Cease to Begin

Band of Horses' debut album, Everything All the Time, released in 2006, was a surprisingly assured collection of guitar rock from a guy who, so the myth goes, had never before shown interest in singing or songwriting. Ben Bridwell had spent a decade in bands, mostly behind the drum kit for the well-loved, little-known Seattle-based band Carissa's Wierd. When the band broke up in 2003, Bridwell started tooling around with his own songs. He later brought in Mat Brooke, former front man of Carissa's and the two formed the core of Band of Horses -- with Bridwell as lead singer and songwriter. That didn't last. Brooke left the band to work on his own projects (Grand Archives, soon to be released on Sub Pop) and Bridwell, along with three remaining band members, moved from Seattle to South Carolina. Band of Horses' second record, Cease to Begin, is loaded with lyrical references to severed relationships and small-town life, set to music that invokes both the reverb-drenched Northwest indie sound and southern twang. The album opener, "Is There a Ghost in My House?," begins as a whisper before exploding into chugging guitars (as did "The Funeral," perhaps the most ubiquitous song from the band's last album); "The General Specific" is good-old-boy honky-tonk, complete with old dogs and a general store. "No one is gonna love you more than I do," sings Bridwell on the lush ballad of the same name. But given that the song begins with the image of a severed limb, followed by a chorus about "things splitting at the seams," the line seems more curse than benediction. Although Bridwell's influences -- among them Built to Spill and Neil Young -- can still be heard, his own sound is becoming solid enough to inspire its own band of imitators. -

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.