July 14, 2020

The Milk Carton Kids – The Only Ones – MCK Records

FourScore
By Kristi Kates | Jan. 11, 2020

Mixing up folk/bluegrass/Americana with a hint of pop, The Milk Carton Kids have snagged Grammy nominations and plenty of critical acclaim for their twisty-turny musicianship and powerful harmonies. While they dallied with a full band setup last album, here they return to their duo format, which always serves them well — especially on pretty tracks that vacillate between melancholy and, well, more melancholy. The standouts of same include the vintage-sounding “I Meant Every Word I Said” and the faintly Western “I’ll Be Gone.” ** ½

Gas – Pop – Kompakt
Wolfgang Voigt — aka Mike Ink, aka Gas — is back for a third album, and he’s stepped out of the darker tone of his past works to embrace a lighter, more sanguine sound. Delicate pieces of musical flotsam are sprinkled over each track in a different way, adding just enough audio seasoning to keep things unexpected and slightly off-kilter. The first three untitled tracks sweep by with oxymoronically similar variations, but as the album progresses, some of Gas’ heavier sounds creep in to add a nice texture. ** ½

Sufjan Stevens - The Decalogue – AK
Petoskey native-turned-Brooklynite Stevens is back, but not with what you might expect (i.e., another quirky album of indie underground hits-in-waiting). Instead, he offers up yet another score he composed in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Justin Peck for the New York City Ballet. The work, as written by Stevens and performed by Timo Andres on solo piano, is quiet yet reminiscent of a blended, pop-i-fied version of Bach and Chopin’s sounds, with romanticism at its core. A pretty effort. ** ½

Walk Off the Earth – Here We Go! – WOTEE
Blending pop with folk, a few dashes of EDM, and a heavy dose of world music, Walk Off the Earth’s latest is a true melting pot of instrumentation, cramming in everything from kazoos to didgeridoos. That’s probably a good thing; the lyrics here aren’t anything groundbreaking, so all the complex instrumentations helps to cover up the fact that they’re relying heavily on cliche. Case in point: “Addicted to You,” “I Do It All For You,” and “Lost In You.” Yes, all on the same album. Unless you truly enjoy repetition, this one will wear thin quickly. * ½

Trending

Farmfest: The Show Will Go On

Virtually every music festival is off the schedule for 2020, from Lollapalooza in Chicago to Coachella in Indio, Californi... Read More >>

It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over. And It’s Not Over.

There’s a huge disparity between the well-being of white and Black families in America. Median Black household wealt... Read More >>

The Couple who Turned One Hotel into an Up North Hospitality Dynasty.

Stafford Smith is known as one of the region’s foremost hospitality professionals, with iconic Northern Michigan pro... Read More >>

Line 5 on Trial

Times were different when Line 5 was stretched underwater across the five miles of the Straits of Mackinac in 1953. The pr... Read More >>