Nicole Miglis has a voice like spider silk, or what spider silk would be like if it was proportionally strong. It’s airy and light, but a breeze won’t carry it away; for proof, check that high G on “how can I?” The album is called The Moon Rang Like a Bell, and if the moon was to ring it would probably sound much like the bells on this track. Synths like spiderwebs in space and a muffled bass drum join in to spin this haunting, ethereal but ultimately unbreakable lullaby.


There are so many textures packed into this recording that I was waiting for it to get mushy but it just doesn’t happen. It’s sharp, in focus, and on point to the end no matter what gets mixed in (Black Panthers attacking the warmongering megalomaniac that is America’s government – check. Wailing high vocals – check. Organ, a cross between a storefront church and Ray Manzarek – check) “They’re gonna send me over the hill/I been a witness to this game for ages,” D’Angelo spits out, as much as someone can sweetly spit. A revolution needs protest songs and I think this might be one of them.

I think I should listen to the rest of this album now.

I saw Perfume Genius before seeing Sigur Ros in Philly, and they didn’t play anything nearly this driving. All I remember is a haze of ether and pretty sounds. None of this clap clap crash cycling around the ears. A scream like electricity crackling along a high hydrofield’s wires. Then low, entirely human. Music for the world burning by the match you lit. It was over a little too fast – the scene would have to cut off before the song ends. This drop off didn’t feel great.

If it’s a river, it is the sort that breaks dams, topples cities, and washes expectations and false Copland-esque picturesqueness away. Nothing cute or twee about this one. If “Grid,” previous on the list[1], was music for a confident stride through a burning world, this is a mad dash through ever-morphing neighborhoods fueled by a relentless riff that just doesn’t let go.

[1] I’m listening to’s best of 2014 list, and writing about the things that move me to do so. Most of the songs I post here are temporarily available for download over there.

It’s impossible not to fall into the ripples of “Silver.” It’s hard not to pulse if you’re sitting, and walking unnaturally slowly with the beat feels better than trying to strain against it. Don’t walk; dance. Hit the walls and push off into the ocean of air. If there’s wind, it will surely blow smoothly, in slow motion, as you sail down the street on your feet. 

I had friends who enjoyed the “Mozart in the Jungle” pilot and said I should enjoy it in the spirit in which it was intended, rather than focusing on what they got wrong. Yet the factual errors in “Mozart in the Jungle” are so great that it would be as though someone set out to dramatize the reality show “Deadliest Catch” by showing a group of fishermen sitting on a dock in Alaska trying to catch crabs with fishing rods. If you’re willing to accept that little in this show bears even the remotest relationship to reality, then you may be able to enjoy it.

Anne Midgette on “Mozart in the Jungle” for the Washington Post