Ryan Leas

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We've Got A File On You

We’ve Got A File On You: Britt Daniel

It might be hard to believe, but Spoon have now been releasing music for close to 25 years. Initially, the recent announcement of a greatest
Ryan Leas | June 25, 2019 - 1:13 pm

The Anniversary

Californication Turns 20

In case you missed it, the Red Hot Chili Peppers love California. It is, in fact, so hard-wired into their identity that, if you were…
Ryan Leas | June 7, 2019 - 9:15 am

Berlin’s Synästhesie Festival Announces Initial 2019 Lineup

Over the past couple years, there's been a small but impeccably-curated festival bubbling up in Berlin called Synästhesie. The origins of the event center on…
Ryan Leas | June 4, 2019 - 10:55 am

Sounding Board

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Were Gov Ball 2019’s Standout Rock Act

If you take a look at the lineup poster for Governors Ball 2019, you'll notice there aren't a lot of big rock names in the…
Ryan Leas | June 1, 2019 - 11:28 am

Bruce Springsteen – “Tucson Train” Video

About a month ago, Bruce Springsteen announced his first full-fledged album in seven years. (It's been five if you count 2014's High Hopes.) Either way,…
Ryan Leas | May 30, 2019 - 8:08 am

Le Guess Who? 2019 Announces Initial Lineup

Each year, the Utrecht-based festival Le Guess Who? offers one of the most eclectic, adventurous lineups out there. In any given iteration of the fest,…
Ryan Leas | May 22, 2019 - 9:39 am


Just Mustard – “October”

In the past several years, a new wave of intriguing guitar bands have emerged from Ireland -- groups that are honing in on a particular…
Ryan Leas | May 20, 2019 - 10:44 am


Silverbacks – “Pink Tide”

The last time we heard from the Dublin band Silverbacks and their three-guitar assault was back in November of last year. That was when they…
Ryan Leas | May 15, 2019 - 10:34 am

Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: Operators Radiant Dawn

You could take Dan Boeckner for granted. In fact, you probably are taking Dan Boeckner for granted. Over the last two decades, most of us…
Ryan Leas | May 14, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: The National I Am Easy To Find

Two minutes and 10 seconds into "Not In Kansas," the National disappear. It's a key track on their new album, I Am Easy To Find,…
Ryan Leas | May 13, 2019 - 1:25 pm

The Anniversary

Actor Turns 10

When revisiting the major albums of 2009, the year begins to look like an inflection point. A simultaneous culmination of a burgeoning scene while still…
Ryan Leas | May 3, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Holy Ghost! – “Do This”

Going all the way back to October of last year, Holy Ghost! have been steadily teasing their new album Work, their first full-length collection in…
Ryan Leas | May 3, 2019 - 10:02 am

Black Midi – “Talking Heads”

Things seem to be changing for Black Midi. The UK band generated a whole lot of buzz in spite of but also partly because of
Ryan Leas | April 30, 2019 - 8:47 am


The Story Behind Every Song On Pure Bathing Culture’s New Album Night Pass

In the first half of the decade, the Portland duo Pure Bathing Culture made their name with a mixture of dream-pop, soft rock, and folk…
Ryan Leas | April 26, 2019 - 11:53 am

Straight To Video

The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

Tom Breihan, our in-house video aficionado, is still on vacation. Lucky him! So instead you get me, Ryan, writing about videos this Friday. Your regularly…
Ryan Leas | April 5, 2019 - 2:51 pm

Comments from Ryan Leas

Yes, that too. (Transference was one of my favorites for years but over time TWMS has edged right up towards the top for me.)
+1 |
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
FWIW, we did have a long conversation about how Hudson has changed, gentrification, and being conscientious of such things. This interview was just really long and there were parts that had to go, but just wanted to throw that out there. And when I told her I was from a similar area, Scranton was the place I was referring to lol
+7 |
September 12, 2018 on Auf Der Maur, Off The Grid