Now Hear This! Music Reviews

The Magnetic Fields
Distortion – Nonesuch Records

The latest brainchild of postmodern tunesmith Stephen Merritt appropriately dubbed Distortion is a pure gem of raucous rock rhythms and discordant white noise mixed together with Merritt’s subversively signature synth pop sensibilities that is just under 40 minutes of pure pleasure. Merritt’s droll, dry sense of irony is resplendent throughout the album sublimely lilting above the tinkering swell of pianos, guitars and the random spare cello or accordion. Distortion is Merritt at his best plumbing the depths of sardonic sadness and turning it on its ear with the turn of a phrase. Stephen Merritt has taken noise-pop to the next level and the world may never be the same again! Besides, how can you not like an album whose opening track is entitled “Three Way”?

Kevin Devine
Put Your Ghost to Rest – Capitol Records

I blame it all on Chris Carrabba. If it weren’t for Dashboard Confessional there wouldn’t be all of these bright eyed oh-so-gay-but-not-really tattooed pretty boys with guitars screaming infidelities while they strum out their feelings in three chords or less. It would be enough to nauseate me if it weren’t for diamonds in the rough like Kevin Devine.

On his major label debut and fourth solo effort former Miracle of ’86 front man seems to have finally grown into his own. Before this offering much of his work, while lyrically stimulating, seemed strained musically often straying into that gray area where all Emo tainted folk rock starts to sound the same (think 1990s era girl with a guitar music and you’ll get the drift).

This time out Devine’s musical palette seems to have expanded significantly to include a wider range of melodic formulas that are both engaging and catchy without being redundant and annoying like many of his whiny contemporaries (Conor Oberst comes immediately to mind!). His lyrical content—the red-headed 26 year-old’s strongest asset—is as strong as it ever was, rife with playful yet powerful turns of phrase and narrative invocations that echo in your head long after the song ends.

Listening to Devine’s lyrics is like suddenly hearing someone say something that you had always thought but never quite found a way to express into words. With Put Your Ghost to Rest, Devine finally seems to be successfully outgrowing the demons of his younger years and moving forward on a path that may well place him ahead of the game in the long run when the Emo and Straight Edge scenes finally play themselves out like Goth did in the 80s followed by Alternative in the 90s.

Register to win a free copy of this week’s review titles by sending an e-mail to All reviewed titles are also available for purchase or special order from OutLoud Books & Gifts on Church Street in Nashville.

Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

2023 Reserva de la Familia Limited Edition Terceerunquinto

On January 10, 2023, Reserva de la Familia, Jose Cuervo’s ultra-premium collection of artisanal small-batch tequilas and Mexico’s crown jewel, announced its 2023 collector’s box, designed by artists Rolando Flores and Gabriel Cázares of the Mexico-based Tercerunquinto Collective. The piece of custom art, titled “Structuring a Landscape”, features a geometric abstraction of the landscape of Tequila, Mexico and will adorn the 2023 limited-release collector’s box of Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo.

Since 1995, Jose Cuervo has worked with internationally recognized artists with roots in Mexico to design the box artwork for Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo. Each box is an authentic collector’s item, with a limited quantity produced annually before a new artist is chosen. Previous artists include Gonzalo Lebrija, Pedro Friedeberg, Carlos Aguirre, Ricardo Pinto and many more. Every artist is selected by a team of art curators including 11th generation Cuervo family member and CEO of Jose Cuervo, Juan Domingo Beckmann, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio in New York City, Patrick Charpenel and founder of Zona Maco, Mexico’s number one art fair, Zélika García.

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Photo courtesy of Velvet Ibiza

Velvet Ibiza

Every year, Ibiza is home to Europe’s very epic queer woman’s party, Velvet Ibiza, which is celebrating its 7th anniversary and promises to be next level. Velvet Ibiza is an all-inclusive 5-day and 5-night party and includes transportation from the airport, a bungalow, 3 meals, and activities and parties day and night, and drinks until around 10:30 pm.

This year, international crowds of LGBTQ+ women will be attending Velvet Ibiza on May 2 - 7 to celebrate life, belonging, and freedom. Event organizers have rented an entire resort in order to build a community vibe and allow queer women to connect so there’s no reason to go anywhere unless of course, you want to go shopping, head to the beach, or explore the island.

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Financial Planning for the LGBTQ+ community

The new year has arrived. For many people, that means making resolutions and thinking of ways they can do better in the coming year and beyond. Money management and financial planning are often very popular resolutions and goals, but most financial advice tends to be aimed at heterosexual couples who want to grow their family and raise children.

But, what if your life goals are different? What if you don’t receive the same protection under the current laws as hetero couples?
What if you don’t want to have kids?

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