Peter Bjorn and John - “Eyes” Gimme Some, StarTime International
These days, “minimalist” tends to refer to lo-fi garage rock. However, Peter Bjorn and John have truly reduced their sound down to its vital parts. Album highlight “Eyes” exemplifies this, carried by a strong bassline and crisp percussion. On “Second Chance,” the guitars sound crunchier than what we’re used to hearing from the Stockholm group. In his interview with American Songwriter, bassist/keyboardist Björn Yttling has expressed the band’s affinity for garage rock, and it shows. Through their Scandinavian pop filter, the results are much cleaner-sounding, but no less refreshing. The band is able to dispatch short, fast-paced cuts with all the panache of younger artists–and much more discipline. At well under two minutes, “Black Book” fully delivers, fuzzed-out but tightly controlled. The rollercoaster “Breaker Breaker,” penned by drummer John Eriksson, segues into “May Seem Macabre,” a pure, smooth breather.
For many people, “feminism” is a loaded word that brings to mind hirsute man-haters and bra-burners when it really just means seeking equality, i.e. recognizing the fact that a woman earns 75% of what a man does for performing the same job. This is what Jessica Valenti sought to change when she started the blog Feministing seven years ago. Since then, the site has become a popular resource with an international audience, and Valenti was named “the poster girl for third-wave feminism” by Salon and one of the top 100 most inspiring women in the world by the Guardian. On Wednesday, she visited Vanderbilt University for the 24th annual Cuninggim Lecture on Women and Culture and Society. The event was open to the public, and I decided to ignore my awkward feelings as a Belmont student, even forgoing any attempt to camouflage myself with a cable-knit sweater and boat shoes.
“Forest of Love” is another album highlight. Intentionally or not, the track seems to take its cues from the Cure’s “A Forest”—bleak and haunting like the new wave classic. When Those Dancing Days get lost in the woods, however, it’s no cause for panic: Jönsson’s delivery is calm and pristine, anchoring the song’s streamlined assembly.