I wrote about the great new TOPS album for Portals! It reminds me a lot of the Alvvays record from last month: a disquieting string of journal entries coupled with pitch-perfect adherence to a familiar sound.
For my own personal interests (and perhaps yours too!), I’ve compiled all of the writing that I did during my summer internship for The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly:
- A short review of St. Vincent’s headlining show at the Halifax Jazz Festival.
- A preview of Rock Show: At the intersection of art + music, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
- A farewell to artist/arts administrator Daniel Joyce and a preview of his final solo exhibition as a Haligonian.
- A feature/cover story about Old and Weird, one of the most inventive bands currently working in the Canadian underground.
- A guide to Halifax’s all-ages venues for the paper’s back to school issue.
- Reviews of albums by Tonstartssbandht, Willie Stratton and the Boarding Party, Alvvays, and a Plastic Factory Records compilation.
This is not a music blog. This is not an obligation. You are not here to impress anybody.
This is a journal, a place to enthuse and a place to be critical, a place to write because I feel pulled to do so, a means of connection. This is an honest way of documenting things—my thoughts, my feelings, my life!—that may otherwise be lost.
Because list-making is fun, because Pitchfork is doing it, because Josh did it and his list was great. Here we go!
- Destroyer - Kaputt (2011)
- Atlas Sound - Parallax (2011)
- The New Pornographers - Together (2010)
- Beach House - Bloom (2012)
- Braids - Flourish // Perish (2013)
- Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)
- Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe (2013)
- Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (2010)
- Kathryn Calder - Bright and Vivid (2011)
- Braids - Native Speaker (2011)
- Cousins - The Palm at the End of the Mind (2012)
- St. Vincent - Strange Mercy (2011)
- Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014)
- William Tyler - Impossible Truth (2013)
- Nap Eyes - Whine of the Mystic (2014)
- Purity Ring - Shrines (2012)
- Cousins - The Halls of Wickwire (2014)
- Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 (2011)
- Sharon Van Etten - Tramp (2012)
- Arcade Fire - Reflektor (2013)
Anonymous asked: the way portals calls their album reviews "reflections" is so fucking pretentious it's so sad
- 1. I’m not in charge of that.
- 2. It could just be a semantic distinction for you.
- 3. The point of our “reflections” isn’t to make a qualitative judgment about the music because, as I understand it, there’s sort of a philosophical problem with the ‘power’ granted (by readers? by nobody?) to actually ‘rate’ music in the way that reviews typically happen these days. All that a critic can legitimately say with respect to music on a PURELY qualitative basis is “I like this” or “I don’t like this” based on a set of predisposed tastes that, frankly, aren’t very interesting to anyone who doesn’t share those tastes. In academic fields, nobody writes about literature, for instance, by saying “I like this” or the reverse. They analyze the work for themes and tone, consider the broader context in which the author was working, et cetera. We do this with music at Portals, but we also bring in a personal element that’s absent from both academic writing and traditional music reviewing. We’re analyzing the music and reflect about ourselves. If you think what we’re doing is just writing reviews, you should think about what a ‘review’ really is, or you should read our work more deliberately.