Ryan Leas

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Devo Bring 40+ Years Of Devolution To Desert Daze 2019

Desert Daze is, predominantly, a psych fest -- it's in the name, location, and in their primary booking. But every year, the festival returns --…
Ryan Leas | October 13, 2019 - 4:54 pm

Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Big Thief Two Hands

For a band whose most affecting moments are often gentle meditations or rock songs on the more elusive end of the spectrum, Big Thief sure…
Ryan Leas | October 10, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Nation Of Language – “The Motorist”

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the Brooklyn synth-pop group Nation Of Language released a series of highly addictive singles that prompted us to…
Ryan Leas | October 10, 2019 - 10:53 am

Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Ghosteen

On July 14, 2015, Nick Cave's teenage son Arthur died in a tragic accident, falling from a cliff in Brighton. The event, of course, irrevocably…
Ryan Leas | October 8, 2019 - 1:31 pm

Premiere

Pearly – “Chain Of Coral”

Originally hailing from Ireland but now based in Berlin, Pearly are a duo that excel at crafting elusive music that can sound mournful as much…
Ryan Leas | October 1, 2019 - 8:57 am

Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Moon Duo Stars Are The Light

Moon Duo have always just sounded so cool. Theirs was a nihilistic, nocturnal brand of psychedelia: mechanistic krautrock rhythms, guitars overdriven into furiously combusting engines,…
Ryan Leas | September 24, 2019 - 10:38 am

Premiere

Eyesore & The Jinx – “Leisure Time”

With their first couple singles, the Liverpool post-punk trio Eyesore & The Jinx had already started to garner some buzz in their home country. There's…
Ryan Leas | September 24, 2019 - 9:58 am

Equipment Malfunction Causes Injuries At Life Is Beautiful For The Second Year In A Row

At the 2018 installment of the Las Vegas festival Life Is Beautiful, there was a mishap during Odesza's set that sent a firework hurtling into…
Ryan Leas | September 23, 2019 - 7:34 pm

Le Guess Who? 2019 Announces Full Lineup

The eclectic Utrecht festival Le Guess Who? is now under two months away. In announcements over the past couple months, the 2019 installment of the…
Ryan Leas | September 20, 2019 - 11:34 am

We've Got A File On You

We’ve Got A File On You: Jeff Tweedy

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 | September 19, 2019 - 10:13 am

Footnotes

The Story Behind Every Song On Lower Dens’ New Album The Competition

The music of Lower Dens has always been dense and to some extent difficult, even when cathartic or hypnotizing. Across their first two albums, 2010's…
Ryan Leas | September 10, 2019 - 4:23 pm

The Anniversary

“Empire State Of Mind” Turns 10

Start spreading the news: New York is the greatest city on the planet. Or maybe you've heard that before. Regardless of your own personal feelings…
Ryan Leas | September 9, 2019 - 3:15 pm

Premiere

Dead Soft – “I Believe You”

Dead Soft are a Canadian trio that traffic in a fuzz-drenched, hook-laden sound that recalls everything from grunge to classic '80s alternative to power-pop. Founded…
Ryan Leas | September 5, 2019 - 9:59 am

Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Bat For Lashes Lost Girls

When Natasha Khan announced her new album, Lost Girls, her fifth as Bat For Lashes, it came with a specific array of inspirations: Los Angeles,…
Ryan Leas | September 3, 2019 - 11:43 am

Premiere

Stream Strangepride’s Debut Album We’ll Take It From Here

Strangepride is a Brooklyn-based trio made up of Anthony Tinnirella, Dan Frelly, and Rob Hellyer. Though Tinnirella and Frelly also play in Katie Ellen --…
Ryan Leas | September 2, 2019 - 11:15 am

Comments from Ryan Leas

It's no "Manhattan" by Kings Of Leon. JK...the Cat Power one is good. Writing this kinda made me want to write a whole list of NYC songs. Barely scratched the surface just listing some really big ones in the article.
0 |
September 9, 2019 on “Empire State Of Mind” Turns 10
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”
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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.
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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