Tag Archives: Thunder TIllman

2016 in Review: EPs

It’s hump day for 2016 in Review! Part three of five lists a handful of EPs that I enjoyed this year:

1. Moses Sumney — Lamentations

moses-sumney

Just as Moses Sumney’s voice can reach up and up, his music seems to find new heights of beauty with each song he releases. I’ll take a choir of looped Sumneys over just about any other vocal group out there.

Moses Sumney — “Incantation” [Spotify/iTunes]

2. Phil Cook — Old Hwy D

phil-cook

What a perfect companion to the outburst of joy found on Southland Mission. This compact set of pensive guitar tunes is great for working, driving, running… anything where you want to turn your active mind off and let the quiet murmurs of your soul bubble up.

Phil Cook — “Old Hwy D” [Spotify/iTunes]

3. Spencer Tweedy — Geezer Love

spencer-tweedy

Apologies for getting all parental about this, but my heart was warmed by Geezer Love in part by the combination of Spencer Tweedy’s voice — how much it sounds like his dad’s — and how he’s managed to make something all his own while building on his dad’s songwriting strengths. That thing Tweedy Sr. does by offering ear-pleasing patterns and then subverting them slightly via structural tweaks and manipulation of phrasing — Tweedy Jr. has it down pat. There’s a wonderful irony at work here: If the style you inherit is dependent on offering variation, you’ll never be a copy of what came before. In “Fawn,” Spencer sings “I want to be what you want me to be/I want to do what you want me to do,” and I can’t help thinking that in being himself, he’s already being and doing what his dad would want.

Spencer Tweedy — “Walking Home” [Bandcamp]

4. Heartracer — Eat Your Heart Out

heartracer

I had an opportunity to write a quickie review of this for RVA Magazine. Here’s a snippet:

Eat Your Heart Out’s literal centerpiece, “I Just Want U,” is an expertly crafted pop ballad that’s a joy to get lost in — lost in the harmonies, the guitar, and in time.

Heartracer — “I Just Want U” [Spotify/iTunes]

5. Thunder Tillman — Jaguar Mirror

Thunder Tillman

From my initial post about Thunder Tillman:

I love how narrative Thunder Tillman’s music is. I was hooked halfway through the EP’s first song, “Exact Location Of The Soul,” in large part because I felt like added elements and changes in mood were advancing a story.

Thunder Tillman — “Exact Location Of The Soul” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Thunder Tillman

Thunder Tillman

Very, very fond of this Thunder Tillman EP.

I have Pitchfork to thank for the heads up, and it’s indicative of a new normal I’ve fallen into. Lately, I’ve been checking the site in the morning and giving one or two of the albums a spin without reading the reviews. For me, this is the perfect middle ground between curation and discovery. There’s enough info on the front page to pique interest (artist name, album name and art, genre, the implication that it’s notable for some reason) and a wealth of information waiting in the review if I like what I hear. The score and whether the reviewer liked the album — they’re not irrelevant, they’re just secondary, which I’ve found to be a more beneficial hierarchy.

I don’t mean to crap on Pitchfork here — that’s a pastime I tend to opt out of. Just sharing what’s been working for me. Given more time, I think I probably would read every review they publish. Pitchfork’s writing remains the strongest and most consistent in the realm of music criticism, and I’ve been enjoying their new Sunday reviews of notable past albums. (Be sure to check out Amanda Petrusich’s take on Tusk.)

Speaking of good writing, I love how narrative Thunder Tillman’s music is. I was hooked halfway through the EP’s first song, “Exact Location Of The Soul,” in large part because I felt like added elements and changes in mood were advancing a story.

See if you agree:

Thunder Tillman — “Exact Location Of The Soul” [Spotify/iTunes]

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