Video Vault 97: Nick Cave

It’s rare that artists release works that rank among their most accomplished decades-deep into their career. Chalk it up to rock n’ roll culture’s “better to burn out than fade away” mentality, or finite creative reserves if you will. Regardless, the trend makes the moments where a pinnacle arrives late in the game worthy of lionization. Scott Walker’s recent bursts of avant insanity and the noise rock ecclesiasticism found on the last string of Swans albums comprise strong examples. Enter Nick Cave, who has never wanted for strong material in his almost four decades as a musician. Perhaps…

Video Vault 96: Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell was released one year ago yesterday, and while some albums lose their luster over time, this one remains stunningly, painfully intimate to this day. The record details Stevens’ troubled relationship with his mother, and also marks his return to a more traditional folk sound. Full of intricate guitar picking and ghostly vocals, listening to Carrie & Lowell is like bearing witness to one person’s beautifully rendered emotional wreckage. Few songs still get to me on the 100th listen like first single “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” although it might not…

Video Vault 94: Joanna Newsom

Is it weird that last year’s Divers might be my favorite Joanna Newsom album? There’s stiff competition for that title, to be sure. Newsom’s debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, is more singular, and the subsequent Ys and Have One on Me boast more formal ambition. On her fourth album, though, Newsom’s approach is much more inviting for the uninitiated. Barring the 7-minute title-track, the songs on Divers are manageable in length (no 17-minute epics about skin this time around) and among her most sonically approachable. It’s a winning tact for an auteur whose work can sometimes be intimidatingly conceptual. That’s not to say Divers is lacking in grandeur, however;…

Video Vault 91: Fever Ray

Enigmatic brother-sister duo The Knife called it quits two years ago, and the 10-year anniversary of their seminal Silent Shout has the defunct group on my mind lately. Their brand of moody, broody electro-pop has been oft-imitated since that album — artists like Zola Jesus and iamamiwhoami exhibit Knife-like fingerprints in their music — though no one ever did it quite so well. More impressive still, Karin and Olof Dreijer used their bangers as Trojan horses, protests against social norms nestled within. The Knife would never again package their MO so accessibly. Seven years after Silent Shout the group…

Video Vault Episode 90: Summertime ’06

In light of recent claims by a certain public figure that, I don’t know, music shouldn’t be political or something (?), let’s throw back to summertime ’15—throwing back to summertime ’06. Right? How could you have forgotten this album? Vince and I may not see eye to eye about the 90s, but seriously. What is this song? What is this video even? Can we watch/listen to this forever? I’m going to say that Pitchfork got it wrong because Summertime ’06 should most definitely have been the best release of 2015. Sorry Kendrick.…

Video Vault 86: David Bowie

Hi all! I’m the new intern over at 33 1/3, here to bring you good taste and good vibes in 2016. More than any other recently-deceased celebrity, David Bowie has been omnipresent in my world since his death on Monday. People I’ve known for years have avowed an appreciation for him I’d never known was there. Public figures have similarly come forward to disclose their histories with the icon, some commenting on the impact of his unparalleled body of work, others on the man himself and his generosity of spirit. Even as I write…

Video Vault 85: PJ Harvey

Yes, it’s 2016 already, and I’m stuck in the early 90s forever, but whatever—I’m okay with that. And as winter finally descends on New York City plunging my shivering Texan heart into hopeless despair and boundless misery, it’s time to pull out the fuzzy socks and stay inside forever ordering oatcakes from Tesco and listening to PJ Harvey. Maybe because PJ Harvey will never not be the coolest person ever. Or maybe because there are only so any times you can allow your roommate to convince you that deep frying…

Video Vault Episode 78: Happy Birthday Mario!

Today, everyone’s favorite video game plumber turns 30! Which is to say, blow off your Friday night plans and dust off your NES console because you now have a date with Super Mario Bros. Oh, and we have a present for you. 30 % OFF Andrew Schartmann’s 33 1/3 on Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros  soundtrack So don’t forget to pick up your copy ASAP! Not to brag, but the New Yorker seemed to like it. You can also read our Q&A with Andrew here, as well as Andrew’s posts on our blog…

Video Vault Episode 77: Ella Fitzgerald Sings “Summertime”

Today is essentially the last day of summer for me, as it marks the end of my summer internship (I’ll be back part-time in the fall though, don’t you worry!). September is right around the corner and, with it, an insanely busy fall semester. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. But what better way to send off the summer than with Ella’s beautiful rendition of “Summertime”? Ella Fitzgerald is and always will be my go-to example of the closest a person can get to vocal perfection. Give her a classic…