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.)
+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.
+6 |
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
So years ago I did a goofy list of "I'm On Fire" covers here, and I've had to listen to wayyyy too many renditions. I agree those are all some of the best (the Electrelane was a nice surprise) but there was one I didn't know about then that's just recently become one of my favorites. Last year we did an Artist To Watch on this Finnish musician Mikko Joensuu. He released three solo albums at once, a lot of it kinda strung-out-gospel-ambient shit, sort of Spiritualized vibes at times. But he had this old space-rock band Joensuu 1685 (the other two members of which went on to form Siinai and play with Spencer Krug for some of the Moonface releases). They just got back together and I saw them play in Helsinki about two weeks ago, for Flow Festival. There was a warm-up gig the night before the fest, at a tiny club. And halfway through the set they locked into this 5 minute groove, then out of nowhere Mikko stepped up to the mic and started singing the opening lyrics to "I'm On Fire." In person, it was a total shocker, and sounded incredible - think like, if pre-Lost In The Dream War On Drugs had done a 10 minute, buzzing, uptempo "I'm On Fire" interpretation. Here's a live video from back in Joensuu 1685's initial run, in the late '00s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd2q7CajWkg Doesn't quite do it justice in terms of how hypnotic-then-cathartic it is to see them actually play it in person, and now Mikko kinda yelps/screams the lyrics more so the eventual payoff after the long intro is even more intense. But anyway, this is my roundabout way of saying this is a song I've heard a million times by a million people and finally heard it fresh again in Helsinki, out of nowhere. I think there's also an old recorded version of it floating around.
+5 |
August 22, 2018 on Soccer Mommy – “I’m On Fire” (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
When I was first getting into the Stones, I didn't get why that one had a lesser reputation, but then I didn't go back to it for years...funny yr all discussing this, since I recently started listening to Goats Head Soup again after continuously getting "Dancing With Mr. D" stuck in my head out of nowhere. "Coming Down Again" is gorgeous, "Can You Hear The Music" is a great warped summer song. I think it's just one of those albums that suffers by proximity; I like the burnt-out bleariness of it (and, I think, the real beginnings of '70s sleaze Stones), but it's hard to live up as the successor to what (on most days) I'd call the best album of all time.
+4 |
August 17, 2018 on The Number Ones: The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off Of My Cloud”
Is this a callback to a certain New Order Q&A from last year?
+7 |
June 8, 2018 on Dr. Martens Releases Joy Division & New Order Boots
The Technique ones are so lurid I kinda love them but if I actually bought one of these I'd have to go with PC&L...better design, better album.
+7 |
June 8, 2018 on Dr. Martens Releases Joy Division & New Order Boots
I mean, yeah, I hear you, I love that one too. "Your Silent Face" is just this whole other world though. Feel like I'm still discovering that song over and over all these years later. Also, if you open it up to the non-album tracks from that era you've got "Thieves Like Us" to contend with, too.
+5 |
June 8, 2018 on Dr. Martens Releases Joy Division & New Order Boots
I actually haven't had a chance to see them live yet, but I am tonight, on release day. Pretty psyched.
+6 |
June 8, 2018 on Stream Flasher’s Infectious Debut Album Constant Image
Personally, this week is Flasher Week for me and nothing else but...I did say "one of" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
+9 |
June 8, 2018 on Stream Flasher’s Infectious Debut Album Constant Image
https://twitter.com/pattymo/status/992521717795958785
+58 |
May 4, 2018 on Smash Mouth Mouth Smash
I think it's the main one that could rival it, personally. I swear I remember Scott referring to TMOF as their "second best album" at one of those shows and I was wondering which he'd consider #1 if that was the case ... feel like it could be Pedestrian Verse
+6 |
April 13, 2018 on The Midnight Organ Fight Turns 10
I've always loved "Raindrops + Sunshowers" and thought I was completely alone in this. My favorite of the MACHINA era, potentially. As for others you shouted out...those Mellon Collie cuts like "Fuck You," "Porcelina," "XYU," "Bodies"...they're indeed all songs people don't seem to shout out as much. When I first got this album at about 15 or 16, those were some of the highlights for me actually. "Porcelina" is still one of my favorites. Nice to see you and a few others mention "Sweet Sweet" as well. It's such a perfect, weird, beautiful little song.
+4 |
February 15, 2018 on The 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs
I was *this close* to knocking off "Drown" for "Real Love" but that would've been a more idiosyncratic, totally personal 10 best.
+5 |
February 15, 2018 on The 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs
Been meaning to — I actually heard mixed things about that one but I definitely want to check it out.
+5 |
February 8, 2018 on Is Microsoft’s Paul Allen The New Jimi Hendrix? An Investigation
I'm not totally sure where this came from but you're completely right on JJS. That book's incredible.
+3 |
February 8, 2018 on Is Microsoft’s Paul Allen The New Jimi Hendrix? An Investigation
You don't know how tempted I was to put that on the list. I saw them do that with the "All My Friends" tag in 2015, before they were doing it frequently, and hearing them unexpectedly play a mash-up of my two favorite songs just about knocked me out.
+8 |
February 5, 2018 on The 10 Best Hot Chip Songs
Yeah me either, but maybe you're right — it just sounds kinda bleak, thanks to the production and some of the songwriting, compared to a lot of their other records. But man, you're talking about an album that's got something as weird and beautiful as "Of The Girl" next to "Insignificance," or the pairing of "Light Years" and "Nothing As It Seems." It's always been more than a stretch to consider it their weakest, IMO.
+5 |
February 5, 2018 on Yield Turns 20
Thanks man! Had been waiting a long time to write about this one
+5 |
February 5, 2018 on Yield Turns 20
I like that they do the slowburn opener into a rocker, it's a great way to build dramatic tension ahead of a long show that's going to go in a lot of different directions. I think they used to do "Long Road" into "Hail Hail" a bit? Maybe that's just a dream setlist I'm doing in my head. Regardless, I'm in the camp that thinks "Low Light" is kind of an odd one with which to do so. It's just a pretty ballad, not a scene-setting, world-opening track like "Release" or "Long Road."
+5 |
February 5, 2018 on Yield Turns 20
I put "Light Years" on my (admittedly pretty idiosyncratic) 10 Best PJ songs list back in 2013 and half the comments were people losing their shit over a Binaural song being on there. There are certainly some overlooked gems on that one. That being said, I might ride for Riot Act as the most underrated/wrongfully-maligned album of theirs ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
+6 |
February 5, 2018 on Yield Turns 20
You're not wrong, there were just some different things I wanted to focus on this time around — kinda said my piece about Irons in our No Code anniversary: https://www.stereogum.com/1896007/no-code-turns-20/franchises/the-anniversary/
+4 |
February 5, 2018 on Yield Turns 20
Trust me, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to write about them. Those first two albums are revelations.
+3 |
February 3, 2018 on The 10 Best Simple Minds Songs