• culture

    Jeff Walker May Music Reviews: Nick Waterhouse, Robert Forster, Glen Hansard, Stephen Malkmus

    AGEIST music columnist Jeff Walker tells us which new album releases he's most excited about.

    Nick Waterhouse “Nick Waterhouse” (Innovative Leisure). At only 33 years old, Nick Waterhouse has released his 4th album, a fantastic mix of rockabilly, ’60s pop, and old-school soul. This is a collection that very successfully leans toward a nostalgic look to the past. This record contains sharp musicianship, bopping tempos, tight arrangements with lots of counterpoint instrumentation and vocals, and the highest standards of pop craft melding elements of soul, blues, R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll. The entire collection of songs is an easy and undemanding listen. Standout tracks are “Song for Winners” and “Undedicated”.

    Robert Forster “Inferno” (Tapete). Former frontman of the Australian band The Go-Betweens returns with a new solo album 13 years after the untimely death of his Go-Betweens partner and best friend, Grant McLennan. He’s very much an acquired taste, but lyric-driven songs that seem tuneless on the surface are the ones you find yourself humming later. This is Forster’s 7th solo album and is filled with presence and warmth missing from his last outing. This effort was produced by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, Beth Orton). Standout track: “I’m Gonna Tell It.”

    Son Volt “Union” (Transmit Sound). This latest release from Jay Farrar and his band finds him taking a demonstrative stance and confronting our current political climate. Throughout most of these tracks, Mr. Farrar is channeling Woody Guthrie with a focus on the current state of our nation. “While Rome Burns” starts off the album with a strong portrait of our current national division: “The interstates connect more than divide / free will can only survive,” he lays out in the chorus. On the song “Lady Liberty” he sings, “Lady Liberty, are you here?” with references to the hopes and dreams many of us once shared. Standout tracks: “While Rome Burns,” “Lady Liberty,” and “The 99.”

    Glen Hansard “This Wild Willing” (Anti). Known for his work with the movie Once as well as with The Frames and The Swell Season, Glen Hansard’s new release — his third in less than four years — is a pleasant surprise. It has a balanced mix of traditional instrumentation with a bit of electronica, and showcases a rawer sound which is the perfect backdrop to this collection of songs. There is a whisper to the vocals at times, which brings to mind a reference to Leonard Cohen. Recorded in Paris, “Race to the Bottom” lyrically paints with references to recent unrest in the city. This is Mr. Hansard’s strongest work to date as a solo artist. Standout tracks: “I’ll Be You, Be Me,” “Fools Game,” and “Race To The Bottom.”
    Stephen Malkmus “Groove Denied” (Matador). Now into his 30th year as a recording artist, Stephen Malkmus has released his second solo album and the first in 20 years. On this effort he takes a detour from his traditional rock stylings in his bands Pavement and the Jicks. This electronic-focused release is a solitary effort record recorded over 13 years in both Portland and Berlin. The effort channels 1979 post-punk stylings and, unlike earlier Pavement and the Jicks releases, the guitars are buried in the mix. These tracks successfully reference tone clusters used by the iconic German prog rock band Kraftwerk in their early releases. Some may be surprised by the stylistic change here, but it really works. Standout tracks: “Forget Your Place,” “Rushing the Acid Frat,” and “Viktor Borgia.”
    Read here for Jeff Walker’s reviews of David Byrne, Andrew Bird, Yola, Jenny Lewis…
    Read here for our profile on Jane Wiedlin, musician and rock icon
    Read here for our profile on musician Amanda Dill

    More Stories

    Hiroshi Fujiwara, 55: Men’s Style Icon

    The realm of what is acceptable and what is possible in everything to do with people our age needs some radical expanding. What does...

    Ann-Sophie “Fred” Lakso, 56: Love and Sex Addiction Therapist

    People call you Fred — where did that come from? My real name, Ann-Sofie, always ended up as either Sofie or Ann. One time somebody...

    AGEIST Arts and Culture Roundtable Dinner

    From time to time we like to assemble some of the leading minds in the AGEIST network for dinner and discussion around a specific...

    Quick and Easy Raw Coconut Protein Balls Recipe

    This Keto Coconut Recipe Is Sure to Make Your Sweet Cravings Disappear By Ingrid De La O. All photos by TUSOL Wellness.These are so fast...

    Fully Alive at the Modern Elder Academy 

    Waking to the sound of Pacific waves breaking had become a welcome change to the usual morning symphony of traffic and sirens in our...

    LATEST Profiles

    Ann-Sophie “Fred” Lakso, 56: Love and Sex Addiction Therapist

    People call you Fred — where did that come from? My real name, Ann-Sofie, always ended up as either Sofie or Ann. One time somebody...

    David Turns 61: The most creative and productive year of his life.

    Today is my 61st birthday. It feels different from 60, weightier. But really, the whole idea of being anywhere near this age is a...

    Wesley Rowell, 59: The Accidental Preacher

    At the age of 59, Wesley Rowell became a preacher. This was not something he had ever imagined doing.“I turned 59 on Sep 21...