Have Yourself an Indie Little Christmas

In the last decade or so,  there has been an increasing number of alternative music Christmas songs and albums providing, well, an alternative to the traditional carols and hit Christmas tunes. Leaving aside what alternative (and by association indie) even mean for a moment, I’d like to stray into another controversy. Far from being outside the… Read more »

Listening Experience: Tvrdý/Havelka – U nás v garáži

Cover albums can have a couple of motives. Most obviously, they are straightforward acknowledgements of artistic debt. Alternatively, they can offer fresh interpretations of familiar songs. Think Nouvelle Vague before the shtick became tiresome, or Herbie Hancock’s New Standards which united seemingly disparate songs through the jazz idiom. Tvrdý and Havelka’s album partly fits into this latter category of musical… Read more »

Off Note: The (Tentative) Case for Physical Music

Vinyl’s return continues to surprise people. Living in the Czech Republic for over a decade I’ve seen the resurgence quite starkly. When I first arrived, the vinyl section in Prague’s ostensibly largest music store has grown from a single rack filled mostly with Iron Maiden and Rolling Stones releases to now encompassing an entire floor, which… Read more »

Sins of Omission: Review – I Drive a Valence: the Collected Lyrics of Bill Callahan

The title couldn’t be more perfect in tone – matter-of-fact, suggestive, dead-pan. It might be a fragment of any number of Callahan’s songs. But the title – however apt – can’t avoid the question why publish these lyrics when many are available in liner notes. More importantly, do they stand up on their own? Are they, in themselves, literature? For fans, having… Read more »