Bruno Merz

Yes, Bruno Merz is the artist’s name and that’s all I’m going to say on that topic.

I hate to get all depressing on you guys, but Merz, born in New Zealand and currently living in the UK, has dropped a gem of an utmost delicate nature. Best listened to when in bed, […]

[Hype Hype Hooray] My Winter of Discontent or Why I Finally Get Grunge


Hype Hype Hooray is a biweekly “critique” of the music scene and the blogosphere that feeds it, told through the lens of Jamie Hale, a journalist who likes music about as much as he likes scotch and a firm leather chair. Please enjoy with a grain of salt.

Not long ago, I drove into Portland, Oregon–my car full of every precious thing I own, my heart full of hope for this Pacific Northwest wonderland. The sun shone brightly that day, a near cloudless winter sky greeting me to a new land and a new life. Then everything changed.

I now sit here in a chilly house in northwest Portland, wrapped in blankets, my red fingers numbly typing away at my laptop. I glance out the window, wet with freshly fallen rain, and I sigh. Why does it have to be this way? What happened to the sun?

I think I’m developing a vitamin D deficiency. I need to stock up on cod liver oil.

I scroll through my iPod, looking for something to fit the mood. Phoenix did it for me when I lived in vibrant D.C., and Toro Y Moi worked for the mystical deserts of New Mexico. When I hiked the hills of Idaho I dug Avi Buffalo, while Deer Tick took me through the farmlands of Iowa.

What do I listen to here? What fits this gloomy world?

I scroll by Arcade Fire, which doesn’t feel right, and past Radiohead, which seems too pathetic. Finally I happen upon a band I haven’t listened to in a while, Soundgarden. I press play, and oh does it sound so nice.

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Knox Road’s Top Albums of 2012

Knox Road's Top Albums of 2012

As has become tradition, we asked Knox Road writers to provide their Top Albums of 2012 and we got a potpourri of responses. Have a happy holiday season, and thanks for sticking with us for another year.

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[Abby’s Road] Emptiness Inside


It’s that time of year. Dreidels are spinning and trees are being trimmed. Advent wreaths a-glowing, this only means one thing: happy people. Refreshing.

Recently, it seems that everywhere I go, be it the crowded Ubahn, grocery store, Christmas markets, even on the -12c, iced-over footpaths begging to twist an ankle I am surrounded by smiling, pleasant humans. Even strangers are meeting my eyes and greeting me on the street. This NEVER happens (to me anyway) in Germany. Ordinarily I’m lucky if I get a cantankerous “entschuldigen” when someone knocks me in the ass with their shopping trolley at the supermarket. You’re just going to have to take my word on this one.

So, with all of this love flying around, one would think that even the congenitally pissed off and soulless would catch the fever. You know, shoot an un-creepy wink and a grin at an unsuspecting passerby or leave an extra-hefty tip for a waiter or waitress. OR…perhaps be elated when one of the most influential bands of recent history as far as independent music is concerned announces UK dates in early 2013 and reports a long-awaited album release is imminent; especially if you are a fan. But I’ve gone too far…I’ve asked too much. GAH.

I deserve it. My frustration I mean, as I pay attention to social media and blogs, especially when it comes to My Bloody Valentine. Admittedly, I probably receive one too many email blasts, Facebook updates, you name it, as I want to be informed. Foolishly, I assume the majority of folks receiving these messages, messages one must SUBSCRIBE to, are, like me, fans of the band and overjoyed about said announcements. Nope.

I have no idea what it’ll take to make these cranky bastards happy, actually.

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Prissy Clerks

It’s time for music fans to sit up and take notice: there’s something special going on in Minneapolis. A solid stream of excellent music is coming out of the twin cities these days, and the latest to add to the list is Prissy Clerks. The band’s debut album, Bruise or Be Bruised, is […]

Miss Elizabeth

Miss Elizabeth is two dudes out of Toronto, one of whom I’ve written about in the past. Absurdly catchy electronic pop, Miss Elizabeth is one of those bands I can listen to on the crowded NYC subway and lose myself. I’d be tapping my feet and bopping my head and shaking my body […]

[Hype Hype Hooray] I Don’t Care What You Say, Billy Joel Still Sucks

Hype Hype Hooray is a biweekly “critique” of the music scene and the blogosphere that feeds it, told through the lens of Jamie Hale, a journalist who likes music about as much as he likes scotch and a firm leather chair. Please enjoy with a grain of salt.

Listen, man, I’m a real easy-going kind of guy. Whatever you do in your own time is your own choice, but let’s get one thing clear: Do not–DO NOT–put on any Billy fucking Joel.

I know you and your friends LOVE The Piano Man, and you’re probably all “Heyyyyy! Don’t hate Billy just ‘cuz he’s talented, bro! You’re prolly just JEALOUS.” I only have two words for you, friend: uh-uh. I am not now, nor could I ever be jealous of that angel-voiced, smirk-faced asshat of a man. At the end of the day, I have exactly one opinion on the matter, three words I will take to my grave: Billy. Joel. Sucks.

BOOM. There. I said it. What. What are you gonna do about it? Cry heavy tears into your Yuengling to “She’s Always a Woman”? I bet that flute really twists your pain good, doesn’t it? I bet Billy’s salt-n-pepper goatee wrings it out, then whispers sweet beard nothings into your ear to make it all better. I bet you sniff up your snotty sobs and say “Hey thanks, Billy, you’re a real class act.” Then you get the sax and he takes the keys and the two of you gaze into each other’s eyes, harmonizing to “Just the Way You Are” for a packed house in Camden, New Jersey.

I don’t mean to be a dick about this whole thing, but I’m not going to sit back and pretend to be on the bandwagon. I won’t be one of those poor souls who grins through endless ballad hell, counting every second until another awful song fades away, only to linger for a moment before launching into another six minutes of suffering. I will not be a slave to the musical dregs of society! I will not sit down and take it anymore!

What’s that you say? “Wehhhhh, you can’t just hate on The Piano Man without giving a good reason at least! Myehhhh!” You know what? You’re absolutely right. What kind of horrible critic would I be if I didn’t offer an obnoxiously-detailed critique of the man? Well here you go, you bunch of freaks, here is why I REALLY hate Billy Joel.

1. That Goddam Look in His Eye

So what’s the deal with Billy Joel’s eyes anyway? What are those, frog’s eyes? Where is he looking with those bulbous things? Over at wilted lily pads slowly sinking into a grey pond? Or into painful memories of getting his ass kicked under the middle school bleachers?

I’m sorry, I’m not being totally fair to the man. He is, I admit, a very talented singer/songwriter/piano/harmonica-on-his-face-for-some-ungodly-reason player OK YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SORRY BUT I CAN’T DO THIS.

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Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to a website called Miss Moss. Its subhead calls the blog a “compendium of radness,” and indeed it is. While I’m not very into the sections on art and fashion, the blog’s founder, Diana, is a bit of a playlist-ologist. I’ve spent hours browsing through her […]

Asian She

Genre-bending indie rock pop electronic (maybe?) from Asian She, a Los Angeles duo with no Asian anything. Danceable, dark and sophisticated all at once, Asian She’s s/t EP was released back in September. Noah Lebenzon and Thomas Froggatt have a little something up their sleeves with their unique sound, and I wouldn’t be […]

[soundscape] weight

photo: ‘weight’

song: bon iver — “flume” [stream only] | buy
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

“character — like a photograph — develops in darkness.” – yousuf karsh

i was twenty one, living in colorado, platinum blonde.

i was also heartbroken.

i was dating a really wonderful person. a person i love to this day. i was in love with someone else, though. someone foolish and young. someone with melancholic eyes and mischievous lips. someone vibrant and so alive. so alive, it hurt.

especially when he left.

it was a shitty situation, what i did. dating someone even though i was in love with someone else. it’s the sort of thing you never expect yourself to do; it’s the sort of thing i never expected to do. be anything less than painfully honest with someone. but it happened, and i was, and this boy and i spent a long time together; longer than i deserved with him, honestly.

when i think back at that time when i was twenty one, living in colorado, platinum blonde, heartbroken, dating a really wonderful person but in love with someone else, i am incredibly melancholic. i remember listening to this song on repeat at the time and it’s funny that now, years later, this song so perfectly embodies that time for me. not just because i listened to it incessantly during that time, but because this song is melancholic and a little dishonest and just filled with a lot of grey area. which is exactly what i was.

most of the time, i don’t think we ever get the opportunity to truly apologize for things. how, for example, could i ever apologize to this boy for being confused and involving him and loving him, but never being able to fall in love with him? how do you apologize for years of letting someone be in love with you?

Continue reading [soundscape] weight