Music



Charlie Peacock’s Mind-Bend: A Review of Skin and Wind

By Matt Conner

Art cannot be divorced from context, so it is the year of our Lord 2021 into which Charlie Peacock’s wonderful new album, Skin and Wind, enters and resides with its lovely melodies and poetic wisdom. It’s an important arrival, to be sure, given the artist’s posture and position in the world.

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Stuff We Liked in 2020

By The Rabbit Room

“Okay,” you might be thinking, “Was there anything to like about 2020?” And you have a point. But amidst all the stuff we thoroughly disliked about 2020, there was some stuff that helped us get through 2020 as well—stuff like amazing albums, spellbinding movies, and cathartic books. So it is our great pleasure to share here today the vast ocean of recommendations from our blog contributors that is “Stuff We Liked in 2020.” We hope you discover something in here that you like, as well.

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A Lesson & A Carol

By The Rabbit Room

Merry Christmas from the Rabbit Room! Can you believe we’ve made it this far?

This Christmas is a complicated one, of course. We certainly wish you joy and merriment, and yet there are countless good reasons why you may not feel altogether cheerful. So on this Christmas Day, we’d like to offer you a lesson and a carol, so to speak—meaning, a poem by Andrew Roycroft and a song by Jess Ray, each of which speak specifically to where we find ourselves this Christmas.

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Honesty and Community: A Conversation with David Taylor & Jason Gray

By Christina Blount

This past year has given us all a hard shake, and the season of Advent has been a welcome relief. It seems we’re experiencing transformation personally, within our own homes, and collectively, as a nation. We’ve all been brought face to face with our own vulnerability, fears, limitations, and need for community. Just so, it was a privilege to capture this timely conversation with author and scholar W. David O. Taylor and singer-songwriter Jason Gray, as they met for the first time to explore the topics of honesty and community in their recent works.

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Harry, Did You Know?

By Drew Miller

One evening in December of 2018, Kelsey and I had just finished a riveting chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We had been steadily plodding through the entire series for a couple years now, reading aloud to one another, reliving the tale that had so palpably awakened our imaginations as kids.

As I brushed my teeth that night, I reflected on how far we’d come—indeed, how far Harry had come. And perhaps it was the season’s influence, or perhaps it was the prompting of Fate herself, but I suddenly found myself murmuring under my breath, to the tune of that beloved song: “Harry, did you know?”

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5&1, Part 10: Make Haste to Adore

By Mark Meynell

If the challenge behind last week’s 5&1 (life in a mechanised world) was the relative scarcity of music to fit the topic (although perhaps not as rare as some might assume), this week’s is the opposite. Christmas has been inspiring composers to reach new heights for centuries. There’s just too much.

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5&1, Part 9: Life in a Mechanical World

By Mark Meynell

A requirement to create art that is ‘relevant’ can be a curse. After all, today’s relevance is tomorrow’s obsolescence. Not only that, the requirement itself, however well-intentioned, can push the artist uncomfortably close to the precipice into full-blown propaganda. No wonder so many prefer to be stimulated to create by their experiences and observations of life. At the same time, few, if any, actively set out to be ir-relevant! Why would anyone bother to communicate then?

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Songs for the Wait: An Interview with Caroline Cobb

By Jen Rose Yokel

As a hard, strange year draws to a close, the season of Advent feels so timely and necessary. We enter the long, dark nights of winter, and even as we look forward to Christmas, there’s still the unshakeable sense that it’s going to be so different this year, our joy marked by grief for traditions put aside, canceled travel plans, absent loved ones, and the heavy toll of every loss and grief. For this reason, I’m thankful for Caroline Cobb’s new album, A Seed, A Sunrise.

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5&1, Part 8: Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

By Mark Meynell

This is the eighth in a weekly series that will seek to break down the mists and myths that put people off the vast treasure house that is classical music. Each time, I’ll take a theme and choose 5 pieces or excerpts (from over 600 years’ worth of music) and then round it all off with one larger work.

Hence 5&1 from 600!

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The Unabashed Optimism of Melanie Penn

By Matt Conner

Melanie Penn picked the perfect time to be so straightforward.

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Long Listens and Infinite Sadnesses

By Chris Thiessen

The perfect album lands between 42 and 47 minutes. It’s long enough to embrace an emotional arc and take the listener on a journey without overstaying its welcome or veering into self-indulgence. Every so often, however, an album earns a longer stay. Indeed, some of popular music’s greatest feats are far longer than 60 minutes. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly runs 78 minutes; Pink Floyd’s The Wall is slightly longer at 80 minutes; the Beatles’ boundless White Album deserves every bit of its 93 minutes (though I used to believe it was half fluff).

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5&1, Part 7: Inexpressible Grief Expressed

By Mark Meynell

This is the seventh in a weekly series that will seek to break down the mists and myths that put people off the vast treasure house that is classical music. Each time, I’ll take a theme and choose 5 pieces or excerpts (from over 600 years’ worth of music) and then round it all off with one larger work.

Hence 5&1 from 600!

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