Hey, everyone! Lots of stuff for you, this week. As you might have noticed, I’m steadily working my way through the mailbag. There’s lots more great stuff in there, which I hope you’ll see in the next few days. The really good, slightly-longer-term news is that my dissertation now has a planned submission date. So, one day – in the not-too-distant future – I’ll be able to spend lots more time developing some of these tidbits into articles. But until that day comes, I leave you with the best of this week’s bookmarks…
Hey, everyone! Welcome to another installment of our news round-up series… Lots of nifty things going on, this week, and so we’ll just get right to it.
It’s easy, sometimes, to think of radio as a dead medium. The sort of thing that can get you through a visit to the dentist, or an elevator ride, but not much else. In a post-Buggles world, what good can radio really bring us? Well, of course, there’s rather a lot of good to be had out there. I’ve looked at, and featured, NPR’s excellent All Songs Considered on this site before. But there’s so much more to be found in local stations across America (and the globe) – perhaps none so striking as Seattle’s KEXP. The site features an enormous amount of live, in-studio recordings and interviews, as well as news and video (they’ve even got a nifty iPhone app). As someone who lost faith in radio during the ClearChannel consolidation years, I find it very reassuring to know that stations like this have managed to survive.
You really should take some time to rummage around their site. After the cut, I’ll highlight some of my favorite live recordings, and give you a few tips from their upcoming performances list. Hint: Jónsi tomorrow!
Today, we’re continuing yesterday’s Icelandic theme with NPR’s first look at the new Jónsi album Go. Jónsi is, of course, Jon Thor Birgisson, the singer from Sigur Rós. I’ve long loved and admired Sigur Rós’ towering, immersive soundscapes. Sonic architecture that can hit with the fury of a primal scream – or a gentle breeze – and leave you profoundly changed just the same. And so, for obvious reasons, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Go‘s release.
And man, does it ever live up to expectations! The first two tracks – “Go Do” and “Animal Arithmetic” are so joyful, and so playful, that I almost had to make sure I was playing the right album. Of course, by the time the album’s gorgeous third track – “Tornado” – rolls around, everything becomes perfectly clear. Jónsi’s voice continues to soar here, as it does throughout the album – occasionally diving and weaving through brass, woodwinds, chimes, and assorted other bits of orchestral ephemera. The album has such an enthusiasm, and an intensity of purpose, that it’s almost impossible to imagine it stripped down to anything less than a philharmonic.
On a side note, and as a long time fan, it’s really exciting to hear so much English on Go. (Granted, I have a degree in Old Norse, and have studied Icelandic, but still…) I do love me some Hopelandic, but I find Jónsi’s choice here to be quite daring.
If you’ve been on the fence about Sigur Rós, or haven’t really connected with their music, I strongly encourage you to try Go. It’s epic, exuberant, and beautiful (especially the album’s crisp, penultimate track: “Grow till Tall”). If it doesn’t brighten your day, then I’d urge you to kindly stay away from Whoville.
Follow me to listen to the album…