Kirill Makarenko

Former Assistant Leisure Editor


Critical Voices: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away

A band that successfully released 15 albums certainly earns the right to poetic license and work packed with perplexing content, but a limit on such creativity should be observed. The Australian group Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds become an unfortunate testament to this fact with the release of Push the Sky Away, an album so tumultuous in quality of music that the entire LP is nearly unbearable. Wildly swinging between refreshing spiritual revelations and sex-fueled rants by an apparent drunk old man, Push the Sky Away is salvaged only by its soothing instrumentation.


Critical Voices: Bullet For My Valentine, Temper Temper

Certain musical styles require an opposition. Without the necessary grit and disgruntled listeners criticizing bands through thinly veiled smug superiority, genres like rock ‘n’ roll, particularly metal, would simply have faded from this world. The Welsh group Bullet for My Valentine turns in such a direction with its fourth studio album. Lacking an edge, Temper Temper fails to live up to the expectations set forth by the bloodied hands on the cover and emerges a confused, uninteresting LP.


Critical Voices: My Bloody Valentine, m b v

Hope—though mostly false—and occasional outbursts of fury have accompanied Dublin alt rock outfit My Bloody Valentine on a 12-year journey to a third studio album. In spite of over a decade of production, the quality of the LP was never in question; MBV delivers a hauntingly fascinating album that occasionally breaks off into seemingly absurd yet exhilarating stylistic development.


Critical Voices: Ducktails, The Flower Lane

Albums seldom take the form of a holistic work—from the cover art to the music—in a culture geared toward chart-topping singles. This idea of a whole product at times proves detrimental if treated as an end in itself. Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile’s solo project Ducktails, for instance, delivers a fourth studio album with a clear focus on unity of the LP without the benefits that often accompany such strategies. In spite of solid production and an aura best described as pleasant, The Flower Lane falls short of memorable.


Critical Voices: Ra Ra Riot, Beta Love

As is the case with all instruments, synthesizers demand moderation and proper place within a finished musical product. Such devices are hardly appropriate in a full-blown experimental framework, particularly one that lasts hardly 30 minutes. Syracuse-based Ra Ra Riot, however, ignores these practices on the indie rock band’s third studio album, Beta Love, bringing an unpolished, unnatural, and chaotic creation into the world.


Critical Voices: Yo La Tengo, Fade

From its roots in Hoboken to its namesake as the Spanish translation of a baseball outfielder calling, “I got it,” Yo La Tengo emerges as a distinctly American band. In spite of this tradition and a nearly 30-year track record of releasing quality material, YLT has earned the undeserved reputation as a cult band with a narrow niche. The indie outfit’s 13th studio album shatters this perception, transcending the predictable formula that often comes with such lengthy existence. Fade instead becomes a universally appealing, whole, and startlingly vibrant LP that fails to exhibit a single weakness.


Critical Voices: El Perro Del Mar, Pale Fire

Much like the name it bears, Swedish solo act El Perro Del Mar’s Pale Fire contains all the subtle strength of a gently burning white flame. While melodically subdued, the record has a palpable power only slightly dimmed by Sarah Assbring’s reverberant, airy vocals that result in a satisfyingly ambient synth-pop concoction.


Critical Voices: Ke$ha, Warrior

With her signature riot of glitter and war paint, Ke$ha has established a character for herself that doesn’t stray far from a party girl stereotype. In spite of this image, the pop singer-songwriter has masterfully expanded her repertoire by capturing a vast array of styles and influences on her superb sophomore effort. True to its name, Warrior has Ke$ha fighting to continue doing what she does best: not giving a fuck.


Saxa Politica: Slow but steady progress?

Writing this column has yielded copious amounts of startling conclusions regarding the state of Georgetown’s internal structure. As expected, most of said revelations revealed the University as ideal porn for fans of institutional ineptitude, self-imposed and self-aware bureaucratic asphyxiation, and inexplicable breakdowns in otherwise intuitive communication structures.


Critical Voices: Wu-block, Wu-Block

An irreplaceable attribute of good music is its ability to relate to an audience; to a degree, a listener must identify with any work of art to enjoy it. The true masters stand out, however, when they deliver quality material with absolutely no semblance of a connection to the majority of society. Wu-Block, a group effort between members of New York-based rap groups Wu-Tang Clan and D-Block, does exactly this on its self-titled collaborative album.