music, voreplay


An occasional series of insane and pat critical assessments on what we’ve been spinning lately.


First, if you haven’t already introduced yourself to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, may we recommend doing so now?

Secondly, we ended the previous Voreplay by implying that Regina Spektor’s Far might possibly be a better album than St. Vincent’s Actor. We were huffing glue when we wrote that. Please disregard that statement.

Thirdly, Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel tied the knot this weekend.


Ben’s brother Dan is still in mourning.

On to business:

The Antlers, Hospice. Get it! “Kettering” is a spooky hospital bedside lament, while “Sylvia” is an operatic blast culminating with horns and guitar distortion. We repeat: Get it!

Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse, Dark Night of the Soul. Like Derek Webb’s Stockholm Syndrome, this is an album that won the disapproval of the record label powers that be, those being in this case EMI, which threatened to sue Danger Mouse if he released it. In a nifty little stick-it-to-the-man move, Danger Mouse sold (through a website) a limited edition book of David Lynch photography with a blank CD-R labeled, “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.”

While Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) helped produce, he sings on just one of the tracks ( “Daddy’s Gone,”), sharing vocal duties with, among others, Suzanne Vega, James Mercer, Jason Lytle, The Flaming Lips, Vic Chesnutt and (less successfully) Iggy Pop. Lynch himself sings on two of the songs, the best of which is the creepy closer which shares the album’s name. It sounds like Portishead getting mugged in a dark alley, or The Jigsaw Killer trying to write a love song. This may not seem like a recommendation, but it is.

Mason Jennings, Blood of Man. Jury’s still out on this one. Ben is going on record as saying he’s disappointed. Erin may revoke that opinion in the next installment.

Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall. We’ll bypass the psychological issues that would first convince someone to a) change his last name to “Reatard,” and b) pose like this for his latest album, and simply say that you should buy this. “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and “Before I Was Caught” are great running tracks. “I’m Watching You” and “There Is No Sun” are not necessarily great tracks to run to, but they’re still great tracks. And as “Me #2” suggests in an iTunes review, “Headbang to ‘Faking It’ on loop till your neck breaks.” If that’s your thing and all.

Mindy Smith, Stupid Love. Erin remembers when Smith was just one of the open mic artists during “Twelve @ 12th” back in the day. Stupid Love, her fourth album, rounds up several guest artists including such notable Nashvillians as Kate York and Daniel Tashian (not to mention husband-and-wife duo Vince Gill and Amy Grant). Good, solid female singing-songwriting with a few up-tempo rockers to boot. Cincinnatians, you can get a firsthand look on October 22 at The Southgate House.

Yo La Tengo, Popular Songs. Yo La Tengo can do no wrong in Ben’s book, but even he would admit this is an uneven effort. On the plus side of the ledger: the fantastic three-minute rocker “Nothing to Hide” (with its echoes of “Cherry Chapstick”) and the sunny duet, “If It’s True.” It’s worth noting that those are the two shortest songs on the album. While “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven” is exactly the kind of nine-minute slow burn of whispered vocals and warm guitar sprawl that Yo La Tengo has perfected, the eleven minute “The Fireside” and fifteen minute “And The Glitter Is Gone” — both sans vocals — are instant skippers. (Except, Erin would note, when you’re listening to them live and can’t leave the room.) Coming after I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, this is a disappointment. But kudos to any band that begins a song with the lyrics, “Never read Proust/Sounds a little too long/Never used a hammer/Without somehow using it wrong.”

We did not get to Reigning Sound’s Love and Curses this time around, but we’ll let Jerry Grit sing its praises in the comments. In the meantime, pull out 2002’s Time Bomb High School and give it another listen. It’s nutz!

Upcoming albums we’re psyched about: Monsters of Folk; Built to Spill’s There Is No Enemy; Embryonic by The Flaming Lips; the New Moon soundtrack (we are not joking); and anything with accordion music in it. We take recommendations!


11 thoughts on “Voreplay

  1. Voreblog,

    On a recent trip to work a fellow carpooler accused me of “not having a soul” because of my stated indifference to all things musical. After reading this most recent Voreplay it dawned on me that perhaps I am indifferent towards music because I have no idea who any of these people are. Perhaps I just don’t know the right music.

    In the wake of this incredible accusation I was wondering if you had any musical suggestions for someone who could not care less about music? Is there someone to be truly excited about?


    Soulless in DC

    ps I have tried Radiohead and much to both of my brothers dismay… not a fan.

    1. Dear Soulless in DC,

      You have struck us as especially soulless lately. Perhaps we can help.

      First of all, what Radiohead have you tried? If your answer is “all of it,” then we too will line up behind our brothers in registering our dismay.

      Secondly, what music have you enjoyed in the past? We’re assuming there must be at least a few exceptions to your stated indifference. If we know where you’ve been, perhaps we can help you get where you’re going.

      Finally, it sounds like your fellow carpooler has a crush on you. We advise against any kind of relationship with this individual. He/She clearly wants to “fix” you and we all know how that usually turns out. We can’t foresee any scenario where things would work out between the two of you. Sorry.


    2. Mr. Masterson,

      I’ve had the same struggle with Radiohead and Wilco, as well. I don’t dislike these bands and find myself enjoying most of their songs, but I don’t love them like it seems everyone else does.

      My appreciation of music grew exponentially the year I lived with Rob Mason (of WMSR fame) in college. I would name a band I enjoyed and he would rattle off one or two others I should check out. He was generally on the mark. Then I graduated and started listening to crap.

      My advice is to move in with Rob Mason.

      Mr. Cashmere

  2. I want to hate Ben Gibbard, I really do. But he made Transatlanticism and this song:

    So I can’t hate him. He just won the lottery, that’s all. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy. I guess.

    And you beat me to The Antlers, that was going to be my recommendation. Seen this yet?

    So I’m left to my secondary choices which are:

    Volcano Choir – lower level Justin Vernon, but still good.

    The xx – Baby making music for hipsters. Yeaaaaaaa.

    Wild Beasts – Antony and the Johnsons-esque falsettos.

    1. Also, I think female Vore needs to retry The Avett Brothers. Their brand new one is FANTASTIC. All caps shows that I mean bidness.

  3. Voreblog,

    Thanks for your concern regarding the carpooler. I have since had her removed from the carpool and replaced her with a full omelet station in the back of my Honda.

    I can’t claim to have listened to “all” Radiohead. As a matter of fact I have probably only listened to a handfull of songs and did not enjoy them. I fear reprisal from my brothers for even writing this in a public space.

    Besides listening to whatever music John Madden Football happens to be blaring while I play my musical selection have pretty much been limited to the following:

    1. David Grey
    2. Keane
    3. Some shitty form of 80’s rock.
    4. Coldplay
    5. Some compilation of Eminem and Jay Z

    Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


    Soulless in DC

  4. How are these “Voreplays” written? Are they intentional agitations directed squarely at me? In my mind’s theater…

    BEN [Finishes tub of Rocky Road, tequila]: What should we do today? [Stares listlessly out window, that overlooks bleak Southern Ohio landscape.]

    ERIN [Also staring listlessly out window]: I dunno. Cornhole tournament?

    BEN [Adjusts self]: Six nights in a row?! Not tonight.

    ERIN: You’re right. Feels like there’s something missing.

    BOTH [Speaking at the same time, an eerie coincidence]: Haven’t heard from Jerry Grit in awhile.

    [Silence falls on the couple, surrounded by big framed pictures of themselves making out.]

    ERIN: I guess we could call him?

    BEN: No. He withers me with shame during direct communication.

    ERIN: There has to be some way to get his abrasive enlightenment? Like the flames to a crucible, he scorches us to purify us.

    BEN: We could ruin what he loves?

    ERIN: YAY!

    {The end}

    So then you write about music. You maliciously provoke me by throwing YLT under the bus. You actually bought another Mason Jennings album. You jog to Jay Reatard when you should be doing meth and stealing wheelchairs to it. You give no room to Reigning Sound and expect me to pick up the substantial slack.

    But as Khan said of Kirk, “He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him!”

    “Why is Greg Cartwright pouring milk all over me?,” you ask yourselves.

    Because he’s eating all of you for breakfast!

    You guys also didn’t have enough time for the new Why? album or Megafaun, or Mirah, or Woods, or YACHT. And yet you indulge in Mindy Smith?

    You’re all jumbled! You know what helps me? A list. As an exercise, list out your priorities on a weekly basis. We’ll sit down, and let’s work through them. I want to help, I really do. But I’m so far removed from what you deem valuable, that it’s so hard for me to relate. Let’s get you back on the path.

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