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Critics everywhere have been bemoaning the downward spiral of trap for a while now, ever since that horrible realization that (gasp!) ninety-plus percent of songs in the genre consisted of nothing more than an annoying upper-register siren-esque synth and some tonic-based 808s. Sure, you have the standard claim that Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, and Lunice are all doing really interesting things with trap’s quintessential bounce, adding wonky melodies and twisting hi-hat attacks to the point of unrecognizability, but none of them has really been all that exciting recently — the nail in the coffin of the holy trinity being Rustie’s decent but wholly uninspiring Green Language. The unfortunate part of all this, of course, is that the generally derided Baauer is actually making some of the best music in the genre nowadays, yet he’s unfortunately ignored thanks to the overexposure of “Harlem Shake.” The stellar pump-up of “Infinite Daps” and the this-is-what-Green-Language-should-have-been “Clang” are testaments to his creative and technical skill, but unfortunately his music has been tossed to the wayside in favor of the newly-sprung Jersey Club fascination.

His latest EP β doesn’t unfortunately reflect his skill with singles, save for the stellar lead track “One Touch,” featuring the vocal talents of Aluna Francis and the brothers in Rae Sremmurd. What really makes the song click is the perfect interaction between each of its elements — the wonderfully spare offbeat shaker and the the watery bass play off each other gorgeously under Francis’ mouse-like croon. Despite the problematic nature…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of November 4th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Amelia Curran – They Promised You Mercy (Six Shooter Records)
Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water (Righteous Babe)
Arca – Xen (Mute)
Arrica Rose – Wavefunction (Poprock Records)
Bette Midler – It’s The Girls (Warner Bros.)
Black Milk – If There’s A Hell Below (Computer Ugly)
Calvin Harris – Motion (Columbia)
Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium (Napalm Records)
Clark – Clark (Warp Records)
Dean Blunt – Black Metal (Rough Trade)
Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita  (Polyvinyl Records)
Deptford Goth – Songs  (PIAS America)
The Doobie Brothers – Southbound (Sony Nashville)
Gold Lake – Years (Gold Lake)
Gruff Rhys – American Interior (Turnstile Music)
Happy Diving – Big World (Father/Daughter Records)
Hyperdub – Hyperdub 10.4 (Hyperdub)
Inspiral Carpets – Inspiral Carpets (Cherry Red)
Kattah – Lapis Lazuli (Bakerteam Records)
Korallreven – Second Comin’ (Cascine)
Les Sins – Michael (Carpark Records)
Mariachi El Bronx – Ill (ATO Records)
Megafortress – Believer (Driftless Recordings)
Mike Hudson & The Pagans – Hollywood High (Ruin Discos)
Mother Mother – Very Good Bad Thing (Universal)
Neil Young – Storytone (Reprise)
Ryan Hemsworth – Alone For The First Time (Last Gang Records)
Soen – Tellurian (Spinefarm)
Tantal – Expectancy (Bakerteam Records)
Theophilus London – Vibes! (Warner Bros.)
Trophy Eyes – Mend, Move On (Hopeless Records)
We Are The Willows – Picture (Portrait) – Part I (The Homestead

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 28th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

2562 – The New Today (When In Doubt)
At The Gates – At War With Reality (Century Media)
Bella Morte – Exorcisms (Metropolis Records)
Creepers – Lush (All Black Recording Company)
Dan Bodan – Soft (Alternative Distribution Alliance)
Daniel Lanois – Flesh & Machine (Anti Records)
Devin Townsend Project – Z2 (Inside Out Music) – Thompson D. Gerhart
Dillon Francis – Money Sucks, Friends Rule (Columbia)
Dionne Warwick – Feels So Good (10 Spot)
Doomsday Student – A Walk Through Hysteria Park (Skin Graft Records)
Fides Inversa – Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans (World Terror Committee)
Groundislava – Frozen Throne (WeDidIt Records)
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Dust (Secretly Canadian)
Jerry Lee Lewis – Rock ‘N’ Roll Time (Vanguard/Universal)
Lagwagon – Hang (Fat Wreck Chords)
Leighton Meester – Heartstrings (InGrooves)
Martial Canterel – Gyors/Lassù (Dais Records)
Medicine – Home Everywhere (Captured Tracks)
Misgivings – Delete History (Misgivings)
Mono – The Last Dawn (Temporary Residence)
Mono – Rays Of Darkness (Temporary Residence)
Mykki Blanco – Gay Dog Food (UNO NYC)
Mysteries – New Age Music Is Here (Felte Records)
Nero Di Marte – Derivae (Prosthetic Records)
Objekt – Flatland (Pan)
Pianos Become The Teeth – Keep You (Epitaph)
Run The Jewels – RTJ2 (Mass Appeal Records)
Sylvie Simmons – Sylvie (Light In The Attic)

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 21st, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Allo Darlin’ – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)
Andrew St. James – The Shakes (Fortune Records)
Annie Lennox – Nostalgia (Blue Note/Universal)
Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were (Universal Republic)
Billy Idol – Kings & Queens Of The Underground (Kobalt)
Boyz II Men – Collide (BMG Rights Management)
The Budos Band – Burnt Offering (Daptone)
Cold War Kids – Hold My Home (Downtown)
Eliot Bronson – Eliot Bronson (Saturn 5 Records/Hubbub! Music)
Elliott Brood – Work And Love (Paper Bag Records)
Horrendous – Ecdysis (Dark Descent) – Kyle Ward
The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends (Warner Bros.)
Jakob – Sines (Mylene Sheath)
Jeff The Brotherhood – Dig The Classics (Warner Bros.)
Jenn Grant – Compostela (Outside Music)
Jessie Ware – Tough Love (Interscope Records)
Little Big Town – Pain Killer (Capitol Nashville)
Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio (Vagrant Records)
Modern Vices – Modern Vices (Autumn Tone Records)
Mystery Skulls – Forever (Warner Bros.)
Neil Diamond – Melody Road (CMG)
Ólafur Arnalds & Janus Rasmussen – Kiasmos (Erased Tapes Records)
Primus – Primus & The Chocolate Factory (ATO Records)
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know (Epitaph)
Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD)
Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 14th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Absolutely Free – Absolutely Free (Lefse Records)
Ali Campbell – Silhouette (Metropolis Records)
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness (Vanguard/Universal) – SowingSeason
Angaleena Presley – American Middle Class (Slate Creek Records)
Atrum Tempestas – Neant (Nordavind Records)
Bing & Ruth – Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (RVNG International)
Bob Seger – Ride Out (CMG)
Chicks On Speed – Artstravaganza (Chicks On Speed)
Dioramic – Supra (Dooload)
Electric Six – Human Zoo (Metropolis Records)
Favorite Weapon – Sixty Saragossa (Rise Records)
Fit For A King – Slave To Nothing (Solid State)
Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes (Big Machine Records)
For All I Am – No Home (InVogue Records)
Foxygen – …And Star Power (Jagjaguwar)
Frazey Ford – Indian Ocean (Nettwerk Records)
From The Vastland – Temple Of Daevas (Non Serviam Records)
The Game – Blood Moon: Year Of The Wolf (Entertainment One Music)
Gazelle Twin – Unflesh (Last Gang Records)
Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire (Shellshock)
Gorgon City – Sirens (Priority Records)
Idina Menzel – Holiday Wishes (Warner Bros)
Itasca – Unmoored By The Wind (New Images)
Jessie J – Sweet Talker (Universal Republic)
Kayo Dot – Coffins On Io (Flenser)
Kele Okereke – Trick (Lilac Records)
Kevin Morby – Still Life (Woodsist)
Kindness – Otherness (Mom

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 7th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Abazagorath – The Satanic Verses (Eternal Death)
A Breach Of Silence – Dead Or Alive (Eclipse)
Alex & Sierra – It’s About Us (Columbia)
The Barr Brothers – Sleeping Operator (Secret City Records/Universal)
Bass Drum Of Death – Rip This (Innovative Leisure)
Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetsuta III – Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti Productions)
Bonobo – The North Borders Tour – Live (Ninja Tune)
Broods – Evergreen (Capitol Records/Universal)
Caribou – Our Love (Merge Records)
Dark Blue – Pure Reality (Jade Tree Records)
Dinosaur Feathers – Control (Ernest Jenning Record Company)
Ex Hex – Rips (Merge Records)
Field Report – Marigolden (Partisan Records)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead (Warp Records)
Gnarwolves – Gnarwolves (Pure Noise)
Hal Ketchum – I’m The Troubadour (Music Road Records)
High Ends – Super Class (Dine Alone Records)
Hozier – Hozier (Columbia)
Hungry Cloud Darkening – Glossy Recall (Off Tempo)
Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Matador Records)
Jackson Browne – Standing In The Breach (Inside Recordings)
Jamie T – Carry On The Grudge (Epitaph)
Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt (Broken Bow)
Jessica Campbell – III (Little London Records)
Johnny Marr – Playland (Alternative Distribution Alliance)
John Southworth – Niagra (Tin Angel Records)
Keyshia Cole – Point Of No Return (Interscope Records)
Marmozets – The Weird & Wonderful Marmozets (Roadrunner

Welcome to our Q3 Mixtape this year, where we further illuminate some of our favorite songs released between July – September. Featuring tracks from Amplifier, Banks, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dog Fashion Disco, Dopplereffekt, Kimbra, Lenny Kravitz, Mr. Kitty, Oado, Seven That Spells, Shabazz Palaces, Skrew, Yuna, and more than what’s listed in the aforementioned baker’s dozen, we’re hopeful that you’ll find something worth investigating further here.


This also means that this is our last mixtape of the year, as we’ll prepare for our annual Year-End feature. Whether you’re a staffer, contributor, longtime shit-poster, or a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newcomer, everybody has an opportunity to get involved in what amounts to be a fun year-end event for us. More details to come later, but as is also tradition, I’ll have some prize packages. To see what the winners got last year, you can check out the announcement here and see the actual prizes here.

What would you like to see for prizes this year? What albums are you excited about in Q4 that might crack your Top 10, 25, 50, or 100 [or greater]? Please feel free to let us know in the comments.

I hope you’re all enjoying the NFL season (unless you’re a Jacksonville fan, I guess?) and as we head towards the majesty that is the Fall Classic.

(We also use GoPros during our indoor office wiffleball…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 30th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Amplifier – Mystoria (Superball Music)
Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage Of Stars (Entertainment One Music)
Blake Shelton – Bringing Back The Sunshine (Warner Bros.)
Boogarins – As Plantas Que Curam (Fat Possum)
Call Super – Suzi Ecto (Houndstooth)
Christopher Owens – A New Testament (Turnstyle)
Curtin – One For The Doghearted (Curtin)
Davey Suicide – Worldwide Suicide (Standby Records)
Death Penalty – Death Penalty (Rise Above Ltd.)
Decapitated – Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)
Electric Wizard – Time To Die  (Spinefarm)
Electric Youth – Innerworld (Secretly Canadian)
Evergrey – Hymns For The Broken (AFM Records)
Finch – Back To Oblivion (Razor & Tie)
Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien (Reprise)
Gui Boratto – Abaporu (Kompakt)
The History Of Apple Pie – Feel Something (Marshall Teller)
Lady Antebellum – 747 (Capitol Nashville/Universal)
Lucinda Williams – Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone (Highway 20 Records)
Luke Winslow-King – Everlasting Arms (Bloodshot Records)
Meshuggah – I (Special Edition) (Nuclear Blast) – Trey Spencer
Montibus Communitas – The Pilgrim To The Absolute (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records)
Nicholas Krgovich – On Sunset (Nettwerk Records)
Nonpoint – The Return (Red International)
Phobocosm – Deprived (Dark Descent)
Prince – Art Official Age (Warner Bros.)
Prince & 3rdEyeGirl – Plectrumelectrum (Warner Bros.)
Radium Valley – Tales From The Apocalypse (Pavement Music)

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 23rd, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Alt-J – This Is All Yours (Atlantic)
Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp Records)
Asteroid No.4 – Asteroid No.4 (Bad Vibrations)
Bonnie – Singer’s Grave: A Sea Of Tongues (Drag City)
Chuck Prophet – Night Surfer (Yep Roc Records)
Cody Joe Tillman & The Wicked Truth – Cody Joe Tillman & The Wicked Truth  (Rock Ridge Music)
The Crooked Brothers – Thank You I’m Sorry (Transistor 66 Record Company)
Darian Reneé – The Other Side Of Someday (Darian Reneé)
Dntel – Human Voice (Stones Throw)
The Drums – Encyclopedia (InGrooves)
Empires – Orphan (Island)
Goat – Commune (Sub Pop)
The Growlers – Chinese Fountain (Redeye Label)
Imelda May – Tribal (Verve)
Information Society – _hello world (Hakatak)
J.P. Harris – Home Is Where The Hurt Is (Cow Island Music)
Jackie Evancho – Awakening (Sony Masterworks)
Jennifer Hudson – JHUD (RCA)
John Mellencamp – Plain Spoken (Motown/Universal)
Julian Casablancas & The Voidz – Tyranny (+180 Records)
Kenny Chesney – The Big Revival (Blue Chair Records/Columbia Nashville)
Kind Cousin – Tremendous Hem (Ma’am Records)
King Tuff – Black Moon Spell (Sub Pop)
Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – Cheek To Cheek (Streamline/Interscope/Columbia)
Laetitia Sadier – Something Shines (Drag City)
Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (Columbia)
Lights – Little Machines (Warner Bros.)
Marketa Irglova – Muna (Anti Records)
Matty Mullins – Matty Mullins…

Timisoara-based Methadone Skies are definitely onto something special with “Mirra,” the song that kicks off their upcoming album, Eclectic Electric. From the ground up the track shows how much the outfit have evolved musically from their debut full-length: the main motif is acutely filtered through various modes, being augmented with Turkish saz and mandola. This expanded instrumentation lends the composition an oriental flair that channels the free-flowing spiritualism of Om. The mood constantly switches from idyllic to sinister in a kaleidoscopic fashion, yet the song never loses its sharp focus, exemplifying instrumental psychedelic rock at its best.

Methadone Skies on facebook

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 16th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Amogh Symphony – Vectorscan (Amogh Music Library)
Anjou – Anjou (Kranky)
Antropomorphia – Rites Ov Perversion (Metal Blade)
Black Moth – Condemned To Hope (New Heavy Sounds)
Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade) – Trey Spencer
Chris Brown – X (RCA)
The Contortionist – Language (Entertainment One Music) – Jacob R.
Engineers – Always Returning (Kscope)
Generationals – Alix (Polyvinyl Records)
Hands Like Houses – Re-Imagine (Rise Records)
Hostage Calm – Die On Stage (Run For Cover Records)
Isabel Rose – Trouble In Paradise (Jubilee Recordings)
James – La Petite Mort (BMG Rights Management)
Jesse Winchester – A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble (Appleseed Records)
The Juan MacLean – In A Dream (DFA Records)
Lia Ices – Ices (Jagjaguwar)
Lowell – We Loved Her Dearly (Arts & Crafts)
The Madden Brothers – Greetings From California (Capitol)
Malpractice – Turning Tides (Sensory Records)
Mia Doi Todd – Floresta (City Zen Records)
Mike Doughty – Stellar Motel (MRI)
The Mojo Gurus – Who Asked Ya? (Red River Entertainment)
Moonface – City Wrecker (Jagjaguwar)
Motionless In White – Reincarnate (Fearless Records)
My Brightest Diamond – This Is My Hand (Asthmatic Kitty)
Myrkur – Myrkur (Relapse)
Noctem – Exilium (Prosthetic)
Obey The Brave – Salvation (Epitaph)
Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love (Atlantic)
The Pineapple Thief –

September 6, 2014: “Never” is my favorite track of the year. If anything comes along and dethrones it, I will be more than positively surprised. In a paradoxical manner, I often can’t pinpoint why a certain song or an album resonates with me the way it does. That’s because as a person, I’m more adept at feeling and experiencing than sharing my exact thoughts in a coherent piece of writing. I know what I like, but can’t necessarily explain why every time. In conversing, I’m more often than not a stream of consciousness type of talker – something that I find hard to translate over into writing. I know exactly why I like “Never” though: it speaks to me about as much as it speaks of me, and that is a lot.

“Never” is barefaced as much as it is multifaceted. Structurally, both instrumentally and rapping-wise, it is a relatively straightforward track. Inversely, its message can be interpreted in many ways. To take it in the context of the full album it originates from, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, it’s part of a narrative, part of a story. I like to be self-centered with the track though – I like taking it out of context, pulling it apart from the rest of the record, because while I enjoy &TYSYC very much as a full-length offering, no other song on the album digs as deep as “Never” does when I forget what The Roots might have wanted…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 9th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

American Hi-Fi – Blood & Lemonade (Rude Records)
Avi Buffalo – At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop)
Ballet School – The Dew Lasts An Hour (Bella Union)
Banks – Goddess (Harvest) – Deviant
Better Than Ezra – All Together Now (The End Records)
Billy Childs – Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony Masterworks)
Cries Of The Captive – Imperialist (Imminence Records)
David Bazan & The Passenger String Quartet – David Bazan & The Passenger String Quartet (self-released)
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World (Warner Bros.)
Delta Spirit – Into The Wide (Dualtone Music Group)
Digitalife – Nemesis (Imminence Records)
Duologue – Never Get Lost (Wild Game Records)
Esben And The Witch – A New Nature (Nostromo Records)
Flowers – Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do (Kanine Records)
Greensky Bluegrass – If Sorrows Swim (Big Blue Zoo)
Gob – Apt. 13 (New Damage Records)
Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers (Merge Records)
In Flames – Siren Charms (Sin UK) – Kyle Ward
Interpol – El Pintor (Matador Records)
Jhene Aiko – Souled Out (Def Jam)
Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers (Vagrant Records)
Karen O – Crush Songs (Kobalt)
KMFDM – We Are KMFDM: Live 30th Anniversary (Metropolis Records)
The Kooks – Listen (Astralwerks)
Lecrae –…

In case you’ve been sleeping (or ignoring those trending Facebook items like a good, red-blooded whatever nationality you are), rock god, virtuoso, musical authority, and in no way, shape or form, a mere cunning businessman who played rock ‘n’ roll to the tune of inflating his bank account, Gene Simmons (not to be confused with fitness guru Richard Simmons) declared rock music dead in an interview with Esquire magazine. While Ace Frehly (official doctor of rock medicine) declined to provide a time of death, he did pander a bit about his recent solo album. Which is more than Mr. Simmons can do. Meanwhile, Simmons, in his coroner’s report, officially declared that lack of funding was the ultimate cause of death.

KISS Coffin

We'd bury it in a KISS casket, but it can't afford it

According to Simmons’ reports, it would seem that none of the many rock and metal bands rising up through the modern day miracle of free, online publicity and simplicity of self-recording/releasing made an impact in attempting to revive the presently deceased genre. In fact, said modern realities were glossed over in acknowledging that rock died because “no one will pay you to do it.” The deceased bands counted in Simmons’ toll number in the tens of thousands, many of which will have to be told to cease touring and producing music due to the recent death of their genre. Many do not expect this news to be easily received and believe…

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The notion that “human beings don’t change” has gained prevalence in modern society. We’ve all heard variations of it before – he’s stuck in his ways, or the famous once a cheater, always a cheater – and while some people show it more than others, I can guarantee you that we all do evolve. It’s not something you can necessarily witness all at once. Every day, we absorb different stimuli, we’re faced with new decisions, and our character is ever so slightly altered until they all resonate as something noticeable. It’s why your best friend is less likely to notice small changes occurring in you than someone who sees you once per year, such as a distant relative. People like that are subject to brief windows of observation, because they have no frame of reference other than your previous, dated encounter.

If music was life and Brand New were a person, we’d all be distant cousins. We saw them at Your Favorite Weapon in 2001, and they were very much a product of their peer groups, albeit outshining the likes of Taking Back Sunday and other pop-punk groups of that era. Then came Deja Entendu in 2003, and we all marveled at how much the band had matured. The same reaction followed suit, perhaps double fold, upon the release of 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, an epic transformation with overarching spiritual and existential themes. Once again, we transport ourselves years forward to 2009. Daisy was…

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