Ryan Leas

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Stereogum Sessions

Watch Jay Som’s Stereogum Session

Next week, the second Jay Som album, Anak Ko, will finally be out in the world. And the singles have promised a worthy successor to…
Ryan Leas | August 14, 2019 - 5:08 pm

Synästhesie Festival Announces Full 2019 Lineup

This November, the Berlin festival Synästhesie will return with another year of music that spans from atmospheric psychedelia to ragged post-punk to trippy krautrock. Given…
Ryan Leas | August 14, 2019 - 10:34 am

Nick Cave Reveals Shelved Flatbush Zombies Collab

Just about three years ago, Nick Cave released his latest album with the Bad Seeds, the harrowing yet somehow still hopeful Skeleton Tree. When he…
Ryan Leas | August 8, 2019 - 4:38 pm

Desert Daze Announces Full 2019 Lineup

The lineup for this year's iteration of the California psych-oriented fest Desert Daze was already shaping up to be characteristically intriguing. In periodic "artist transmissions"
Ryan Leas | August 6, 2019 - 1:04 pm

We've Got A File On You

We’ve Got A File On You: Bruce Hornsby

We’ve Got A File On You features interviews in which artists share the stories behind the extracurricular activities that dot their careers: acting gigs, guest
Ryan Leas | July 31, 2019 - 3:33 pm

Straight To Video

The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

Our resident music video expert Tom Breihan is away on vacation so you've got me, Ryan, filling in for him this time around. Don't worry,…
Ryan Leas | July 26, 2019 - 4:02 pm

Sounding Board

Robyn And Charli XCX Closed Pitchfork 2019 With A Night Of Left-Of-Center Pop

Over the course of its three days, Pitchfork Music Festival 2019 had a good amount of variety. Though fans of heavier music or more experimental…
Ryan Leas | July 22, 2019 - 11:44 am

Sounding Board

Black Midi Rearranged Matter At Their Pitchfork Music Festival Aftershow

In the short amount of time Black Midi have been a band, they have stirred up a frenzy of hype in their native UK primarily…
Ryan Leas | July 21, 2019 - 2:46 pm

Strand Of Oaks Shares Alternate Version Of “Moon Landing” On 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11

Back in March, Tim Showalter released his sixth album as Strand Of Oaks, Eraserland. Recorded with the assistance of his friends in My Morning Jacket,…
Ryan Leas | July 20, 2019 - 1:52 pm

Sounding Board

Low Became One With The Heat At Pitchfork Festival 2019

"You should be ashamed of yourselves that you're not watching Mavis Staples right now." Before Low had played a single note on the first night…
Ryan Leas | July 20, 2019 - 1:45 pm

Sounding Board

With The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, and Vampire Weekend, NOS Alive 2019 Went All-In On Big Headliners

Each July, the festival NOS Alive takes over a stretch of land just off the water in Lisbon. If your Instagram feed is anything like…
Ryan Leas | July 14, 2019 - 2:37 pm

Interview

Grant Hutchison On The Frightened Rabbit Tribute Compilation Tiny Changes

In April of last year, Frightened Rabbit's landmark, breakthrough sophomore album The Midnight Organ Fight turned 10. It was cause for celebration: This was the…
Ryan Leas | July 9, 2019 - 10:31 am

Fans Discover 40-Year-Old U2 Bootleg, Oldest Known Recording Of The Band

Back in August of 1979, U2 were still pretty far away from the superstars they eventually became. They were just another punk band playing gigs…
Ryan Leas | July 2, 2019 - 4:39 pm

We've Got A File On You

We’ve Got A File On You: Perry Farrell

We’ve Got A File On You is a new reboot of an old-school Stereogum franchise. Once called Annotated Media Guide, these are interviews in which
Ryan Leas | July 2, 2019 - 2:31 pm

We've Got A File On You

We’ve Got A File On You: Britt Daniel

We’ve Got A File On You is a new reboot of an old-school Stereogum franchise. Once called Annotated Media Guide, these are interviews in which
Ryan Leas | June 25, 2019 - 1:13 pm

Comments from Ryan Leas

Guys, they still call me Young Classic Rocker Ryan Leas on staff - I know about Belew. But I still think it’s kinda weird for people to compare a 2019 band to both of them when you consider the historical signifier of “King Crimson as an influence” is a little different than “Talking Heads as an influence”
0 |
July 19, 2019 on The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
Yes, that too. (Transference was one of my favorites for years but over time TWMS has edged right up towards the top for me.)
+13 |
June 25, 2019 on We’ve Got A File On You: Britt Daniel
I think this is a very apples and oranges thing in the sense that "experimentation" is relative according to whichever realm an artist operates in. Holly Herndon is making strange, beautiful electronic music partially using fucking AI to do so...naturally, it is more experimental by most metrics of mainstream taste, and it's also great. So it's not really a value judgement, in my opinion. When I say the National are "experimenting," it's within the context of them being an indie band that headlines festivals and has songs featured on movie soundtracks or in commercials. It's within the context of their own writing, and trying to take a pretty granular look at how it changes a bit from album to album. So within that context, Bryce's classical work creeping over into the National more and more here, having these choral breaks or sidelining their frontman, does strike me as an experiment. They're not over here searching for New Music, but they are testing the limits of their work and their past. Anyway I guess the TL;DR is I think both these artists are excelling at what they do, and pushing themselves within what they do, and it is OK to like both!
+28 |
May 13, 2019 on Premature Evaluation: The National I Am Easy To Find
"Cattails" is one of the best songs I've heard this year. I wasn't joking in the blurb. I've had it in my head literally every single day since I got the album.
+12 |
April 5, 2019 on The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
Yeah "Cruel Fisherman" isn't technically part of the album so we didn't get into that one.
+4 |
March 22, 2019 on The Story Behind Every Song On Strand Of Oaks’ New Album Eraserland
Man, I think the title track is one of his best songs ever. I was floored when that came on during my first listen.
+4 |
March 22, 2019 on The Story Behind Every Song On Strand Of Oaks’ New Album Eraserland
My contrarian opinion is Gimme Fiction is the less interesting passage between Kill The Moonlight and Ga, and I'd happily listen to Transference or They Want My Soul over it any day
+2 |
February 15, 2019 on Dark Was The Night Turns 10
I love Transference, I don't get why people still dismiss it either. But no getting around that Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is perceived as their big contribution to that era.
+14 |
February 15, 2019 on Dark Was The Night Turns 10
I loved this Bon Iver/St. Vincent track "Roslyn" back then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LKbYhEwUoE Imagine what a collab between the two of them would sound like *now*
+19 |
February 15, 2019 on Dark Was The Night Turns 10
Ha, this actually came up between me and Michael when we were editing this. I guess you could call it a dig...to me they are just very, very of that era. But at the same time, I'd far prefer to revisit their albums than albums from some of the other more prominent/respected names that were also on this comp.
+16 |
February 15, 2019 on Dark Was The Night Turns 10
From what I remember I liked the old Spies better, but maybe I'll have to go back and give the newer stuff a listen again. Also, this is sorta splitting hairs for any of us who don't actually live in Dublin, but they've been kicking around for a little while longer than some of these other names.
+2 |
January 16, 2019 on Band To Watch: Fontaines D.C.
I definitely hear U2 in "Desire" as well. I think you can see it a couple different ways, depending on the light, so to speak. Also wish the Ought album got more love. I was really into it, and they were one of the best live shows I saw this year.
+2 |
December 21, 2018 on The 5 Best Rolling Stones Songs Of 2018
I spent a chunk of my time writing this wishing that "Rent I Pay" had come out this year, too. The Stones vibes are deep with Spoon. As for coolness...the Stones and anyone successfully taking influence from them will always be cooler. Universal truth. That being said, I tried to find a Father John Misty song that made sense for this list, and failed. Definitely more Beatles in his veins. And he's a pretty cool character.
+7 |
December 21, 2018 on The 5 Best Rolling Stones Songs Of 2018
To be honest, I've since gone back and I can hear both. But that being said "Laurel" is still the one I hear much more easily so I'm still a little taken aback by people who hear "Yanny" from the start, without trying.
0 |
December 13, 2018 on Phoebe Bridgers Reviews 2018
Nation Of Language! You are a wise Stereogum reader. They would've had a song on mine if they hadn't been #1 on my list last year.
+3 |
December 11, 2018 on Stereogum’s 90 Favorite Songs Of 2018
As it happens, those are the exact three songs I'd cut. Nice as B-sides, and then the album does all the same messy exploration and introspection but is a better listen overall, IMO. And yeah, feel like "Sad Professor" is one of the best songs from the post-Berry years.
+2 |
October 29, 2018 on Up Turns 20
If I had been doing this as a 10 Best list instead, "This Is The Sea" would've been vying with "A Pagan Place" for #2 behind "Fisherman's Blues." They had a way with title tracks in the '80s.
+7 |
October 25, 2018 on Out On Open Seas: The Enduring Mystique Of The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues 30 Years Later
I have the School Of Seven Bells "What's In My Bag?" to thank for getting into the early Simple Minds albums, now some of my favorite stuff out there. Another '80s band whose story has gotten muddled/lost a bit over the decades.
+5 |
October 25, 2018 on Out On Open Seas: The Enduring Mystique Of The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues 30 Years Later
This occurred to me while writing about the Low album last week, too. And I almost brought that in here, but I probably could've written a whole other piece on top of this about all the ways in which you could hear echoes of these albums, and I gotta draw the line somewhere.
+6 |
September 17, 2018 on Music From Beyond: Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden At 30