The act of forgiveness — true forgiveness from the heart — must be one of the most empowering actions that one can undertake. You can aim to forgive, but you can’t force it. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes emotional expenditure. Although I am not a person of faith, I admire the central understanding in Judeo-Christian faiths of the personal empowerment that the act of forgiveness affords us in releasing malice and ill-will. We forgive not for the forgiven, but to find balance in ourselves.
Forgiveness is the central concept of The Avett Brothers‘ “No Hard Feelings,” and it should come as no surprise that it’s lyrics are speckled with religious overtones. It’s a particularly calming and heartwarming song – whether used as reinforcement for finding forgiveness of others, or as mantra to help find forgiveness.
Kind of in love with this slow jam from Los Angeles-based duo, sleeperzzZ. Steven Vernet (Stevie Sleeper) & Kelly Gibbons (Kelly Sleeper) of Silver Lake.
There was a deluxe edition of Angel Olsen’s heartbreaking introspective, Burn Your For For No Witness?! Can’t believe I missed this, but even more, I can’t believe “All Right Now” missed the original release.
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Mitski‘s 2014 album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek was likely my favorite (belated) find of last year: a powerful and unapologetic female voice over a varied musical backdrop that at times recalled the cleaned up garage rock of Blue Album Weezer. But even more that that is the range of excitement (“First Love / Late Spring”), heartbreak (“Drunk Walk Home”), and clear-eyed resolution (“Last Words of a Shooting Star”). The album is fucking spectacular, and if you haven’t already listened to it 30 times through, you should stop whatever you are listening to and get on to Bandcamp or Spotify or Youtube or whatever source you usually go to to listen to music with little-to-no commitment and listen to the album start-to-finish right now.
Aquarium Drunkard‘s Lagniappe Sessions is a pretty spectacular series that shows some of the influences of bands, with the bonus of giving us some oddball covers/b-sides, in an era where b-sides and compilations — that would otherwise be venues for such tracks — are just about extinct.
Dan Boeckner‘s re-establishment of himself as “Operators” post-Handsome Furs (and Divine Fits) follows the same trend. In Operators, he’s joined by Divine Fits (and New Bomb Turks) drummer, Sam Brown, plus singer/producer Devojka. This EP came out a year a half ago?! Fuck, I wish someone would have told me.
For as heartfelt (and heartbreaking) as Tica Douglas’ Joey is, it remains an upbeat and optimistic album. It has the quaintness of bedroom rock, but fleshed out with the backing of a full band and amplified guitars. Like Tica’s own non-binary identity, the album can’t be reduced through a label.
Over the years my tastes have diverged more and more from Gorilla vs. Bear, a blog that I followed religiously when I first started this for this site. But Chris Cantalini still finds and spotlights some great music, especially on the electronica end of my tastes. He premiered this track by Negative Gemini in October. It’s set to be released this year on her debut LP, Body Work on 100% Electronica.