounded initial lineup, I suspect most music fans will have a very difficult time attending this Pitchfork Music Fest for just a single day. Three-day passes are practically mandatory.

The initial lineup, highlighted by Bjork, Belle & Sebastian, and R. Kelly, was announced this week:

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