The Local Outsider #33: Washington Drama Club, Where’s Ramona? and (once again) Reese Lansangan

When I began this column three years ago I had a bit of apprehension that this would be a token slot for local music, which these things tend to be, which ultimately isn’t good for this blog’s attempts to cover it all better. Well, yes and no. I’ve amped up the album reviews, but then I still forget a lot of things. But then, can I blame it on being busy too? I was meaning to review the new Apartel album, but haven’t. Same with the new Strange Creatures album, but haven’t. Same with Eyedress‘ album, but haven’t. (I do have a “review the album within a week of release” policy.) I can barely keep track of my editorial calendar, much more my work one. It is a sign of things to come, I’m afraid.

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Review: Of Sound Mind & Memory by Reese Lansangan

Of Sound Mind & Memory by Reese LansanganOne of the things I hinted at when I reviewed Arigato, Internet! a couple of years back is how Reese Lansangan seems to know what she’s doing, down to the last detail. It lends her songs an air of precision, but after a while – or perhaps it’s just me? – it feels a little too calculating, a little too impenetrable. The formula works, but you wonder whether the facade will stay up there for a while. Then arrives Of Sound Mind & Memory, a surprise EP – four tracks, seventeen minutes – that marks Reese’s “this is where I bare my soul” moment. A little surprising considering her career trajectory; not really surprising considering we’ve heard traces of this before on “Code of Kin” and “St. Petersburg”. The wordplay is still there, too, so perhaps the description doesn’t fit as well as I planned. But, for whatever reason, the album feels much more raw, much more honest, like a dispatch from out of nowhere, unplanned, unrehearsed. I get this feeling that this record is where Reese rediscovers things – ultimately I will have no idea what that is; ultimately it’s just how it’s supposed to be – and it feels refreshing. [NB]4/5

Five years in: (some of) the earthings! story in photographs

Honestly, there really isn’t a lot of story to tell, unless I decide to act like a really big thing and insist that the mundane things earthings! has done over its five years of existence is worth telling. But isn’t it fun to be able to post a photo album of scenes captured from those five years – at least scenes that don’t involve me writing paragraphs in front of a laptop from my so-called desk, or sometimes at various hotels across the region – and say something about the “story” of earthings! across its five years of existence? Yes, right? So, well, here it is – a slightly random compendium of photos, of the people we met, the people we became friends with, and in between, some photos that didn’t quite make it to these pages. This is, after all, a personal blog masquerading as a music blog. You get the idea. [NB]

The five songs Reese Lansangan can’t live without

Reese Lansangan's everywhere these days.

The Five Songs Reese Lansangan Can't Live WithoutWhen we first wrote about Reese Lansangan almost three years ago, we never had the idea we would be seeing her everywhere. But now, indeed, she is: after the release of her debut full-length Arigato, Internet! she’s a ubiquitous presence – you might have seen her on television, or her work on magazines, or photos of her in stores, or maybe heard her music while on hold at Sky Cable. She even wrote a wedding song for Bossing and Poleng! Now, the multi-hyphenate (rolled into one convenient sushi, in her words) shares the five songs she can’t live without – and in her picks, a sense of wonder permeates.

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