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Reviews tagged melancholy

The Woody Nightshade

Positive reviews litter the internet for Sharron Kraus’ earlier records and got me excited for her new release, The Woody Nightshade. However, the rave reviews made my disappointment with the album all the more palpable.

Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories

There is hardly anything more satisfying to read than well-crafted short stories. Cynthia Morrison Phoel’s debut collection of tales from Bulgaria intertwines the stories of several families living in fictional Old Mountain, many sharing a concrete post-Communist apartment building, neighbors in crumbling plaster houses; and often, surviving similar struggles in their attempts to find love and meaning in life and to escape the poverty they have always known.

The Extra Man

Based on the Jonathan Ames novel of the same title, The Extra Man is a film about, among other things, the amusing network of personal eccentricities that are produced when people engage with each other in society.

Half Life

Love stories aren’t really my thing, but Roopa Farooki’s newest novel, Half Life, shows many shades of love in a way that warms the heart, wets the eye, and expands the mind. The book opens with Aruna Ahmed Jones’ seemingly crazy and impulsive decision to leave her year-old marriage.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.

Jessie Murphy in the Woods

While some might not be into the cutesy, fairytale-like sound and lyrics of the New York City pop-folk group Jessie Murphy in the Woods, there is no denying the magical harmony produced by the three talented women.

Love Is Not Pop

While listening to the recently released album from Swedish pop artist El Perro del Mar (Sarah Assbring), I quickly realized I was being pulled into a cathartic experience evoked by Assbring's ethereal vocals and repetitive, melancholic lyrics.

Musicfest Northwest (9/19/2009)

If you ever hear anyone doubt that women can rock you should tell them to shut up and listen to Team Dresch. One of the most influential bands from the mid-90s riot grrrl and queercore movements, Team Dresch released their first album Personal Best in 1995, stopped playing in 1998, reunited in 2004, and have only played a handful of shows since. So I knew this show in their hometown of Portland, OR was going to be a good one!


Human beings are interested in two things. They are interested in the reality and interested in telling about it. – Gertrude Stein Reality is an olive that rolls away to elude your fork. There are ways of dealing with this. Mashing flat the olive helps. When sitting in the john, consider chess moves by the Hungarian master, Gyula Breyer. Even if you’re a guy, pedicures are nice in the struggle with reality. Pap smears too (women only), but, ladies, the smear should be fresh.

A Chopping Block

The death of Jim Henson was probably one of the single most traumatic events of my childhood. By that time, I was old enough to realize that Kermit was created by Jim Henson, but still young enough to have a certain amount of love for Sesame Street. (Okay, I was ten, which is a bit old for Big Bird, but I was a late bloomer.) You are probably asking yourself a variety of questions at this point.

Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

I once happened upon a Callahan show at Boston’s MFA with friends who are seasoned fans of the Smog oeuvre.

On The Ground

Damien DeRose, the musician and songwriter behind the Peasant name, could be any hybrid of melancholy and charming—The Shins meets the late Elliott Smith—a consumable sadness that Wes Anderson will no doubt eventually co-opt for a postmodern movie soundtrack

Elizabeth Willis

In Anne Sexton’s introductory note for her book of poems, Live or Die, she “apologizes for the fact that [these poems] read like a fever chart for a bad case of melancholy.

Caught In The Trees

Damien Jurado is no spring chicken. He’s been making music since the mid-nineties and indie fave record label Sub Pop produced his first four solo albums. His time with Sub Pop proved to be a much more musically experimental one compared to his previous tried and true time as a folky balladeer. Jurado united with Indiana-based Secretly Canadian in 2003 for his album Where Shall You Take Me? and returned to his folk sound, a task that he excels at.

One More Year

Sana Krasikov, in her first published collection, brings a filling and current group of short stories, and in them, creates honest characters whose interactions cannot be forgotten. Dramatic and awful at times, desperate and sparse, the stories move through time as each day does.

Lake Bottom LP

The strong and lovely voices of the Chapin Sisters offer a raw, deep-down quality to Lake Bottom LP. Listeners who have ever found themselves betrayed by a lover will relate; a theme of troubled love runs through all eleven tracks. The sisters sing about temptation, jealousy, promises kept and broken, loneliness, and longing. Of course, the approach is not feeble or helpless.

The Devil, You + Me

I think The Notwist are a fun, synthy explosion of goodness, and I loved and lived with their 2002 album, Neon Golden, since its release. In the interim, the band members have been keeping busy with projects 13 & God and Ms. John Soda, both excellent acts in their own right.

Boo Human

Chicago-based Joan of Arc, and the family Kinsella, return with their second Polyvinyl release Boo Human. This time they have arrived with 14 musicians in tow to create a more complex and thorough album. Staying true to their quirky indie rock roots, Boo Human starts of with a medley of sounds and styles.

The Con

The biggest key to deconstructing Tegan and Sara’s The Con can be found in the line “I won't go my whole life telling you I don't need.” It’s a break-up album: a tale of love lost, and clearly one of the twins is blaming herself.


With Kandinsky on the cover and a name like Vertigo Butterfly, I desperately wanted to like 1932. But I couldn’t. Maybe the music is too moody. Maybe I had secretly hoped for some type of Jen Wood impersonation. Maybe I just couldn’t get past the operatic dramatic voice of Luray Hodder Kuca. Whatever it was, 1932 was a Black Tuesday for me – it just crashed. The arrangements are good – fantastic even. John Kuca, Jr does an excellent job putting together the instrumentation and backing vocals.

The Sky Observer's Guide

Written over the course of a month, Amy Cook's second album, The Sky Observer's Guide, is a strong albeit average album. Whereas Amy’s first album was just her and her guitar, this album showcases her band: Nina Singh on drums, Brad Rice on guitar and Bobby Daniel on bass. Cook's songs have been featured on many television dramas, including Dawson’s Creek, Veronica Mars, Laguna Beach and The L Word.


Anyone who has been to college will remember the local coffee shop guitar girl. Perhaps we see the stripped-stockings wearing girl around campus, and then one day we pass the local coffee shop or the student center and there she is, with her guitar and a microphone. All of the sudden we feel insight to this woman, now that we hear her melancholy and somewhat confessional lyrics. Her feminine and fairly vulnerable voice only add to this feeling.

Knife the Symphony EP

I was having a particularly foul day when the Knife the Symphony EP arrived. I distinctly remember being angry at music, and wishing I had something new to listen to that didn’t bore the crap out of me. It was as if someone from Feminist Review was reading my thoughts, and I threw on the five song EP immediately. I’ve never been a huge fan of indie rock, but this band is enjoyable and not terribly monotonous as others as the same ilk.

Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

The Twilight Sad’s debut album, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, offers nine tracks filled with melancholic lyrics and music that is softly sweet at times, and quaking at others. The album reaches far, but it is not a stand-out. Although intense and gripping at times, many of the tracks fall slightly short of being great.

The Longest Day of the Year

It’s as if The Cure went acoustic, frontrunning the band with the softest sounds of feminine chanteusery. The Reverse is a twosome composed of vocalistic guitarist Tara Emelye Needham and drummer Todd “Todbot” Karasick. Born in Long Island, The Reverse migrated to New York City, as talents tend to do. Unaffected, feet-shuffling wanderings best describe the tone and tunes of this debut album, making one reasons, perhaps, why it is entitled The Longest Day of the Year.

El Perro Del Mar: Live at the Bowery Ballroom (3/1/2007)

Some musicians are primarily recording artists, and others excel when they play live. Because El Perro Del Mar (Swedish singer-songwriter Sarah Assbring) plays quiet, repetitive, melancholy pop songs that are great to listen to when you’re reading or half asleep, I had her pegged as belonging to the former category. However, her recent headlining performance at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC left me pleasantly surprised to find that she has found a way to make her music thrive in a live setting.

El Perro del Mar

Listening to El Perro del Mar – a pseudonym for the Swedish singer Sarah Assbring – makes me feel like I should be a character in an early 1960s television show. The chipper, pop melodies, be-bops and sha-la-las that underscore her melancholy lyrics about life and love have earned her comparisons to the Beach Boys and girl groups from the 50s and 60s.