Completing an album can be like a life passage, closing one chapter and opening another. The third chapter in Sharon Van Etten’s recorded history, Tramp’s a haunting record that pushes out beyond the minimalist, emotionally raw folk of Van Etten’s first two albums.
If life’s a race, it’s certainly the hurdles. An experienced racer, Andrew Bird´s been going around the track since the mid-’90s, when he ran with acts like the “Hell”-ish Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire.
Langhorne Slim had a good thing going.
The nomadic roots rocker spent almost his entire adult life peddling his scuffling folk-blues odes to wastrels, scoundrels and lovelorn wanderers. In all that time since college, he’d managed to avoid ever paying rent.
For 45 years, Thompson has made music in various formations, never achieving more than modest commercial success, while critics have greeted his work with near-universal, bended-kneed genuflection. He uses a hybrid of pick and finger plucking, forging warm, rich folk tones abetted by a sinewy baritone.
“It’s not a documentary — or it shouldn’t be titled one because it uses footage that happened and footage that was re-enacted to tell a story the director wanted to tell. One that ultimately is a successful story, but is not true. And we’ve suffered from it,” says guitarist Peter Holmström.
Putting comedy within anyone’s reach has been one of the goals of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy troupe that enjoyed a run on Comedy Central from 1998 to 2000 and now operates theaters in Los Angeles and New York that have served as stepping stones for many comedic actors and writers. The company also tours the nation, putting on comedy shows coast-to-coast.
You might call them “culture warriors,” though you won’t find them armed with Bibles and picket signs. They’re not even that angry.
New York rap trio Das Racist are more hipster wise-alecks battling mediocrity in witty verses lined in hip slang and carpeted with pop culture sediment.