By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
A GRAVE WITH NO NAME
"We Parted Ways at Mount Jade"
Oh, that strained falsetto. That smeared spreading of guitar parts. Ethereally indistinct. This is sort of like trying to stare directly into the sun on a clear, hot afternoon; you can see it, but at the same time you kinda can't, and the whole experience is mildly painful—less painful, though, than that Lotus Plaza record, which left me a little dizzy.
"Goodbye Little Song"
Zebra is a weird departure for Blau; vocally, he spends a lot of the album sounding unlike himself, straying into Lou Barlow tape-deck murmurs ("Crucial Contact"), Beck-as-folkie quavers ("Waiting for the Wind"), and Kurt Cobain/Eddie Vedder mumbles ("Flood") against tinkling, inconsequential musical backdrops. "Song" registers as pro forma Blau, though: A songwriter wistfully bids a tune he's coddled and nourished and polished a fond adieu, as if it were a pigeon. Meta!
"100 Year Old Chicken Thief"
Oh, Ladyscraper. You hail from the U.K. You have serious issues. You record under a disturbingly misogynist pseudonym. And listening to "Chicken Thief" is like having my head drilled by a dozen woodpeckers at once. Is it even possible to breed and train killer woodpeckers, like how some people raise carrier pigeons? I wonder.
Looks like Jemina's gone soft on us, post-Be Your Own Pet, her young'n'dumb-in-all-directions misanthropy coated in a gooey layer of sentimentality.
"(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"
Growing up and numbing is for suckers.