Kacey Musgraves

Episode 353: Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves

Episode 353: Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves

On Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves is dialing back the humor and turning up the heart to deliver what many are saying is her best work to date. Is this latest collection of genre-defying, lane-shifting "country" songs the future of Musgraves, or just a stepping stone on the way to something better? We've assembled a panel of Musgraves superfans to find out.

PLUS! Jazz Bassist songwriter Nicole Saphos is classing up the #DCMusic joint and we've got a taste of her groovin' new EP Buzz and Bloom to get you hip.

Episode 125: Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free / Kacey Musgraves - Pagent Material

Episode 125: Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free / Kacey Musgraves - Pagent Material

This week on the podcast we’re talking new albums from Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves! Both artists delivered highly acclaimed records in 2013 - Southeastern and Same Trailer Different Park respectively – and now are back with their hotly anticipated follow ups. Are Something More Than Free and Pagent Material worth the wait? Can these immensely talented artists charged with, for better or for worse, changing the face of country music strike lightening twice? Kevin, Paul and Patrick dig deep into both records and try come up with the answers.

But first! Returning to the podcast after what seems far too long, Ben Tufts, the hardest working musician in the DC Scene, swings by the basement to fill us in on his upcoming annual Ben Tufts and Friends Benefit show on August 22nd at Jammin’ Java. Started as a way to honor the work of his father, the all day concert fundraiser has grown steadily from year to year, and this time out it’s bigger than ever.

So tune in, grab a seat and get ready for a super-charged, super-informative audio adventure. Coming to you live-ish from the baddest basement in DC, it’s Episode 125 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast! 

Kacey Musgraves @ 9:30 Club - 3/26/15

Kacey Musgraves @ 9:30 Club - 3/26/15

It’s a sad but established fact that country music – at least modern country music  – is an industry that is as prolific and efficient at turning out product as any automobile assembly line or steel mill that America was built on. And that makes sense. Country music is, after all, the music of the people and has for the most part, played aggressively to its base. Twang pop for the common man with songs about beer and trucks, and dogs, and cheatin’ hearts, and more beer – this is the experience that in general is sold and consumed on a massive scale, by the majority of the music loving masses.

Every so often though there’s a shift in the wind and we see a glut of artists who transcend the confines of their chosen art and shine a light on its true potential, breaking new ground while still honoring the medium that got them there. Last year that was the narrative for artists like Nikki Lane and Sturgill Simpson; saving country music from itself by producing records that had less to do with bro-power and red solo cups than it did with taking an honest look at the self and the world around them.

Best Of 2013 (So Far): Kevin's Picks

10. Kanye West – Yeezus

Dark. Aggressive. Complex. Offensive. Kanye West’s 5th album is all of these things, but most of all it’s his most creatively risky effort to date. Sonically, Yeezus is operating on a completely  other level then anything released this year — in fact it makes most records sound lazy in comparison. But a funny thing happened on the way Yeezus becoming the stuff of legend: Kanye got in the way. What could have been a juggernaut of an album is sidetracked by West’s overly misogynistic lyrics, and his continuing lack of self awareness. Social commentary is a hard trick to pull off in any arena, but when you present yourself as the American dream — because you pretty much ARE the American dream — and then attempt to attack that in any measure, the results are at best trite, and at worst laughable.

To be clear, this is an ongoing issue that West suffers, and he is at his best operation as the fairly unchallenged master of pop that he has made himself into. But for now (and this opinion is constantly shifting) Yeezus remains more Zooropa* and less Achtung Baby. It’s clear that there is a masterful artist at work here who is willing to sacrifice the end result for the sake of experimenting with his art, but the attempt is only half of the secret recipe: You’ve gotta stick the landing.

*For the record, I freaking LOVE Zooropa. LOVE. IT.

9. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park  / Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose

Why two albums? Because both perfectly represent the struggle that “modern country music” faces in 2013. Deservedly maligned by the discerning music fan since the days when the thunder rolled, there’s been a shift over the last few years away from the assembly line nature of what hits the airwaves, back to the more personal, less manufactured music that is the bedrock of a large portion of the American songbook. Musgraves “Merry-Go-Round” and Monroe’s “Like A Rose” are at once eloquent and utilitarian in their assessment of small town living, and rivalJason Isbell’s acumen for commentary of the human experience.

Unlike Isbell though, both artists go slightly off the rails by the end of their song cycles, giving in to the machine’s need for a “hit.” And in doing so they both keep what might have been a duo of timeless, universal records tied to a genre that both artists very clearly can, and should, rise above. That having been said, if you can push past the autotune and the straight-from-the-80’s “redneck” power chorus singing that ultimately takes control of these records, you’ll be rewarded by the work of two of the finest songwriters working in popular music today.

8. Kingsley Flood – Battles

The holy grail for most bands is to be able to match massive performances with equally massive songwriting chops. On Battles, Kingsley Flood took that idea and injected their already successful formula of bar brawl Americana with a double shot of adrenaline to produce one of the most satisfying records of the year to date. Grounded in singer Naseem Khuri’s explorations of what it takes to get by in today’s America, this mostly Boston based five piece (Khuri resides right here in the District) walks the razor’s edge of serious and seriously entertaining, and they do it all with an ease normally reserved for bands twice their age. Successfully bridging the gulf between folk, power pop and punk, Battles finds its power in its unflinching honesty and sincerity, regardless of the delivery method. This is a new Americana, and one that, if this release is any indication, is very quickly going to take over the world.

Best Of 2013 (So Far): Justin's Picks

2013 will officially go down as they year I felt old. Not out of touch, per se; I kept up with new music and listened to just as much as I always have. But as every major release came and went, I found myself asking what it was I was missing. People raved about Daft Punk and all I heard was glorified disco. People freaked out about Vampire Weekend and all I heard was grating, cutesy pop that for whatever reason reminded me of those four douchebags singing “Constance Fry” in Trading Places. Worst of all, people flipped their lids about the National – a band that I truly loved at one point – and all I heard was exceedingly dull music that was only appropriate for a therapist’s waiting room. “It grows on you,” people said. So does fungus and flesh-eating bacteria.

All that said, while I seem to have developed a Chunky Kevin-esque “get off my lawn” streak, man there’s been some good music this year. Granted, it’s a bit on the lighter side than my favorite album of last year (and the last five years), Celebration Rock, and two of my ten selections were released just this month, but these are ten of albums I’ll have a hard time bumping from my year-end list.

10.  Savages – Silence Yourself

Yeah, I’m on board. A brilliant amalgamation of blistering punk and 80’s goth sensibilities (a little Mission UK mixed with singer Jehnny Beth’s Siouxsie-sounding caterwaul) make for a furiously wonderful romp.


9.  Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

Perhaps you’ve shied away from this album because of an inherent hate of any country music made after 1990. I get it. But there’s something about these 12 extremely confident, well written tunes that make Musgraves sound much older than her 25 years. This is less Taylor Swift and more John Prine or Lucinda Williams.


8.  Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

As much as Savages are a throwback to the 80s, Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz is a throwback to the 90s. Sadie Dupuis’ vocals channel Liz Phair, or to make a more 90’s reference, Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon. Combined with nift sounds-sloppy-but-is-actually-brilliant rock reminiscent of Pavement or Built to Spill, Major Arcana marks the arrival of a fantastic new band.