Album Review: The Tallest Man on Earth Continues His Sonic Exploration on I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream.

The Lowdown: When Kristian Matsson, the Swedish singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, laid an almost indiscernible banjo track over the guitar on the opener of 2010’s The Wild Hunt, it came as quite a shock given his solo folk purity. But since then, his production has steadily diversified — though always austerely — from the plugged-in sound of fan-favorite “The Dreamer” to (gasp!) a drum kit on his last full-length album in 2015, Dark Bird Is Home. His newest project, I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. finds Mattson continuing this sonic exploration, playing with horns and pianos to create vast swathes of lonely folk music. (Buy: Tickets to Upcoming The Tallest Man on Earth Shows) The Good: Counterintuitively, the songs on I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. are most successful when the glittery production is most reigned in. Take “Waiting for My Ghost”, where a gossamer harmonica warbles over reverberating acoustic guitar, or the title track, where Matsson utilizes space and silence to build toward an ascendant horn line that seems to lift you right out of the end of the album. But even when the production is most involved, it isn’t […]

Album Review: Stella Donnelly Takes the World to Task on Beware of the Dogs

The Lowdown: Stella Donnelly is a virtual newcomer to the musical scene, but Beware of the Dogs, a glimmering yet no-frills portrait of the political and personal realities and shortcomings of average life, makes one wonder where we ever were without her. She kicks off with an energetic push into the action with “Old Man”, before pulling back into the threads of something a little less pop, a little more indie, which guide the rest of the album. It’s a quick odyssey into a world Donnelly clearly knows well, from the delightfully acerbic family tensions in the lyrics of “Season’s Greetings” to the pinnacled mourning of “Boys Will Be Boys”. Haunting yet real and comprehensive but manageable, Beware of the Dogs is an indie folk wake-up call and a more than apt introduction to this young, fearless expert, who is quickly making herself impossible to overlook. [Buy: Tickets to Upcoming Stella Donnelly Shows] The Good: Beware of the Dogs shines in its concrete approaches to meaningful subject matter. Most markedly, Donnelly’s exasperation with the patriarchy bobs to the surface regularly across the album’s 13-track span; even in the moments when it’s not directly articulated, we feel the way that it informs […]