Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 23, 2013  |  13 comments
Julianna Barwick's new album, Nepenthe, is available now. Photo: Shawn Brackbill.

I’ve been so happily preoccupied with my review of NAD’s new D 3020 integrated amplifier that I’ve again fallen behind on my “Payday Albums” posts. My review of the D 3020 will appear in our November issue. I used many of the albums listed below as demo material for that review.

It’s been a seriously great time.

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 08, 2013  |  9 comments
Even before I'd really listened to PSB's Alpha PS1 powered desktop speakers (see last month's column), I suspected that I'd like them: They're affordable, attractive, small enough to actually fit on my desktop, and designed and manufactured by a true high-end audio company. Besides all that, the PS1s had been highly recommended by a friend, AudioStream.com's Michael Lavorgna. I only needed the speakers to sound good in my home. And they did—clean, clear, detailed, and dynamic, with a surprisingly big and bold overall sound.
Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 08, 2013  |  2 comments
Gulp.

All the details, from the website of the New York Public Library, with critical commentary from me:

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 07, 2013  |  2 comments
Moderat is made of Apparat’s Sascha Ring and Modeselektor’s Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary; as the album title suggests, II is their sophomore release. This is no slump, however, and the music these men make together is seamless and true: It does not sound like two distinct visions forced together, but instead reflects a natural progression of shared ideas, a tangle of conflicts, tensions, and parallels brought together to create something exhilarating.
Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 06, 2013  |  0 comments
Matana Roberts is a rare talent—a saxophonist, storyteller, and singer with a distinct voice and powerful vision. Her 2011 release, Coin Coin, Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres, shocked me with its uncompromising combination of beauty and violence. Listening to it—anyhow, anywhere—is a singularly moving experience. My complete review of Coin Coin, Chapter One appeared in Stereophile’s November 2011 issue and I later named it one of my favorite records of that year. It sticks with me still as one of the most thrilling and seemingly important records I’ve ever heard.

Today, Constellation Records announced Roberts’ follow-up, Coin Coin, Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, to be released on October 1.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 10, 2013  |  2 comments
David Lynch's The Big Dream will be released by Captured Tracks on July 16th. If Crazy Clown Time, David Lynch's successful 2011 solo debut, is any indication, we're in for a surreal and haunting treat: heavy starlit skies, empty highways, torch songs, and reverb-drenched blues. You can ask Michael Lavorgna about that.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 09, 2013  |  0 comments
When I lived entirely alone, with neither girlfriend nor pets, and had the luxury of a dedicated listening room, I felt no obligation to store away unused hi-fi equipment. Why should I? Life is so much simpler when everything one needs, or might potentially need, remains in plain sight, within arm's reach. Pairs of loudspeakers, then, took residence beside bookshelves, speaker cables found homes atop throw pillows, assorted electronics posed as coffee tables. And, if on a whim I decided it was time to swap my NAD C316 BEE integrated amplifier with my Exposure 2010S, I'd simply pull the latter from beneath my feet and do it.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 09, 2013  |  2 comments
I've been enjoying Julia Holter's Loud City Song. Mark your calendars: The album, Holter's third, will be released by Domino Records on August 20th. Previously, we heard the delicate opener, "World."
Stephen Mejias  |  Jul 02, 2013  |  1 comments
Late last year, when I first heard of the Music Hall Marimba, I was happily surprised: One of my favorite hi-fi manufacturers had finally introduced its first and (so far) only loudspeaker—and it was seriously affordable at $349/pair. I wanted to review the Marimbas right away, but grumpy old Sam Tellig beat me to them.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 28, 2013  |  12 comments
It’s been just over a month since my last Payday Albums post, but it feels much longer than that. I had been trying to spend less money on records, so that I could actually spend more time listening to the records that stood quietly on my shelves. A valiant endeavor, if I do say so myself, but one that didn’t really work out as intended: Instead of spending money on records, I spent money on books. I almost posted a Payday Books list, but I figured the grumpy old audiophiles would stone me for reading.

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