Showing posts with label julie byrne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label julie byrne. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2017

video review: 'not even happiness' by julie byrne

Man, this was a frustrating review - and one that I planned to get out on the weekend to get ahead of my schedule. Shame that plan kind of went up in smoke given a mild amount of insanity this weekend... eh.

Next up, Ty Segall, and then Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

album review: 'not even happiness' by julie byrne

So I've talked in the past about the 'white guy with acoustic guitar' subgenre - hell, it seems like most music critics on YouTube have at least cited it at this point - and I think like most of us who regularly use the term, we're obliged to explain our interpretations of it at some point. For me, my distaste tends to come for a certain languid, lazy, and yet overly polished and sanitized brand of it, that doesn't aim to push into any interesting lyrical or instrumental directions and simply serves to fill a very safe, middlebrow niche, calculated to the point where it undercuts any sense of feigned sincerity. But that's not dismissing acoustic-leaning indie folk, because while there are a considerable share of stuff that will tilt into that style and lane, usually you'll see a bit more flexibility and innovation than in the mainstream, which can definitely add some colour. I might have many, many issues with Mark Kozelek, but he's a distinctive enough auteur that I'd never outright discount him under this label.

Similarly, while there are fewer of them I'd also argue the label can apply to women as well - they aren't immune to bland artistic bankruptcy - but again, it's not to discount the ones that opt to push into interesting directions. Take Julie Byrne: going back through her debut on Bandcamp you could make the argument that the quiet domesticity and small details would make for the sort of material I'd otherwise find tedious - and yet while I'd be lying to say any of her work was exciting, I found myself mostly liking the filmy cassette quality and muted somber tones of that 2014 debut record Rooms With Walls And Windows. There was a distinct homegrown texture to the instrumental tones and her delivery that did have a certain amount of charm to it, and yet while I was never entirely hooked, I did find a fair amount to appreciate. She aimed to follow it up this year with Not Even Happiness... which yes, was promising a cleaner sound, which did raise some concern, but hey, maybe it'd be interesting, right?