Better to Burn Out: A Farewell

Notes on Leaving

  Apparently, this is my 600th post on Now This Sound Is Brave; it’s also my last post as owner. As the song goes, it’s better to burn out than to fade away, but I think I did both. I don’t have the fortitude to recount the whole thing in new words, so I’ll steal from a personal post I made yesterday: “My music blog is set to turn four years old around the end of this month… but I’m thinking about shutting it down. I took an official hiatus from posting when I started my current day job in early 2013, but I’d slowed way down on writing before that. I thought the seasonal layoff from the day job would give me time to get back into the spirit, but the spirit seems not to be there for me anymore. I haven’t even listened to much music in the last few months. And very little in the way of new music (I listened to an old A-ha album a few days ago, and those songs are still bouncing around my head because there’s been nothing in the meantime to replace them). I did go much longer with the blog … Continue reading

A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Mutts

Mutts Cheer Up feature

  It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.   Earlier this month, I extolled the multi-flavored virtues of Chicago’s Mutts and their latest album Separation Anxiety. It’s a wily, skittering creature of an album, difficult to capture in one of those pigeonholing boxes that music press and label execs seem so fond of – and I like that! Many a rich and … Continue reading

Mutts: Separation Anxiety

Mutts feature

  Your teeth are diamond studded You’re always smilin’ at me When I ain’t got any teeth   Washington (Still) Owns People by Mutts   Happy Voting Day, friends! This lyric from the Mutts song “Washington (Still) Owns People”, from their album Separation Anxiety, seemed like an appropriate way to start this Election Day post. I’ve been putting this post off for a while because I’ve had a difficult time getting a handle on exactly how to talk about their music. I was intrigued by the album from the start – it’s hard not to be when an album starts with a rhythmic, imaginative gem like “So Many, So Many” that makes you want to find a bucket and a wooden spoon so you can beat along.   So Many, So Many by Mutts   But then they bring in the amped instruments, and things get complicated. Elements of rock, hardcore, progressive, thrash, funk, blues all throw in together for a meaty stew in songs that lyrically explore subjects from politics to religion to maintaining a romantic relationship as a touring musician.   Uninvited by Mutts   It’s a compelling mess (and I mean that in the best way) Mutts … Continue reading