Arcade Fire’s big noise is back, and so are the sermons

Arcade Fire's seven-track tapestry of anxiety, alienation, and disillusionment sounds epic, but it can be a bit disillusioning itself in its obvious sermonizing.


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Jon Batiste’s “We Are” — a Looking Closer Top 20 of 2021 favorite — wins Album of the Year.

One of my favorite records of 2021 won the Album of the Year award: Jon Batiste's We Are.


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Favorite Recordings of 2021: Part Three (#15–#1)

You are arriving at the summit of my 2021 Music Mountain. These are my fifteen favorite albums of 2021


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Favorite Recordings of 2021: Part One (Honorable Mentions and #36–#26)

It has finally begun! On January 20, Looking Closer's look back at favorite recordings of 2021 has begun! Keep watch for Part Two and Part Three, coming soon.


2 Comments28 Minutes

The Weekender: Christmas Edition 2021

This week: Malick's rollercoaster ride through the eons of history. Mia Hansen-Løve's film Bergman Island. All hail U2's The Edge!


1 Comment24 Minutes

Sunday Song: Von Bieker and Knathan Ryan sing their quarantine longings

Knathan Ryan and Dave Von Bieker are two friends whose music pops up in heavy rotation during my morning commutes. Their hopeful spirits inspire me; their artistry is personal, bright, and energetic; and their new songs hit just right in a time of quarantine fatigue.


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So Much Love: a conversation with Lowland Hum about their reinvention of a Peter Gabriel album

In which I talk with Daniel and Lauren Goans of the band Lowland Hum about how and why they made the most of their pandemic lockdown by re-recording a classic Peter Gabriel album.


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Sunday Song: Listening Closer to Jon Batiste and Allison Russell

A new feature at Looking Closer — "Sunday Song" — will feature one or two recent releases that are in frequent rotation during my weekday commute jam session. Here are two of my favorite 2021 songs so far, from Jon Batiste and Allison Russell.


1 Comment5 Minutes