The Projects: The Essential 90s Albums, #25-21

By The S&N Staff. There may be some generational bias at play here, but the 90s just might’ve been the peak of the album experience. In that gap in time between the MTV and radio dominance of the 80s and the Napster and iTunes takeover of the 2000s came a wave of rock and hip-hop artists who saw music as more than just a collection of singles. Whether fueled by nostalgia for the classic rock era of the concept LP, or a reflexive cynicism of “selling out,” these artists had ambitions toward a higher level of creativity. Continue reading

The Year In Music 2014: Mark’s Picks

sylvan-essoBy Mark. This year’s list took some effort. I ran through top list after top list, but had trouble finding ten records that really stood out. Some early favorites such as Cloud NothingsHere And Nowhere Else faded out of rotation and never came back. Benjamin Booker wowed me for two weeks and then I forgot about him. Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There has some really bright spots, but the album dulls midway through. And as much as it pains me to say it, Ben Howard‘s I Forget Where We Were has the same problem. Continue reading

The Conversationalist: Is Jack White’s Lazaretto An Evolution Or An Endpoint?

Jack_White_-_LazarettoBy Spencer, Antony, and Mark. Jack White’s second solo album, Lazaretto, dropped this week. Following a tradition started on our previous site, After The Radio, three of our S&N contributors engaged in a bi-coastal email conversation on the album and its place in the broader Jack White pantheon of musical experiences:

Spencer: After my first listen to Lazaretto, I think we can safely say that Jack White has fully walked away now from the minimalism that was so characteristic of his work with the White Stripes (and, to a lesser extent, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather). It’s a continuation of what he did on his last solo album, Blunderbuss, which saw him experimenting with a much broader range of instrumentation and genres, from pianos and pedal steels to honky-tonk and bluegrass. Here, the use of the fiddle stands out in the transition between “Lazaretto” and “Temporary Ground,” along with more piano, more steel guitar, and a fatter bass sound than we’ve come to expect (especially for a guy whose first band didn’t even have one!). Continue reading