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About Carl L.

Carl Laamanen graduated from Grove City College in May 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and Spanish and from Texas Tech University in May of 2013 with a Master's degree in English. Currently he spends most of his time lamenting the state of mainstream cinema, playing disc golf, and geeking out over obscure vocabulary words. Follow along with his random ramblings about music and movies @carltastic77.

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Author Archive

    New Music: Derek Webb’s I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You

    Derek Webb’s first solo album, She Must and Shall Go Free, has long been one of the most important pieces of music in my life. When I first heard it I was still in high school, a teenager very much trying to live up to the Law, exhausting myself on a daily basis by sifting […]

    New Music: Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

    After Kanye West and Jay Z’s 2011 collaboration Watch the Throne, I was very excited to see what was next for Kanye and Jay Z, as Watch the Throne was the best thing Jay Z had done since The Black Album. About a month ago, Kanye released Yeezus (I covered some of the album’s religious elements […]

    New Music: The National’s Trouble Will Find Me

    Early on in his new book, My Bright Abyss, poet Christian Wiman says this of grace: “To experience grace is one thing; to integrate it into your life is quite another. What I crave now is that integration, some speech that is true to the transcendent nature of grace yet adequate to the hard reality […]

    New Music: Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City

    Vampire Weekend has often been accused of making rather frivolous music that appeals mainly to hipsters, and, in many respects, that accusation is true of their first two albums, Vampire Weekend and Contra. Yet, I personally think that criticizing a band for writing about what they know, especially early in their career, has little merit. […]

    New Music: Phoenix’s Bankrupt!

    French rock band Phoenix cemented their place in the indie scene in 2009 with the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, a catchy, immediate record that is one of my favorites from that year. A skillful blend of pop, indie rock, and electronic cavorting, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix set the bar high for Bankrupt!, Phoenix’s newest album. […]

    New Music: Josh Ritter’s The Beast in Its Tracks

    On his newest album, The Beast in Its Tracks, Josh Ritter grapples with his recent divorce, yet none of the songs come off as overly bitter or spiteful. Among the heartbreak and pain, Ritter carves out a new beginning, treating the entire situation with poise and grace through his characteristically excellent lyrics. Musically, nothing here […]

    New Music: Frightened Rabbit’s Pedestrian Verse

    I wake up excited every Tuesday, even if there are no albums I am particularly anticipating, because every Tuesday brings the chance of stumbling into a thrilling musical experience. I had been hearing some buzz about Frightened Rabbit’s newest album, Pedestrian Verse, so I made sure to give it one of my first listens last […]

    New Music: Yo La Tengo’s Fade

    It’s fitting that Yo La Tengo, embarking on their 27th year of playing together, opens their newest album, Fade, with this chorus: “But nothing ever stays the same…so say good night to me and lose no more time resisting the flow.” For a band that has been around for almost three decades and was a […]

    Top Ten Albums of 2012

    In 2012, I easily listened to more new music than I have in the past 3 or 4 years combined, due in large part to my writing music reviews for Mockingbird (although not as many as I would have liked—curse you grad school!) as well as my newfound Spotify addiction. The variety and scope of […]

    New Music: Mumford and Sons’ Babel

    Everyone’s favorite British folk band, Mumford and Sons, and their latest album, Babel, have been a hot news item since the album was released a couple of weeks ago. Depending on who you ask, the band’s music is heartfelt and refreshing, beautifully expressing the human desire for love and grace or maudlin and mediocre, only […]

    New Music: Derek Webb’s Ctrl

    “‘Ctrl’ is about one man’s desire for something he can’t have because it isn’t real, his journey pursuing it, and the costs of that journey.”-Derek Webb on Twitter As someone who began listening to Derek Webb in 2004, shortly after the release of his second album I See Things Upside Down, I can say with […]

    New Music: Passion Pit’s Gossamer

    Note: My references to lead singer Michael Angelakos’ ongoing battle with mental illness come from this superb article from Pitchfork—Rite of Passion. Hearing his story gives Gossamer an added urgency and depth; be forewarned, however, the article is not for the faint of heart, as it deals quite frankly with these issues.   Maybe due […]