A musical haunting

January 29, 2010 • 0
If the new record by The Mumlers sounds somehow haunted, there’s a good reason why. The band takes its name from William Mumler, a 19th century American photographer who claimed the ability to take pictures of ghosts. Like Mumler’s portraits, the record is filled with visions of the lost; these songs are populated by 99-year-old »

Quit smoking the electro way

January 15, 2010 • 6
It’s hard to quit smoking. Really hard. “Cutting back” never works, Nicorette is absurdly expensive, and going cold turkey can be a recipe for a nervous breakdown. So when I saw a flashing ad for something called “Blu Cigs” online, I was intrigued. I went to the Web site and discovered a device that could »

The boss “wrecks” Giants’ stadium

October 16, 2009 • 0
Bruce Springsteen utterly demolished Giant’s Stadium last Friday night —­ the final event before the venue is actually torn down. He opened with a new song, “Wrecking Ball,” which clearly set the tone for the night to follow. “Take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your wrecking ball!” he called, »

Arty ‘Monster’

September 25, 2009 • 0
A supergroup usually forms for a simple reason: Talented musicians who happen to be friends enjoy playing together and decide to make a record. This holds true for the members of Monsters of Folk, but something deeper is at work. The indie-rock quartet, made up of M. Ward, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Conor Oberst »

Can’t ‘Beat’ this ‘Band’

September 18, 2009 • 0
“The Beatles: Rock Band” is ridiculously fun. It’s not “fun enough,” or “very fun”; it is an electromagnet of joy. When Yale Beatles expert Danielle Wiggins ’12 (Beatlemaniac, three-time Fest for Beatles Fans Trivia Champion, and two-time Name That Tune Champ) and I began playing in my friend’s common room, we were alone. By the »

Beating a dead Autotune

September 11, 2009 • 0
The first time you listen to xx, the debut album by British quartet The xx, it is impossible to escape the feeling that it is somehow different from other recent releases. The reason why is not as clear. It isn’t the uncommon instrumentation (two guitars, a bass and a synth), nor the rich but unobtrusive »

Cohen takes your hand

February 27, 2009 • 0
“I used to live alone before I knew you,” Leonard Cohen sings on “Hallelujah,” the closest he has come to a hit in 40-odd years of making music. The line is addressed to a lover, but it holds true for Cohen’s music; it may not have always been here, but it sure feels like it »

Not just fun and games

September 26, 2008 • 0
In 1972, as the Vietnam War dragged on and Richard Nixon’s landslide re-election loomed, David Bowie released “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” That album’s first song, “FiveYears,” imagines the overwhelming chaos of the day that the Earth finds out it is only half a decade away from doom: »