TheManMachine
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Reviews 5
Approval 97%

Soundoffs 952
Album Ratings 2447
Objectivity 79%

Last Active 04-29-18 9:13 am
Joined 01-01-12

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Average Rating: 3.39
Rating Variance: 0.48
Objectivity Score: 79%
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5.0 classic
Agoraphobic Nosebleed PCP Torpedo
Though followups such as "Frozen Corpse.." and "Altered States.." are huge groundbreaking albums for ANb and grindcore, they never quite hit me like this wonderful 6" slab of pure awesome. Those searching for a (really) quick fix of great, heavy grind should look no further.
Andrew W.K. I Get Wet
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion
Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Bane Holding This Moment
Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique
Blondie The Best of Blondie
Bright Eyes Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady
Can Tago Mago
DJ Shadow Endtroducing.....
Elvis Presley Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
Galaxie 500 Today
It's easy to knock Galaxie 500 - simplistic songs that don't vary much, whiny vocals with lyrics to match - but no one seems to nail the sound of epic wussiness as well as they do. Atmospheric, dreamy pop accentuated by drawn out solos that come stabbing through the haze.
Gojira From Mars to Sirius
Green Day 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
I'll freely admit that nostalgic value plays a role for my rating. That being said - this is always just an awesome listen for me. Catchy, fun, great production, and just plain relatable: the scrawled out booklet, the raw heart-on-your-sleeve punk, and lyrical themes about the always-troublesome world of girls, growing up, and seclusion resonated with me some ~17 years ago just as much as it does now (for better or worse).
Guided by Voices Bee Thousand
Infest Slave
Jimmy Eat World Static Prevails
Joni Mitchell Court and Spark
Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express
Leonard Cohen Songs of Love and Hate
Lil Wayne The Dedication
Let's face it, da DJ's batshit borrowed-beat patchwork probably wins MVP here: a relentless stream of peers' production where the quality is constant and the timbre is kaleidoscopic; allows you to cherish the era's Kanye-n-Neptunes and yearn to explore lesser-knowns Milwaukee Black, Johnny J, Mr. Lee. Relentless and a rocky stream as well, perhaps all the better for it. Songs succinct+stuffed face off against studio convos forever caught in an echo chamber, bullet-ridden bodies crashing into the mic and lotsa loud DJ tags flyin' wild escalating the chaos. Fun enough to excuse warts via uneven vocal volumes, anyway. And despite not being on his true lyrical pinnacle, The Baby Himself manages to exude enough raw tenacity-n-personality to match mood, and his affiliates ain't bad neither. Party time, excellent, this is still indeed "Wayne's World" -- for once I believe him when he says he don't write shit down; likely could just be formidable freestyle fuck-its being recorded in the downtime of dropped-a-week-earlier Tha Carter II. Don't mean his flows won't astound and amuse. Studio Convo Explanations: mixtape title, timelessly slurred record deal options, the hotel bedroom romp with a 250-pound "all fineness" stallion, the inclusion of a sketchy live snippet in which his song made fans cry. Oh, and: "If you don't know what I'm saying, then play this shit back cuz I don't know what I'm saying".
Minor Threat Minor Threat
Misfits Static Age
Misfits Walk Among Us
Misfits Collection I
Misfits Collection II
Modest Mouse The Moon & Antarctica
Mount Eerie A Crow Looked At Me
To write it off as excessively sad-sack or musically flagging would be missing the point; and whether you're already familiar with Phil Elverum's work or he's simply a sympathetic stranger, this arrests and lingers and troubles your guts like few other albums do. A genuine-n-recent 38-year old widower with young daughter at his side, he candidly captures a morbid moment in time; their stark shift together into a cruel and changing world. And a mumbler he is no longer, hence the mentions of dust-filled jars+fridge pics replacing a palpable person and gifts from beyond the grave and transforming dying faces being more explicit than anyone should ever hope for. The result of course is so depressing it's damn near unenjoyable -- but its boldly raw bareness is painfully powerful and all-too-befitting given the sitch, not to mention stays far far away from any form of prettying up, uglying up, or melodrama. Over the top yet so not, mechanical-n-slight percussion cuz how could it not be, humble artist going from loneliness-as-cool-concept to loneliness-as-absurdly-fucked-reality: it feels haunted with zero special effects, makes you face mortality with no buffer of beaut. "Death is real", and so is this. And if you'll allow me some humor here, out of his broad discography this may be his most 'eerie' album yet -- his most important, too.
Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Nobuo Uematsu Final Fantasy VIII: Original Soundtrack
Pavement Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Pavement Watery, Domestic
Pere Ubu Dub Housing
They further themselves from the punkier sound of their debut with excellent results. Exceptionally humorous, fun, strange and dark. Their approach to avant-garde is always interesting and never feels forced.
Radiohead The Bends
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
Slayer Reign in Blood
The perfect thrash metal album in many ways. 10 excellent songs, less than 30 minutes, awesome production, insane instrumentation, lyrics that sound like they're from a well-read serial killer's manifesto. If this album was just "Angel of Death" it would be a 5. To not own this album is a sin.
Soundtrack (Film) Grease Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Technically a 5.5
Soundtrack (Film) The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Spazz Crush Kill Destroy
Sun Kil Moon Benji
This death-laden nostalgia-fest collection of possibly tall tales coming from a 47-year old folkie Ohioan is one of the most moving and haunting albums I've heard in some time. Comes complete with an everyday all-American cast of friends, relatives and neighbors falling under many a misfortune (all while Richard Ramirez anticlimactically dies of natural causes), the merging of a 70's rock fandom childhood with the all-too-current Newtown/Panera Bread/"drunk kids staring at their cells" world of today, disturbingly graphic confessions of early sexual ventures and nonchalantly forgiving ones of child abuse, plainly stated yet profound realizations of growing old ("The Sopranos guy died at 51 / That's the same age as the guy who's coming to play the drums"), and perhaps at its most hair-raising, the powerful reminder that a mother's death is inevitable ("When the day comes for her to leave / I won't have the courage to sort through her things").
Swans To Be Kind
Even if slow-moving 2-hour behemoths that have the power to hypnotize, revolt, bewilder, and enlighten (sometimes all at once) AREN'T your thing, the scale and undeniable quality of this conveys gravity and demands respect. On the other hand, if they ARE your thing, have fun - you'll even get some upbeat moments and a good amount of laughs in - notice how humor helps alleviate pretension?
Talking Heads Remain in Light
Television Marquee Moon
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds
The Beach Boys 20 Good Vibrations: The Greatest Hits
The Beatles 1
The Clash London Calling
Alarmingly loose, fun and effortless, while sweeping through various genres...the sound of a "punk" band maturing without sounding stale or letting go of their roots. Undeniably great songwriting all around, remarkably consistent for a double album. A classic that makes making classics look easy.
The Fall Hex Enduction Hour
The Field From Here We Go Sublime
The Get Up Kids Something to Write Home About
The KLF Chill Out
The Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs
An album spanning 3 discs, nearly 3 hours of love songs. Who would've thought this cliche music geek dream could be pulled off so well? There is enough material on the first disc alone to keep someone entertained possibly forever; but each disc has its fair share of classic tracks and welcome oddities, all spiked with so much character and dry humor. Bass-y male vocals beside innocent female vocals bring a nice variety to the songs.
The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die
The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St.
This very well could be the Stones at their best - its loose, sprawling nature plays a definite contributing role there, but that is just a bonus to how well it covers all the bases while still throwing you some curveballs. Many tracks give the impression of cock-rock/punk predecessor anthems for ruckus, gambling and sex, only to have just as many be the most touching and effective songs of their career. Others find nice niches as being welcome little oddballs that are still a far throw from being throwaway - and it's all done with so much raw, soulful, old-timey-drunken energy; it can only be recognized as pure, unadulterated rock n' roll.
The Sounds Dying to Say This to You
The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
The Stooges Raw Power
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico
Weezer Pinkerton
Weezer Weezer
Wire Pink Flag
Reigns supreme in combining the worlds of raw, energetic, angry punk (merging into what would become hardcore) with texturecises, all-around excellent crunchy-yet-clear production, perfectionist tendencies, and quirky artsy traits; they even have an ear for a good melody occasionally. Its boundless influence alone should make this essential listening. Confident, unique, classic debut album.
Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

4.5 superb
A Giant Dog Toy
Animal Collective Sung Tongs
Aphex Twin Syro
Groundbreaking this ain't, clear direction it ain't got, but when it's this fun and layered, does it need to be? Oozes refinement, detail, and general electronic technical wizardry, but also manages to be unrelentingly can't-sit-still groovy. There are changeups and tricks around every corner that never interfere or sound out of place. A proper showcase in squishy synths, jazzy blip breakdowns, twitchy drums, and misterioso voices.
Archers of Loaf All the Nation's Airports
At the Drive-In In/Casino/Out
Bad Brains Bad Brains
Bane It All Comes Down to This
Beck Odelay
Belle and Sebastian If You're Feeling Sinister
Between the Buried and Me Alaska
Coming from a Colors-only listening history, I gotta give it up for the comparative tangibility and innocence of this heavier endeavor - they sound scarily driven and ambitious yet were still playful enough to end on a sunny goofball ditty called "Laser Speed", still metalcore enough to include a bro-basher throw-down called "Croakies and Boatshoes". It's not as intricate or sprawling or conceptual as its successor(s), but it also feels less labored, less rocky, and less lofty. Biting psuedo-celebratory line from "The Primer": "2005 / welcome to perfection". They might've been onto something there.
Big Thief U.F.O.F.
Bjork Homogenic
Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Blink-182 Enema of the State
Don't judge an album by its cover...or its title. Girls and reliving high school antics seems to be everything they love, hate, and live for; but it was at this point it seemed very clear they had evolved big time as songwriters - not a bad tune here - newcomer Travis Barker's excellent drumming is just the icing on the cake. That combined with a new maturity in sound, and even subject matter at times, elevate this above simply a great pop-punk album - this deserves its place as one of the great rock albums of the 90's.
Botch We Are the Romans
Brian Eno Another Green World
Brian Eno Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Brian Eno Here Come the Warm Jets
Brian Eno and David Byrne My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Bruce Springsteen Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A.
Every bit as gargantuan and game-changing as 'Born to Run' was without trying to be. Hard-hitting, epic songwriting that's fun as well.
Built to Spill Keep It Like a Secret
Camera Obscura Let's Get Out of This Country
A nice mix of catchy pop that makes you want to take a sunny bike ride through Scotland and sad, moving ballads. Dreamy girl vocals and big, classic instrumentation. Solid from its attention grabbing start to its epic finish.
Camp Cope Camp Cope
The introductory coulda-been-dead shoula-helped-him mystery body that Aussie singer-punker-songwriter Georgia Maq walks past may come off a tad trite, but her ineffable performance paints the picture perfectly and pulls you in pronto -- a pattern which follows for the full duration of this no-frills no-filler helluva debut, minus the trite and renewed with the personal+remarkable. All at once a desensitized+medicated hospital worker too weak to hold her guitar, an anxious busker ignored by tranq-toting classmates, a truth-craving textbook devotee and somber stepfather dedicator; 'Lost' is how she feels inside and what she watches in bed when her separated sig-other is on tour "out feeling everything", breakup heartbreak slightly wanes when she hears the ex's new boo was Tinder-borne, the rationale of career cat-callers and good-guy-with-gun facilitators is decried in an understated anthem so stunningly rousing it deserves a sincere salute, and she uses the goddamn Australian slang version of 'grouse' to describe smoochin' a dude to Tigers Jaw. Though grateful for the modest oomph that accompanying drums-n-bass provide -- particularly dat playful bass -- peepzin' solo sets via YouTube prove she and these tunes are no-less wonderful on their unadorned own. I mean, the charismatically detailed scenarios are one thing. The doubt, the anger, the dire defeatism, the glimmers of hope, the perpetually palpable passion, the relationship goalz of being losers forever and drinking coffee in bed together? They go a long way.
Charli XCX Pop 2
Chelsea Wolfe Abyss
Permeated in weighty doom+gloom yet cohesive and cogent enough to persuade even the perkiest joy-heads into its stygian hellancholy depths -- her downplayed emotional vocal elegance and refusal to showboat makes for a lullingly placid descent, and are quite the consummatory contrast to the impenetrable walls of low-end industrial demolitions/cavernously eerie smaze/haunted folk tinctures/squall+squeals+sound-sucks.
Converge Jane Doe
Crass The Feeding of the 5000
Creedence Clearwater Revival Chronicle, Vol. 1
Dance Gavin Dance Artificial Selection
Deep in the caverns of imagination is 2001 me patting present me on the back while a mere-two-months ago me looks on in awe and disdain. From a download to see how bad they REALLY were came a guilty pleasure turned purchased CD turned cautiously yet unquestionably gung-ho for album. A consummate contrast of appallingly appealing cleans and angsty throat shredding that's silly and seductive, dramatic and dazzling, swarming with sweeping skillz. It's hard to tell if this is frontloaded or if they're just taxing in general or both, lyrics legible or not are oft absurd to the point of asinine and/or conjure a cringe -- beautiful catharsis, not wanting to be treated like a psycho, belly-placed popcorn tellin' ya things, bright asses in battle, smoking weed out of a pussy filled with money, etc. -- but this sheen-n-severity stew consistently strikes a nerve. Many a lil memorable touch and quirk; but they're surely just a bonus to some stupidly huge hooks+harmonies that you'll unabashedly wail in your worst falsetto. Sing along, now: "Don't fight, it's too magnetic."
Danny Brown XXX
Darkthrone A Blaze in the Northern Sky
Deafheaven Sunbather
While the purists, naysayers and tenacious hype-deflators keep on bitchin', I'm just gonna go ahead and enjoy this engulfing and well-constructed hour of awesome.
Defiance, Ohio The Great Depression
Dinosaur Jr. You're Living All Over Me
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
Prog-guitar could be befitting for extreme metal if not played trebly-thin and fuzzed out and/or on what sounds like multiple miniature harps, slightly-androgynous weirdo frontman finds companionship in would-be choir girls who mostly harmonize in yelps and chirps, philosophical queries made during a makeshift-percussion strings-laden r&b smash: in a world they can call their own, these talented quirkoids can nail both fun+complex and sincere+serene with flying colors, often during the same song. With unmistakable character, too - when they extend the invite to live in "a space for you in the basement, yeah", I get the notion that upon accepting, no matter who it is, would end up helping them with handclaps or hitting a bell - that kind of character.
DJ Tiga The Sound: Vol. 1
Replete with rambunctious rumbling, hacked-up repeato voices, and dizzying intensity, this remix-exclusive wingding seemingly longs to intimidate yo ass right outta the club more than provide dance-friendly cordiality -- bass often simulates an impending stampede, gunshots+guncocks are standard soundbytes, percussion is accelerated and unquantifiable, screams-n-grunts are plentiful. Hip-hop party aura (albeit an aggressive one) happily emanates through all the buck-wild twitchy thud electronics, the pop balladry of "Your Love" provides a midway kinda-cooldown (albeit a zippy one), scared Scooby yelps go up against incessant inquisitors and Jersey trite-talk is mockingly (sincerely?) tossed around like a rag doll, a football video game is semi-serenaded. It's commanding and uncivilized to an extreme that's deserving of its general-yet-pompous 'The Sound' titling, and doesn't exhaust nearly as much as it probably should; and while the evident recognizables stand out as such, in this bunch-o-bangers they're just the easy ones: the m.a.a.d city gone madder and torn free of context, Biggie coming back from beyond to full-tilt suck tits and grab paper, a Drake-collision whirlwind which has him sounding harder+woozier than ever before (maybe). Where Vol. 2 at?
Dr. Dre The Chronic
Elysia Crampton American Drift
If the 2-track sub-10-minute Moth/Lake was the trailer, consider this the 4-track barely-half-hour feature film that exceeds all expectations and leaves your popcorn neglected. Each of these towering compositions go on a bit too long, and all the better for it -- opening again with a prelude of protracted spoken word that is somehow genuinely gripping before moving onwards to a wackily incredible triad of vaguely hip-hop-flavored sound-collage homespun synth odysseys, this emanates enough engaging sounds and unique personality to certainly excuse any duration dilemmas. Coloration a la comic book and/or video game warp zone is fitting for this softly-textured-yet-intense universe -- where an acoustic guitar trance-rhythm meets bird-tweets meets buried-speech meets a gun capable of shooting lasers/piano solos/normal ol' bullets too and The Chirping Crickets (they're back) now coincide with none other than Lil' Jon. Also guest starring Cackling Witch and That Infamous Falling/Screaming Guy.
Elysia Crampton Elysia Crampton
It begins and ends abruptly as hell, sports 6 tracks in about 19 minutes and each seems like a slapdash sketch, yet it ends up perhaps the most monstrous-n-engrossing release of the year thus far. Terseness works cuz this is all guns blazing near invariably; and cuz it's Crampton actual guns blaze as well. Her heavy+hypnotic barrages go harder than ever while still supplying some of the best soundscapes going right now. Already a confirmed crackerjack at the jagged-yet-cushiony, now let's really hear it for her role as crafty conveyor: society crumbling with a reggae horn as the air strike signal, militant and primitive stomps warped and trapped inside a stridently sparkly wonderland, wistful and enraged and wild and focused all rolled into one. Brilliantly beautiful and ugly? Loud larger-than-life labyrinths that are fun and funny and stunning too? Drain-sucks beside serious business? Not too bad for dat duration.
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem The Slim Shady LP
Endon Through The Mirror
As someone weaned in my teens on powerviolence+grind and later on a staunch admirer of all-consuming drone-rock a la Swans, these Tokyo terrors have struck a nerve. Well, something more like slaughtered a nerve -- this is severely stentorian, enough to drop even Ballou's jaw one would hope; a magnitude they can and will preposterously replicate live. Probably implausible after the stringent litmus test that is "Nerve Rain", but there are a few real melodies to be had and crucially it'll get ya grinning. Cuz beyond unfailingly flabbergasting and leavin' your brain busticated it offers up the thrill of a sonic free-for-all: every shriek is all-ya-got bloodcurdling, low roars register as no less than a 500-foot demon, dense-as-hell din, oscillating babble, speed-n-sludge gone sensational. Ludicrous enough to come off cartoonish but so berserk+pulverizing en masse that you kinda just gotta bow. Bow to the sad sobber, the ablaze raptor, the scream-collage where a slice-o-Psycho fits right in.
Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Floorpunch Fast Times At The Jersey Shore
fortydaysrain Temptation Of Our Own Demise
Fugees The Score
Funkadelic One Nation Under a Groove
Definitely more polished and somewhat cheesier than their earlier records, but this is also probably their most consistent and maybe best album. Truly bizarre and fun stuff.
Galaxie 500 On Fire
Ghostface Killah Fishscale
Godflesh Streetcleaner
Presumably a polite alternative for Citydemolisher, Streetcleaner lays down quite the impeccable industrial-metal groundwork. It ousts humanity in that its methodical+mechanical ice cold stomp-krush hardly resembles anything remotely human, and also in that they ain't particularly compassionate when it comes to aural punishment. The kind of beefy-n-noisy negativity that could be torture if it weren't so commanding and precise, so bracing and immersive -- a stupidly well-implemented drum machine and riffage galore and an array of yells cert don't hurt either. Model Mantra: "There has to be / someone killed."
Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction
Hamell On Trial Tackle Box
Ed Hamell is seasoned as a rambler-n-rhymer, acoustic thrasher, skillful storyteller, singular homespun punk-scuzzer -- and here sees him pulling together all the concerned yearnin' and unbounded wit and frank force needed to loosely capture the tumult of the Trump era. Besides being perturbed over his kid feeling apprehension rather than admiration for fuckface cops and our browbeater world leader, he fuses raunch and drollery ("She ride it like her panties on fire / She ride it like she binge watch The Wire"); adores an Australian chatterer's verbal inflections as much as her drunkenly eloquent thoughts on America; wistfully reminisces about high school ("Hiding pot in our locker until there's a raid / Getting three new albums cuz we just got paid"); discusses the life he's lived and how he'd like to die ("inevitably"). Resolute repetition guides the way, and when shit gets heavy -- i.e. regularly -- periodic quickies-for-the-kids about Froggy's picturesquely glit-edge lifespan are there to mollify. Proclamation Of One-Man Project That's All The Better For It: "You can spoil the brain broth with too many cooks / Call it Tackle Box cuz it's got so many hooks".
Hamell On Trial The Happiest Man In The World
Husker Du Zen Arcade
A sprawling slab of experimental punk&roll dispersed through various methods - whether it be pop song mastery, anxiety-ridden anthems, sloppy pre-grunge thrash attacks, mantras or interludes; it all adds up to a major work that is also their most determined, strung out, and idealistic. Not bad for an album full of first takes.
Incantation Onward to Golgotha
Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast
Janelle Monae Dirty Computer
In a superior world Monae would be a pop star with as much attention as, oh let's say, The Chainsmokers. Alas, it's too electric, eclectic; too protestive+provocative for the prudes. In other words: "I'm always left to center and that's right where I belong / I'm the random minor note you hear in major songs". Thing is tho, these songs ARE major: hooky and momentous, confidently pumpin' out sex positivity and female empowerment and compelling modernity, bursting with fun funk and smarts and chuckles. It's incensed but always open for embrace; usually more elaborately than 'we're all screwed so let's all screw' but rocks that route too. Janelle is The American Dream who also happens to be naked in a limousine, inciting pussy riots in peppy packages, singing like a champ while spitting bars harder than most in recent memory. See "Crazy, Classic, Life" for a premium pop/hip-hop combo, "Django Jane" for said hard bars, and "Americans" for finale fireworks and satire for the ages. Prince would be proud.
Jens Lekman Life Will See You Now
Jens progressively proves himself masterful at nonchalantly merging the droll with the touching whilst perpetually painting scenes that endure -- stories here range from rigging a carnival ride with an electrician's sister to a worried-bout pal bringing his print-tumor out for beers to a hand-hold and mouthed-out "i love you" absolving all woes to a 'how we met' yarn that starts at the beginning of time to the dilemma of male friends expressing love for each other when they usually just talk about nothin'. But blowing me away each and every listen are the arrangements: peppy, pristine, bright, bold, soft done super, really downright beautiful. Too sweet, too many horns-n-handclaps, too "disco"? Agh; cheer up, listen close, face that it's a concise pop classic. "In a world of mouths I want to be an ear", he flawlessly croons on his existential 20-year flashback opener. That's great, but whatever you do plz stay a mouth.
Joanna Newsom Divers
My deepest condolences to those who will never prevail past the birdy hurdle of her vocals; a lovely instrument in itself once you're accustomed to 'em. But between the unfathomably beautiful "Anecdotes" and Newsom-version-of-frolicsome-single "Sapokanikan" making for a bulletproof one-two-punch induction and the per-usual lifetime's worth of history-referencing+soul-searching poetic wonder from start-to-finish, underlying concerns merely consist of seeing if they can up the ante and said poetic wonder becoming obscured in baroque intricacy. Fortunately for the worrywarts, it's absolutely sweeping -- from whimsical labyrinths to sapid sparsities, a chock-full of depth is delivered and goosebumps sprout on the regz. And given the eminence of the busier arrangements, I'd say some word-concealment is a fair swap -- but those looking to fully experience "the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating joy of life", do yourself a solid: sit down with a damn lyric sheet.
John Prine The Missing Years
John Prine John Prine
Johnny Cash Greatest Hits Volume 1
Joni Mitchell Blue
Kanye West The College Dropout
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly
Now just a hideaway exec-producer, Dr. Dre phones in some well-informed advice a few minutes into the album, which serves nicely as a proper preface: "Anybody can get it - the hard part is keeping it, motherfucker!" - if what surrounds that is a retort, Kendrick seemingly intends to. Dense+intense, playful+vivid, celebratory yet critical, racially charged and chillingly contemporary; lays the jazz/spoken word/funk on thick and offers a fluctuating array of new+strange vocal styles, which toughen things up, leaving those hoping for more "Swimming Pools" and "ya bish" probably a wee-bit disappointed when they wind up with "For Free?" and "boom boom".
Kendrick Lamar Section.80
Listening to this diamond-in-the-rough debut five years later in a post-pimped butterfly/Compton-turned-media-consortium world makes for quite the humbling experience. This established K-Dot's stance as a forward-thinking hip-hop saving grace -- discussing "money, hoes, clothes, God and history all in the same sentence" with incessant savviness and stylistic dexterity, tendencies towards jazz inflections and breathless spoken word, occasional snap-n-crackle fireside powwows stitching together an unobtrusive concept throughout. Moody-n-muffled lo-fi lambency and like-minded guest spots from co-collectivists act as imperative catalysts for the guy who depicts Keisha's harrowing tale in brutally vivid detail and frets over the dilution of his peers via syrup+technology with palpable earnestness and zero condescension, the guy who means well by denouncing a woman's need for make-up but winds up foot-in-mouth after the divulgence of its use as black-eye-concealer, the guy who rocks hooks like "You ain't gotta get drunk to have fun" and "Woopty-woop-woop", the guy who lets a chorus veer into overt arrogance then calls it "The Spiteful Chant" and throws in horn backups that would befit a funeral procession. Complex as a character Kendrick may be, he's able to sum himself up quite succinctly: "I'm not the next pop star, I'm not the next socially aware rapper / I am a human motherfuckin' being over dope-ass instrumentation." In his case, there's not much more you could ask for, really.
Last in Line (USA-MA) Crosswalk EP
Last in Line (USA-MA) L'Esercito Del Morto
Laurie Anderson Big Science
Besides sporting goofily strange and ominously minimal compositions that Eno would be proud of, our frontwoman is vocally charming enough to get away with approximately 50% boho spoken word (even shlock "Walking & Falling" is semi-spellbinding). Her smooth deliveries and quirky enunciations are top notch, her persona nicely multi-facet: placid prophet of doom and/or esoteric higher being, bagpipe imitator, total absurdist, social commentator, her own synthesized backbeat, answering machine.
Leonard Cohen Songs of Leonard Cohen
Leviathan Scar Sighted
Falling into an endless pit, end-of-The Shining-Jack Nicholson, an enflamed airplane mid-nosedive, boxes of trash getting thrown around: a short list of images this can conjure up. It's rough and vile and heavy as much as it is textured and atmospheric and (legitimately) frightening, all-out raspy-thrash bludgeons are just as invigorating as slow+tortured dirges, and plenty of avant-garde touches and well-placed samples are there to beautify/disfigure.
Lil Wayne Da Drought 3
Two full discs without much space wasted - a fun, contemporary-beat stealing, generally ridiculous ride. It's seemingly endless lyrically, jam-packed with classic lines, prodigious references, numerous non-sequiturs - yet one of my favorites simply goes: "Beef, yes / chest, feet / tag, bag / blood, sheets / yikes, yeeks / great scott!". He's just that good, and the fact is a lot of it sounds like just fuckin' around. His skill tends to get obscured by accusations of (lack of) subject matter, obnoxiousness, extreme use of "bitch", etc. - I see a wordsmith with an uninhibited personality who loves rhyming for the sake of rhyming, and again, is probably just fuckin' around.
Lil Wayne Tha Carter II
Lingua Ignota Caligula
Liz Phair Exile In Guyville
Lord Melody Precious Melodies
Love Forever Changes
M83 Before The Dawn Heals Us
Macintosh Plus Floral Shoppe
Choppy, amateur, slo-mo forgery of antiquated schmaltz as general song source questionable in validity and quality. But what it may sometimes lack in cohesion and originality is constantly made up for in feel and atmosphere -- it takes the truly magical mid-section that takes a break from croonin' repeatos and redefines aural bliss for me to really fall for it, but getting wooed by warped+ghostly love-man idols and the intertwinement of familiarity with unabashed electro-fog are certainly a fine way to get there. Warped wooing highlight saved for near last: antiquated schmaltz personal fave "I Only Have Eyes For You". Fireworks and melting magnificence included.
Mastodon Blood Mountain
Metallica Master of Puppets
Metallica Ride the Lightning
MF DOOM Operation: Doomsday
Michael Jackson Thriller
Most of this should go without saying - #1 selling album of all-time by a large margin, culture-dominating smash, simultaneously hugely commercial and high-caliber, plays like a greatest hits collection, silky-smooth and deliciously detailed whether it be inescapable+dancy funk-lite benchmarks or non-schmaltz r&b soothers. But really now, what would it be without its wonderful-and-somehow-timeless novelty guest spots? Where else can you find the King of Pop in a back-n-forth with Paul McCartney over a girl while the latter matter-of-factly calls himself "her forever lover"? How about a horror-themed title-track dance-craze with a life of its own and creaks/howls/Vincent Price for effect? Or anti-machismo hard-rock flirtation with a fiery solo via Eddie Van Halen?
Misfits Earth A.D./Wolf's Blood
Misfits Legacy Of Brutality
Moby Play
Modest Mouse The Lonesome Crowded West
Monks Black Monk Time
Municipal Waste Hazardous Mutation
My Bloody Valentine Loveless
Nas Illmatic
Negative Approach Negative Approach
Neurosis Souls at Zero
New York Dolls New York Dolls
Nirvana In Utero
Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York
NOFX I Heard They Suck Live!!
"Man, I haven't slept in two days. I've been on booze straight. My throat's all fucked up.." "I saw you do drugs and it looked like powder."
NOFX Punk in Drublic
Operation Ivy Hectic
Opeth Blackwater Park
OutKast Stankonia
Outkast take their highly original sound and borrow bits from Funkadelic and Dr. Octagon to create some of the first groundwork for 21st century hip-hop - it's not hard to hear the influence this had on Kanye/The College Dropout. Equal parts raunchy, psychedelic, intelligent, catchy and complicated; it's a blast in the car or on headphones. It's full to the brim with material which is a slight flaw but mostly its charm - the filler moments don't go unnoticed but the amount of awesome packed into this album easily make the hits outweigh the misses.
Paradise Lost Draconian Times
Patti Smith Horses
Pavement Wowee Zowee
Pavement Slanted and Enchanted
Pig Destroyer Prowler in the Yard
Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon
I always thought the whole alarm clock part was kitschy and annoying...that being said, as cliche as it may be, this album is worthy of all its praise. Seamless flow, excellent production, good length. One of the best crafted albums out there, essential listening I'd say.
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet
Purple Mountains Purple Mountains
R.E.M. Murmur
Radiohead Kid A
Ramones Ramones
Ramones Rocket to Russia
Randy Newman Sail Away
Without quite leaning on those pesky things people sometimes call "rock n roll" or "pop", this evidently classically-trained composer/songsmith finds a niche in his own universe of always impeccable piano-led arrangements, deadpan satire, concise songwriting, and oddball humor. Think Brian Wilson with a penchant for politics and religion, minus all the psychedelics.
Razors Edge Sweet 10 Thrashers
Rivers of Nihil Where Owls Know My Name
Come to think of it, exactly what I hope for in an extreme-metal journey of epic proportions: all-consumingly heavy yet crisply-n-punchily produced, elaborate flow that don't overelaborate, intense both sonically and emotionally, synth odysseys on top of model tech-metal madness, the softie skills to balance the extreme. Their prog keeps busy and blows mind without kneeling to nonsense noodlin', winningly decipherable roar vox devour ya whole while making room for cleans/shrieks/murmurs, jazz flourishes are conducted with wistful+whimsical grace; at times reaching full-on beach level. Not that you won't hear every one of these absurdly talented gents loud and clear, but if you find the drums to be too deafening it's probably cuz they deserve to be. One more great trait that well-formed albums should possess -- a finale that reprises the intro and singlehandedly encompasses everything that makes said album awesome.
Sebadoh III
Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Sir Babygirl Crush On Me
Kelsie Hogue's background as hardcore singer and drama student seem collectively imperative to this perfectly preposterous alt-pop phenom -- the piercing punch and musical-esque madness own it. Sangin' unadulterated and forever shocking, hooks+quirks so ecstatic and unparalleled you'd have to be soulless to hate em, vibrancy seemingly stemming from an intravenous thousand volts. Brief reprises help give this EP a rounded flow and much needed calm-downs, and the highs are immediate and humongous: "Heels", "Flirting With Her", "Cheerleader", and "Haunted House" make for one of finest chunks of fire pop in recent memory. Each irresistible not just for their infectiousness and numerous omg components, but for the themes behind em: the flirtation zipping from zeal to real obsession with basic texts leading to horror screams ontop of anxious chatter, the chipper cheerleader chants support for sultry bathroom stall secrets and ruined reputations, the haunted house a house party in which friends are fleeting and drowning in detachment is inescapable and everyone's "20 shots under the sea", "Heels" all tears-n-knives in the dark and the sass of acquiring a new hairdo. By the end she's a non-smoker who smokes too much that manages to muster an alt-rock/big chorus payoff vibe well beyond her years and has this to say about her crush on, yep, herself: "Ummm, we're just gonna ride this one out, we're just gonna see where it takes us." And so we shall.
Slayer South of Heaven
Slowdive Slowdive
A capital comeback in that there's no need for em to reinvent the wheel they helped invent. Each of these eight songs are worthily hefty yet light as a feather; and none go cumbersome -- grace comes via showcasing vet-status solidity over overdoing it and dose after dose of effortless bliss. They remain titans of the crystalline tone, meld dreamy slo-mo with the catchy-n-galvanic, rove through the stars and beyond, supply hazy+unintelligible sugar for that guitar-flood pill: ~20 years and it's as if they didn't miss a beat. And maybe just to refute those who think they're reliant on gazin' comes the dignified piano-led closer. Mostly intelligible, even.
Sonic Youth Daydream Nation
The obvious choice for a favorite Sonic Youth album, and for good reason. It borrows elements from its runner-ups - the artsy dissonance of EVOL and the catchier punk-leanings of Sister - and combines them into a major work, something too massive to ignore or pass off as gimmicky, without giving up all those trademark alternate tunings. It is a long but immensely rewarding listen, and always a pleasure to put on.
Sonic Youth Sister
Sonic Youth Washing Machine
Soundtrack (Video Game) Mega Man 2
Spiritualized Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
Though it's nearly sabotaged by the sad sap subject matter, the cohesive flow and super thick sound win me over. Symphonic and massive, but not above relying on simple arrangements and blaring horns&noise for effectiveness.
SS Decontrol Get It Away
SS Decontrol The Kids Will Have Their Say
Sun Kil Moon Universal Themes
Sunny Day Real Estate Diary
Texas Is the Reason Do You Know Who You Are?
The Avalanches Since I Left You
Initially was turned off by it being an overly upbeat blob of disco-borrows, closer listens revealed much more than a patched together non-stop party mix. The catchy/complex combo is a force to be reckoned with, the amateurish/whatever goes production style is charming, and the crackly vinyl it wears on its sleeve gives it warmth. Just don't ask me which song is which.
The Beach Boys Today!
The Beach Boys 20 More Good Vibrations: The Greatest Hits Vol. 2
The Beatles Meet The Beatles!
The Body No One Deserves Happiness
Call me a sucker for the juxtaposition of the beauty and the beast, call this the explosive execution of such a thing: the most apparent attribute being the guy+gal vox-ers; or rather, the perpetually incomprehensible tortured mutant screamer+halcyon-n-mighty possessed-at-church hardened women who can crank it up a notch-or-three if needed. Then there's the perdurable pummeling of impossibly mammoth sludge and deep-n-dense din-layers and industria-tronix threatening to engulf your entirety, spawning an aura of terror so towering and torrid that it enraptures and induces awe rather than sending ya runnin' for the hills. Dispositional sum-up steamily/plainly stated whilst comparing contrastable parents and the derived traits of their kid: "You wondered how, being so different, they could've formed a uni0n", "a mixture of the violence of the one and the gentleness of the other". Personally, being a mere 90 miles away from these heathens is both edifying and alarming -- and as long as they keep dishing it out like my father, I'll gladly take it like my mother.
The Cars Greatest Hits
The Clash The Clash (US version)
The Dillinger Escape Plan Calculating Infinity
The Fall Grotesque (After the Gramme)
The Feelies Crazy Rhythms
The Flaming Lips In A Priest Driven Ambulance
The Housemartins London 0 Hull 4
Sunny-faced societal grudges and xtra-effortless singalong jangly pep give them a dorky+fervid edge against the ambiguous R.E.M.s and sad-sack-poetry Smiths of the world, expressions of rich vs. poor dilemmas and attempts at inciting upheavals are more articulate and venomous than most anarcho-punx can muster, as are the two impassioned-piano-balladry tracks (one of which is a "Lean On Me" cover of all things). And nearly 30 years later, the grouses still hold up, some have even seemed to gain significance - take the man that just can't choose a side; who "strokes his twenty beards" and "only drinks real ale".
The Jesus and Mary Chain Psychocandy
The Jesus Lizard Goat
If your music-listening preferences fall in the area of loud/kinda scary/stuck between punk and grunge/Albini-assisted/riddled with slithering basslines, this may be your godsend. A nearly flawless half-hour of Texas-tinged dementia rock.
The Notorious B.I.G. Life After Death
Maybe the winner for "Most Proficient Double Album", nearly all of its 24 tracks offer up something exceptional. Not as eager and debut-magical as 'Ready to Die' but twice as confident and all-encompassing.
The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
The Rolling Stones Some Girls
After a bit of a slump, the Stones come up with an album that is up there with Exile as one of their best, but for very different reasons. They take punk and disco and make them their own, it sounds focused and tight - while simultaneously loose of course. It's a fun, accessible album that seems to get overlooked at times.
The Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream
The Smiths The Smiths
The Smiths The Queen Is Dead
The Sounds Crossing the Rubicon
The Stooges Fun House
A whole new level of madness compared to their first album, in 1970 this had to be one of the wildest things ever recorded. Cocaine-fueled proto-punk and a blissful slow-paced stoner track devolve into an onslaught of jazz noise. Fun House indeed.
The Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat
The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
Wipers Youth of America
Wolves in the Throne Room Diadem Of 12 Stars
X-Ray Spex Germfree Adolescents
Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
Young Thug Barter 6

4.0 excellent
******** The Drink
The title-track takeoff's howling barrage over a laugh track is an anomaly; the howling barrage part anyway. Thereon out you've got a guy/girl dynamic that's rudimentarily repetitive with drollery and crudeness as their charm. Slow+sparse+snobby enuff to chafe just about anyone, they read as a sillier Throbbing Gristle; or perhaps if being generous, The Vaselines as art-school burnouts. Machines tap, violins creak, drone groans, guitar crackles, grooves stay simultaneously shaky+steady, cheap three-note hooks languidly ring out and linger. But right, the drollery. "I'm a Zookeeper (Not a Goalkeeper)" is not about being a zookeeper or not being a goalkeeper, rather it's more about being/not being any ol thing one could be/not be that ends in 'er'. Its most upbeat involves seltzer testing and its most dour stars a very unfunny traveling comedian. Elsewhere, a rather masterful sendup of Supertramp's "The Logical Song" illogically segues into "Gangsta's Paradise", a duel deadpan wedlock decision is made during a Christmas tune, suicide-method suggestions are begotten via Reddit, a readymade is made ready and readymade. And most epic of all for the finale, the tale of a doomed friendship with a drunk dog.
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Source Tags and Codes
3776 Saijiki
3rd Bass The Cactus Album
7 Seconds Walk Together, Rock Together
So fast, fun, and friendly right down to the studio dialogue that ends a couple tracks. The classic cover of "99 Red Balloons" is the centerpiece of a too-short collection of songs that is more melodic and fully developed than The Crew, and it works in their favor. Being posi has never been so intriguing.
9 Shocks Terror Paying Ohmage
9 Shocks Terror Mobile Terror Unit
While rifling through my old hardcore 7"s, this is one of the few that feels like a breath of fresh air - it seems to mock the rest of them musically and lyrically ("Now we're at the breakdown of the song!/Now all the stupid kids can sing along!"). 4 great tracks that combine Japanese-influenced hardcore with, as listed in the insert, "full contact rock n roll". Throat shredding vocals, angry, fun, energetic, raw. The perfect stepping stone to their more polished, but also excellent, Paying Ohmage LP.
A.A.L. (Against All Logic) 2012-2017
Covert compilation under covert alias of household-name electro-man Nicolas Jaar, which left unexposed perhaps coulda comfortably sunk into the colossal online sea of anonymous house music. Lotsa leets will groan about old-hat singing samples and approachability I'm sure, but hard to deny that this goes deep or how fun the dang thang is. Paramount is the balance struck between expertly and sketchy -- its soulful funk and warmth met with dusty lumps and the weird, a vivid timbre mixture and legitimate swagger weaved with offhandedness and static. True to style it'll lag fairly far from the finish of its hour-plus runtime; but right it's a compilation, take in small doses and skip around to what really tickles your fancy. Top Tickler for me has gotta be the invincible piano trance and gospel chops of "Some Kind of Game" a mere ten minutes in, also momentous is the one right before it which echoes something that kinda sounds like "I feel awesome". And so will you.
A.A.L. (Against All Logic) 2017-2019
Adolescents Adolescents
Aerosmith Get a Grip
Seasoned vets reminiscing about their old drug days yet still going on and on about sex, full-on rock n roll balladry with all the trimmings almost overshadowing the effortlessly boogie-worthy fun and hard stuff, Steven Tyler's incredible wails, huge+great sound. Lyrics are dubious at times, but they do have a knack for convincing: "Don't get deep / shut up and dance."
Aerosmith Rocks
Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid
Bars are anti-generic, defiantly daedal, and constantly enthralling; and he's got enough of 'em to handle the whole sans guests. A word-wiz wonder-man whether he's blathering absolute absurdities or molding said absurdities into meticulous yarns that are keen, personal, comical, even pensive: there's the neck-tatted kid at the Baskin-Robbins who makes him feel hoary as hell and half-hearted bout his own body art+its creators ("Now some 22-year old inside a cube of brick and mortar / Got me questioning my morals and their corny pecking order"), the 'specially standout story of one estranged brother's ballgame-impeding gopher and another's letdown after mom won't let him see Ministry, the acknowledged defects and resultant kitten of psychiatry ("When you start getting all exact and algebraic / I'm reminded it's a racket not a rehabilitation"), the blunt bashing of a prominent quote ("Knowing ain't half the battle / That's a bullshit quip written by some asshole"), this ("Airhorn airhorn airhorn airhorn"). Oh and he also found the time to bust out the beats too -- those lively, heavy, funky, eerie, beats.
AFI Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes
Aftershock Through The Looking Glass
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Frozen Corpse Stuffed With Dope
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Altered States of America
Air Moon Safari
A smooth-as-velvet slice of techno-pop catharsis that is perhaps a bit too delicate and safe, but this is seriously some straight up pleasant synthesizer ear candy. The instrumentals should probably be considered modern works of art.
Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill
Even the most hard-won riot grrrls should be siked that this has sold 30+million copies. Music is polished and straightforward yet difficult to resist (note the deadly combination of soft hip-hop beat+soft-but-hard-at times alt-rock), lyrics are smart and comprehensible, anger seems authentic, tracks are consistent enough to forgive samey-ness and overlong album length.
Alex Cameron Jumping the Shark
My favorites of these vignettes about failures are the most apparent ones: the drunkest/ugliest girl and dumbest/richest guy at the bar who consciously leave their kid in the car and are all outta cash-n-credit respectively, the washed up bout-to-be ex-TV host who's got his lawyer staying up at the Ritz to fight back against his replacement ("some fat fuck crying with a song about di-o-beet-us"), the guy whose new life on The Internet procures him receptionists and business cards and the appellation known as "The Man". Elsewhere jobs are lost/parent's homes are moved back into, business needs taking care of, vitals enter vials -- and gluing it all together is a baritone sleaze that straddles sincere+satirical to a T and elementary keyb-beats with contorted bits all the way. Which on the whole screams blunter+scummier Stephin Merritt aesthetically and now-n-again a harebrained Bruce Springsteen circa 'Tunnel of Love' anthemically. But doing alot with a little, composed+concise anecdotes, dipping into a bit-o-drama and good ol repetition; it reads more like Newman-meets-Eno. Neither of whom I'd bet could pen a tune about making it on the world wide web this aching and accurate.
Alice in Chains Jar of Flies
Aluk Todolo Voix
A presumably single-session and perpetually-careening instrumental that's generously chopped into six time-stamped sections, this is a hypnotic and riotous exercise in all-out steadfast propulsion that scarcely isn't cramming the skull full-a mesmerizing cacophony. Stabile and subtly-chugged dual-note bass repetitions and nimble-yet-constant drumming maintain a well-trudged path while guitars are usually used to twist and shriek, but now and then pluck out a clarion riff for good measure. And though every so often it builds up to peak-like intensifications and wanders into restless tear-downs, the tautological persistence can feel a bit superabundant on the whole. Eh, small price-2-pay for a grime-groove so bewitching-n-jittery that the final calm-down halfway through "9:29" feels like a warranted post-orgasmic release.
Aluk Todolo Occult Rock
Alvvays Antisocialites
Amnesia Scanner Another Life
In true AS fashion they waste no time displaying their demeanor; i.e. bursts of contorted squeal-n-squall so blaring it may make it or break it for just about anyone. But their butchered balance of contortions and The Club is still the handy silver lining, and on a full-length following a pair of increasingly intriguing EPs they've further harnessed the knack. Ugly, fierce, abruptly acerbic, disorienting, yet its danceability and vividity can't be diminished; and even the meandering cool-downs usually wind up blowing your head off. And as relief for all those altered-pitch garble vox, let's hand it to Pan Daijing for some still-bizarre lucidity that's analogous to the project at hand: "Last year was a KO / What a complete KO", "All around you it's just AS AS AS". Whatever gets you movin'.
Amy Rigby The Old Guys
The sorta-scuzzy lo-fi production can be a hindrance or not be quite befitting for the tunes, but for this approaching-sixty seasoned amateur it discloses a dreamy-n-rough-n-rowdy charm. Standing tall tho are the songs themselves, fine a fusion of folk and garage rock as one could ask for; and of course Rigby. Want anthemic? See the opening duo in which alone-with-a-pen in-his-underwear Philip Roth mocks podium-poised Bob Dylan via email and she relives her thirties in the nineties. Want touching? "Back From Amarillo" and an appropriately precise mergence of "happy/sad" in memoriam of Bob. Cities to blame low self-esteem on or call insignificant? Pittsburgh and Cleveland respectively. And when her calmness finally cracks, she sees herself as a trio of TV crime lords.
Ancient Chinese Secret Caveat Emptor
Sounds like the culmination of a woman who, fed up after a long day at a customer service-oriented job, comes home and makes music with a couple powerviolence legends. A little oddball project with innocent/inexperienced female vocalist charm and an instrumental limitation of bass/drums/keyboards, refreshingly unique for the genre. For those who sometimes like their thrash domestic and experimental.
Andras (AUS) Joyful
Angel Du$t Rock The Fuck On Forever
Rowdy+rapid+punchy enough to claim bonafide hardcore, but opener "Toxic Boombox" winds up somewhat of a tough-guy tease -- granted, they're quite the rigid yellers and mean riffers when they wanna be and shout "fuck you" before a breakdown, but when melodic pop-leans and non-shouted hooks pervade it adds an almost laughably-extrinsic boyish charm; not to mention bring xtra clumps of catchy, a fuckload of fun, and a sort of atypical neatness and innocence. When they vow to make me hurt on, erm, "Hurt You Bad", I assume he means he'll beat me good in soccer next time or something; the barks that fall on chord-changes, simply aggressive aerobic instructions; being addicted to a real bad thing that's gonna take him out, masked by hella-adorable harmonizing. They also whip out a "Twist & Shout" that's terrific and all their own, and a fiery sax for the swan-song. No worries, the tunes don't actually rock the fuck on forever -- 1:35 or so usually does the trick.
Animal Collective Strawberry Jam
Anna von Hausswolff Dead Magic
For being built around an eminent Copenhagen church's pipe organ this is epic+eerie as it deserves to be. Five colossal compositions, the last three of which hinder the momentum of the first two and just may be better for it; cuz on the whole boy what a bewitching and dizzying blend-up of the blissful and the beastly. While accompanying drown-worthy droners are able to go heavy and feathery and dread-inducing dronier, it is ex-Electra Hausswolff's flying-colors vocal-accord with all of the above that makes it. From serene seraph to rabid howler-n-hisser to guttural anguish to falling down a pit. Makes one wonder why ya'd ever mutter.
Annihilation Time II
ANOHNI HOPELESSNESS
Melodramatic martyr and political abridger, perhaps -- but between the curiously sumptuous throat-throwing via emphatic trans protagonist, the 'bama bashin' as we near his term-termination, and the pointed roundup of harrowing happenings heard (and not so heard) 'round the world, let's call it a snide snapshot of cultural currency; a summary of discernible disheartenment as we move closer towards said term-termination and the future at large. Though they certainly don't make for the most insightful of dialogues, the topics alone give it a welcome weightiness; Hudson Mohawke's overzealous boom-bap production finally feels complementary, and together with spacious-glitcher Oneohtrix Point Never they form the kind of damaged electro-epic rushes that are fit for the spectacle of mass animal extermination and the tearful regret of drone-bombs and torture, the could-be hooky pop hits that poke fun at surveillance and highlight the hypocrisy in capital punishment. The album title is telltale: this is no call to arms. She doesn't give a shit what happens to you and don't care 'bout herself much neither, oh and humanity is not only headed for armageddon but rather deserving of its wrath. The sort of rash+direct idealisms we're not worthy of living up to, I s'pose.
Aphex Twin Richard D. James Album
Aphex Twin ...I Care Because You Do
Arcade Fire Funeral
Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
Most captivating perhaps is that for a singer of Grande's stature it's so, well, hers. No frills, no fuss, no bombastic guest pandering, not pored over, vaguely personal while preserving that ol pop-star ambiguity. Can't say I'm emotionally invested in her ability/alacrity to buy anything or beckon others' boyfriends, but I laud her forward vulnerability and lack of bullshit. Even with a horrifying concert bombing and suddenly deceased ex-boo fresh under her belt, such "baggage" always just lies under the surface, never subject to harping or detail or direct reference. Which some may call commercial+cautious; I lean more towards poised+professional. And right: full listen is a cohesive breeze, each song specific, a voice that dazzles without overdoing it, steady pop mastery. Faves of which abolish sham smiles and spell out a space agency's acronym to transmit that this star needs some space.
ASAP Rocky Live.Love.A$AP.
Immersed in inebriation and fucking your bitch and contrasting pretty hippie weirdo with hostile dead-eyed zombie enough to irk; or at the very least depict the A$APs as a mob of adequate dolts. But atmospherically it's astoundingly persuasive. Commences with five bonafide big-deal bangers in a row but doesn't flounder much from there -- on the whole it's triumphant and intoxicating, hazy but huge and hard-hitting, nasty yet chill, trippy bliss vs. down-pitched demons. Props to all involved producers, but considerable cred goes to Clams Casino.
At the Drive-In Relationship of Command
Aux Field Imaginable Layers
Imaginable Layers indeed: I envision being sucked through outer space in slow motion during most of these engrossing synth-layers. Plenty of hypnotic and stretched out waves-of-sounds, yet every track is distinct (most even have a beat of sorts), and an exceptional balance is struck between ambient+relaxing and complex+dense - it's just as pleasing to attentively explore as it is to fall asleep with.
Bad Religion No Control
Bamba Pana Poaa
An endurance tester and epic assault, fusing ruthless repetition that's best reserved for masochists with enough velocity and waggishness to bemuse even the biggest bummer. So right, I think it's a blood-pumping hoot. The one overtly sung-over rendition here is a welcome change but goes to show these instrumentals are likely better left on their outrageous own -- rigid+protracted as they may be they also offer constant vigor and a galloping-n-busy blur worth immersin' your brain in. Never underestimate the pummel-power of primitive patterns all pilin' on ya at once, particularly when it's this playful.
Bane Give Blood
Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill
Sounds hopelessly dated for the most part, and I'm pretty sure everyone is really, really sick of about half the songs on this album - particularly tracks 7 and 8 - but who's kidding here? That's part of the charm, this album is legendary. The Beastie Boys' hilarious personas (actual personalities?) and rapping are what really makes this album good, but the abundance of obvious samples, old school beats, and even a Kerry King guest appearance help make this album great. Far from pretentious, good party music with depth.
Beastie Boys Hello Nasty
Beck Mellow Gold
Behemoth The Satanist
Belle and Sebastian Tigermilk
Belle and Sebastian The Boy With the Arab Strap
Ben Seretan Youth Pastoral
Better Oblivion Community Center Better Oblivion Community Center
Stylistically sensible as a merger between Oberst and Bridgers may be, this debut doesn't really try to push it. A why-not try more than an astonishing bond, ten rather easy tunes in thirty-odd minutes, playing it safe vocally via stickin' to same-line superimpositions. But how reasonably and comfortably they rouse, mutual in their ache and anthemic aptitude and sharp lyrical stickiness. Consummate in the touching sparse and fuzz-outs and Digital Ash-esque electro, it reminds me that I'm a sucker for ballads and guy+girl vox; and how nice it is that that there bright-eyed old guy still stands seasoned and relevant -- some of best stuff he's been on in a while, no doubt.
Between the Buried and Me Colors
I ponder the thought of this album without any wacky genre-morph transitions, or hey, how about songs that are possible for mortals to keep track of, even? Would we be better off? Though its nearly-constant shifting sometimes leans towards being completely unnecessary, it does keep things entertaining for the most part, and I've always been a sucker for technicality. It's very enjoyable, huge and well-planned; yet a confusing jumble of a listen. But if they can really play this sound-labyrinth live, who am I to say?
Between the Buried and Me The Silent Circus
Big Thief Capacity
Wouldn't quite proclaim it as the masterpiece that Masterpiece wasn't, but superb leap in a year I can certainly vouch for. Some'll fret over the comparative deficiency of distortion or polish applied to a garage-y mien, but they are infinitely more invested here, and it shows: sturdier, darker, prettier, more intimate. Guitar howlin' is craftily reserved for speeding towards guardrails and hospitals, and the splendor of their strip-back sneaks up on you slowly; quietly sightly and sad and playful with no shortage of niceties or meaningful melodies. Devotees press that there's much to be had of Adrianne Lenker's lyrics, perhaps cuz they can get obscured in murmurations -- more often tho I'm taken by her inflections through-n-through. The entirety of "Mary" however highlights both. Other standout stuff: head thrusting against temple, blood, werewolves, sharks.
Big Thief Two Hands
Bikini Kill Pussy Whipped
Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
An extremely exclamatory preface of Invisalign discard and pompous laughin' kinda seals Billie+bro's notoriety as home-school rich-kid youngun weirdos whose sudden fame is mystifying. Turns out the dubious duo have made a minor masterpiece in melding pop, throbbed bass, stark minimalism -- accessibility on top of meticulosity, distortions, secrets, whispers. Through a rollercoaster flow she dons the crown with cool calm, possessing a perspicacity and pipe-restraint that is rather frightening for a 17-year old. Coldness with chuckles and heart and a stunningly sad triad of ballads to wrap it up, and even when its quietude and uke are a bit yawn-inducing you value that they go there. Having to honestly confront your xan-fueled friends and sampling The Office: ah, to be young in 2019.
Billy Woods Known Unknowns
Bjork Post
Bjork Vespertine
Icy yet inviting, subtle yet soaring, strongly sexual yet heart-warming. Bjork's contradictions, pleasing as usual. This album removes her from the clubs and studios and places her in the snowy mountains and warm cabins.
Bjork Vulnicura
Beware: it's looong, it's challenging, and it's a break-up album; an appropriately disjointed one to boot. The many deep and complex stretches of glitchy electronics and choppy strings that never quite synchronize while Bjork somewhat haphazardly Bjorks it up are just-about-always emotionally heavy, difficult, at times disorienting; but consistently engrossing and decently varied. But what really brings this together is the real life rollercoaster pacing; the before/during/after of aforementioned break-up and the mood changes that come with it are a mastery of flowage and help this pill go down.
Bjork Utopia
Plays out much like a merry-meadow companion to predecessor Vulnicura; one that valiantly doubles down on scope and knots and amorphousness. And as many distinct selections there are here, it's even less about the tunes and even more about pacing and getting swallowed into that wondrous wandering whole. If you can't fall for layers of Bjork bustin' out beautiful whatever over layers of hectic-n-spacy something, it'll irk ya perhaps more than ever. If you can't fall for flutes+chirps, just forget it. If it seems too rosy, know there's custody battles spit over haunted-club glitch-work and snarls. If it starts to tire, know it should and that the latecomers are more than worthwhile -- see "Tabula Rasa", a somber sparse-string stunner that unassumingly winds up one of the most stirring stands against misbehaving men in recent memory. See "Saint", which manages to take breathtaking atmospheres up just one more heavenly notch. "Utopia / it's not elsewhere", tis true. And thus continues the kind of artistic trajectory that makes her revelations of being smitten over a mp3 swap and catching feels at a record store seem so preposterous; yet you're happy to hear it. No way she took to Tinder, though.
Black Dresses THANK YOU
A cute/abrasive combo so caustic+booming it damns Sleigh Bells to hell, adolescent anguish and detached affectations so outrageous they're firmly make-or-break or both -- if you can stomach the blare-n-character the hard part is not hearing a gimmick. But this duo's raspy shrieky wail-fests are so unprecedented and pure, sonics in fact a rather genius gathering of industrial and pop that don't care much for levels or forgiveness, amateur innocence that's silly and hooky yet seriously searing. Check the grotesque "Wasteisolation" for scuzz-validator, "Wheel of Fortune" for true dream chorus within a nightmare, "Look Away" for guaranteed mosh pit/rave. See vox interruptions for a therapy session, having a laugh, hacking up a lung, turning up the volume. What speaks more to you: "All I see is dog shit / Yeah I know it's hopeless" or "All I know is nothing's gonna be alright"?
Black Flag Nervous Breakdown
Black Flag My War
Black Flag Jealous Again
Black Sabbath Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Paranoid
Bleached Welcome the Worms
This group-o-gals make feeling dead and taking risks and "giving in to giving up" sound like a shrugged-off bubblegum jamboree, complete with shady pasts and still-shady presents and scary-looking futures that they're hoping to acknowledge and revel in and confront with the help of bong-rips and engine-revs. Though their sunny Californian complexion and flighty YOLO livin' can lead a listener to play the callow card, the mean pop chops and partiality towards good ol' fashioned rock-n-roll give them an all-too-beckoning bulwark that both palliates their punk and candies their tough. And they don't come up often, but for the record, dumb-ass dudes are dealt with better than Best Coast ever did it -- barring the anonymous hitchhiker recipient, which could be problematic, sure.
Blink-182 Dude Ranch
Blocks and Escher Something Blue
A propensity for predictable patterns and 6-minute trax may tire, but keeping you glued is its mysterious night-ride mood and mash-up of elements -- driving+detailed drum-n-bass, airy jazz, ambient, breathy ladies. Somber and ominous in spades but great at gettin' ya spastically grooving, they keep the percussive plentifuls punchy and the ghost synths hazy+gazy; horns profoundly flutter off into the atmosphere while stop-n-go breakbeats give it zip and enhance unease. Bewitches and goes bonkers with the same calm.
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
Boris Pink
Brian Eno Before and After Science
Brian Eno The Ship
Gradual+grand expanse would probably be an understatement, torpid traipse would likely denote a lack of patience -- cuz as far as the amalgam of atmospheric lingering/refined pacing/conceptual drama goes, Eno and his trailblazer-status evidently still have it down pat. Propelled by a massive pair of ponderers that incorporate obtained-through-senectitude low-C vocals+creaks-n-moans which are all too befitting for sinking into an ocean and haunting image-conjures of young soldier retrospection+"humans turning back to clay"; and for the xtra extraneous weird, there's gasping robots and ticking time-bombs and accelerated bilingual phone-operator chitchat. Clinched by a comparably bare-n-brief Peter Serafinowicz reading and Velvet Underground send-up: the former perfectly proper+somber, the latter perfectly heavenly+gratifying, and, well, perfect.
Brian Eno Discreet Music
Brian Wilson Smile
Bright Eyes Fevers & Mirrors
Brockhampton SATURATION
Formidable hip-hop collective that may initially turn heads with their blue ones or by moshing in the streets of South Central, but truly noteworthy is their ability to both go harder-n-nastier than most and soft-n-sappy so convincingly. Armed with a tight+detailed production crew and emotionally protean throat roster, each representative of this misfit-leaning boy band seems to be going out on a financial/personal limb to do this thang and that cumulative passion shines through. They're missin' Mama's kisses and chicken nuggets while out in the shadows with bullets and bad habits, taking acid and spilling brain, thumpin' in that trunk but playing some guitar too, twisting belligerence into self-improvement and pining for a sofa pal. Said roster synthetically swollen and kinda unclear due to pitch shifts and robots and flexibility for all. But off the top of my head: Kevin Abstract prolly most prevalent and the true hook maestro; Merlyn Wood a time travelin' Honda swervin' book learnin' Somali pirate lookalike who just applied for food stamps; Joba reserved for blood-curdling screams and fab falsetto; final track and only final track done by someone named "bearface."
Brood Ma DAZE
An avant-electronic-noise whirlwind so dizzying it may actually induce motion sickness, so absurdly garbled and flat-out strange at times it could be misconstrued for an hour-long album that was condensed-to-fuck until out shat a non-stop topsy-turvy ~27-minute thrill ride. But given the near-total plastering of hair-raising intensity and how much complex-n-booming dread-fun exudes on through, consider those compliments. The whizzes-n-whirls of fiery toying often invade every passage in your perimeter, and even lil lull-dips never quit squirmin' on the low, and are usually rectified by all-out reemergence-blasts with keyb-guns a-blazin'. Opens with pleasant jungle descent and orphically forewarning countdown, ends with 5-minute industrial crusha that also somehow manages to claim the omg-weirdness-crown, in between is your guess is as good as mine.
Bruce Springsteen Nebraska
Bruce Springsteen The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle
Bruce Springsteen Tunnel of Love
Burial Rival Dealer
A gritty-city mini-adventure that somehow thematically incorporates both outer space and anti-bullying (!). Sentiments are expressed via convoluted samples and ethereal female voices in a loosely strung together rain-soaked glitch world that blasts breakbeats amidst gun clicks and train screeches, slows down time completely, and lifts spirits into the heavens with posi-synths.
Burial Untrue
Masterly when it comes to the interweaving of various floating voice samples in order to feign/mock singing and form mutant semi-hooks, and embodies the aura of 'late night' like nobody's business to boot. When not drifting about in some beat-less transcendence, these ethereal and haunting assemblages can even resemble good ol' fashioned pop songs -- but even during moments that could be construed as driving+catchy, immersion in a fragile and understated chill-zone is constant. Which leaves plenty of space for the cryptic little things that calmly slither into your ear-holes and tickle your brain: clicks, buzzes, flutters, sparkler-pops, static-swashes, shell-case clinks, slime-crawls, you know.
Butthole Surfers Locust Abortion Technician
Cameron Graves Planetary Prince
Notably known as saxer Kamasi Washington's piano man, C-Graves has spawned a jazz behemoth of his own -- not as epic as Kamasi's Epic at a 'mere' 80 minutes, but stuffed with so much full-band virtuosity+vim that any longer would overwhelm even more than it does now. Reportedly recorded in a one day sesh, this don't got time for utilizing singers or building to splendid crescendos, instead they kinda just intricately rock the fuck out and incorporate some cool-downs for good measure. Piano is the fo sho forefront, and between racin' around and the rigid key stomps and occasional gentle grace, it erupts with character. But with this ensemble it's hard to pick a fave: amazing-as-always Thundercat bassing, big horn lines that could score a storied showdown, Ronald Bruner Jr.'s wild drumming that I always swear is bout to burst into brutal death metal mode. Ah wait, there it is at Minute 80, song entitled "The Lucifer Rebellion": a rewarding lil double bass blast.
Can Monster Movie
Can Future Days
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Trout Mask Replica
Cate Le Bon Crab Day
Always the sucker for Nico mimicry and resourceful rock squads whose instrumental tangle collides contentedly+incorporates marimbas, Cate's temperate quirk and stony absurdities receive oh-so-complementary playful accompaniment: oft-dueling guitar-work that's strung out/scuzzy/squeaky, piano plunks+synth plinks, splashes of sax, deft drumming/percussive etceteras. Drollery from all involved parties charms far more than it chafes, and ramshackle as they may seem there is always a push for the melodically memorable and miraculously accordant. Also subsumes all the angst that comes with being a self-described dirty attic who longs to be a motion picture film and/or bowling ball -- i.e., there is none.
Cate Le Bon Reward
Caterina Barbieri Ecstatic Computation
Cavern of Anti-Matter void beats / invocation trex
A lengthy and enthralling smorgasbord of amalgamated electronic+organic jammy groove-work; where despite half-the-album-title expectations and a sinister-sounding band-name, the beats avoid voidness at all costs and are oft-chummy if not downright coltish and/or pretty. It very much calls upon the persuasive repetition and cautious progression of krautrock (the Neu! worship is strong with this one) -- and with Stereolab representatives lending their renowned velvety precision and sweeping+subtlety-stuffed synths aplenty, even the multiple 9-to-13-minute trek-trax glide by with ease. Much like any proper kraut, though they're more-or-less permanently sailing through space, there's always a firm sense of tangibility and diligence that keeps 'em grounded. Rare vocalized guest-emergences include a rather hollow/might-as-well-be-Deerhunter Bradford Cox cut and Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom as highfalutin spoken worder-turned-robot. Titular clues towards them being total gear-heads/sound-doods include "Melody in High Feedback Tones" and "Hi-Hats Bring the Hiss". Titular clue towards them just havin' fun during all this: "Blowing My Nose Under Close Observation" -- which could also explain the whole spoken worder-turned-robot thing.
Charles Bronson Complete Discocrappy
Great fast hardcore/powerviolence with snotty vocals, samples-a-plenty, hatred for everything from Ricki Lake & Jerry Springer to sex & cigarettes, and some semi-obscure covers (Neos, Necros, Husker Du). The 2nd disc is somewhat useless, but the first is a nice chronological discography; all the way from their first demo tape to their most polished and possibly best material, the Youth Attack! 10", with the rest consisting of tracks mostly from splits and compilations. Obviously lots of songs here, but overall it is quite consistent, and is one of the more fun and humorous discographies of the genre.
Charli XCX Vroom Vroom
Sophie's production is as sleek as the whip on the cover but refuses to approach grandiose, instead opting for the minimalist battiness of percussive booms/bubble bursts/woozy synths/cattily clarion yips -- which serves as quite the felicitous vehicle for Charli's mix of can't-be-caught by bitches/can't-lose to bitches pugnacity and baby-voiced sky-ride sugar-rushin'. Percipient and proud when it comes to bubblegum brashness and innovative clubby obnox; and in the sensibly small space of 12 minutes at least, makes for a pretty scrumptious joyride.
Charli XCX Charli
Charly Bliss Young Enough
Chelsea Wolfe Pain Is Beauty
Cherry Poppin Daddies Zoot Suit Riot
After spending a bulk of the 90s provincially prospering, youngsters Reel Big Fish reel em in for sudden large-scale recognition in the midst of ska's surge -- a situation they seemed reluctant towards but were indeed worthy of and ready for. So ready for in fact that only 4 outta 14 selections here were new, the rest a consistent hodgepodge culled from their prior triad of independently dropped albums. The polished bar-slime hymen-busters they are, there's some cringe when he talks women or whips out his snake; and even if you're somehow a fanatic for this stuff it's gonna grate towards the end. But I do dig that there's one about a drunk daddy's blood-red home and sketchball characters and the sordidness in general. Plus, right: they're all absolutely versed and have jazz chops, big whistle-worthy horn-lines for dayz, punky yet hardly a guitar in sight. Apparently all first takes, too -- and they say swing ain't their thing.
Chino Amobi Paradiso
This hell-city electro free-for-all thrill ride can seem overstuffed and unkempt and downright torturous, but so much of it is out-of-this-world electrified and massive and LOUD. Dip and dawdle and wander it may, but if anything the weirdo flow makes this journey all the more multifaceted, detailed, epic -- even after 10+ listens the shocking parts still shock me and could swear I'm hearing some of it for the very first time. Beyond the robust walls-of-sound, there's so much more to it: his very own radio DJ/Paradiso promoter confirming the holy-shit kickoff three tracks in and later returning as a funhouse attendant/Paradiso promoter, prevailing spoken word (tho sometimes buried in exploding sparkly filth or pummeled by bashing the Street Fighter button), now-n-again raps more like rabid animal yellin', slice of straight pop and sporadic segue into garage rock demo, Elysia Crampton sequel and Nkisi edit that he makes his own, stealing Amnesia Scanner's squeal. Keeps on going after the declared finale, even. Prevailing Themes: chicken feet, poop brains.
Christian Scott Ancestral Recall
Can't escape a sense of major maturation, seems saturated in an artistic and cultural and spiritual awakening -- perhaps bit of an exhausting hour, but tenacity and a guarantee to ascend transcendentally suck you into its universe. As saxer Scott loves to blare but stops short of excessively eccentric; without a doubt tho it's the rhythms that'll transport ya. Percussively weaving organic+electronic that's between being around the fire pit at a tight-knit familial get-together and cranium overload, the crew conveys running beside lions in the jungle to relaxing with snakes on a beach. Not to mention the guitar-looped featherweight hip-hop/soul greatness of "Forevergirl", the solid sometimed spoken word, the ghosts, fever dreams, fantasies. To be both this airy and this assertive is a gift.
Chuck Berry The Great Twenty-Eight
CKY Volume 1
Clinic Walking With Thee
Cloud Becomes Your Hand Rest in Fleas
A zany prog-punk funhouse whose obnox is reduced by its absurdist vibrancy and dirty details -- wherever they suddenly meander off to or whatever wacky-ass instrumental mashup they're implementing, precision and intricacies are in full effect; but capital concern seems to lie with sonic landscapes of warm warpage that are simply a hoot to hear and toying with the unpredictable. Take the clamorous keyb/violin/horn/scuzz soups or the propulsive build-up into an anticlimactic paper-lick for example. Vox are intermittent-n-indifferent but help fortify the 'tude: shrooms sprouting from shoes, apes with fur capes and glassy eyes, apple-headed puke-drinking sewer-dwellers, pining to be made of East Indian timber, etc.
Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory
Ever aware of their adroit pop-punk tunefulness, and also perhaps the limitations that can come with it -- hence the employment of band-in-a-room optimizer Steve Albini for some extra beef-up, the piano-laced slow-burn ponderer and prolonged Wipers worship serving as an initiatory proving ground, the angsty Milo Aukerman-esque vox shredded into hoarseness and beyond. Revel in crestfallen sonic turbulence and a 'separated' blitzkrieg instrumental they may, but man can they clean up nice too: "Fall In", "Stay Useless", "Our Plans", and "Cut You" make for an eminent foursome that's equal parts approachable and invigorating. As for the angst: "I thought I would be more than this", says the 20-year old kickin' it with Albini.
Coalesce 0:12 Revolution in Just Listening
Sludge-grooves that mathy-metalcore brethren like Botch-n-Dillinger could barely be bothered with and a concise and immediate package they wouldn't let themselves surrender to. Ingram's hulk-man-perpetually-on-his-final-gasping-breath vox and particularly ponderous song titles remain distinct+defining through the resulting wave of imitator-adorers -- but perhaps most endearing here is their ability to stuff a whole-hell-of-alot into a glitz-free sub 3-minute tune, and rather effortlessly at that. The most notable topics come first: right-off-the-bat Tour vs. Family disgruntlement of "What Happens On the Road Always Comes Home" and what may be one of earliest call-outs of anonymous online shit-talk, "Cowards.com", which befittingly glitches things up for the occasion. The experimental twiddling comes last.
Cobalt Slow Forever
Dropping the twelve-track double-disc bombshell not as a flow-focused vehicle for some visionary concept, but cuz they simply seem stuffed to the gills with vehemence, vitriol, and riffage. Of course their penchant for patience positively plays its part in this 80+minute pelt-fest as well: severe savagery packs just as much a punch as the extended grooves and exactitude, and for all the snarls and screams and mosh-motivator grunts and double-bass demolitions there's steady+studious buildups+transitions and reprieve in the form of desert-folk forays+an all-too-tru analysis on first-world writer-problemz. Remarkable in its ability to capture the stalked-buffalo beast-whip buried-elephant animalisms they allude to, sure, but more treasured is their exceptional conglomeration of heavy+catchy+curvy with performances that are electrified and invigorating as fuck, frankly. Xtra points upon learning that Erik Wunder plays all instruments on this thing. As in, the guy both ripped those riffs and decimated those drums. A Wunder, indeed.
Coldworld Autumn
Those who like their black metal mucky may find this too clean, those who dig interspersed cleans may find his too mumbly, momentum and riffage are arguably a bit middle-of-the-road -- but besides a sparse wind+leaves interlude break, the all-encompassing combo of fury+rue rarely falters, oh-so-cogently blending hypnotic layers-o-loud with epic synth-voice patches and weeping violins. And though raspy shrieks are likely his true vocal-calling, the mumbly works too; as his down-n-out droning fits all too un-happily in saddest+slowest/but still roaring "Woods of Emptiness". The tail-end bellowing 'woah's and the occasional particularly beastly bloodcurdler screams are nice too, but the oral peak fo sho comes during the least-void "Void"; when a crunchy pick slide from heaven opens the gates for a grand goblin+angel duet for the ages.
Control Top Covert Contracts
Converge The Dusk in Us
Perhaps most gratifying for the already-familiar fan is that they continue to create creative metalcore carnage this captivatingly corybantic nine albums in. For the uninitiated, it's as proper a place to start as any and gratifying for the same ol trademark traits you can always Convergely count on -- the suturing of savagery and suffering, melody and turbulence, painstaking prog and pummeling in-the-moment punk filth. Stuffing 2-to-3-minute songs with so much slammin' spry-ass substance that the seldom drawn-out soft-start slowdown is necessary even if just comparably so-so. Exceptional full-album flow. Group-effort dynamism keeping it fresh+fervid with no signs of letting up anytime soon. The Standard In Them.
Converge You Fail Me
Converge No Heroes
Coolio Gangsta's Paradise
Corrections House Know How To Carry A Whip
Impenetrable onslaughts of filth-sheen crunch-stomp industrial that carry with 'em glitch-outs aplenty/saxophone/the tormented wails of the damned, absolute antagonism seemingly much more than just a painted-on attitude: this is a fitting soundtrack for an increasingly-plausible dystopian future of merciless machinery and mass shootings, or in a more optimistic light, for instigating a prison riot and then torturing the captured escapees. A midway acoustic slice of bellowing-storm folk is a welcome change-up while maintaining an apocalyptic aura, while charming titles like "Crossing My One Good Finger", "Superglued Tooth" and "When Push Comes to Shank" cement the image of disfigured miscreants as its makers -- grudge-riddled perhaps, but amidst something that resembles a sense of humor. Screams are accordingly vicious-n-acidic, though he's not quite a maestro when it comes to spoken word and mumbling. But hey, that's what all those layers are good for.
Cradle of Filth Dusk and Her Embrace
Creedence Clearwater Revival Cosmo's Factory
Cross Record Wabi-Sabi
Occupying terrain somewhere between phantasmal and lovely, this hubby+wife+Swans percussionist+part-time femme-choir crawl and soar towards a sort of ramshackle basement bliss, fuzzy tape-tronics and mantric stomp-n-pierce riffs and dusty-crusty acoustics anchored by the forever breathy and clarion dreamghost-vox of Emily Cross i.e. 'wife'. The ramifications of which being somewhat reminiscent of a Phil Elverum project: a prevailing sense of tenderness and soundscapes that can convey psych-laced desolation and toweringly epic majesty with persuasion and character, scrappy as they may be. But for my money, this kinda has the upper hand -- it's concise, for one thing.
cupcakKe Ephorize
"This rated R, not PG." Yeah yeah she's lewd and makes ya laugh. Right, not just lewd but dicks deep inside spread asses and cum as cake batter; makes ya laugh as in being the reason for your man's lotion-y phone and Bob The Builder reconstructing pussy walls. And steering it just clear of sheer shock-value novelty is how hard she spits and confidently she sells it -- the wit to push sex into the absurd, true tude for the cocky tuff stuff, touches of those 'other' topics like self-reflection. Literally jumping up+down on dicks but demanding devotion and wondering what it's all for and whatnot. Oh and a rhyme reserve and supply of similes unlimited enough to not need 100% win-lines. And even when playing profound and hailing (ahem) "the gays" comes off kinda contrived or a cereal is reduced to corny catchphrase, the beats-n-hooks continuously bang-n-bounce. Most Blush-worthy: "Spoiled Milk Titties".
D.R.I. Dealing with It!
D.R.I. Dirty Rotten LP
Dan Deacon Mystic Familiar
Daniele Baldelli Cosmic Drag
Pre-listen, my silly American assumptions led me to believe that Daniele Baldelli's 'Cosmic Drag' was most likely the work of a folkie female songwriter who was feeling down in the dumps - as it turns out, HE is a legendary sixty-something-year-old Italian DJ / proclaimed pioneer of the electronic Afro/Cosmic genre. Being so dead-wrong about this was like unexpectedly stumbling into a dance-club from another dimension. Though rooted in the 70's, these vibrant fat-space-funk instrumentals sound futuristic and fresh, are too weird for disco and too bouncy for kraut but utilize both, and consistently showcase impeccable layering and fun-tastic grooves that are, when at their best, downright savory. The apathetic sequencing actually does cause some Drag (how the last three tracks aren't stuffed upfront is beyond me), but it's more-than-fine as a classic collection of Cosmicality: one that not only carries with it 45 years experience in electronic music, but also, imaginably - and refreshingly - doesn't seem to have much to prove.
Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition
Flagrant line-sniffer, cunnilingus devotee, down-low depressive, frantic yelper nearly to a fault: this is dark+droll+deranged stuff undoubtedly, frequently bracing and feverish with a dauntless depravity that only really gets deplorable when revealing himself as a bit of a hoe-hater. And acting as a proper pivot to the driving force that is Danny's delinquency-n-dash are the dirty-n-turbulent beats that borrow from post-punk and angst-rock as much as the album/opening titles hint towards -- the peak being the marvelous midway chunk that manages to up the off-the-wall ante as it advances, starting with the irresistible horn-blare-stomp of "Ain't it Funny" and ending on the death-defying chant-ridden "Dance in the Water".
Danny L Harle 1UL
Danzig Danzig
Stripped down metal in the vain of Black Sabbath that's evil and sleazy without being cheesy - great, confident sound for a debut album, Rick Rubin's production shines.
Daughters Canada Songs
Dead Congregation Promulgation of the Fall
Dead Kennedys Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Deadguy Fixation on a Coworker
Death (MI) ...For the Whole World to See
Proto-punk mini-album unearthed from a time capsule 35 years after the fact - a little gimmicky, but undeniably intriguing - and this delivers surprisingly well. The production is wonderfully 70's, it's fun and straight outta the garage, and though their punk-foreshadowing is impressive, its the unique blending of that with timely psychedelic hard rock that makes this shine.
Deerhunter Microcastle
Deerhunter Monomania
Denzel Curry Zuu
Descendents Milo Goes to College
Descendents Fat
Dinosaur Jr. Bug
Dinosaur Jr. Where You Been
Dinosaur Jr. Farm
DJ Jayhood KING
Having just been weaned-n-sold on footwork in the last couple years via the forward-thinking and freakish figurations from the likes of Jlin and DJ TiGa, Jayhood comparably comes off conservative and quotidian. Not that's it's not loud, outrageous, loopy as hell, a powerfully blunt 100 mph party package -- tis. It's just he's got lotsa dance floor instructions and a creepily trained teen girl group; and tho fond of bullets and bein' boomin' and buttcheeks, it can feel a bit on the clean side. But the ability to sell it all and cohesive care taken is that of an OG, the stamina childlike, the brevity courteously curtailed, the Jersey hails numerous. Choice Putdown: "I'm like a red nose pit, you a mix breed". When you regret not asking that special someone to dance astride a squeaky mattress: "Way way geico"(??), "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck..".
DJ Koze knock knock
Comes with some slight snags: chirpy festival-esque fluff, drawn-out runtime that nears an hour-twenty, off-key blurts, the thought of tunes on teeth. But its dream-stated sprawl-as-adventure and colorful detail and contagious warmth make this a summer-electro selection for the ages. You'll convincingly move in a liquid and may wanna wave a lighter; get lost in the wide array of vocal guests and deep house cuts with sampled hooks that equal em; see or at least hear aliens and oft dip into the nocturnal; wonder if the creepy kid singin' bout the guy who's got the whole world in his hands slyly pertains to Trump; get suckered into whistling those aforementioned blurts. Classic Contrast: Speech falling deeper in love and driving a droptop jeep vs. Kurt Wagner jumping off a building.
Dorian Electra Flamboyant
Dorisburg Irrbloss
The bassy base-beats are as deep+stark as they can get whilst remaining understated yet routinely have a buoyancy to 'em, the sounds-besides are winningly vibrant+varied for understated too -- finespun percussive add-ons, some vintage-synth ooze, scratches/ticks/bloops/blips, semblance of melody here, epic-n-exotic foggy flute work there. Exceptionally treads the line between entrancing and engaging; and for restrained rigid-robot techno it goes alotta places, doesn't get too tautologous, and can swap out wondrous for wacky no probz. Considering the paucity of personality and mucho machinery, pretty generous.
Dr. Dre Compton
The contrivance of this coming into existence solely as a convenient money-maker film-companion seems inescapable, and the shallow greed-boasts and put-downs don't help -- contextually, they come off pretty insensible. But true to its soundtrack-but-not-really appellation, it makes for a high-octane cinematic experience, a grand+gritty ensemble studded with stars and non-stars alike. Oldish-timers Xzibit / Ice Cube / Snoop / Eminem receive red-carpet treatment, The Game gets comparative throwaway and a ref, who's-that-again Anderson .Paak is decidedly spotlit, DJ Premiere pragmatically employs breezy 90's nostalgia; no party involved disappoints. Speaking of which, never underestimate Dre's use of femme-hooks, either. Or Kendrick in general. Or the unforgettable theatrical smatterings that wallop you every time: black-murder doo-wop suspension, the chain-rattling grudge-trudge of a workhorse, murder+disposal, mid-song-crime-spree, an almost-drowning. And the beats? C'mon.
Dr. Octagon Dr. Octagonecologyst
If you're ever looking for a rap soundtrack for a horror movie/porno that takes place in outer space, here ya go. Extremely strange and unique rapping, lyrics, beats, nothing else really sounds like this 90's hip-hop gem. I could probably do without a few songs but the rest of it makes up for that. Very offensive as well which is always a plus when playing for friends or strangers.
DragonForce Valley of the Damned
Yes, lots of dragons, blackness, fire, stars, etc...but oh so fun! A full-on, fantasy driven speed fest, with the only cool downs being the ballad in the middle and a jazzy acoustic+piano breakdown in track 6, both nice touches.
Dropkick Murphys Do or Die
DYS Brotherhood
Elbow Little Fictions
Pretty tempting to decry 'em as temperate britrock softies that have no prob flirting with some soaring-n-sappy sugar-cheese -- kids hugging the world, love and miracles, powerful hearts, fields turning gold when he gets a text from you know who. Shame their seasoned slow+steady pacing and clarity-clad instrumentals are just so pleasant: the delicate yet forceful grooves, the modestly calculated arrangements, the buncha beautiful tones, piano-only and string-things stickin' to occasional drop-in. Voicer Guy Garvey follows the whole steady and pleasant thing to a T; managing to never quite oversell or undersell yet consistently captivate. His (and maybe their) true moment in the sun is kinda like safe-Smiths and called "All Disco", wherein they preach that obsessing over songcraft just ain't worth it. Like, yeah, but we can't all sound this effortlessly charming, ya know?
Electric Light Orchestra Greatest Hits
Electric Wizard Dopethrone
Eluvium False Readings On
Appropriate for kicking off a New England December and as an epic elect for the final high-rec of the year, this airy-n-acute ambi-synth-string odyssey seamlessly slo-mo soars through snowfall, church, the opera, heaven incarnate, fuzz flurries, full-blown hypno-abysses, the profoundly life-affirming intermixed with the profoundly heavyhearted. Which at an hourandthensome should scream sluggish -- if only it wasn't all so sweeping and stately, so sublime and spacious as to spur stretch-out sit-backs despite its relatively stationary comportment. Having a 17-minute finale that's well worth the wait and ups the ante on world-consuming is quite the booster, too.
Elvis Costello This Year's Model
Elvis Costello My Aim Is True
Elysia Crampton Demon City
Feels fairly frivolous following last year's four-track mini-epic American Drift, one of the finest half-hours to permeate the ol' earholes in quite some time: this is more rigid, less ambitious, even shorter, rid of a striking spoken-word proem, and heavily constructed around other (albeit consentient) peep's productions. But even when it comes across as clutter or a minimalist getting lucky or a whose-song-is-it-tho scenario, the vivid-weirdo soundscape's got me salivating on the regz -- haunted house piano, simple synth lines, warped synth things, synths that just stab, touches of hip-hop, lots+lots of sinister-yet-screwy etceteras. Also very well could be that I just get a kick outta being incessantly taunted. The parenthetical footnotes are telling: one dedicational to a female revolutionist who was publicly tortured-n-killed as punishment, another simply stamping itself as a "No Drums" version; the latter vital in that despite doing away with all of the peculiarly wonderful percussion it manages to convey heavenly gates openin' up wide/Judgment Day, with zealous reggae horn to boot. The prior vital cuz there's clearly a bit more going on here then just sound-mushing and dem "beats".
Elza Soares A mulher do fim do mundo
Just the fact that a hardshipped 79-year old Brazilian samba legend was the driving vocal force behind an album called 'The Woman at the End of the World' intrigued in itself, then they go ahead and destroy all expectations with ease. A band altogether funkier, post-punkier, more soulful, and certainly more trained than most; which amidst dual guitar clash-duels and percussion aplenty lies quite the predilection for cacophony-n-exploration along with wild horn/somber string sections when needed. Bookended with a-cappellas for potency and overall really the kind of rich+raw intricacy a voice and persona like Soares's deserves, what with her hair-raising poignancy and tough-as-nails snarls and desert-dry gasps and speedy sputterin' and gravel garglin' and and loogie hawkin'. Absorbing enough for these oft-wonderful Portuguese words to fall on deaf American ears and not have it be bothersome, but a translation is recommended no doubt. What a woman who's been in it some 60 years now promises during what just may be The End Of The World: "I will sing until the end." What she sputters during "Pra Fuder": "To fuck."
Elza Soares Deus é mulher
Perceptibly less dramatic than being at the end of the world two years ago; this can comparably come off like the casual b-siders of that same session. But in case you forgot these ain't just any sessioners -- Latin grooves meet post-punk righteously right down the middle and distinguish every tune along the way, a brew of schooled+eccentric instrumentation that has trouble not tantalizingly twisting the ears at any given moment. Elza's geriatric gravel, 'specially in Portuguese, apparently ain't for everyone. At the very least read her Wiki and respect how she somehow got right here right now aight? Isn't her fronting dark-n-fun jazz-punk the way it's just meant to be? Given the cackles that end "Hienas Na TV" and how snug she fits into its chase-scene-esque smash precursor, I think she should look into becoming a Disney villain.
Eminem The Eminem Show
Entombed Left Hand Path
Eris Drew Fluids of Emotion
Errorsmith Superlative Fatigue
Never doubt tightly wound primal techno with a sense of humor. With grooves slim and stiff yet buoyant and bangin', what begins as disembodied pitch-shifting utterances leading the way into melodic motion-sickness gradually advances towards a deconstructed+percussive warpage of synth-funk cheese. Minimal but insistent and best of all vibrant, kooky yet composed. Included is a fitting finale that certifies it's just been his "party my party" all along -- quote as monotonous sole line, handclap as monotonous sole adornment, unabashed stretches of robot beatboxing. An elementary masterwork in making laffs outta loneliness if you ask me.
Eskimeaux O.K.
Dainty indie-pop arrangements full of sufficient subtleties and bantam buildups - most of which could be carried by the songbird vocals+lithesome percussion alone, though the light+laid-back guitar/bass/keybs are certainly nothing to sneeze at. Themes of nature and companionship fit their low-key sound as snug and warm as a well-worn gardening glove, and barring a trick-or-treater metaphor-flop, even the most audibly nectarous lines have complementary charm: "Let's go walking in the Brooklyn Museum", "Nothing in this world is holier than friendship", "I could be your loner if you would be my stoner". And for the arrestingly defiant mantra: "You coward / You hummingbird".
Esperanza Spalding Emily's D+Evolution
"Watch this pretty girl flow", her initiatory magma-coated declaration, comes off as both sassy standpoint and open challenge: Spalding's jazz-bass whiz-skillz fused with a consummate clan of choral harmonizers forge fluxes beauteous+knotty enough to melt your heart and dazzle the senses; and when fellow Berklee-affiliated gitaroo-man and decisive drummer-dudes are feelin' spunky, we get whiffs of wildness in the form of mathy-metal flourishes and lionhearted jerk-funk, the peaks of which leave your face chillin' in the same puddle as your ticker. Though some digging is required, lyrical acumen is also there for the taking -- the profoundest perhaps contained/cached in the sections of mile-a-minute spoken word and the plainest coming from the playful Willy Wonka-borrowed ender "I Want It Now", the latter's adamant demanding and conclusive guttural yelp presumably clues that she's seeking musical domination. Or normal ol world domination, either way.
Ex Eye Ex Eye
This metal-meets-sax instrumental quad squad is triumphant and terrifying, patient and pulverizing. They're post-y without too much draggage, fuck with the structures but still gorgonize ya groove-wise, atmospherically affecting whether on a slow+spacy stretch or blisteringly BM-squallin' the night away or an intermingling of those things. Starts off safely-n-studiously enough; but the following two 12-minute epics allow em to rave up and develop and wondrously wander into all-encompassing oblivions. Which brings me to saxman Colin Stetson's application of trademark squawks throughout: able to add a symphonic flutter, convince you Godzilla is not only present but looking in your window, and become a vital and haunting voice all on its own.
Finntroll Nattfodd
Years ago when I first got this album, at the ripe young age of 22, I used to listen to "Eliytres" and "Ursvamp" alot and mostly skip around the rest. After a re-visit, I'm surprised how well-rounded and non-gimmicky this is. Fun combo of polka-folk and metal throughout, with some slower, more traditional songs and troll chatter/battle noises here and there. It could be easy for this sound to get old fast, but it's nicely wrapped up in ~36 minutes.
Fiona Apple When the Pawn...
FKA Twigs Magdalene
Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
With artwork that sports painted scenes from 1559 and songs frequently referring to the skyward wonders of the natural world, Fleet Foxes gave themselves some pretty lofty imagery to live up to. Not only does the music all-too-swimmingly hark back to those irretrievable+cherished days of old, it in itself BECOMES a wonder of the natural world. A touch of polite hokum is fair when organic magnificence is at hand -- and their timeless mix of near-spiritual jubilance and grave haunters is the kind of earthy escapism that requires a studio-banter tidbit to get snapped back into the deficiency of present-day reality. Listen to it during a wilderness excursion, or at least while chopping firewood -- not the outdoorsy type, you say? A drive at dawn should suffice.
Flesh Parade Kill Whitey
Flipper Album – Generic Flipper
Florist (NY) Emily Alone
Flume Hi This is Flume
A festival-friendly popular-pop-producing DJ is right to wear this 'mixtape' on their sleeve as such. Sports a furious and frivolous flow while doling out an emboldened drilling of bass+shrill, glitch+glimmer, ghosts+gorgeous, bendy dancy beats. Many-a choppy and curt whatever-track make for tantalizing twists-n-turns, rapid rap verses proudly stand hand-in-hand with wailing vocoderobot, it somehow always ends up celestial, and when all of a sudden comes a lightly remixed Sophie classic you're like "sure come on in." Lotta good for what could be scraps perhaps. And just to underline, the couple times when it comes to MCs believe they go hard -- I've never enjoyed JPEGMafia more.
Frank Ocean Blonde
The super-sparse instrumentation often sounds like a prodigy's humble bedroom experimenting and demeanor-wise he's rather lax, leaving those anticipating accommodation via assertive beats-n-bangers in the dust. Fortunately, Frankie O knows his soft-selling; and the muscle of mysticism -- the musical understatements are almost always angelic and heighten the intimacy while the couple-a loud ones provide curveballs, words wade in offhand generalities but will gladly toss out telling tidbits and scraps of brilliance, skit-inclusions of a worried mother's archived drug-debarring and a flabbergasted man's Facebook-focused breakup are forever open to interpretation as is the squall-soaked questioning hidden on the tail-end. But maybe most of all he knows the efficacy of his own voice, even when he's skirting its full capacity or locked in computerized-chipmunk mode -- which isn't to say he won't step aside for a much-needed minute-or-so of rapid Andre 3000 perfection.
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Bandana
Funkadelic Funkadelic
Funkadelic Maggot Brain
Future Beast Mode
Though he has the privilege to work with "the coolest DJ in the world" for the fuller follow-up 56 Nights, Future's auto-tuned mushmouth finesse over Zaytoven's production here is refreshingly succinct, smooth, natural - all that's usually needed for a hit is a sparse piano+handclap-driven beat and a dominating phrase/song title, and for nine tracks / less than a half-hour, you have your choice of 'em. And his delivery is constantly so lethargic+understated that even when he "puts Moet on that pussy" or is "living off a key trying to dodge prison", it almost sounds pensive - more like jarring glimpses of his reality rather than mindless braggadocio.
Gang of Four Entertainment!
GG Allin Hated In The Nation
Almost serves as an early GG biography in music form. The songs themselves vary from the catchy pop-punk of his early career to the slow-crawling metal he would expand on and bastardize after this came out. It also showcases his rapidly increasing levels of offensive subject matter, insanity, and poor recording quality - in a few years time he went from "You Hate Me & I Hate You" to "Ten Year Old Fuck". The demented live concert dialogue and answering machine messages presented here along with the songs gives you a feel for GG's disturbing life on and off the stage and are well-placed throughout the compilation.
Ghost Mice Europe
Chronological retelling of a jump across the pond via DIY-4-lyfe acoustic-folkie-punx; neatly separated by country, or on binary occasion, body of water. This all-too-lovable platonic-duo-powerhouse is boisterously chirpy both in general tone and in the puerility of their agog-n-intricate recollecting, and the companionship between 'em is as vital to the journey being described as it is to the tunes being played. They're kindred spirits with big backpacks and stinky feet who can only/barely afford campgrounds/cans of beans/peanut butter and prefer to sleep in a trash-laden bush beside the interstate or procure free fries from a flute-playing hippie anyway. Their cons include monstrous cows, slimy slugs, rainfall, paying for Stonehenge/bathrooms/hotels/almost anything. Pros include feeding animals that aren't bothersome, sunlight, nature, Ireland, interactions with ride-providers, soy ice cream, free anything -- and the overtly overriding sense of freedom and adventure, duh.
Ghostface Killah Ironman
Gojira Magma
Green Day Dookie
Green Day Kerplunk
Grimes Art Angels
Initially foreboding levity via sunny-trite sike-out ("California") and animalistic multilingualisms ("SCREAM"), it quickly gains magnitude as a coltish sugar-bounce wonderland -- an alternate-pop REALiTi where sprightly guitar strums and the art-party sound-swirl of whip snaps/sneaker squeaks/bubble bursts meet the persuasive bangerisms of club-bass aplenty/cheerleader chants/chipmunk chirps. Sonically weird and adventurous, nearly unstoppable when it comes to catchy+complex merriment, it's a splendid evolution from the comparably-drab Visions. Mindset perhaps summed up during the particularly ecstatic title-track: "I don't need your medicine / Gonna dance all night / I'm high on adrenaline".
Guided by Voices Alien Lanes
Their greatest talent may be making a listener memorize and sing along with ridiculous lines such as "Introducing the amazing rocket head/You know what the deal is dude/Excuse me, Napoleon". An almost disorienting mix of their most complete and realized songs, random sub-minute "what the"s, snoring beats, stoned ideas, some throwaway. In other words, a good Guided by Voices album.
Guided by Voices Let's Go Eat The Factory
Those looking for ol Bee Thousand aesthetics should be pleased with this, at least a little bit - not as consistent or striking as they were back then but who would expect it to be? Still plenty of solid oddities to be had, with Sprout providing some of the most noteworthy tracks.
Guided by Voices Propeller
Exemplary lesson in drunken, cocky, lo-fi garage rock charm. Lovably sketchy deliverance of unabashedly rocking anthems, bouncy pop-punk, soft stuff, collage, and various in-betweens. Their self-created "crowd chant" to kick things off is justified.
Guts Club Shit Bug
Hamell On Trial The Night Guy at The Apocalypse
From what I understand Hamell is now long clean, but oh how convincingly he can still play the madcap fucked up miscreant. Figure fragments are factual experiences from a former era of his and the bulk be tall tales that are terrifying, vivid, hilarious, arguably ethically sound most of the time -- hey, could likely be real somewhere. But enjoying Nick Cave on new levels when he's high as the moon or living+dying for drug deals and bar brawls or hangin' with some shady sorts in his time I could see, murdering a pedophile D.A. with the assistance of a selfie-prone masturbating companion; doubtfully ever his bag. In either case though he'll spin one hell of a yarn, and the solo rough-n-raw rover man recording corresponds all too perfectly to his road-made realm: the near-always present bar filled with friendly-til-they're-not felons, loaded with fucks and fights and filth with a few flubs to boot, and right, blood everywhere. Pimp grenaded, Nazi "cut from cock to chin", numerous other lowlifes dragged/drowned/slapped/burned/sniped/whathaveyou. Bandcamp note from the single song that dares to break out a crude drum machine: "Recorded Nov 20, 2017 in Jeff Onore's closet Boston Mass".
Harry Nilsson Nilsson Schmilsson
An odd mix of quirky pop, sappy ballads, and a 7-minute all-out rocker thrown in for kicks. His vocal ability lends itself well to all of them - though some songs come off as quite generic, it really adds another level to more down to earth songs such as "Early in the Morning" and "Coconut". Hey, even the ballads are endearing after a while.
Hatebreed Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire
Hath Of Rot And Ruin
Hella Tripper
Helloween Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
Helmet Meantime
A landmark record in the world of alternative and metal, all 10 tracks work together to bring forth an album that is fully focused and charged. Though it doesn't offer much for variety, that only emphasizes its blunt sound of barebones riffs, unusual song structures, and raw anger.
Herbie Hancock Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock Sextant
HIRS Friends. Lovers. Favorites.
Intolerants and formalists may dismiss it as a gimmick, but the recent alt-gender surge in hardcore has been pretty refreshing+becoming. Omitted identities bursting through in an infamously routine scene is always thrilling to behold, especially when their long-overlooked maltreatment translates into a grinding fierceness few can muster. Kicks off with a bloodcurdling scream that inflames-n-stuns every time and really doesn't let up from there; constantly clobbering you over the cranium with its sound and ranting doctrine and sub-minute razings. And tho they seem consumed by obstinate vengeance and the struggle to survive and abhorring authority (i.e. everyone else), their collectivist configuration and collaborating with everyone from Martin Sorrondeguy to Shirley Manson convey a cute+comforting sense of tight-knit camaraderie. See when they give love to their friends/lovers/favorites for being "the sweetest people" and remind em they're gorgeous. Or on "It's OK To Be Sick" when they advise them to "take it day by day, take care of yourself, and ask us if you need anything"; right before hitting em in the face with a bass drop.
HIRS YOU CAN'T KILL US
Hole Live Through This
Holly Herndon Platform
Twitchy twisted electronic that is supremely suitable for the internet/ADD-age - i.e. disorienting, filled with ideas, and maybe too busy for its own good. A seemingly boundless array of voices/computerized et ceteras/inscrutabilities zipping in and out of your periphery before getting sucked back into the sound-collage-vortex does its best to engulf any musical directness that may be buried in the depths - though there are a few definitively melodic moments, on others you really have to dig for it, and some are just plain out there. The fluidity of these arrangements can be surprising considering the complexity and celerity of 'em, and the vague witticism is nice too - like when the faux-Greek yogurt ad is followed up with a squishy flood of slop or when armor-clad horses run through the mix; and of course the blush-worthy skit-turned-intimate massage+pep talk, which brings turmoil relief, feelings of increased self-worth, and suckling noises.
Holly Herndon PROTO
Hookworms Microshift
Production doesn't always properly showcase the cram, strip away some minutes and their rigorous momentums and a layer or four and they may depict dime-a-dozen dance-rock. But this goes deep -- assertive and infectious, reassuring and radiant, formidable flow+stunner centerpiece as decisive selling points. Grooves and discord are straight from the punk-kraut playbook, shimmering simmering synth-dives consuming, warbles-n-wails that, well, certainly could be worse.
Horse Lords The Common Task
Husker Du New Day Rising
Husker Du had been sneaking pop influence into each release before this in varying amounts, but this album was where they really started to let it loose - merging melodic tunes with their trademark distortion and rawness made this album one of the most important stepping stones to what would become alternative rock in the 90's. But it's certainly not all bubblegum fun - especially the last 3 tracks, which are good attempts at melting face.
Husker Du In a Free Land
Husker Du Candy Apple Grey
IDLES Brutalism
Brit punx whose snarly sardonicism predominates enough to make their tude seem tacked on and try-hard. The resultant vigor I'll take, a protracted "motherfucker" hook so simple that it's genius and calling art-haters morons, sure; but their acrimony can be too on the nose and oft fall short of thought-provoking. So they get by on fiery execution, tight catchiness aplenty, and soopin' up the snarl: frontman Joe Talbot can summon both vicious acid-spitting animal and suave Transylvanian count, near-incessantly incensed yet can sing a tune when he tries, is good for a loutish ballad ender. Genuinely funny, even, with the "swing batta batta batta"s and boyish backup "woo!"s for when he bites his nose off.
IDLES Joy as an Act of Resistance
Talbot's strength lies in snotty singalongee snarler rather than wise wordsmith; hence when spouting social-political usually the sentiment is greater than the articulation: calls for unity and loving yourself yet kicking "douches" in the mouth and classifying someone as "one big neck with sausage hands" for example. And hey I hate homophobes too, but professing to puttin' em in coffins akin to a wrestler is basically pure bro-talk. But beefy punk din and dirty bass lines and gangbuster choruses galore are their true bread-n-butter. And after seeing Idles in the flesh and watching a dozen-or-so vintage hardcore tuffs ardently shout along with "A beautiful immigrant" and "I kissed a boy and I liked it", I supposed sentiment is sometimes enough. A penchant for spelling is nice too.
ILOVEMAKONNEN ILOVEMAKONNEN
When he's not detailing his drugs-for-sale repertoire while partying with your girl in the club while his P.O. thinks he's at home, he's getting stalked by fuckin' demons and desperately wailing for/taunting ex-lovers via namedrop. Luckily, this guy's got enough sympathetic warbly bedroom vocal hook charm to convert just about anyone, and the beats help get the job done - spacey, low-key, never too distracting.
Imperial Triumphant Vile Luxury
Vile Luxury turns out to be a rather valid synopsis of the deportment within; i.e. clangin' and bangin' blackened death metal that torments/disorients/enthralls with its formidable tangle of technicality, tenacity, capacity, strange structuring, and of course, utter filth. Really runs the gamut in its own inimitable way: slow and sparse sections met with mind-boggling barrages, horns-n-piano used for straight jazz breakdowns and stumbling into a sleazy lounge at 3 a.m. and emulating some sort of preposterous parade, frontbeast Ezrin's near-comical slime-growl contrasted with Yoshiko Ohara's absurdly bloodcurdling guest shrieks. Seemingly glad to stumble over their own skill so long as the resulting slop adds to the frenzy, and right, they scare the shit out of me too.
Integrity Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Consume
Inter Arma Sulphur English
ISIS Panopticon
ISIS Oceanic
James Blake Assume Form
Coercing him a bit more out of the sad electro-soul shadows are Metro+MCs with doses of midnight bounce and Rosalia for a duet so warm-n-delicate it sounds like they're slow-dancing. However the true boost here by far is Blake's newfound partaking in mutual love and companionship -- all at once giddy, reluctant, open, bashful; a burgeoning repentant recluse calmly in awe. Forever the fragile and frigid fellow, his hopefulness and happiness and capacity for a life-change feels cozy but careful, readily summoning the gorgeous and romantic but has trouble moving past hesitance and the bewilderment that he ever got here in the first place. Choice assessments for when you stop being a ghost in a shell and fall for another human being: "Now you can feel everything / Doesn't it seem more natural?", "When you can't believe your luck / You're with a friend", "I thought I might be better dead but I was wrong", "Let's go home and talk shit about everyone."
Jana Rush Pariah
Initial impression was an obscure 90s producer suddenly breaking the silence to jump on the Jlin train. Which I wouldn't say changed much after copious consumption, but JR does carve quite the twitchy niche of her own. Constant yet contained bass throb, bare and blippy, rather ruthless during the more random and rigid endeavors. Oft so busy being barraged you don't even notice most of em are just three mins and change. True kicker however is the varietal voice choppin': reiterations break-k-k-k-king your brain, accelerated alien utterances, old-timey soul singer's sweet turned yelly at the flip of a switch, etc. But for the record my likely favorite is both voiceless and letterless -- "??? ??", where Jungle Book jazz befriends bass-pad gone punk just a BIT too swimmingly; trippy trimmings and all.
Japandroids Celebration Rock
During early listens I was quite convinced that all those whoas!, ohhhs!, and nostalgic exclamations of wasted youth were contrived-sounding - like this album was trying too hard to sound a certain way. Then I listened to the second half some more - before I knew it, I was blasting it in the car and yelling along like any other excellent punk album.
Jay Reatard Matador Singles '08
Jay Reatard Watch Me Fall
Jay-Z The Blueprint
Jay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne
Jeff Buckley Grace
Jeff Parker Suite for Max Brown
Jeff Rosenstock We Cool?
Deeply entangled in the punk scene long enough to suddenly be in his thirties, embracing power pop, and "daydreaming under a novelty sweater" as he so cunningly puts it: friends are beginning to move away/get jobs/get married/become "good Americans" while he finds himself still harvesting the traits of any reputable traveling musician: ignoring loved ones, getting fucked up all alone (optimally, while switching between porn and Robocop), attending house parties and crashing on couches. Not that he's complaining about it too much - sometimes it's good to just ponder. Makes him better-off than the guy who thinks the answer is 'always say yes', at least.
Jenny Lewis On The Line
Constant big boomy cakewalk drums are kind of a bummer, Lewis isn't going above+beyond by any means. But arrangements manage to be elegant and easygoing and modestly stadium-ready all at once, so that drum thing comes in handy; and Lewis still coolly proves to be a frontwoman for the ages. Hooky without being hokey, classically killer voice-n-tone that doesn't strain or howl too far down the sap-hole, imagery and oddities and troubles so poised; perhaps poetic or witty or with a strut. First three tracks broadcast bongs, Marlboros, everyone eventually becoming skulls, poppies, bourbon, crumbling cookies, Candy Crush, caffeinated cocktails, kissing a narcoleptic poet in front of Harlem nuns; barely breaks a sweat. "Nudie pics" cited in lovely standout ballad, fits right in. "Hollywood Lawn", could've bookended Happy Gilmore.
Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala
Jerry's Kids Is This My World?
Jewel Pieces of You
Jib Kidder Teaspoon to the Ocean
Maybe it's just the torture that came along with this being released in the dead of winter, but it seems to capture island warmth in an unassuming and amateurish psych-pop package - particularly noteworthy is the lively live drumming, but the soft+wobbly layers of hazy keys, surf guitar, mystery noise, and dopey melodic vocals that lie somewhere between Animal Collective and Auto-Tune are all a hoot too.
Jimmy Eat World Futures
Jimmy Eat World Clarity
Jlin Dark Energy
Its harrowing and serrated nature may leave the common foot-worker apprehensive and rooted - but from the reptilian rattles and gear grindings, to the chopped operatics and stuttering bobble-heads, to the irresistible finger-snap+air-gust-accented African-military-stomp section, this busy electronic horror-twitch percussion-fest distinguishes itself while still demanding movement and attention. The dialogue-samplings from The Ring/Mortal Kombat/Mommie Dearest seem a bit conspicuous in their familiarity, but thematically feel right at home.
Jlin Black Origami
What makes this footwork follow-up formidable isn't stock horror samples or harshin' up the soundscape, it's the rigorous refinement involved and pushing onward into the abstract. After a notably business-meaning beginning it never really peaks but also doesn't quit -- prickly twitch percussion-fests are dedicated to dizzying, voice-slices and bobbleheads more efficiently utilized, wraps you in its stark bass-laden groove and tosses sounds around like ragdolls. You may even wanna dance to it. Rarely does it not transmit the tenseness of a 'tick tick ticking time bomb time bomb'; which along with its stylistic restrictions, can get tiresome, yes. Mechanized marching bands led by rattlesnakes and gym teachers.
Joanna Newsom Ys
Controversial negative critiques upon the original release make fair points: overlong songs tormenting, string supplements rambling, antiquated ambition oppressive compared to her earlier amateur lo-fi whimsy. And during the slow-2-start inaugural "Emily", it may be tempting to adopt those qualities as predominant veracity -- then marches in the significant+spellbinding yarn about an insecure monkey's exploitation of a fellow-escapee bear and a sparse-n-stunning diamond-dust centerpiece for the ages, which steady out the shtick oh-so satisfactorily. This back-to-back also showcases well all that sells Ys as a whole: storytelling and surreality a la unfuckwithable poetry, potent-as-hell performances a la Newsom, full-on commitment to a fanciful wonder-world that's too challenging for cutesy and too poignant for eye-rolls. And if words and scenes start to run dry, outright wailing in the name of desire always does the trick.
Joey Badass ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$
I mean I'm not sure he's got the bellicosity or sapience to braid the USA and KKK either. But his racism-charged ruminations sound potent, liberated, smooth, real; even convincingly conspirative. Listening as yet another versed verse gets more frenzied-n-incensed over time before perhaps culminating into a can't-take-it-no-more 'AHH' or just fuckin' disgust, the hopeful posi-warmth of "For My People" and pop/sad/jazz veers switching out for the timely guest-enhanced twin onslaughts "Rockabye Baby"/"Ring the Alarm" and a lengthy mic-glitch manifesto as closer. And never underestimate the power of sampling a teary-eyed kid making poignant crowd-encouraged speeches. Heavy-handed sooner or later, but then there's those beats and duh those bars. "Music is a form of expression / I'ma use mine just to teach you a lesson / Rule one: this microphone's a weapon." Damn right.
Joey Purp Quarterthing
Can't help but pine for some more personality comin' from Purp, but his adaptability and confidence and vigor go far; not to mention being backed+boosted by one of the best beat-batches in recent hip-hop memory. Love when he mad-dog mocks his peers' mania for materialism even though he's guilty of draggin' on about it too; appreciate his ability to go from grateful-yet-distressed gospel guy to aggro dealer dude to freaky funk-house dabbler to stupidly catchy stupor victim; on the fence about a majority of the songs lasting less than three minutes.
John Lennon Double Fantasy
Er, should most definitely be categorized under 'John Lennon & Yoko Ono'. Not just because they each have 7 of the 14 tracks, but also because this is a quirky couples album through and through, and the back-n-forth dynamic between their distinct styles is what makes this album a great one. John is content, lazy, in love, a family man; Yoko is fun, strange, charming, adds some edge.
Joy Division Unknown Pleasures
Joy Division Closer
Juiceboxxx It's Easy To Feel Like A Nobody...
Julia Holter Have You In My Wilderness
While promptly inaugurating continuous heart-stop-splendor with opener "Feel You", she has the gall to ask ME if I'M mythological. As if -- they're the ones spawning the stuff of legends, what with all these exquisite string+voice combos soaring to the heavens and beyond. They can slow down time and sweep you into a protracted elysian atmosphere or neatly pack it up into invigorated high-tier quirk-pop; baggy-bass and hopscotch-drums are nimble and vital when they apply, fiery sax and wistful spoken word thrown in for why-nots. Holter's poetic ambiguity can tend to get swallowed or float on by, so she drills it into the realm of unforgettable from time-to-time: "I can't swim, it's lucidity / So clear!", "Uh-oh! / She said". And of course, "The birds can sing a song", which ends up acting-as-anchor to a weightless island-stranding so plausible and exotic that when birds do sing a bit, they fit right in.
Julia Holter Loud City Song
Kacey Musgraves Pageant Material
Kamaiyah A Good Night in the Ghetto
Rather than target mere nineties nostalgia, Kamaiyah trajects something more along the lines of assured nineties make-believe: rockin' brick phones+beepers+Guess gear, an N64-flaunting music video, interludial landline phone-rings, the 'hoochie-hoo's and 'woopty-woop's, tunes titled "Mo Money Mo Problems" and "One Love". But despite the well-touted throwback traits, this is a straight-up hip-hop refresher -- not just cuz this unapologetic freaky-freak hoyden-queen crushes most of her peers in frequently fluent verse-work and can absolutely rock a hook besides, or from the beats not being produced by Trap-Dude-X for once -- but for seemingly evading violence in favor of rags-to-success euphoria/living every damn day like it's Friday/fuckin' up the club, from the advocacy of a girl looking to 'break down' the guy for a change while declining to become his tied-down steady, cuz "Come Back" is a lush r&b request for an ex to stay put rather than return. And just when you think it's all one ginormous sex-gala, in swoops a tearjerker finale; wherein her cancer-stricken dawg is movingly/somberly serenaded and the possibility of drinkin' out the bottle getting outta hand is professed. For someone claiming to have been doin' her own thang since like '94, not bad: theoretically, she would've just begun learning how to talk.
Kamasi Washington The Epic
Kanye West Graduation
I think only Kanye could succeed in making an intentionally simpler and more accessible album while simultaneously transforming a Can song into a dedication to the woes of picking up drunk girls. And no skits!
Kanye West 808s and Heartbreak
Kanye West The Life of Pablo
Karl Blau Introducing Karl Blau
Despite having ~20 years under his belt as a prominent character in low-budget indie miscellany, the introductory title remains reasonable -- this neat little 10-track collection of country covers is so instrumentally rich and placidly professional I'da never guessed it wasn't his usual forte, forming a new-n-enhanced identity from some old-n-standard ones. And as someone who only recognized the Memphis-arrival-explanation kickoff and that one about the woman sensuous woman, it's convincing enough to read up on all of the OGs even when they're not your usual forte either. Barring the 10-minute sendup of Link Wray's "Fallin' Rain" that breezes through its duration absurdly adeptly, these renditions are accurate, accessible, well-mannered; maybe to a fault even. But the flourishes and authenticity, the detail and personable poise, the whole routinely lovely without getting showy thing, they all work wonders. Irony-free, too: even that woman sensuous woman one is sincere as hell.
katie dey solipsisters
Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city
Though it's an excellent album, the curmudgeon in me feels that this here "short film" spoon-feeds you a story that really just feels melodramatic and predictable at times. However, it does succeed at helping with the flow and large-scale feel.
Kendrick Lamar untitled unmastered.
Rocks half the tracks/less than half the length/barely a wisp of the pampering dispatched on last year's unassailable do-I-even-have-to-say-it hip-hop smash, but I'll be damned if this isn't nearly as indispensable. The creepin' slow-burn jazz-hop understatements are fresh in their reserve, particularly showcasing Thundercat's uber-resonant bass-work and encouraging flows to come gleam on through the demo-ish dust; the xtra-doses of fervor and clarity accentuated without any abandonment of lexical density. Of course there's also the prolonged+hissy passage of behind-the-scenes badinage/tune-planning, perhaps superfluously consummating the whole 'unmastered' slant. But it makes for some pretty warm waste, I gotta say. Whereas the rest is more like world-class waste.
Kendrick Lamar DAMN.
If this is heard as a letdown it's only cuz he's spoiled us so hard with exaltedly complex concepts and nonpareil narratives. And while those are thinly tacked on here via good samaritan intro and single-word-with-period song titles and a conclusive rewind, it's the motley-n-constant killin' it and relative looseness that triumphs. Kendrick is very good and versatile and noble yes yes, let's hear it for those beatmen tho: without whom having hooks that include "sexy" and "I wanna be with you" may not be as persuasive, poppin' beside Rihanna perhaps less propulsive, bangers not so charged and NBA-adopted, "Lust." not so damn uncomfortable, the reflective ones not so damn legit, feeling like God and laughing to the bank not so damn celebratory.
Kevin Gates Luca Brasi 2
His idea of funny is kickin' a bitch out the car, mine is his hook about likin' bitches thugged out in between baby 'waahh's and mud grunts. That mix of all-too-honest gravelly street grit and willingness to get 'in his feelings' is the gleaming strength here - we get an unforgiving world of constant grind&hustle, sobering prison tale excerpts, packages going across the water, and betrayal-a-plenty; but he also can have a good cry/ex reminiscence to a Drake song and drown in the syrup a paranoid mess. His knack for catchiness ultimately culminates with the semi-miraculous "Wassup With It" - maybe the best ballad for a good ol' fashioned no-strings fuck since Biggie & R.Kelly decided to skip on the Cristal.
Kim Gordon No Home Record
Kim Petras Clarity
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Murder Of The Universe
King Midas Sound Solitude
"A meditation on loss" this duo calls it, yeah yeah add it to the pile. But they've done it in such a stark, dark, striking and engulfing way. Drone+diction guarantee a difficult-n-disturbing glimpse into one side of a tolling breakup, which under the recital of spoken word commandant Roger Robinson transfixes and paints a creepy+cogent picture. Insecure about being minus a plus-one in his late thirties and steadily sinking into a solitary abyss, he occupies the atmosphere supremely yet allows plenty of room for it too, every syllable ice cold and accounted for, inflections subtle but mighty, expertly at calculatingly going nuts without blowing his top. And for what is essentially an obsessed stalker, he never reaches pernicious; tho sharp signs point to the likelihood of on-the-cusp -- "not angry / just empty", he does push-ups in restroom stalls and watches cooking shows in the dark, screams her name in the wilderness til he's hoarse, craves raw meat and hates water, spies from a distance and wonders who she's been fucking. For the finale, he enjoys pad thai and coffees with her fellow exes while they all share gripes, split the tip, and admit they still miss her. Definitive Mantras: "gone", "alone", "disappeared". Before The Breakup: "The only time we parted was to go to the toilet / We consumed each other / We became feral, we lost weight, we turned pale / We fucked like wild animals / We stole leather jackets and jewelry / We were bored, we were beyond bored". Release Date: Valentine's Day 2019.
Kraftwerk Autobahn
Kraftwerk The Man-Machine
Kraftwerk Radio-Activity
Laurie Anderson Mister Heartbreak
Summoning assistance from Peter Gabriel and a trusty ol' Synclavier, a kind of sporadic and playful moodiness is achieved during these surrealist sprawlers -- which wholly enriches everything from island anecdotes about a walking talking snake to multilingualisms to a classically mumbled-yet-brilliant 70-year old William S. Burroughs reprise-reading. Laurie takes on a less direct and fatidic role here than on preceding debut Big Science, instead usually opting for tranquil environmental coalescence that's splashed with well-settled peculiarities and semi-poetic musings.
Le Tigre Le Tigre
Lee Scratch Perry Rainford
Lightning Bolt Hypermagic Mountain
Lightning Bolt Wonderful Rainbow
Lil Uzi Vert Eternal Atake
Lil Wayne Tha Carter III
It's got the kind of budget that allows him to appear as a doctor, a martian, a political Robin Thicke collaborator, and a cop seducer back-to-back, and then there's also T-Pain and Babyface and "Lollipop". But it's also got ridiculous rhymes (too many good ones to quote an example) over primordial beats, absurd personality aplenty, a blunt-laced political collaboration with himself, and "Pussy Monster". A Jumbled Commercial Package it may be, but the benefits are reaped, and little is done to lull "the best rapper alive" - his words, not mine.
Liturgy H.A.Q.Q.
Lizzo Cuz I Love You
Lorde Melodrama
Lower Dens Escape from Evil
Often wary of 80's-throwback-indie pop, this came off as too familiar at first - a thought that was relinquished when it became apparent that they really mean business. Every song manages to shake with gravity and shimmer like ice, catchy hard-hitters are constant, krauty post-punk tendencies keep things interesting, and it never even inches towards cheesy - miraculous considering how much the whole of it feels like a mix of roller-rinks, a cool pool-dip on a steamy summer night, and the GTA: Vice City soundtrack. Commanding force behind/in front of it all, vocalist Jana Hunter, is stalwart and self-assured enough to convince that she is indeed The Earth, with a suggestion of coy chic, perhaps exemplified in the album's last words: "Entertainment / I don't care for it / That's no life". Nice.
LSDXOXO Body Mods
Certainly less batty+stark than my last go with this acid-smoocher, 2016's 'Fuck Marry Kill' -- free of steel-door slams and broken glass, this one sorta simulates straight house; albeit on speed. It also showcases a newfound density and determination. Louder and funner and wilder than most house indeed, and at a comfortable 26 minutes or so there's barely a dull moment; thanx in part to that thump but also to all these blabbermouths. Blabber Bits: floating through the universe, layered 'hey'ers, sweaty breasts shakin' on the dance floor, something about a punk/skunk smoking weed, O-Ren Ishii calmly collecting your fucking head, etc.
Luxury Elite Noir
Twenty instrumental compositions that meld together to form a sort of soundtrack for a nighttime city-strut. It "Arrival"s in style and stays that way -- sleek and austere, simplistic and hypnotic, staggering between frolicsome+groovy and pensive+breathtaking. Thanks to an average track-time somewhere around the 2-minute mark, not-a-one overstays its welcome, each often opting to vaguely convey its title before moving onto whatever act comes next -- all-the-while of course utilizing auras and aesthetics pulled from what one can only imagine as PS1-era cutscenes, hazy late night television, winning a car via gameshow circa 1985, that sorta thing. Just as it shamelessly rips out the swankiest of saxes and absurdly wanky gee-tar note-bends while suggesting Pink Panther walking down an alley at 3 a.m., it also adheres to admiring skyline scenery from an advantageous height, dreamin' and desirin', and perpetual dips into big ol' fountains of soothe.
Luxury Elite Fantasy
Lyra Pramuk Fountain
Machine Girl ...BECAUSE I'M YOUNG ARROGANT AND HATE EVERYTHING
Machine Girl U-Void Synthesizer
Man Is The Bastard Thoughtless
Mannequin Pussy Patience
Marilyn Manson Antichrist Superstar
Marnie Stern This Is It and I Am It and You Are It...
Masters of Reality Sunrise on the Sufferbus
An aesthetic that'll likely appeal to your OG rocker dad: regulation blues licks and a Black Sabbath plug as handle, little girls on tilt-a-whirls, without-a-stitch witch fantasy, ants stealing stereos, deadpan disappointment in American-prepared tea ("looks like gnat's pee"), "Yeah I wish I was a bird / Birds can fly". They've even got the drummer from Cream. And damned if their hippie-heavy hybrid ain't benchmark. Three-piece boasting apple-pie grooves and way too casual chops, a surplus of enduring riffs, the power to get any crowd movin' and finesse for folksy and string-assisted soars. And right, crucially, they've got that drummer from Cream.
Mastodon Leviathan
Mastodon Emperor of Sand
Those who don't want their sludge getting too catchy or approachable will likely slam it -- the brazenly pop "Show Yourself" is the sorta song that militant metalheads love to hate but secretly hum, a handful more neighbor radio-ready, there's tambourines+shakers. But as a virtuosic heavy/straightforward singalong crossover, I say it's a success and a blast to boot. Mighta been too tame and triumphant if the performances weren't still full-time rippin' and riffy, if they didn't insert impeccable detail into the easy parts, if they didn't shamelessly soar or periodically crush or integrate detours like no one's business. But alas, they're Mastodon.
Mates of State My Solo Project
Actually not anyone's solo project, but may as well be given the peerless compatibility of this hubby-n-wife dyad -- the latter opts for bass-y organ-buzz melodics and the former bashes out backseat-but-binding drum-work, and thanks to pliant playing, their scant instrumentation is a non-issue. But it's the unbridled enthusiasm of their vocal duality that makes scantness not only a viable platform, but a complimentary one as well: their harmonic sanguinity showcases the sort of cutesy+un-fuckwithable merger that should make the eternally-single and common-couples alike feel envious and queasy, yet it's so damn contagious, genuine, and straight-up affable that deep down all parties tuning in are secretly hoping for a dinner invite or double date. Like any righteous meant-to-be's, they're in sync even when they're yelping discrepancies over each other -- actually, that may be their forte. And like any righteous meant-to-be's scoping a future together, they got goals: "Let's unravel the edge of time", err maybe a bit high-flown. "I'd color the sky with you / I'd let you choose the blue", now that seems feasible.
Matmos Plastic Anniversary
Plastic as single-source restriction is a far more conceptually compelling and contemporary gimmick than previous peculiar palettes -- e.g. crayfish nerves, hair, a washing machine. But how they go bout conveyin' this one is the clincher. Some bits distinct as billiard balls and poker chips, some presumably actual instrument, many manipulated to the point of could-be-anything, the concurrent sense of unnerving doom and daffy cartoon; this is in the pitch of plastic. Slickness turned sickening, convoluted yet accessible, wobbly+rattling+riveting, the uncomfortably squeaky glaze of shoes on a basketball court or lil nips to the brain. Pliable as hell and a hoot to boot. Baby aliens on a rollercoaster? Ominous space-dust for finale forecasting the future?
Mayhem De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Meat Puppets Meat Puppets II
Memory Cassette The Hiss We Missed
Metal Gear Solid Metal Gear Solid Soundtrack
Metallica Kill 'Em All
Metallica ...And Justice for All
Mgla Exercises in Futility
Despite their namesakes, this sextuplet of title-tracked workouts is far from fruitless. Black metal that wallops with galvanic grime and ruthless riffage, meshing moods of earth-shake austerity and melodic semi-hopefulness. Prominent qualities include greatly-gruff frog-in-a-swamp vox, momentum-sag refusal, judicious time-frame i.e. wrapping things up in under 45 minutes, and cymbal-work, cymbal-work, cymbal-work.
Miles Davis Kind of Blue
Minor Threat In My Eyes
Mission of Burma Signals, Calls, and Marches
Mock Orange Put the kid on the Sleepy Horse
Going on 20 years versed and bearing that congenital era's fuzzy+melodic rockin' proudly and prosperously -- paired with Ryan Grisham's trebly-n-wounded vox they promptly prompt suggestions of FlamingDinoChunkJuniorSuperLipsIndieness; but with gee-tar licks aplenty alongside pedals that peddle both dirty fire and dreamy elegance, lithe drumming and bass that don't slack neither, buzzy keybs and kept-in-check psych-outs as bonuses, and the willingness+finesse to interrupt a clattery grunge verse with a beautiful banjo-glazed chorus, it's safe to say they've carved their own niche. Unassertive catchiness always helps too, as does having a quintuplet of genuine hits out of ten tracks; even if at least four of 'em are in the first half.
Modern Nature How To Live
Modest Mouse Building Nothing Out of Something
Moon Tooth Crux
To be clear, Carbone's clean-n-cheesy emotional rocker wails+whimpers+woahs may never sit completely right with me, but you gotta hand it to him for not skimping on the soul and sinew. Plus eventually it's evident that they're a pretty crucial piece in this accessible-metal puzzle that they pull off so well. Siked full-band commitment is certain, and here balance is truly key -- proggy, punchy, passionate, fun yet poignant, heavy but flexible, melodic and groovy and riffy and meticulous. Thrills are plentiful, but gotta love the softie-start title track's anomalous minute of roars coming off as a lil near-end gift for those who'd been pining for more pugnacity. Particularly potent right after radio-ready "Awe at All Angles" lays down a bonafide super-silly chorus that sticks with you anyway ("Awe awe awe awe awe awe awe AH-UH"). Ultimately you'll even be fine with his "fucker"s.
Moonsorrow Jumalten aika
Can't say they (like most) are able to wind through a 5-track 67-minute metal-epic without growing at least a wee bit burdensome, but oof do they wind through. From the broad and never-vagabond ebb-n-flow to the earnest-as-fuck chanting to the seamless transitioning in and outta heavy+roaring riffery/incantational in-a-storm fossil-folk/boingy-boing breakdowns, this is a masterstroke in the commixing of savage, seasoned, triumphant, traditional. An odyssey where gremlin-esque zoogenic snarls and direly dusty shouts of anguish are as imperative as the call-n-response fragile wizard and larger-than-life group-gods, the crushing+furious as riveting as the tender acoustics and ominous outdoorsy atmospherics of rope-creaks and bubblin' streams. See memorabilia-of-masterstroke "Mimisbrunn" for an adept sum-up of these fine traits, but plz refer to entire masterstroke for the masterstroke.
Moonsorrow Verisäkeet
Morbid Angel Domination
Mount Eerie Wind's Poem
Nature-obsessed and forever softly mumbling, this solemn noise-tinged epic throws you in the bottom of the desolate icy canyon where Elverum apparently takes up residence. It's a challenging journey - the early-on turtles-pace dronefest of track 2, nothing overtly tuneful until track 8, the contrast of dissonant and hushed - but the apocalyptic atmosphere and unflinching, distinct vision go a long way.
Mount Eerie Now Only
Chronicling a coda to something as crushing as A Crow Looked At Me less than a year after the fact reads like exhaustive therapy and an unnerving fixation. To continue down this conceptual path is a stretch, but the guy undeniably groks; plus who's gonna be the callous fuck that tells him to cease? This isn't a copy of 'Crow' cuz nothing really could ever be but also cuz instrumentally it reflects Elverum gradually moving forward -- bleakness broadened via fuzz and layers and numbness and some melody. There's a slight sense of solace among the suffering, some wit within the weariness, bit less recording "the death songs" and more recording songs about recording the death songs. Full of detailed memory-floods and spooky speculation and random rants in an attempt to dot-connect, very aware of the absurdity of playing those death songs at a music festival alongside Skrillex. Of course when he thinks he can have a lil romp in the grass with the sweet kid up shows those once-buried bleached bone chunks and up comes the exact process to secure said bone chunks. Dryly rosy chorus that's becoming sadly befitting for all of us: "People get cancer and die / People get hit by trucks and die / People just living their lives get erased for no reason / With the rest of us watching from the side".
Municipal Waste Waste 'Em All
Mutoid Man Bleeder
Too quick for filler and too robust for dismissal, the savvy intensity of their concurrent roles as technical metalcore/hardcore mainstays melds itself alarmingly well into this thrill-ride slab of unabashed comic-book-rockin'. As the artwork implies, be prepared for reptiles, surveillance-paranoia, ivy, and of course, full-on vibrancy - which when inflected with group-woooahhhs and falsetto-screeeeams, can reach power-metal/classic-punk levels of joviality. But they also never fail to deliver that sludgy crush, or excellent instrumental workouts (we are talking Stephen Brodsky and Ben Koller here). And just when it seems they're ready to take it easy on the title-track ender, in comes one Sarabeth Linden to vocally help crank it up just one more preposterous notch.
My Bloody Valentine Isn't Anything
Nails Unsilent Death
Naked City Naked City
Their collectively limitless virtuosity+versatility allows them to genre-weave with ease, often at times in the blink of an eye - in and out of jazz-rock both lavish and raunchy, refined-hardcore-grind-clamor, film-score re-workings - bandleader John Zorn's trademark squawking-and-gurgling-like-a-flock-of-tortured-birds alto sax can just as easily be steadied into smooth+sweeping traditionalism. The mid-section turns the controlled-chaos up a notch with a salvo of sub-minute ditties featuring Tazmanian-devil vocals from the Boredoms' Yamatsuka Eye, while towards the end a rip-roaring James Bond theme (with fake gunshots and all) is sure to gratify - particularly for those who took opener "Batman" as a red herring.
Natasha Kmeto Inevitable
Negative Approach Tied Down
Negative FX Negative FX/Last Rights
Neu! Neu!
Neu! Neu! '75
Has Neu! gone soft on us?!? Side A says yes, yet it still has their trademark qualities - mechanical repetition, slightly psychedelic and ambient, flowing water - but instead of being presented with a creepy canoe ride through the backwaters like on their first album, it's waves on a peaceful beach - almost like a self-meditation tape gone kraut. Side B nearly sounds like a different band, one looking at punk through a telescope, with more bits of weather-oriented sound collage. Pretty wicked, and the perfect companion to their self-titled.
Nick Drake Pink Moon
Nicki Minaj Queen
So much talk of this being an overstuffed+substandard past-her-prime product -- I call it an imperfect tour de force with a little help/harm from her friends. Sure Labrinth and Eminem make "Majesty" a bonafide bungle either way you look at it, but thankfully it's over with early on; and despite some dips into the generic the remaining near-hour is brimmin' with hits, knowhow, and lolz. Her adaptability and self-assurance make it: bars-n-rhymes over bangers are clearly her forte but the r&b is convincing; she goes head to head with Foxy Brown and complements Ariana Grande; zens her body via abstinence then boasts about her valuable vag that you'll need a kneepad to orally stimulate. Half cartoon half superstar, half vicious half vulnerable -- makes many-a rapper comparably seem like a little dustball.
Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral
Wallowing in a lonely pit of melodrama, Reznor's apparently dreadful existence, though wearisome, does make for a deep, unsettling, and fascinating listen. Metal-driven robot/machine shop/torture dungeon beats are driving and intense, Eno-esque ambience parts are ominous and effective, lyrics are dark and brooding to the point of self-parody.
Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine
Buff and tortured janitor turned industrial/synthpop sex god. Happens all the time.
Nirvana Bleach
Nirvana Nevermind
Nirvana Incesticide
Nirvana From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Nmesh and Telepath ロストエデンへのパス
At a rate of an hour per producer this is undoubtedly a longwinded pilgrimage, one that's largely slow-mo atmospherics to boot. Hence it may be smart to split accordingly -- but no matter how ya spin it this offers a whole lotta expanse to get lost in. Simultaneously cinematic and footloose, many-a selection here tends to induce an eternity you're content with, whether it be Nmesh's 6 minutes or Telepath's 22. But the spacious flow on the whole is the true phenomena: think wandering through a Japanese rainforest saturated with mystery and mist and insects, warily camping under a waterfall with a mind full-a fever dreams and flashbacks, celestiality and murk joining forces, weeping melodies turned wondrous. Nice when an actual beat pops in, too -- not necessarily necessary but nice.
No Comment Common Senseless
Nuclear Assault Game Over
Oathbreaker Rheia
Object Collection cheap&easy OCTOBER
Was both enthralled-n-repulsed by this hawkishly un-musical musical art-school-play mania; and upon learning this is indeed a staged performance piece that only seems to include instruments for additional anarchy, color me enlightened as well. Strident scripted discourse, semi-controlled chaos to the nth degree, savage all-out 10-person scuzz-fests merging with meandering elementary dissonance, the pomposity of politics+philosophy+such in the spoken word format -- they're bent on agitation and exasperation for sure. But oh what a cast: esteemed dialoguers bursting with personality that are smart and silly and stimulating on the regz, unforgiving violin shredders that impart frantic protest participations and a lovely description of Pac-Man and 2017 as we know it/20202025. At least they know something bout thematics and flow, noise piles don't hurt neither.
Octo Octa Resonant Body
Omar Souleyman To Syria, With Love
Operation Ivy Energy
Orchid Chaos is Me
Otoboke Beaver いてこまヒッツ
Ought Sun Coming Down
Akin to country-cronies Viet Cong, they're palpably post-punk-conglomerates -- markedly when it comes to vocalist Tim Darcy; who manages to summon Bryan Ferry's wounded vibrato, Andy Gill's fun-free deadpan, Mark E. Smith's cluttered mutter, David Byrne's bug-eyed solicitude. Not that his pliable mimicry isn't really damn riveting. It is, matter-o-fact, so fortunately the driving+noisy shard-squeal-guitar tunefulness more-than lives up: tangly full-band dynamism is a wonderful thing, and their ears are wide open when it comes to the whole tuneful thing. They've even got a sorta-master/center-piece: "Beautiful Blue Sky", whereupon they're rendered, well, beautiful, and Darcy temporarily transforms into a social-nicety-spouting pull-string doll. Duly noted from title track: "I'm talking out of my ass."
Outer Heaven Realms Of Eternal Decay
OutKast Aquemini
As soon as track 2 comes in, it is easy to see this is a new, determined OutKast. ATLiens was great, but they trumped it with this one. A big but very consistent album that also welcomes risks - interludes, skits, a barebones jail-phone rap, old b-sides, whatever they want, wherever possible.
OutKast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Panopticon The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness
Vox are frustratingly faint on the black metal side, hesitant-n-mumbly on the americana side. Its 2-hour length is ludicrous, and oh right it's been requested per Panopticon that you listen in full while hiking or something. Whatever way you decide to get it done, it's a demanding commitment that's rewarding perhaps because it's made by someone that's demanding and committed. Helps too when it's not only atmospherically absorbing no matter the half, but able to aurally convey the gravity+sanctity of the great outdoors through-n-through as well. Impenetrable guitar stacks, brutal+beautiful+busy drumming, crisp acoustics, violins and accordions, the mix of fury and the forlorn, wise readings, crackling fires and forestry, wailing wandering solos worthy of a mountaintop, the symphony and scale and progression of it all -- this thing is rich and dirty. When some words become audible on the americana side, we get pickup trucks on the highway; the triviality of his own mortality; scratching the itch in the room that is Donald Trump without mentioning him by name.
Pantera Vulgar Display of Power
They said it for me: "A new level / of confidence / and power."
Paradise Lost The Plague Within
Veteran-status showcased: they pummel and capture with straight-up rock-solid heavy riffage+jus' big ol' drums while remaining melodic, implement piano/strings/choirs that add touches of gothic majesty+awe to the apocalyptic-crush disposition, clean-vox/fierce-yells/harmonies are comfy alongside impeccable and coherent growls that have been shaped+nurtured over some 25 years: lines such as "You wish to diiiieeee" appropriately sound like the world being swallowed. Structures sprawl some but never dream of fleeing that groove -- they're particularly proficient at the slow stuff, even when it gets down to a decimating crawl. And other than the aforementioned orchestral implements, they seem to reject extravagance -- as if they need it.
Parquet Courts Sunbathing Animal
Dumb-smart stoned-slack singers, trebly oddball guitar-intertwining mixed with noisy garage punk, cut up lyric bits all over the artwork - almost like if Pavement acquired a taste for bug-eyed shouting and unrelentingly keeping up a momentum. The fast+frantic ones are the wordiest as well, they can make everyday riffs sound fun again, and just to show they really mean business, there's two excellent slow-burning sprawlers right where we need em.
Parquet Courts Light Up Gold
Parquet Courts Tally All The Things That You Broke
Patti Smith Easter
Pavement Brighten the Corners
A more reserved, mature, wordy, polite-sounding Pavement - but still undeniably Pavement.
Pavement Demolition Plot J-7
Easily my favorite of their early EP's. "Forklift" is an underrated Pavement classic, "Perfect Depth" is an early hint of where their sound was headed. All good tracks here; a short, sloppy, satisfying listen.
Pearl Jam Vs.
Maybe this is Pearl Jam feeling loose after the front-loaded, single-machine that was Ten. Of course this is full of singles too, but its key to excellence is that none of these songs are for stadiums - there is not much in the way of big bombast here. Plus, he mumbles and yells alot.
Pere Ubu The Modern Dance
Pig Destroyer Explosions in Ward 6
Pinegrove Cardinal
With their half-hour of emo-ish yearnin' and woes wrapped up in ragged-n-laggard countrified aesthetics, they pull off a nonchalant just-rolled-outta-bed feel that is amiable and intimate -- Evan Hall's erratic and downtrodden whimper-wails serve as a catalyst for instability, and much like his fellow bandmates, doesn't think twice about shrouding brilliance with laxity. Hopefully he takes comfort in the fact that somewhere between the loss of old friends through fuck-ups and resolving to make some new ones, he's got quite the supportive troupe in the meantime.
Pissed Jeans Why Love Now
Having gone from playing punk and scarfing sugar to anticipating a deadly diagnosis and singing the blues, an aging Matt Korvette's rude awakening serves as sick-n-sludgy commencement. Granted, the swamp-creature delivery renders it ridiculous as is, but no Pissed Jeans record could stay forlorn for long; so in come a buncha one-to-three-minute invigorators and some more important matters -- the asininity of astrology, kneecaps becoming a deal-breaker, the encouragement of sexual exploration, playing Jumble with 'ignore', being labeled a decent person just cuz of society's sad standards. Also featured is the forever jarring and perfectly performed macho rave centerpiece "I'm a Man"; suspect until determining that the raver+writer is (slowed down?) female author Lindsay Hunter satirizing it the fuck up. Punk playing and sugar scarfing still apply, btw.
Pivot Gang You Can't Sit With Us
Pixies Doolittle
Playboi Carti Die Lit
Ponytail Ice Cream Spiritual
Primal Scream Screamadelica
Prince 1999
Five albums deep, Prince finally found the throbbing arrangements that properly correlate with his sex drive in the form of indefatigable drum machine malleation -- rigid repetitions are gleefully prolonged and teased out and before-U-know-it exorbitant sagas are suddenly borne from mechanized mania-pop, squeak-toy/cheeky-synth melodies and corybantic funk keep the party alive and weird, an acronymic title is unveiled as a cardinal Prince motto while the non-acronymic title that follows gets hypnotically half-spelled out. And given the pairing of our character-at-hand with more-than-ever room to get down and let loose, it's inevitable that ambition and whimsicality reach new heights: car-n-horse-metaphor-laden night-cruise cock-rock, ad-libs only a chosen few could get away with ("I'm not saying this just to be nasty / I sincerely wanna fuck the taste out of your mouth"), girls weeping beneath wailing guitar solos, a goddamn freedom ballad, finale-promulgation of his very own come-hither aircraft ("The Seduction 747") with sly double-entendres aplenty slithering out the cockpit ("This plane is fully equipped with anything your body desires", "We are now making our final approach to satisfaction"). And really, what better way to vent political+personal frustrations than some aggressive mattress-squeaker fuck-thrusts?
Prince Purple Rain
Prince Dirty Mind
Stripped-down high-pitched pop-genius gender-bend half-hour fuck-fest. Fun, funky, and full of personality.
Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Image Ltd. Metal Box
Pusha T DAYTONA
Accomplishes precisely what was hoped for outta this all-shortie 7-track Wyoming series: a superb sampling of the MC at hand and an airtight package of unassailable verse+beat solidity. Plus a hook or six. T goes hard-n-triumphant but is continually composed, full of exactitude and accentuation and detail -- the deficiency of gimmickry is wonderful, as is how his now-notorious ender-disses toward Drake and Wayne highlight hard truths rather than spit senseless spite. As is his disgusted yucks. Some Standout Sum-Ups: "So I don't tap dance for the crackers and sing Mammy / Cuz I'm posed to juggle these flows and nose candy", "The Warhols on my wall paint a war story", "I am your Ghost and your Rae / This is my Purple Tape".
R.E.M. Reckoning
R.E.M. Document
Radiohead OK Computer
Ramones Leave Home
Ramones Road to Ruin
Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves
Randy Newman Dark Matter
Rapsody Eve
Red Krayola The Parable of Arable Land
Regina Spektor Soviet Kitsch
Rich Krueger Life Ain't That Long
Lyrically lush and casually impassioned and pouring persona -- enough to coax me out of a comfort zone that often discounts the barroom bluegrassy blues types, especially a dude whose open mic live videos don't garner 500 views. But this random rambler wields a backing band that's classy and comprehensive, a gospel choir that are set to stun and seem to really care bout being there, and most imperatively a confident welding of wit, wisdom, affection and detail. He drunkenly falls for the bar singer night after night, Sex Pistols and f-bombs ain't just exclusive for flashbacks of being a dumb+horny 17-year old; yet he has the warmth to do the ol soulful chestnuts of church bells ringing and a light shining down justice. A sucker for kinda-cynical Christmas closers that casually segue into "Feliz Navidad" I am, but let's give it up for "Ain't It So Nice Outside Today", which oh-so-affably condoles and buoys those with maladies: the bent and broken, the deaf and blind, the shaky-handed and wooden-footed, the ones that bleed every time they take a shit.
Richard Dawson Peasant
Rico Nasty Nasty
Tho she does dabble in the carnal don't assume she's Cupcakke type nasty -- Rico Raspy or Rico Rejector may be more accurate. Your bae pressin' her is more of a haughty hassle than a situation worth wallowing in; and rather than recite knotty-n-cunning wordplay she's good getting by on tuff spittle-spraying tude and aggressive ad-libs alone. Too cynical and severe for crossover pop potential but leans into it anyway; "Ice Cream" in particular being a standout sweetener for all that surl while winningly wielding all-too-obvious truck-type tunage. A while later is when Lil Gnar's gnar finally calls for the mosh pit its numerous metal leans hinted towards, only to be soon out-raged by Rico herself times four-or-so. And for the record, best bedroom boast goes to one BlocBoy JB: "I get ass like a chair".
Ride Nowhere
Rilo Kiley Take-Offs and Landings
Rolo Tomassi Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
Their fierceness and delicacy both sport a sheen so clean and an aura that could soundtrack compilations of anime scenes -- and for the level of beaut they produce it's a satisfying shock when they go all opposite on ya and turn savage; only to meld it all magnificently to boot. It can come across long-winded and fickle but what an exceptional-n-powerful weep+roar patchwork: dreamy drones, post-y segues, bearable prog, menacing metalcore alongside epic emotional swells, Eva Spence vocally back-n-forth killin' it as subdued seraph and bestial shrieker. The thoroughly dramatic flow's decisive moments include the twinkling affability of "Aftermath" morphing into its game-changer aftermath and the stunning 8-minute blast of bliss that is "A Flood of Light"; which immerses you in exactly that.
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels
From start to finish, at nearly a non-stop pace, this album is like being in the gnarliest, angriest nightclub ever. It gets in your face and simply stays there. Short and to the point, and all 10 tracks are great - I wouldn't hesitate to call any one of them my favorite. It's also deceivingly complex, the aural beatdown it delivers can distract you from noticing at first.
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 3
El-P is the kind-uh dude who starts a verse proclaiming each new LP is his cock in a crate and ends it with a clip-o-wifey halting him from calling said cock a unicorn horn, Killer Mike the man whose mama hurls dinnerware at him for swearin' and smokin'; perhaps rightfully so. Yet as a no-plan tag team they've dealt out heavy+hectic hip-hop that's progressively more portentous-n-incensed-n-proficient with each release despite a lack of stylistic and cover-art diversity, and on this tertiary try they feel more extensive than ever. Both the topically distressed and utterly ridic are thoughtful+biting, detail and aggression fine-tuned, quite the pickin' of prominent hooks (rapid fire spell-out, generic telecaster man, barefaced "I'm the shit bitch"), an assortment of prosperous guest spots (Kamasi Washington with some sober sax for unforgotten friends in the grave, Danny Brown for the kids and xtra zaniness, ender employment of Zach De La Rocha and Nadya Tolokonnikova for xtra politi-rage.) And as a duo that's putting this out there to kick off 2017 -- "Coming soon on a new world tour / Probably play the score for the world war / At the apocalypse play the encore" -- they may be the most feasible. Additional kudos for the packaged cute lil stickers and revealing lyric sheet.
Sacred Paws Strike A Match
It's apparent approaching the second half of this 10-track debut that tight jangly-twang is surely their comfort schtick, and by the time ender "Getting Old" rolls around it kinda reads your mind. But rarely is their oh-so-buoyant verve not magnetic or calmly bursting with bustle -- Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rogers make for a team to be reckoned with, not just through guitar+drummin' finesse but vocal harmonizing/anti-harmonizing as well. Simultaneously betraying each other lyrically but usually good for merging into 'woah's and 'oh's, they honey up deadpan distress in a way that's complex, catchy, and composed. As do the ska-ish horns and obedient handclaps.
Sacred Paws Run Around the Sun
Saor Forgotten Paths
Wish it wasn't as copious on the voiceless patches, plus I do tend to get wary at the implementation of precious piano and predictable posi post-y buildups in my black metal; or most anything for that matter. But its overall mixture of ferocity+epic is difficult to deny -- lush and all-enveloping, massive and roaring, violin+flute straight outta the magic forest, acoustic mattering, windswept mountain-demon growls getting along with softies. The folksy input in particular is pretty top notch, and when this is firing on all cylinders it's truly a beautiful thing. Then for a finale it takes up near 5 out of near 39 total minutes dwelling on crashing waves and elegant bleh.
Sebadoh Bubble and Scrape
Sheer Mag A Distant Call
Shoot the Dancing Bear Reversing the Atrophy
Shugo Tokumaru TOSS
To call Shugo's compositions congested or erratic wouldn't be inaccurate, but it would be doin' them a disservice. Though a trusty acoustic takes precedence overall, he's a restless multi-instrumentalist and ain't afraid to show it: and even at their busiest, the coloration of his aggregations eclipse the confusion. Probably helps that his whimsy-n-warmth are infectious as heck -- dynamic fantasy pop-rock briefly plunging into a backwoods hoedown, a circuitous and condensed could-be movie score called "Cheese Eye", a stockpile of instruments tumbling out of a closet, bricolage music called "Bricolage Music", sensitive tape-hissed bedroom ruminating -- a striking-tho-tangled compound of impish and intimate. "Bricolage Music"s bricolage: bells+whistles, raspberries+farts, rapid-fire extra etceteras.
Sigur Ros ( )
Simian Mobile Disco Murmurations
In collaboration with the cavernous+commendable all-female Deep Throat Choir this pair-o-producers sees their rather orthodox deep house go mystical, chilling, incantational, perhaps ice cold dance pop. It doesn't ever quite catch up with "Caught in a Wave"; which solidifies the tone early on and gloriously, emanating equal parts black hole and beautiful -- but those pining for primal-thump protractions with the chants to match and space soars and 'ahhh'ing into the abyss will surely find an agreeable groove to stick with. Choir that blurs cautious church-backers with warriors cert don't hurt.
Slayer Show No Mercy
Sleaford Mods Eton Alive
Can't call it their definitive best or a first-rate batch of Williamson rant, but as a followup to the last two it's certainly a solid stylistic solidifier. Still sticking so stiffly to such a scant-n-repetitive setup feels like refined defiance at this point; silly inescapable grooves you won't remember tomorrow teetering towards a sort of boundlessness. I.e. if you're down with the aesthetic and they keep sticking to it you could love em forever. And although yellin' and bass-lines and grit will always profile em Punk, I swear these machine-tight throbs and subtle touches got em more techno than ever.
Sleater-Kinney No Cities to Love
The opening full-on ferocity of "Price Tag" had me double-taking at these ladies' ages - and though from thereon out they tone down the turbulence, it allows for some pretty idealistic blending of tough+raw with sweet+catchy; with consistent mastery in forming crooked+crafty hooks out of their jagged guitar jolts throughout. Confident, fun, hard-hitting, oh and a reunion album at that. Mean age: about 44.
Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Sleater-Kinney One Beat
Slint Spiderland
Slowdive Just for a Day
This epic scale-version of all that is slow, sad, soaring and serene is just so pleasant and soothing (numbing?) to listen to that I will tolerate its monotonous qualities - but for abridged listens, tracks 1-3 or tracks 5-7 usually do the trick.
Slugdge Esoteric Malacology
Proggy death metal duo that has alot more goin' on for them than a gastropodous fixation, to put it lightly -- huge full-band fabrication many actuals would die for, mingling of growl/rasp/near-operatic cleans, robust+technical performances through-n-through, stockpile of riffage alongside labyrinthine structures. Encounters with deja vu and 7+ mins being the norm make em kinda tiresome, but there's so much elaborate heavy horsepower to dive into here; and ooo does it sound good. Slimy icing on the cake is also swimmingly integrating their sludgy namesake.
Sly and The Family Stone Stand!
Soilwork The Ride Majestic
Sonic Youth Goo
Sonic Youth Dirty
Sonic Youth EVOL
Sonic Youth Sonic Nurse
They almost make greatness sound dull at this point, or maybe it's just effortless by now, who knows. New level of skill realized in non-cacophonous guitar intertwining, Malkmus-level of skill reached in nonchalant nonsense vocal a la Thurston.
Sons of Kemet Your Queen Is a Reptile
Important lesson learned: never underestimate tuba as a bad-ass bass replacement in a jazz quartet; the remaining three players in this case being saxophonist and a pair of percussionists. Together they'll take ya on a trip on every tune but shun getting too airy or long-winded, collectively let 'er rip at times but stop short of mad squawkin' and tumult. Their forte is fiery directness; power and rhythm. Dips into the slower+softer aren't quite as successful but make for some fruitful breathers, and having a knack for swampy reggae cert don't hurt. And whereas we get lizardry, all their Queens are powerful black women -- see bookended voxers for some scarily relatable thoughts on the issue -- "Fuck the fascists, end of story / Fuck em all, fuck em truly", "Don't wanna hear that racist claptrap / Anybody chat that crap get clapped back / Don't wanna take my country back mate / I wanna take my country forward."
Sophie Product
Sophie Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
After an excellent-though-lopsided compilation of singles+attachments called Product and contributing many-a bomb beat to Charli XCX, I was eager to see how Sophie would operate on a formal full-length. Turns out it's lopsided as well; but conjures up a flow that winningly correlates with the presence at hand: jerky and disorienting, warmhearted yet uncompromising, drives ya mad then eases you into cooling lapses. Its clang outweighs its cute but delivers ridiculously-n-epically for both while managing legit buildup balladry and an ambient soar that's immense if somewhat idle; jagged thwackin' is met with exactitude and pop music is perverted. Heck, squeaky clean mixed with disgusting -- hogs snorting their own slop could pass for both vox and beats at points. Fave point may be when you think you're at the fabulous catchy-carrot finish line that is "Immaterial", only to carry on for 9 more minutes of something akin to a beautiful torture dungeon that you die in.
Sorority Noise Joy, Departed
Anxious bedroom-cell confinement, hospitals and hellfire, desperately eager to be the tingling lip-spit who gets to crawl under the skin of that special someone - sure, they're emo boys, decked out in all-black with gentle strings+dream guitars to help weep for the cause. But damn it all if the depressive disposition isn't persuasively reinforced with some dynamic bipolar sequencing: by the time "Your Soft Blood" rolls around with its rockbottom nightmare despair, vicious pedal-squall and doom-ridden thunder-riffs, things seem direly inconsolable; only to segue into the morning-after slacker-stumble mull-over optimism of "Art School Wannabe" ("I might not be as dark as I think"). And damn it all again if the metaphorical initiation of drugs/heroin/gin doesn't build into autobiography bit-by-bit: staying clean+sleeping in to stoner veins+fainting death to "Using"; which tiptoes in to nonchalantly put it all out on the table and accept relapsing as a tradeoff for a slice of temporary mental contentment, hence the joyously boastful chorus ("I stopped wishing I was dead!"). These guys should consider a tour with fellow pop-punker Jeff Rosenstock: he could cheer 'em up and propose the more-sustainable vices of beers+bongs, and they can all call+hang up on loved ones together.
Soundtrack (Film) Kids OST
STABSCOTCH Uncanny Valley
This nightmarishly sprawling and screamy punk/noise/prog/something/sludge trudge is torturous and tantalizing. Unwieldy and wild to put it lightly, forever fidgety and frequently ferocious; but for 90something jarring-ass minutes my eyes widen in awe rather than roll in exasperation -- in full band mode they go so hard+heavy it's impossible not to be impressed-n-intimidated, yet they chase such brazenly scuzzy extremes and spread the creepy basement psych so absurdly thick that it turns comical and uninhibited. Throw in some spoken word+whimpers, some glitchy ambient dream scum, a jungle tribe thing, fuckin' around on flutes like a group of 4th grade music class nuisances; and you've got quite the spectacle on your hands. Start-to-finish listens are probably best left for masochists, but considering the complexity and ceaseless surprises and intense-bizarre-fun combo? I'm on my 6th or 7th time.
State Faults Clairvoyant
Stereolab Dots and Loops
Stern Bone Turquoise
Anti-groove grungy-basement-prog plod that is not so much a train constantly careening out of control as it is a stumbling+depressive prisoner dragging a boulder by his neck-chain, lurching from sensitive croon+mumble to bestial grunt+holler to blatant bellowing that Brad Roberts would be proud of. The shivery "tunes" tensely follow suit with what initially comes off as careful reluctance, but ultimately emerges as semi-planned jerky-shamble slug-rock -- but you know, the disciplined kind that most likely is quite-quite planned, the compellingly creepy kind that utilize bell-toll pianos and are prone to seasoning subdued desolation with fit-of-rage halts instead of the more-hospitable vice-versa. Even their most avid advocators will find this fatiguing -- and when it comes to fatiguing, or waking you the fuck up for that matter, they're pretty adroit.
Steve Earle Guitar Town
Stiff Little Fingers Inflammable Material
Subhumans The Day the Country Died
Sublime Sublime
Sufjan Stevens Carrie and Lowell
Managing to still sound like a rosy-cheeked ghost-cherub at nearly 40 is a feat in itself, but the truly-beaming-accomplishment is songwriting that's simultaneously this sparse, powerful, and even catchy. Strewn with bereavement, animal metaphors, religion, mythology and retrospection, he seldom needs more than acoustic pluckings and piano taps to caress you like a thousand feathers and create an optimized aura of tenderness+melancholy.
Sun Kil Moon Ghosts of the Great Highway
Prior to plunging into crotchety insult-lobber/erratic autobio-rambler mode, Kozelek wielded quite a flair for tenderly mumbled yearnings and a more classical sense of unadulterated elegance -- the showcase of sublimity and grace during the prevalent acoustic+strings numbers reaches near-celestial levels with seemingly little struggle and absolutely no gaudiness, and the distorted treble-shimmer ruckus of matador-memorial "Salvador Sanchez" gets there too. Oh right, you know, Salvador Sanchez the matador -- can't get pensive without the characteristic troupe of characters: famous boxers, Judas Priest guitarists, Eleanor from the donut shop, Kozelek-as-serial killer. Not bad for the first song, eh?
Sun Kil Moon Among the Leaves
Sparking Kozelek's current cruise toward clearly strained rambles-for-rambles sake was this touchy yet touching me-first manifesto. Having not yet mastered the bereavement route that boosted Benji, his sentiments wander from TMI-n-minute tour/life diary to brusque gripes galore to the simple beauty of a park or young love; difference is here he seemed to kinda still give a shit bout sentimentin' it. Willing to sell-n-sing a tune and able to singularly pluck you into lullaby, his casual cringes at young Brits' horseshit chatter and a tennis-shoed guy for cute-as-fuck girl fan-base swap are a dry hoot; antagonizing suspected phony poets and women that in his not so humble opinion get by on their looks softly+somehow stirring. This is when personal peculiarities and playing the vet sad traditional folk man collide; a rare bonafide balladeer of gone fave guitar fixer and women both scorned and impressed emerging. Songwriting? "A big nagging cyst."
Sunny Day Real Estate How It Feels To Be Something On
Superchunk What a Time to Be Alive
The oft-plugged protest aspect here is so amiably and ambiguously delivered that most of it just comes off as your run-uh-the-mill fuzzy fervor. Which, them being them, is enough on its own. Helps that it's concise+consistent like a punk album perhaps should be, but ooo what versed maestros they are at crucial choruses, impeccable performances, melodic fire, whiny guitar hooks so obvious and ingenious you wonder if they're really NBDs. Impossibly vigorous and bright-eyed for a band that's collectively entering their fifties, not to mention maybe some of the most adept adolescence attainable at the moment. Blanket Tone: "Fight me / I don't like to get hit but fight me".
Swans Filth
Swans Cop
Out-bleaking debut Filth is a feat in itself, but revamping all possibilities+expectations when it comes to full-blown low-end vile negativity in the form of sound? Quite literally a towering obsidian mass from which there is no hope, this one earned Swans a Lifetime Achievement Award: servility and barbarism trudge rampant, excruciation is epitomized, and front-man/beast Michael Gira's speciality soulless drone-chant murmurs and strikingly harsh growls-n-groans sound straight from the dingy assembly line and piss-stained prison floor, respectively. And before it shifts to psycho-militaristic bellows, the title-track actually allows for some plainly-spoken scorn; which is not only unfortunately warranted and all-too-relevant, but also an admission -- that despite appearances, he's no match for the biggest brute on the block: "Nobody beats 'em like a cop with a club".
Swans The Glowing Man
Part familiar rehash, part lenient wrap-up, but ultimately still chock full-a transcendental gravity and cultivated formidability -- while they strip away much of the harsh looniness that was present in the pair of predecessors and tend to linger in lulls perhaps a bit too regularly, the considerable tilt towards composed clamor-chants and portentous rock-hypnotism-as-ceremony continues to bewitch and groove on a plane that only this embodiment of Swans can reach. Notable anchors include passages of punk-esque pep, Jennifer Gira's defiant+despondent depiction of her true-story ordeal with a stinking pig-man rapist, and a comprehensive sense of artistic closure. Fitting final track-title for the group who have released 6 hours of original material in 4 years whilst touring extensively and spittin' out monstrous live albums all the while: "Finally, Peace".
System of a Down System of a Down
T. Hardy Morris Drownin' on a Mountaintop
When bitter-pill-narrator frontman T. Hardy isn't calling out phony city-slickers or slinkin' 'round towns and checking into 'cheapies', he puts out the vague notion of having been there/done that/seen it all -- insistent on having "stories that'll make you hurt" but when it comes time to tell 'em, they're rendered into the small-time country-boy rebellion of class clownin' and hair growin'. What does shine however is his knack for an unlikely turn-of-phrase: his choral proclamations of not taking back the things he said OR giving back the things he took have a quintessentially rudimental riotousness to them, "they caught me napping behind a bar / outside the city inside of my car" gradually uncovers his actual sleep-spot whereabouts like a pitiful matryoshka-doll, 'Littleworth' and 'shit in the wind' are shibboleth-worthy. And his Hardknockin' backups? Pedal steel grandeur, raw-n-haggard guitars, happy-to-plop bass, contentedly garage-dweller drums, bonus fuzz for good measure -- a concordance of campestral beauty and alt-grunge-dirt, and also more-than-capable of a stupendously desolate crawl-slow finish.
Talking Heads Fear of Music
C'mon guys, no need to be scared - it's just a transitional stage! You've got 11 great songs here that range from a Dada poem sendup to tackling subjects as hefty as Heaven and Animals with unique and unpretentious grit and humor. And you've got Eno helping out without (quite) taking over. It's gonna be alright.
Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food
Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues
Taylor Swift 1989
When you have vocal hooks this mighty and streamlined 80's-homage pop production that is this sweetly irresistible (the stuff is engineered by scientists or something, 4 real), the same ol' tired-feeling and always rated PG themes aren't really a bother. Limited as the subject matter may be, it also is delivered and written with the consistent eloquence of a songstress-maestro.
Taylor Swift Red
Tegan and Sara The Con
The Anniversary Designing For a Nervous Breakdown
The Armed Only Love
Painted in a Noisey piece as an assortment of anonymous-ish identity trolls whose weirdness seemed engineered; reliant on hype via a try-hard+enigmatic 'what even is a band, man' eminence -- so perhaps just let the music here speak for itself. Helpful that Ben Koller took over the crew's kit and Kurt Ballou is producer and Convergean consultant and quite possibly covert bandleader. Solidifying their excellence however is standing out from the hardcore/metalcore hive-mind stylistically, careening past copycat status. Synths stab through the chaotic muck, vox got variance, unadulterated vehemence and all-out scuzz make room for melody and noise pop calm-downs. And just when you think you're goin' out on a calm drift towards Jupiter, there ya are blasting off into a black hole.
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Abbey Road
The Body I Shall Die Here
The Breeders POD
The Casualties Underground Army
So undeniably catchy and tight instrumentally, you'll forget that you're spouting all the same punker cliches while singing along at the top of your lungs - which considering the amount of singalongs/group vocals, is pretty damn often. From the roar out the gate of "Unemployed/No Rules" to the proud anthemic finale of "Punx Unite/40 oz Casualty", you will find alot of the same straightforward song formula, but not a song you want to skip.
The Clash Sandinista!
A 36-song triple-LP with a duration of 144 minutes is undoubtedly a daunting proposal, but recollect that this is The Clash we're talking about -- yes, the same Clash who just a year prior had unleashed arguably the most brilliant double-LP of all time while making it sound like it went down without a hitch to boot. So also yes, the very same Clash that don't just modestly churn out 36 good-to-great tunes like no one's business, but do it with barely a lull in those 144 as well. Punky heritage is seldom visited here, most often taking on some form of experimental-ish dub-centric sparkly disco-rock that forays into any genre-combo imagined+yet-to-be-imagined at the time and kids-n-women vox/radio bits/unadulterated 'what the's to keep things lively. A shortage of 'hits' is a fair-enough swap to behold that same ol' sharp-n-adamant Clash use their most excessive juncture to get weirder and funner than ever all-the-while allowing for much musical+textural exploration.
The Crystal Method Vegas
The Cure Disintegration
The Cure Wish
The Damned Damned Damned Damned
The Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic
The Fall This Nation's Saving Grace
The Fall Perverted By Language
The Fall Slates
The Flaming Lips The Soft Bulletin
The Get Up Kids Red Letter Day/Woodson
The Get Up Kids Four Minute Mile
The Get Up Kids Eudora
The GrandPrixx Prixxology (1998-2001)
Girls girls girls girls girls girls punk rock shows punk rock songs girls work bikes the queers girls woahhhhh ohhhh ohhh
The Highwomen The Highwomen
The Jesus Lizard Liar
Not as consistent as its hoof-clad predecessor, but not as goofball either; which allows this one to achieve a louder, tighter, more aggressive sound in general. Menacing, even.
The Knife Silent Shout
The Lemonheads It's a Shame About Ray
The Lovely Eggs This is Eggland
"Repeat it repeat it repeat it repeat it.." goes their seventh mantric hook in seven songs. Said and remaining songs don't impart much beyond their titles and operate on an average of two chords per, so repeat it repeat it they do and do. This hubby/wife drum/guitar duo has the android propulsion and sunny snot tude down pat, unadorned however they might seem of meager means -- fortunately the production shoots for concentrated buzz-saw; the processed everything and shameless psychedelia and pedal profusion past in-your-face and on towards larger-than-life. Blunt+blaring funny fun, really. Methinks Mark E. Smith would've been proud of her word-ending 'eh's and the 2-minute ode to a dickhead.
The Magnetic Fields Get Lost
This is the sound of the Magnetic Fields evolving. Merritt's signature solo sound is not only kept in tact (i.e. improving), but it's also greatly enhanced by the addition of (gasp!) bandmates - excellent ones.
The Magnetic Fields Holiday
The Mountain Goats All Hail West Texas
The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
The Offspring Smash
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Paranoid Style A Goddamn Impossible Way of Life
The Postal Service Give Up
Most of the songs soar, but this album is held back by some cringeworthy moments. Usually the lyrics and the overall cutesy feel are to blame, but the arrangements are usually lush and catchy enough to make up for it. Certainly left its footprint all over the 2000s.
The Range Potential
The opening one-two punch of portentous make-or-break cliffhanger and stately dance-floor euphoria perseveres as a gratifying trend throughout -- it's consistently urgent, gripping, inspirative; and when it comes down to most overarching, celebratory. From surreptitiously championing the voices of uncharted commoners via molding barely-viewed Youtubers into majestic hook-meisters and reappropriated ramblers to clenching clean-n-classy with no forfeiture of detail-n-potency to the utilization of many-a sparkly piano and feather-flutter cymbal with no lapse of sizable significance, he blends catchy immediacy and valuable instrumentals like no one's business -- and has a hell of a time doing it. Perceived commerciality and dramatic pop-leanings may scare off some of the die-hard electro-dudes: oh just submit already. If all else fails, the guy can really champion a voice.
The Rapture Echoes
The unabashed PiL and Gang of Four influence is what drew me in at first - the pure-bouncy-fun ultra-danceability and desperate warbling had me skeptical from the get-go, but that quickly ceased, for one can only resist this kind of unadulterated joy for so long. Consistency and pacing always go a long way, too.
The Replacements Let It Be
The Rolling Stones Black and Blue
Replacement guitarists with riffs a plenty, stylistic variation, utilization of repetition, no filler - definitely the spark the Stones' needed.
The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed
The Rolling Stones Tattoo You
Not really sure about the significance, or benefit, of splitting up the ballads and non-, but either way. Excellent stuff.
The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Melodramatic and nasally as it may be, the Pumpkins really have something here. Excellent production and instrumentation compliment this huge double album with tracks that vary from wussy/gentle to angst-ridden/grungy to all sorts of in between. Surprisingly consistent material; almost everything here is not just worthwhile, but great. Though it does work better in small doses rather than the big concept album/"The Wall for Generation X" claims - you won't really miss much by not listening to it all the way through.
The Smashing Pumpkins Adore
The Smith Street Band More Scared of You Than You Are of Me
Front-fella Wil Wagner's weepy romantic zeal nearly sinks em, but gotta say it's what clinches the grandness at hand here. His Aussie ass slurs swiftly+sloppily, shouts and 'woah's with all the sincerity ever hoped for in a singalong, snarls like a grump, scolds pilot smokers, pouts like a lost punk puppy, conveys a punching bag lickspittle hung up on kissing girls and not kissing girls and writing songs about those things. And he and dat Band do it up with enough explosive melodic energy to secure myself a spot in the pit if they ever come to the States -- but I must hand it to likeminded Producer Rosentock for providing this group-in-a-room recording with frills ranging from gloriously loud guitar layers and keyb scuzz to swelling strings and somber slowdowns to the imminent gang vox and Laura Stevenson appearance. Says the 28-year old who recollects being "young once" with an impossible pining: "It's just me and Chris but he's stoned as shit and passing out / That was okay once, for some reason it's sad now".
The Smiths Louder Than Bombs
The Sounds Living in America
The Stooges The Stooges
The Strokes Is This It
The Van Pelt Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves
The Velvet Underground Loaded
The Zombies Odessey and Oracle
Thy Catafalque Naiv
Tobias Jesso Jr. Goon
Relieved having begun my Goon-swoon with this tender-to-a-T classicist before his 6'7" frame and T. Swift date-rumors seeped into the press as much as, well, the music itself: mostly elegantly-sparse piano-pop that has yours truly struggling with the fact that it wasn't already written some 50 years ago - "Hollywood" excluded only for its diffidence towards the city in question and nervous collision-of-horns coda, "Just a Dream" excluded because songwriters hadn't quite formed a knack for no-cheese new-dad balladry yet. Not to say it escapes triteness by any means - this actually revels in it, but it's such a universally-standard sort of trite that it adds to the vintage-feel purity of it all. Another media revelation: though often compared to Newman and Nilsson, he'd never heard either of them at this time. Eh, reminds me more of Lennon, anyway.
Told Slant Going By
Felix Walworth's delivery isn't just pitiful, it's painful -- so when backup co-collectivists summon 90s Modest Mouse via note-bends to help seize the vibe of mundane suburban blues or grant reassurance by grabbing face+pointing out that sadness is silly and ol' drummer-director Walworth is beautiful, it's a warmhearted and complementary comfort. Playin' it soft and slow and desolate for the majority is becoming too; not just cuz moments of magnificence burst through all the better but also the loadsa room it leaves for every trembling detail, both humdrum happenings and telling tidbits: feet in creeks, going to dinner then going to bed, waking up next to someone who's unhappy and dejectedly walking to the deli, "I don't know how to talk to you without a can in my hands / or without a can in your hands", "You got a new sweater but I didn't know till I saw it in a picture / My life stayed the same but you wouldn't know cuz I never take pictures." And for a direly discouraged drummer-director, a lotta labor. Self-Assuring Slogan: "You can battering ram this life."
Tom Waits Rain Dogs
The king of polarizing frog-rasp vocals/adept lyricism backed by what we can only imagine as a blues-trained crew of drunken carnies who specialize in rickety-thump arrangements with any ol thing found in the troves, instruments and random objects alike. They even coax Keith Richards into the madness. Though this is a sprawler, it shows off their multifaceted talents - tender ballads, wild ruckus stompers, dark & dingy alleyway spoken word, low-key creepers, would-be hit singles if anyone else was singing, etc.
Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones
Tool Ænima
Travis Scott Rodeo
Renders the redundancies of hip-hop profligacy into an elaborate and intoxicating Terminator-esque wasteland where everything+everyone sounds larger-than-life: the hooks are I-give-up indomitable, malefic bass strangles the senses (and apparently broke all his mama's vases), bushels of nuance continuously tumble from the smoky depths. Some leeway is lent for oddball playfulness and mopey warblers, and though gravelly grandeur is most certainly a massive hoister, let us not forget the oh-so-essential profusion of show-stealer guest spots: The Weeknd's miraculous alien-hook, the hilarious gasconade of 2 Chainz ("My bathtub the size of swimming pools / Backstroke to my children's room" "Drinking breast-milk out a lean cup"), a Toro y Moi collaboration that somehow does fly pretty damn high, T.I. as part-time narrator (!), the amalgamation of Young Thug+Justin Bieber (!!). Ah and there's this "Kanye West" character stumblin' and wailin' through some anti-art attempt at artiness -- supposedly he's a mentor now or something.
Tree (IL) We Grown Now
It says alot about youth's dominant presence in hip-hop when the merely 35-year-old Tree sounds like he's spittin' from a rocker on the front porch and croonin' after a few too many at the VFW -- ODB or Rick Ross's weathered uncle, or Makonnen's wise grandfather perhaps. His dusted soul beats and Chicago crime come-up and god-given gravel voice make him seem worn beyond his years, with a sense of knowingly having missed the stardom-boat for better or worse and craftin' a quality quickie just for kicks when he's not caring for his kids. Only two tunes over three minutes and four under two, sentiments simultaneously offhand, consummate, effortless, broad, heartfelt, awkward. His singing is ludicrously lovable, give it up for sincerity and warbly low registers. Tho I do appreciate that when "No Lies" makes a point to tell no lies, it's pretty plainly spoken: "I did drop out of school / I smoke weed and cigarettes every day / I'm 35 years old / Epic did sign Bobby Shmurda over me", "I may never do a show again / I hate being famous / I hate it", "I've never been faithful / My sons love me".
Tricky Maxinquaye
Tropical Fuck Storm A Laughing Death in Meatspace
Diggers like to sing the praises of Liddiard's lyrics, but the thick-n-slurred accent and confounding arrangements often camouflage em. Certain curiosities will cryptically poke through -- crackerjack Australian coke, the USSSSSR, an adios for the cast of Happy Days -- but his unstable snarlin' suavity does the trick on its own, with fellow Droneser Fiona Kitschin supplying sweeter+clearer femme-vox foil. As for those confounding arrangements: masterfully messy and in the moment, dirty yet diapasonal, colorful and chaotic, refreshingly radical for a rock band in 2018. An exhausting thrill and a half.
TV on the Radio Dear Science
Twin Shadow Caer
Based on the initiatory trio you may assume George Lewis Jr. requires the ladied likes of Rainsford and Haim to generate the jumbo-stadium lighter-waver pop that reaches for the same Petty-n-Springsteen that said trio references. Yet even with should-be smash "Saturdays" supplying an impossibly irresistible boogie, I do prefer the palpably personal all-alone aftermath. He confirms the 'shadow' in his pseudonym is outta shyness, literally and artistically -- certainly don't make him any more anti-anthemic when he wants to be. But balladry and drama are kept in check obnox-wise while continuously grabbing your attention and heart strings, "Littlest Thing" is probably the biggest thing here, interludes offer soul searching and poignant origin recognition and rain. He yearns and loathes to simultaneously be cool, famous, quiet, faceless: any ol way he chooses, he tends to pull through; not to mention warrant that lighter wave.
U.S. Girls Half Free
Abba-swagger, ice cream shop-pop circa 1960s, cogent+chilling tense+dense electronics, a proper rock n' roll song just for kicks -- the warm+wonderful catch being the bulk of it filtered through a subaqueous vhs-muck of sorts with general spectrality throughout. If somehow forced to make a wager, I'd say at least two songs are slow-mo'd, at least one guitar solo is a sample, and "Window Shades" would've been a surefire hit in 1976; then you've got sinking ships and wobbly-riddle-noise in the mix. U.S. Girl Meghan Remy is both show-runner and cake-icer: haunting and passionate and even grandiose when applicable with uncanny vintage-charm, does her own backups, knows a good hook but commits to the weird, starts by abhorring her husband's familial whoring and finishes with the promise of a presumably-permanent black limousine send-off.
Umberto Alienation
Fits all too suitably for the coming of fall -- sad, haunting, conjures up images of old rainy forests+video game dungeons when flutes are flourished and traveling towards a black hole when it goes techno, etc. It oft opts for lingering and repetition but is permanently stirring, attaining a kind of grandness when taken as a whole: pacific piano and omg earnestly epic melodies make for some seriously serene comedowns from the space-synth savagery and driving creepy-crawly beats, and the flow not only balances out tru-2-lyfe horror with utter placidity but retains such a compellingly remote aura throughout. Oh and the he-and-she spectral operatic bellowing as sole+only-sometimes vocal inhabitants? Enchanting whenever wherever, duh.
Vangelis Blade Runner Soundtrack
Vektor Terminal Redux
Just for disclosure, yeah I skipped out on that whole story-concept thing: chiefly cuz sci-fi sagas, especially in album form, aren't really my bag/who has the time?; but particularly because the poundage and propulsion of this shrill-hawk snarlin' light-speed rip-roarin' technical precision-fest is sustenance enough to make a tale all-too-ignorable if you so choose. Not too long after they give in to a track-4 interlude is approximately when things begin to blur a bit, but even then it's quite the on-the-ball blur -- the birr alone is a furious force to be reckoned with, the cohesion still ceaseless, the catchiness still convincing, their prog never usurping their thrash. A track-8 pedestal-o-granules brings 'em back to top form and paves the way for some unforeseen cleans and the epic/even soulful 13-minute ender they deserve. And I get restricting the fantastic femme-vox to the bookended charging+recharging of voids, but ooo it would've been nice to see that wealth get spread. Some contrast for the fury, ya know?
Violent Femmes Violent Femmes
Voivod The Wake
Ardent tellers of technological terrors that they are, perhaps Voivod saw the present as a particularly opportune time to give a record some extra oomph. Haven't heard anything past 89's Nothingface personally tho, so maybe that's presumption. But an album of this caliber this far downstream is a triumph; don't hurt that it also makes impending doom kind of a blast and effortlessly encompasses their mastery. An exercise in tightness+tone+chemistry that still riiiips, riffsriffsriffsriffs, prog with punch, dorky but persuasive, bassbassbass, oft funny (likely unintentional), drummer that's been there since 82. Theatrical in that its machine steam spurts and walkie-talkies and space drone put you precisely on location and it ends with minutes of nothin' but a dramatic violin duel; but it's their thrash and snarl technique making me a believer. Plus I swear I've battled an NES boss to the beginning riff from "Event Horizon". Distich most worth revisiting on 12-minute repriser-finale: "It's scary / it's crazy".
Vredehammer Viperous
Vundabar Either Light
W00DY My Diary
Washed Out Within and Without
Wasted Shirt Fungus II
Wilco Summerteeth
The first 6 songs alone are enough to cement this album in your memory for all of eternity. The rest is probably almost as great, though it takes a less immediate route with some minor missteps. And that combination seems to be the appeal of Wilco - they initially come off as slightly-above-average radio-pop softies, but just below the surface they are often morbid, complex, more than willing to experiment, and never taking the easy way out.
Wipers Over the Edge
Wipers Is This Real?
Wire Chairs Missing
Wire 154
Wu-Tang Clan The W
Wussy Attica!
X Los Angeles
X Wild Gift
Yes The Yes Album
Proudly boasts the essence of the era like a badge of honor, and it certainly adds charm here - the long, proggy songs with multiple sections, out of nowhere transitions, production somewhere between shoddy and trippy - but above all, this is simply a very fun, enjoyable listen.
Yes Close to the Edge
Yo La Tengo Electr-O-Pura
Yo La Tengo Painful
Yo La Tengo I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too
Torn apart by what's more lovable here, the wacky swirl of rando-timbre crammage (bass-y piano plunks, muffled thud beats, tinkling twiddles, wonky noise pulses, video game spaceship gunfire?) or the spontaneous+organic anything-goes energy that constantly oozes out. Weirdness so damn melodic, insistent and fun that it blends into shortish-song pop seamlessly, enthusiasm so damn infectious an eye ain't battin' when they switch from soul-soothe-croon to throat-scathe-scream, or harmoniously beckon each other round-and-round via whistling/yells/chants/handclaps, or just settle for some plain ol guttural gibberish.
Young Thug JEFFERY
A gem in Thugger's cluttered discography fo sho, for the vivacious versatility if nothing else -- not just in his everlastingly elastic flows, but the ability to tote stylistic identities and a bag-o-tricks that are as colorful as his song-titled idols. We see him rockin' reggae on "Wyclef Jean", rapid-fire-spitting during the enhanced-Future impersonation of "Future Swag", breaking out the earnest creaks+pleads for "RiRi", going all choked-up gorilla on "Harambe", pursuing pop-man possibilities harder than ever alongside Idol #1 for the fascinating finale "Kanye West". It's the kind of artistic turning point that further cements the chance of "Jeffery" making it onto a few deity lists.
Young Thug So Much Fun
Youth Lagoon The Year of Hibernation
Zeal and Ardor Devil is Fine
Kinda comes off as a brusque draft for an ingenious amalgam, but genuinely ingenious it surely is. And seemingly sweeping at 9 tracks in ~25 minutes -- 3 of which provide amply sacrilegious interludes -- the brevity is honestly a bolster if anything. Amalgam At Hand: black black metal, anti-god straightup spirituals, Ray Charles, glitchy electro-hype, Tom Waits, crystal-laden hidden rooms in NES games, chants+chains melding with digitized double bass+scuzzy screechin'. And yep, somehow so seamlessly and righteously rousing.
Zola Jesus Okovi
Too frigid for pop prominence yet too cautious for the guise of goth, but surely a solid middle ground is struck. Exceptionally stirring is suicide awareness coexisting with adventure advocacy; but right, on the whole it's routinely rather breathtaking. Tho its grandness does get dampened by staying stiff to a hampering degree. It'll soar, thud, rustle, drain, suck you in, maybe even life-affirm -- but I'll be damned if it don't seem inescapably vacant.

3.5 great
(Sandy) Alex G Rocket
Could do with less mumbling and countrified moderation, but as a homegrown indie gallimaufry it's got compact charm. A few irrefutable pop breakthroughs, more than a few undeveloped dreamlike doodles, spruce acoustics and piano aplenty, genuine back-porch warmth+longing temporarily disrupted by a dip into dank-basement darkness that casually commences with "Witch" and creepily gallops on "Horse" before industrially culminating via "Brick". Touch of goofball throughout culminates via jazzy outro. Presence of a pup all too welcome.
(Sandy) Alex G House Of Sugar
2 Chainz Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
7 Seconds The Crew
9 Shocks Terror Zen and the Art of Beating Your Ass
A Giant Dog Pile
Having already procured what'll probably be the best band name/album title combo of the year, these Texan rock&punk&rollers aim for a garaged rowdiness that's radiant as it is dirty, sweet without nearing saccharine and rough without reaching ridiculous. Though a bit too customary to contend in any other 'of the year's, I'd say we have a winner -- consistently contagious, loud+blistering+raw complemented with the convivial+melodic, illuminated frontwoman (Sabrina Ellis) and bass-lines (Graham Low). It only really lets up for some post-party stoner-love acoustic whimsy near the end, buzzy keys and horns occasionally jab through and entirely enhance, and the slacker "bop bop" backups come off as both parody and panegyric of antique eras in rock music -- something they're also devoted enough to to make sure "sex & drugs" and "rock & roll" each get their own song; always a good sign.
A Sagittariun Elasticity
Admittedly began skipping past most of the talky transmissive interludes after a few plays; cuz hey, 70+ minutes of heady techno is mentally taxing on its own, never mind the added occasional shift into philosophical brain-buster discourse. But they do make this beat-ridden beast feel comprehensive+cogent and also complement the surrounding compositions, as in they too make you sit back and think "like, whoa, man": spacey but never limacine, involved without being too burdensome, a vivacious and varied sound palette that's fond of muzzling its melodies. The ender emergence into the hustle-n-bustle-n-rainfall of Myrtle Avenue fittingly feels like being dropped back into normal ol' reality -- though there's no 23s noticed throughout, it's safe to say Elasticity is this sagittariun's very own version of Operation Mindfuck.
A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory
Adrian Sherwood and Pinch Man vs. Sofa
Sherwood & Pinch are longtime dub and dubstep producers respectively; and though they lose some steam after heading into more amorphous territory this crackerjack collab seems to be down with just seeing what sticks. Rigid and sparse and oft picking unpredictable paths, but deep hypno-techno grooves kept in gear. Lotsa squeaks and ummms and static scum, brings dat bounce and knows how to make hi-hats gyrate. Hard and haunted, yet always sprinklin' in some twinkle: beautiful plain piano increasing the mystery or the Lee Perry/sunset on a beach saxophone cameo, for instance. Sparkly Xmas respects intruded on by a sour mess. And tho that bass booms finely throughout, for the trunk-totaling building leveler check ender "Gun Law"; refreshingly shouted to boot.
AFI All Hallow's E.P.
Fun and energetic autumn-tinged quickie stuffed with 'woahs' and a you-guessed-it Misfits cover. All you would and should assume.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Honky Reduction
Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Converge The Poacher Diaries
AJ Tracey AJ Tracey
Like many-a grimer's flow, Tracey's broodingly braggadocios expertise-n-earnestness approaches oppressive. But not many carry this much comfortable crossover appeal while remaining so lyrically deft+dense. He's got enough suave r&b lover-man charm to pull off stuff like "I wanna get you home and give your thing a thumping / I carve the pussy up like I'm cutting pumpkin / Pussy like The English Channel every time I jump in"; later on labeling her ex-man "a lab rat". And for all the swift exactitude dude's got quite the kaleidoscopic quiver of ad-libs, impenetrable tangles of slang and rhyme, accented accentuation for days. No pills/just chill his m.o. from the get-go yet could calmly kill it at the club, perhaps preoccupied with possessions and sleeping with people but so pumped bout his success on "Doing It" you can't help but root for him. See "Country Star" for what Young Thug's guitar album shoulda went for, and personal fave "Horror Flick" for fantastically furious Halloween cheese -- in which ad-libs include "watch out", "grrr", "blahtt", full-moon howls.
Akhlys The Dreaming I
A deep dark plunge into an infernal vacuum that is bloodcurdling, all-consuming, and curiously accommodating for 5 tracks / 45 minutes of black metal. Though its environment seems inflexible when compared to, say, Leviathan's 'Scar Sighted', this still summons up an admirably hellish aura that spares plenty of room for bleak ambiance and dizzied horror-guitar-pierce within the heavily massive atomization and witch-shrieks.
Alabama Shakes Sound & Color
Wreaking some havoc in the americana/roots rock world; genres all-too-generally associated with overblown corn and hackneyed songwriting - traces of which are substantially absent here. They cook up a sound-combo so vibrantly vintage+radiantly modernized and perform with sweaty-garage good-natured passion; plus through all the charismatic wails, big-stage slaughterers, psych-outs and slow achers, it's the fast+friendly punky rager that earns the prestigious title of "The Greatest". A band whose commercial recognizance and success not only is well-deserved, but also a declaration of hope in the continuance of quality and innovation in the ol' dinosaur that is rock n' roll.
Alcest Écailles De Lune
Alex Cameron Forced Witness
Alex Cameron Miami Memory
Alice in Chains Dirt
Amnesia Scanner AS
A 21-minute slice of ominous and whacked-out electro-grime; awash with dirty deformities, walloping 'what-the's, stutters-n-sputters: muddlement abounds fo sho, but hacked+marred vocal deliveries help accelerate conditions into gnarled club bangers for contorted creatures, and though these six arrangements lurch and confound with the best of 'em, each one does tote a sense of compactness. Comicality amongst the inexplicable: cartoonish boinks and a hook that sounds like "mush head".
Amnesia Scanner TRUTH
Not only did I find this single but semi-segmented 15-minute journey tune preferable to their more conventionally formatted 6-track EP from last year, it made me appreciate that ol thang some more too. This further firms up their distinct rendition of warped electro-grime -- buzzy and bruising with ne'er an element going unscathed by its whacked out wrath, trouble sitting still, terrifying+incomprehensible club vox from time to time, damn catchy or near ambient when they wanna be -- and hearing 'em pull off this kind of extendo ebb-n-flow so fluidly with no lack of subtleties and extremes is endearing. Just wish they didn't blow most of their lunacy load in the first 150 seconds with all those video game motorcycles and rapid-fire alien annihilation, excellent a section as it may be.
Amon Amarth Jomsviking
Yep, it's got all dem viking-lyfe-metal platitudes: us vs. them outlook, summoning inner strength, brutal battles, harrowing weather, raising horns+pouring beers for fallen freebooters, fulfilling destinies on seas of blood, etc. Then halfway through they dare to break out "The Way of Vikings" as if that wasn't already their ingrained band motto to begin with. But they wear their vet-status for this disposition loud-n-proud -- performances, though perhaps a bit recycled, are reliable and heavy and galloping round-the-clock; impressively decipherable growls are on point and allow for a welcoming coherence+precise depictions of injurious actions and various weaponry, they don big choruses and love to exude triumph but don't plunge into Cornville or shy away from piano-plinking amid tributary balladry. Notable/novel moment comes during "A Dream That Cannot Be", a guy-gal back-n-forth of bad-assery between Johan Heg and Doro Pesch that works way better than it probably should. Not-so-long story short, haughty-n-macho rescue is attempted and met with rejection and independence, then he goes for the forceful grab, and, well: "I pull the knife I've concealed / I put the edge to his throat". You go, girl.
An Autumn For Crippled Children The Long Goodbye
The compressed+processed nature and all-too-abrupt blasts of distortion layers can grate, the black-gaze screech feels a bit by-the-numbers, the eyebrow-raising band name makes 'em a tough sell - but they conjure up admirable atmospheres, they're great at utilizing haunting+ambient new wave synth, and whether it's fast+energetic or soaring-sadness-crawl they always send it ripping towards the skies. Oh and the drumming. Pretty good drumming.
And The Kids Friends Share Lovers
And The Kids When This Life Is Over
Anderson .Paak Malibu
Fresh off his particularly illuminated guest-work on Dr. Dre's 'Compton', Paak delivers a full-n-flowing semi-filmic experience of his own: one whose bonafide and infectious old-meets-new soul&b uber-warmth is oft-mated with/accentuated by retro surf-talk samples and bittersweet familial nostalgia. Sure, the sustained breeziness it suffers from transforms to tiresome sex-corn now and again, there's some standouts yet it never really peaks -- but when instrumental suavity is this sumptuous and consistent, those very well may be non-issues. Plus he's got some hip-hop chops and is able to make jumping into bed with him sound nothin' but playful; Miguel could learn a thing or two here.
Andrew W.K. The Wolf
Anenon Tongue
Maybe obvious from an opener named "Open" that's replete with bird tweets, but through all the lonely airy sax and loopy piano layers and weepy drone it's capturing+integrating the 'outside' elements that ultimately sells it. The actual alfresco, sure -- window ajar on a windy day, close-by chimes, a ship off in the distance, rainy dayz -- but also the warmth that comes with hearing the performer's shuffling about and maneuvering fingers. Securing a synthesis on both synth-n-saxophone that's bewitchingly haunting and bonafide beach-breeze, well that certainly helps too.
Angaleena Presley Wrangled
She'll never be as darling as Kacey Musgraves or the perfumy-n-cosmetic gal Mama wanted -- her thankfully-thoughtful country has rock appeal first and pop appeal second albeit compels in both, rebel status patent but striving to be more reasonable. Not to say tude has therefore subsided. Opens with a pair of what could be grim Grease b-sides, then out roll those lingeringly clear-cut well-worded matters at hand: a preacher's perishment at the hands of his suspiciously wooed wife, a phony priss's blessing resulting in a nice hard smack, the blues via merch slingin' and tour travelin', the confinement+chagrin of domesticity on the particularly phenomenal title track, a vehement hootenanny called "Country" that all at once is parodic and rowdy and fit for sports arenas and has a Yelawolf rap that shouts out Sturgill Simpson. Closest you'll get to religion is being chock full-a bourbon-n-birr and opening that motel's bedside drawer. "Suck on that", indeed.
Angel Bat Dawid The Oracle
ABD rides the line between mystic and putterer -- the haunting titular weeps of "What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?" eventually stumblin' into a static mumblin' of the same crucial query, space-airy noodle jazz that can near transcendence yet is content with abruptly ending when "it's good enough" or supplying sadistic improv for a quarter-hour. So take joy in the little things -- bass throbs, a free spirit, the pretty vs. raw, the crackle, the anxiety, that air, memories of playing the recorder in 4th grade. Answer to aforementioned crucial query comes two trackzz later: "We Are Starzz".
Angel Olsen All Mirrors
Animal Collective Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished
Animal Collective Here Comes the Indian
Animal Collective Feels
Contains some of AC's best (Grass, The Purple Bottle, Banshee Beat, Turn Into Something) but also pretty boring in parts. Still a great listen, lots of layers, complexity and fun as expected.
Animal Collective Centipede Hz
Animal Collective Fall Be Kind
Anna Meredith Varmints
A dizzyingly incessant opening salvo that could be used as an exuberant-yet-terrifying rally-theme for medieval plunderers is followed by cordial-n-cute dual-vocal clicker-pop, midway shmup-plug "R-Type" allows formidable gee-tar wail fireworks to blossom from an elegant techno escalation only to succeed it with the plain-n-true brilliant-n-beautiful pop song "Dowager" in all of its weeping and semi-extended glory. So yeah; between the instrumentals and non-, the 'lectronic and organic, meandering and diligent classical propensities vs. complex and cunning candy-pop, it's a jumble and a bit exhausting to boot. But there is a melding of discipline, delicacy, and weirdo cartoonish pomp that consistently captivates throughout, plus space-soaring and seemingly always having something ticking or ringing the night away helps too.
ANOHNI Paradise
Last year's scraps, perhaps -- but I dig the decreased pop-anthem approach and trickier back-n-forth between Oneohtrix Point Never's spacey stark and Hudson Mohawke's harebrained boom-bap. Melodrama and stunted political statements remain, but "you're a mean old man" and "I'm gonna hate you" and presumable earth-crumbling get the point across righteously enough; and whether buried in bass+squeals or conspicuous+quavery or a condignly choked up guest-fretter's queries as conclusion, the voxin' is defiant and haunting. Side Note: fuck transphobic Sputnikers.
Aphex Twin Windowlicker
Aphex Twin Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt 2
It seems like maybe around 75% of the total effort put into this EP went into the first track, and definitely around 75% of the total tracks on this EP are hardly songs at all - but I do get a kick out of ol' Ricky D. toying around with this awkwardly plain soundscape and understated equipment, and most of the resulting oddball-cyborg-piano configurations creeping around within. And I'm okay with computers doing most of the work - from the background-sound of it, this guy's got kids and maybe a dog to tend to anyway.
Aphex Twin Collapse
Arcane Known/Learned
What originally sounded like stale shlock eventually transformed into pleasant polish, and I got past the leviathan length and shaky concept - partly from taking it one disc at a time, but mostly because, well, the songs are great, even if 90% of them are overlong. Their classily restrained prog rock weaves from the softest of soft acoustics and piano to soaring mellotron symphonics to the heavy stuff with fluidity and expertise, the lack of production-gimmickry is admirable, and of course the vocalist: a sappy and skillful beaut indeed, whose range can take him from genteel+angelic falsetto to triumphant+shirtless mountain man yell.
Artificial Brain Labyrinth Constellation
Asagraum Dawn of Infinite Fire
Asobi Seksu Asobi Seksu
Assuck Misery Index
At the Drive-In in•ter a•li•a
I swear, OG groupies had exceedingly high expectations or forget what made em such a force in the first place or their eagerness for non-nostalgic rackety emo just isn't there anymore. Preferring the old stuff and construing this reunion as contrived or superfluous in this case is certainly just, but not really rightful as a default assessment. Their vim ain't as spirited and they kinda rest on doze laurels but doze laurels are still complex and cutting and catchy and refreshingly riotous, vox are extra gaudy and intelligibly obscured but still chock full-a color and emotional cogency and steadfast spitting compelling ambiguities -- at the very least they don't overstay their welcome. Guillotine claps and bagged snakes for all.
Atom and His Package A Society of People Named Elihu
Silly synthpunk and comic critiques of your own corpulence are all fun-n-games til a diabetic diagnosis demands disbandment and excessively puerile punk seems petty in a post-9/11 world. Somewhere between the antiquated candy beats and his constant bug-eyed creaking and gauche goof-ups and Yoda impression it'll likely prompt some cringe, but it's more opt to conjure up delight and guffaws. And he covers alotta ground in his own way: he brainstorms a school where gym class is nonexistent and Assuck plays the prom, boasts about his bad record collection, befriends some black metal dudes, plugs Philly while acknowledging its shitty side, sings one Happy Birthday to his "perverted and weird"/bearded/"fucking disgusting" friend Ralph and another that's applicable to any human, celebrates a friend's fertilization while remaining wary of breeding and baby poop. And at the end he becomes, like, a band. Artists caught while playing What's That Fragment Of A Cover Song: Eddie Money, Pavement, Fugazi, Wu-Tang, Dexy's Midnight Runners.
Aux Field Square Landscapes
awakebutstillinbed what people call low self​-​esteem is really...
Recoil if you must from thatbandname and long-ass album title and lowercase necessity and screamo kicking off 2018. But their organic old-school mien and quiet-loud facility strike a nerve; if too sad or shy or sweet for too long in comes that resounding eruption and the bloodcurdling shrieks for catharsis. Good on the canorous pop-punk immediacy and raw rabidity right along with the tension building and truly tender.
Bad Brains Rock For Light
Bardo Pond Dilate
Basic Rhythm Raw Trax
Raw Trax in that they each clutch tautology like a crutch and can't be bothered to explore much outside of whatever vocal-sample-snippet and twitch-beat was there at the kickoff, and if you're looking for melodies plz look elsewhere. But for how stubborn and protracted these not-quite-Basic stop-n-go Rhythms are, they also never fail to keep things fun, groovy, alive and well; each one drilling its distinct and vaguely hip-hop-flavored concept into your psyche as you helplessly jerk around all the while. Both the ecstatic thrill of weekend rushes and the moody stillness of twilight hushes are channeled, and though the voice-clips dip heavily into the generic, they undoubtedly help anchor the Trax and even form a semi-hook at times. They really are Basic, though. The voice-clips, that is.
Battles La Di Da Di
Voiceless math-strut-rotes held together by bubblegum pep and John Stanier's always-a-pleasure drumming, remaining instrumentalists merrily+melodically transmogrifying into each other while sustaining that playful+busy sound-throng hustle. A bit spotty, yes, begins to blur by the second half, sure. Pretty piquant for a putative comfort zone, though.
Beach House 7
Beach Slang The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel
Fervid aliveness-devotee-frontman James Alex reveals his 41 years from his immovable worn+torn delivery, but on paper he reads like the overzealous naivete of a young-buck-punk who sees pure volume, inebriated bliss, and music-in-general as perpetual life-forces worth dedicating his entire being to, for better or worse. Which makes the concision of this concentrated package-o-passion all the more rational: you get the feeling their all-around frankness partially stems from eagerly savoring the same wild nightlife-hazes and noisy shimmer-heavens they sing about and play aloud; too caught up in being young-n-alive to muster much more than direct+assertive sub-3-minute-tunes. But an acoustic/piano/cello ballad-as-centerpiece and lines like: "I try to write, try to use my brain / But every time I try my heart gets in the way" are strong tip-offs towards being consumed in sheer emotion enough to where they just can't be bothered to embellish. Good-to-Know Line #2: "Most of the words get stuck in my mouth / But I mean all the ones that punch their way out". Nuff said.
Beastie Boys Ill Communication
In one way I love the aesthetic of it - cheap speaker vocals, live garage funk instrumentation, raw anything goes attitude, old-days hardcore tribute spurts. But then we've also got buried rhymes and an album that feels overstuffed. Good instrumentals, but the amount of them drag this one down a bit.
Beatrice Dillon Workaround
Behemoth I Loved You at Your Darkest
Not sure I could name a name broadcasting Satanism more earnestly and large-scale than Behemoth chieftain Nergal. His growls perpetually powerful and snarls always spiteful, metal that's severe and colossal but suitable for stadiums or symphonies -- a commixture of carnage and speed and class that's acute enough to make you consider conversion. Seemingly resting on their laurels a bit here tho, laudable laurels they may be; perhaps guilty simply of not possessing the insistent impact of its predecessor. But hey, they've even got the kids-n-choirs involved. And what aspiring atheist hasn't gotten a kick outta replacing prayer's 'heaven's with 'hell's? Now they just get to hear it roared atop some sincere+epic fury.
Belle and Sebastian Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Ben LaMar Gay Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
Ben Seretan Bowl of Plums
Just so happened that my introductory listen was on the gray-n-hazy morning after Election Day -- and despite personally possessing no particular political affiliation nor detecting any surety on the subject from Seretan, revved up mantras like "you came and took my blues away" and "I'm getting out" couldn't help but resonate, a legitimate "I'm so happy I could cry" went and turned sardonic, his synthesis of serene+sensitive folkie and trebly guitar mangler expressing a felicitous fusion of pensiveness for the past and warranted turbulence-bursts. But his aforementioned could-cry delight and shameless squeakiness scores one for purity, hope, and built-up combustions: his blues actually DID get taken away, he thanks his lucky stars for his family loud-n-proud, he quivers with flowers and pianos over visions of you on the water, "Cottonwood Tree" is a true-blue indie-slop classic in 2016. And just when you thought it was gettin' too pretty: "Put a cigarette out in the eye of bad vibes", from the one entitled "Blood in the Muzzle".
Ben Zimmerman The Baltika Years
In a sense, an archaic-computer version of Sebadoh's 'The Freed Man' -- a frowzy throng of homemade bit-n-piecery where "lo-fi" is genuine circumstance rather than ersatz aesthetic. The machinery in question is a 1992 Tandy DeskMate, which is approached with a prowess for purely-personal-experimentation, managing to humor, haunt, puzzle, and enthrall as it galumphs along in a non-duplicative raw-relic fuzz-world. The chronological aspect is fairly captivating, too -- these 31 tracks span a decade -- though little-by-little progression-over-time is discernible, it's overridden by just seeing what sounds+tones he can get squelchin' out of this thing. Some selections lean towards sketchy download-only old-school RPG soundtrack (is "Grumble Grumble" not a nod to Legend of Zelda?) and others go for breakbeat techno even if the equipment seems determined to withstand a fluent groove. And of course it's got your sheer fuck-around next to moments of genius, grime-warp voice/pitch/sampling ventures and some rather-beautiful plain ol' piano.
Bent Shapes Wolves of Want
Nearly wrote 'em off as all-too-familiars whose LP here seemed all-too-curt, but the chummy+canny pop sensibilities are strong with this one -- frontman Ben Potrykus's proneness towards (actual) singing is appreciated as is his casually savvy lyricism, front-ish-woman Jenny Mudarri provides ample backups and ah-ah-ah's for supplementary sweetness, and their output evokes/ensues the bygone Masshole-alt-rock lineage of Buffalo Tom or The Lemonheads or when they get fuzzy and solo-y, perhaps some Dino Jr.; albeit peppier interpretations. Bonus points for still tossing in the ol' acoustic+piano down-n-out ender and suddenly breakin' out the wordy-n-goofball plain-spoken section in the middle of a sub-2-minute tune. I think we can all agree that "Xerox Voids" ends way too abruptly at just over a minute, though.
Bernardino Femminielli Plaisirs Americains
Though he initiates as a warped-n-muttering whoever with a penchant for kraut-punk and strident amp squeals, the prevalent persona unexpectedly ends up a breathy+enigmatic French Seducer Man who whispers over soundtrack possibilities for 70s street-crime flicks/foreign art films. "Hooks" that emit murmurings of "taxi" and "the police" sound straight from the steamy shadows of the night and I just assume all that other stuff I don't understand is pensive poetry or attempts at wooing. No-bullshit electro bumpin' and the casual coating of industrial/droning/psychedelia beef things up and give it cred, but most commendable may just be how sincere the schmaltz is: the balladry and pianos, the extended wailing solos and squeaky saxes, the misty melodrama wrapped in nighttime swank. Not to say it doesn't sound ridiculous, indeed it does -- they just do ridiculous pretty damn well.
Beyonce Lemonade
Even if the cheat-centric celeb drama is a contrived embellishment at best and a tricky Tidal-tempter at worst, Bee's got the economically expert voc-cords and 'tude and stylistic melange and thoughtful production to back it up. Make no mistake; dealing with deception and heralding defiance are smell-n-taste tangible throughout, but my what a medley of methods: desolate heartbroken balladry, belligerent frayed-at-the-seams garage rock starring Jack White, a good ol' fashioned hootenanny, reconceptualization of a 13-year old Yeah Yeah Yeahs hook and the reggae horn, an uber-resolute morale-peak climactic triad. Or perhaps from a crasser stance, it's just kinda vivifying to hear a lady this illustrious nonchalantly toss out there that she's gonna fuck her up a bitch and no-bullshit gruntingly exclaim "suck my balls balls".
Big Black Atomizer
Big Black Songs About Fucking
Big Black Lungs
Big Black Bulldozer
Big Black Racer-X
Bjork Volta
Black Anvil As Was
For some aging hardcore heads, they sure do present quite the rippin' metal mixture -- pretty blackened through-n-through, but they whip up choice cleans and soaring harmonies as handily as the ol dense-n-dirty snarl&thrash; oft in the same song. A propensity for heavy metal classicism also protrudes, hence the mosh-prone stomp riffs and lengthy motorcycle-on-the-highway guitar solos that shred right on through the fade-out.
Black Dresses Love and Affection for Stupid Little Bitches
Black Flag Damaged
Black Flag Live '84
Overlong, sorta sloppy even for a live record, certainly barebones when it comes to banter -- but Greg Ginn's packed-with-jazz-n-riffs guitar work is seldom sweaty and frenzied as it is here, and other than entirely eschewing 'Damaged' this is pretty great as an extensive expo of Black Flag's many eras; from the brief punk blasts extracted from early-dayz EPs to the tormented sluggish sludge-fests to the purely instrumental freakouts. It opens with one of the hindmost, their very own 'get it or get out' albatross.
Black Sabbath Vol. 4
Their folly is our treasure, slightly scattershot as it may be.
Black Sabbath Sabotage
Blawan Wet Will Always Dry
Bleached Don't You Think You've Had Enough
Blondie Parallel Lines
Blood Incantation Hidden History of the Human Race
Bloodbark Bonebranches
Its pace can be plodding and the dramatic rigidity nears comical, but coming through at the end of the day is a damn-well symphonized and enthralling epic. Too pretty and measured to transmit malice but thunderous and blackmetals with the best of em -- the type that WOULD have icy Planet Earth-esque cover art instead of cryptic scribbles, and actually kinda live up to it. Keybs feign flutes+strings+ghost choirs, cymbals splash, pianos twinkle, somber soaring is on point, snarls are vicious, thrashin' is intense-n-touching; and it's all immaculate enough to render it straight stately. Would be nice to see a followup tarnish things up a bit tho. Presumable title of followup: 'Tendontrunk'.
Bloodlet Entheogen
Growing up, I was always intrigued by this album and its refreshing sound compared to the rest of the Victory Records roster - very brooding and evil; slightly off-kilter, proggy metalcore with a vocalist that sounds like he's taking the biggest shit of all time, and oh! that snare drum. While it still mostly holds up, there's only so much one can take - giving this album a straight, full listen is quite a challenge. And after 5 or 6 tracks, those same endearing elements start to wear on you big time.
Blue Oyster Cult Agents of Fortune
Bob Dylan Desire
Boldy James and The Alchemist The Price Of Tea In China
Boliden Landscape and Memory
Endlessly enveloped in an airy-n-dubby ghost-ohm ambient fog, which adorns these otherwise meat-and-potato melodies-and-beats with quite the spacious substratum of pensive ethereality. An aura of halcyon remoteness is in full-force and hella absorbing, the compositional bits and pieces accomplish a lot with a little, and each track still forks over individual greatness despite manifest similarities -- do they get repetitious? Oh undoubtedly. Straight-up stagnant, even? Er, yeah kinda. But between the gauzy accessibility and the cushiony tones and the deep-yet-buried bass and the near-celestial atmosphere, this makes for a notable aural tranquilizer -- one that does it (and this is important) while unfailingly pursuing dat groove, only permitting the interstitial "Interstitial" to go full comatose. Which makes for a nice switch-up besides.
Bon Iver 22, A Million
After the initial attempts of deciphering song titles and wondering if my auxiliary port was fuckin' up and suspicions that he was trying too hard to get his glitchy weird on, bonafide beauty reluctantly revealed itself as did a convoluted-yet-charismatic flow. Vernon's voice in all its shapes+sizes bewitches more than it badgers, but badger it likely will; particularly teamed up with these often shaky and deficient-seeming "arrangements" -- but following in the footsteps of recent co-collaborators Frank Ocean and James Blake, he uses the bold, downplayed, and broken to convey an uncompromising fragile man/enigmatic cyborg opus. And while his is a comparably-n-courteously compact 34 minutes, it's also the least assured. Mutations cuz the ol' fashioned folkie in an abandoned cabin kinda feels old-hat, no dearth of acoustic plucks or swelling strings+horns or plain piano cuz he's not ready to let 'em go altogether, fine fine. Could certainly go for some tidying and development though.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy I See a Darkness
Boredoms Super Ae
Boris Akuma no Uta
Boris Love and Evol
Botch American Nervoso
Boygenius Boygenius
Boyz II Men Legacy: The Greatest Hits Collection
Brett Naucke The Mansion
Brian Eno Nerve Net
Brian Eno Thursday Afternoon
Bright Eyes Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Bright Eyes Letting Off the Happiness
Bright Eyes Every Day and Every Night
Britney Spears Glory
Rarely does Glory not occupy the bedroom, and Britney's certainly got the gizmos -- blindfolds, curtains, cameras, allegorical apple pie, a better mattress -- which at nine albums deep she's seasoned at selling, albeit still somewhat generically. So if/when the easy cheesy pop and club-hype boom-drops and strident sensual swagger start to feel shallow, bask in the beats: particularly the 'do-do-do's/clacking for the privy back room and dreamy sparkle robot moans/pressing power-chord stabs for come hither invites. Or just enjoy the hell outta that easy pop and acknowledge that straddling steamy-n-silly alongside some bangin' production brings out the diva that dwells in her. Or let the casual "that was fun" as conclusion remind ya this really ain't no thang for a diva. Or just bite the bullet and report to the pole for some full circle workin' and twerkin'.
Brockhampton SATURATION II
Brockhampton Iridescence
Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town
Bruce Springsteen Western Stars
Brutal Truth Sounds of the Animal Kingdom
I'm sure if you described this as "grindcore" most kids nowadays would laugh at you - but here it is, classic 90's death/grind that somehow also merges with southern rock-tinged vocals, crust punk, some ambient/experimental; all contained in a huge album that's as beastly as the cover. Extremely heavy, fast, slow, short songs, long songs, some curveballs.
Brutal Truth Evolution Through Revolution
Bullion Loop The Loop
Simulates a dreamy vacay on a friendly-robot island -- the outre-tropical sun-kissed pop and boyishly wide-eyed harmonizing meshed with genial and dexterous electro-doodling makes for an animated and elaborate sojourn that should secure accolades from Animal Collective as well as an Eno endorsement. But through all the instrumental and tectonic prowess, he seldom comes off as anything but debonair: wind-swept strings and bird-chirps assure refined relief yet he's not shy bout spacing out for a bit or getting his goof-swank on, the elusion of exceedingly-cheery cheese makes leisure sound fetching even to a worrywart workhorse, heck there's even pieces of eugenic encouragement: championing change despite the complications it may lay on ya, literally+figuratively gettin' your feet wet, embracing cleverness+finding confidence. Given the record at hand, all are concepts he clasps tight.
Bully Feels Like
For uncomplicated loud+fun garage-punk it's well-versed, consistently catchy and rightfully polished - spotlit frontwoman guitarist is akin to a grownup Ellie McCrae whose gnarly tantrum-wails are conceivably the most prominent trait, but there's plenty of sweet+sassy contrast to even things out, and bones are broken/exes are ridiculed either way.
Bush Sixteen Stone
The accessible, ass-end of grunge, sure...but a pretty great and consistent collection of songs here, though maybe a little repetitive. Even all-too-familiar singles such as "Comedown", "Machinehead", and "Glycerine" have a great feel to them and are difficult not to sing along with, tracks like "Bomb" and "Alien" succeed at giving the 'ol quite/loud formula quite an epic feel.
Butthole Surfers Rembrandt Pussyhorse
Bvdub Epilogues for the End of the Sky
Camp Cope How to Socialise and Make Friends
Admired this mostly for them decidedly doubling down on the barebones+loopy trio config, and hey if the tune is middling Maq can always just start wailing. What I miss most, other than a shortage of middling tunes, is the wit-n-minutia. This sees a spike in spite and sulk that presently resonates hard but often they're too stiff or subdued to really sell it -- instrumentally, anyway. For voxer/songwriter Georgia, it can seem like an exercise in rawly hamming it up validated by a couple pressing matters and a dedication for dad; which tends to drift freely from riveting to redundant. In this case let's call bass that saving grace.
Camper Van Beethoven Telephone Free Landslide Victory
These goofballs' entrenchment in California punk circa 1983 is mostly referential and lies somewhere between caricature and homage - their whole absurdist-alt-country-slack-gypsy-ska thing probably would've had 'em scene-shunned from the get-go. It's heavy on the ~two-minute-instrumentals, which can get trying, but they are decently dispersed, and pretty good listens with pretty fun titles.
Can Ege Bamyasi
Capitalist Casualties Subdivisions in Ruin
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Safe As Milk
Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial
A magnified portrait of prototypal indie-boy apprehension; as in the thing flaunts 12 tracks in 70 minutes and one of 'em allegorizes the troubles of being a tyronic adult with the sinking of the goddamn Costa Concordia. But thanx in part to a penchant for rawness+ruckus+mumbling+hoarseness, its sizable scope never really leans toward lofty; and though heavy on the mope and musical miming and diffident drawl, cranium-cushion-commander Will Toledo is personable+pitiful enough to not only draw you in, but make you give a shit too. Invariably observant inward-n-outward, his narrations are oft-laced with wit, woe, candor, nobility; and perhaps some good ol' fashioned naivete -- he cries when a cop shakes him down and needs to warily ask a merciful mademoiselle if what they're doin' is dancing, driving drunk is acknowledged and discouraged without even a scintilla of advocacy or condescension, a shroom+acid cocktail gets him feeling trashy and vile instead of transcendent. Having lotsa mantric hooks never hurts either, take this decisive and descending sequential triplet: "It'll be alright", "I give up", "We're never gonna never gonna get a job" -- considering the ambition at hand, the last one at least is prolly not something worth worrying about.
Carly Rae Jepsen Dedicated
Caroline Polachek Pang
Carsie Blanton Buck Up
With a terse 10-track glide of a record as accentuator, this showcases Blanton as versatile virtuoso that's bashful, bodacious, funny, calmly aching. With ease she emanates jazzy cool, classically trained folkie, punk quirk, low-key liberation. Between the sheets with nicely dressed mistakes/just the thought of them one minute, "We stole this nation fair and square / And a whole lot of people in chains / But it was all for the glory of God I swear / And the glory of capital gains" the next. Then there's feather-in-the-breeze balladry, a lip-hair letdown jaunt that could qualify for Grease 3 material, an album title that doubles as a legit life motto, getting back in bed until the president's dead. Backing band: pro ragtag that's restrained yet rich and crucial enough to earn their own hails. Harmonizers, too.
Carsten Jost Perishable Tactics
The ominous ambience and conservative-yet-chill rainy-day house jam that kick things off ain't bad, but I'm relieved when what follows is more stark+stringent and brings on dat thump. Prolonged like most house and kinda sounding like most house too, but ooo the sturdy subdued grooves and moody doing-much-with-a-little adornments are strong with this one. A rich marriage of trance-dance-mechanical with no need to complicate things made with an ear for moving-n-meticulous-n-mysterious textures. Slight Special Touches include the feathery palm pats of "Atlantis", the "Platoon RLX" duo's cryptic and haphazardly looped dialogue, and the title track's bursts of robot breath.
Catherine Christer Hennix The Deontic Miracle: Selections from 100 Models of
Cave In Until Your Heart Stops
Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
Steadfast sustaining the winsome posi-gospel spirit found on his ultra-lit "Ultralight Beam" guest-spot, 'Coloring Book' makes for a more-than-meet titular pick: Chance's agile geniality is markedly illuminating+comforting, the plethora of partakers spanning from Young Thug to the Chicago Children's Choir bears a fete-esque vibrancy, nostalgia and newfound fatherhood permeate throughout, The Lion King gets referenced not-once-but-twice, big guffawing-head hooks and a "don't be mad!" chaff you into givin' in to feelin' good. In true guest-laden lengthy mixtape fashion, it sports its fair share of clutter and inconsistencies; and as addled voice-laden production and unabashed pronouncements of "HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD" tend to do, this goes an iota overboard on the pitch-shifts and pietism.
Chants Seven Spheres
Charli XCX Number 1 Angel
This half-automaton escapist-partier pop star likes her lovers to match the potency of ecstasy, and if they happen to peddle it as well then all the better. Vacuous saccharinity takes its toll eventually if not instantly, but once again PC Music's pristine booming-n-brash production paired with an infectious tude and boatload of stupidly fun hooks make for an irresistible and surprisingly intricate ride. Each of these ten tracks deliver their own distinct ridiculousness and noteworthy lil touches, but the winner has gotta be the stickiest/ickiest conclusion "Lipgloss". A chorus that somehow beats 'em all and raises the bar on sugary sweet alongside pussy-packed verses from Cupcakke, who brings some much needed+appreciated fiery rapid-fire raunch. Worth fucking around with and getting a cavity for.
Chelsea Wolfe Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs
Choking Victim No Gods, No Managers
Christine and the Queens La vita nuova
Chubby and The Gang Speed Kills
Clinic Internal Wrangler
Clinic Clinic
Club Chai Club Chai Vol. 1
Humungo electro compilation boasting 21 different producers and roughly 90 minutes of material which will without a doubt tucker out and become a blur of beat-peepz. Somewhat similar to that Staycore spread I enjoyed so much last year, but this tea-team here is denser+grittier musically and team-wise too; not as much of an inclination towards light and the club; commands plenty of choice hyperactive variety without ever sounding like your average ol house-dance-whatev. Take for instance the industria-scuzzed synth-buzz+machine-guns ontop of a spectral Armenian choir leading the way for clangin-n-bangin Rihanna and Oneohtrix Point Never remixes; or the anomalous 12-minute surreal-turned-space-groove anthem-4-womanhood whose inquiry about support goes from polite request to demonic demand. Which eventually paves the way for breathy moans and movin' hips to fellatio and big ass-n-tits; oh and an impolite pussy crushing your balls.
Club Night What Life
Cobalt Gin
Cold Beat Into The Air
Whiffs of ferocity-n-dissonance do show up during the first four portions of this buoyant gal-led-punk platter, as does the electronic leanings -- then in swoops centerpiece "Cracks", which auspiciously fuses all these traits into a delightfully clamant force to be reckoned with. Gelid throwback-synths and mech-beats gain prevalence as things proceed, but nada quite lives up to that decisive first half; the all-electro endeavors in particular coming off a bit stiff when pitted against their dynamic full-band compeers. So they've got a prosperous forte and an emergent alternative -- hey, some bands don't have either.
Colin Stetson All This I Do For Glory
Colin's compositions can be hypnotic or maddening or both -- between a bizarrely handled bass sax and clunky percussion and some spectral wordless 'ooo'ing, sparse rigidity-n-repetition is a take it or leave it motif. Bound to primarily draw in the tone-centric zealots and avant-jazz admirers; but brief and manageable enough to not leave normies in the dust. Plus his particular techniques are stylistically pretty apportioned: works ya in slow and seductively, hones in on hectic+dirty, stuns with softly soaring sublimity and buildups. A 13-minute closer contains all of the above.
Collective Soul Collective Soul
They know how to work a simplistic riff and an effective hook, punchy hard rock comes as naturally as mini-miracle pop rock, and they deliver consistent and straightforward songs without rocking the boat or sounding too flashy; despite the gag-worthy new age hippie lyrics. I like to think that they're at least a little tongue-in-cheek.
Collin Strange How I Creep
How Collin creeps is very much the opposite of creeping: techno thumpin' is steadily mammoth, bulk of surroundings are scuzzed+fuzzed well into the red, bombards the brain with its persistence and heady walls of sound. It can hit you like a thousand bricks, make you start seeing things, simply enthuse via texture, even get you boogieing. First three 5-minute tracks just seem like some grimy fun-n-games when compared to the precisely 16-minute fourth/ender; more alive and coarse and a head-driller than you will ever be.
Complete Walkthru Scrolls
Couch Slut Contempt
Megan Osztrosits has the stupefying shriek power to send creeps running for the hills, enough female fury to stand up to the lengthy-n-lurid sludge-punk her male bandmates firmly churn out. Right, so be assured "Folk Song" is very far from one and "Summer Smiles" certainly ain't no sunbeam. My general gripes are their tendencies to meander, linger, mutilate yer head via morosity -- but the segues that lead into melodic miracles or somehow up the aggression-ante make me glad they go there. Many-a band can pound ya into the ground with competent riffs+squeals+vigor, this one's no different. That raw inescapable rage tho; there's the true riveter.
Croatian Amor Isa
Crossed Out Crossed Out
Crying Beyond The Fleeting Gales
The band that'll make you do anything but unless perhaps out of glee, Crying oft-straddle the line between cock rock and unreasonably cutesy in a cluttered-yet-dazzling display of synth-pop prog-punk. So big+bright+bubbly, so blaring and busy bouncin', that honeyed murmurs and muffled zeal gets the job done for vox; so technical and towering that it balances out the candy while somehow enhancing it as well. Helps when through all the volume and virtuosity they never touch thrasonical, and throwing in some slow ones for breathers is restorative too -- truly helps however that they specialize in righteous rollercoaster stadium-rock rushes and crush with stardust on cue.
cupcakKe Eden
Cut Copy Zonoscope
Dance club music with depth, catchy yet complex, not afraid to throw some weirdness in there or end the album on a ~10 minute jam sesh. It also flows well, though it has its flaws - the first 3 tracks are the best the album offers up and its length; which can make this feel like a long night on the dance floor - exhilarating and energetic at first, but tiring after a while.
D.R.I. Violent Pacification
A fun and focused EP whose mere 4 tracks are tighter than anything on Dirty Rotten LP. Cleaner-sounding as well but it mostly works in their favor. Certainly no space wasted - it's just over too soon.
Dahmer Dahmerized
Dalek Asphalt For Eden
Heavy-yet-airy hip-hop duo content with a majority of the verses rendered shrouded and/or decimated by the massive murk of comfy+claustrophobic boom-beats and sempiternal shoegaze-squall -- and as adequate as their levelheaded vitality and political proclivity and antique scratch-n-sample choruses are, that murk does make for quite the delightful binder all on its own. Whether its piercing+occupying the skies or emulating slo-mo blacktop-melting summer sultriness, it persistently provides a wide world to be besieged by while retaining a drawing dirtiness throughout. Their faith in said murk certified by lettin' tracks linger and an instrumental inclusion, a nugget of their matters+concerns divulged by a scantily-clad 'terrorism' voice-loop.
Damien Dubrovnik Great Many Arrows
I still cling to the idea that straight-up drone-noise-yell such as theirs is better experienced live; the severity exhilaratingly in your face rather than eventually becoming a bore-chore while just, like, sitting somewhere. But like many-a great arrow, this soars and stabs with precision. True to form, it'll overwhelm and dawdle and force ya into being down in the dumps; but dread-n-intensity are to the nines -- and with Rahbek's jarring talk-scream being particularly indecipherable and patchy here, throw upped mystery in there too. Really providing the soar+foil tho is the startlingly gentle coalescence of epic emotivity: forlorn flute+violin, pensive ambiance, eerie lost-at-sea vibes. A pivotal balance that some may call beautiful. On a more personal level, my first go with this thang was the morning after the Las Vegas shooting. All too apt and scary as hell.
Damien Jurado The Horizon Just Laughed
Damien Jurado In the Shape of the Storm
Dammit Honey Zero
Dance Gavin Dance Mothership
Daniel Johnston Hi, How Are You
Gets by with help from its innocent/homemade/mentally sketchy charm; crude and dopey but ultimately pretty lovable, humble fearlessness goes a long way.
Danny Brown Old
Danny Brown uknowhatimsayin¿
Daughters You Won't Get What You Want
David Bowie Let's Dance
DAWN (US) Infrared EP
A steamy electro-r&b short-play that's all-too-apropos for summer and quick-fix-bliss -- 4 simmering tracks in just over 14 minutes, each an unobtrusive banger with a killer hook and bewitching atmosphere; thick with the smaze of spliffs and indecisive pining with a dash-o-defiance for good measure. Ender refreshes with plashes and purification, i.e. a bid for baptizement and "water coming down like ooo ooo".
Death Leprosy
Death Cab for Cutie Plans
Death Grips Exmilitary
Compelling pundits to redefine the parameters of hip-hop, this is possessed rambunctiousness that's both vile and worth reading into. Enough electronic-bass-blare and technical drumming to demolish buildings and attract partiers while copious glitchy scramblings and frenzied shouting get 'em running for the door and make the rubble worth cherishing. If the samplings of Black Flag/Bad Brains/Charles Manson are inklings toward their corybantic disposition, maybe the Castaways/Pet Shop Boys ones expose their sense of humor. As for Pink Floyd, perhaps they just needed a viable guitar line. And really -- who needs some superstar guest-spot when you've got Mexican Girl?
Death Grips The Money Store
Death Grips Year of the Snitch
Complaints of tone-downs or muddling are reasonable, but if you ask me this is batty and boisterous as ever. All at once desultory, disorienting, anthemic, absurd; this is a group that's increasingly cocky and curious and cryptic and prolific and not givin' a shit since melding their aggro with the portent of pop promise on The Money Store six years ago. Currently it seems less about Ride's rants and full-on frenzy and more set on sketchy-n-spastic assemblages that regularly make you wonder how you got here from there, enough so it's difficult to still designate as hip-hop. Brandishing an Andrew Adamson cameo and an outro before the weirdo-hardcore outro, part of the thrill here is the continued uncertainty after alotta listens. Other part is it's a sonic hoot, duh.
Deerhunter Halcyon Digest
Deerhunter Weird Era Cont.
Deerhunter Fluorescent Grey
Deerhunter Cryptograms
Though it's forebode by the final handful of tracks, Deerhunter's pop keenness was in pre-maturation mode. And to reach those moderate efforts, a psychotropic regimen of dreamlike ambience and backwoods brooks is there to wade through, hypno-pedal-loops and polychromatic ink to wallow in, bass-driven goth-tinged post-punk to jolt+jostle yet further entrancement.
Default Genders main pop girl 2019
Defiance, Ohio Share What Ya Got
Totally light-hearted and naivete if you ask me, what with all their bike rides and disdain for modernity. But they've also got charm, sincerity, vitality, and smarts; qualities which shine through effortlessly even on the rough stuff. Particularly Relatable Lyric - "It's been a bad day / Just listened to Jawbreaker, wondered what's wrong with me".
Dej Loaf All Jokes Aside
Pleased to be a prosperous bachelorette-boss who's dogged as hell and a bit of a judgmental beef-bringer to boot, she sports a winning 'woah' and a flow not unlike a more-intelligible/self-proving Future; and of course stupidly superb hooks on the regz. Her merging of juvenile sing-song diction and oft-glittery beats with fierce+vulgar bars and vainglory galore can come off conflictive, but the 'tude and talent and production make for some cogent convincers. Quick 2 Condemn: mob-life mockery, blogs, early-morning perc-poppers, pretty much everyone. Consumables Of Choice: chamomile tea, Smacks cereal, salad+wings, side of money.
Denzel Curry 13
Denzel Curry TA13OO
Solidifies Zel's transition from Soundcloud standout to illustrious luminary. He could almost get by on ferocity alone, but salient+savored here is upping the lyrical lucidity and formidable flow-n-flows and versatile vision on the whole. Poppier and smoother ventures truly pop; and when he pokes holes in peer's propensities for buck-stuffed pockets and percs and depression-as-nifty-demeanor it's keen and catchy as hell. And as much as "Sirens" seems like a singular flutterer that faces the frustration of today's fucked up world, let's hand it to him for ending it on a demonic note and classifying America as a fort. But "Donald Trump / Donald Duck / What the fuck / is the difference"? Dat duck deserves better.
Desaparecidos Read Music/Speak Spanish
Desaparecidos Payola
The return of this status-quo-prober side-project brings with it a big ol' conglomeration of political zeal: student protestors are serenaded and encouraged, silver-spoon CEOs are reduced to boorish frat-boys, laptops are searched+seized, a notoriously corrupt sheriff is called out right alongside passive "slacktivists". But Oberst simply flipping his rhapsodic-turbulence switch back to ON mode is the integral rejuvenator: the emphasis on sweaty anthemic fervor and forthright in-the-moment performances calls for stage dives and singalongs, and gives the commentary tangibility -- which, in true Oberstian fashion, sways between biting+righteous and bumper-sticker. The maybe-most imperative observation coming right from the onset: "We're doomed."
Descendents Everything Sucks
Desire Marea Desire
Destroyer Kaputt
Destruction Unit Negative Feedback Resistor
Ambience-as-ruse thrusts you into a hardcore-on-lsd-laced-steroids brouhaha -- catchiness is a non-factor, commonplace riffs are equipped with dense xtra-oomph enormity, ambiguous rage is swallowed up by the near-relentless ruckus of all-around thunderous heft and howling pedal effects. Principally, it's a blistering affair: although some slow-crawl and dream-lull are permitted, the first moment that could be construed as a concrete breather is near the finish, when the singer-or-whoever lets out a surfer-dude "alriiiight" and a throat-clear as if the preceding ~35 minutes were an ongoing plane-crash that he just walked away from with barely a scratch. The second breather occurs when the album's over.
Dillinger Four Midwestern Songs of the Americas
Dinosaur Jr. Beyond
Dinosaur Jr. The Wagon
Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan
DJ Haram Grace
DJ Katapila Trotro
Ghanian DJ who employs Fruity Loops and a bell to create uber-incessant kiddie-toy goofball techno beats, lays down layers of assumably improv/mostly incomprehensible yelp-fests, and even gets his fledgling pitched-up daughter in on the vocalized fun. Stylistically, it can drive ya nuts; and yes, the instrumentals and alternate versions to boot may be excessive, and well, the only discernible words are likely to be the respective song's title or his pre-moth moniker. But it's so amusing+bemusing, so unreasonably upbeat and assertive to the nth degree, so inescapably just havin' a grand ol' time -- so much so that contagious captivation overrides the eventually obnox-as-fuck ingemination. Possessing an affinity for percussion-piles/meager melodies/hurtling lions with the dynamic delivery to match will certainly help when it comes to annihilating exasperation and facilitating tolerance.
DJ N.K. DJ Do Ghetto
Comin' straight outta Lisbon, this delirium-activating disc jockey fuses the sonorities of tribal, club, accelerated city lyfe, and warped what-the -- unsurprisingly label-mates with like-minded year-fave DJ TiGa, albeit N.K. don't fuck wit rappers and remixing; rather aiming for uber-bustling groove-barrages of percussion aplenty, eccentric electro spurts, literal bells+whistles, and intermittent monosyllabic voice clips. Unrelentingly heavy-n-heady-n-hasty, it delivers a dizzyingly detailed romp, though undeniably a draining one. Standout touches include the fat+formidable ah-shit horns of "Punched Horn" and a windswept flute in "Tribalistic Face", TiGa-ish touches include gunshots and rapid-fire yellin'.
DJ Orange Julius The Grove
Can't get enough of jittery loop-head disc jockeys, apparently -- DJ OJ's form of footwork is less fiery than TiGa's, less contained than Jayhood's, and eventually more stridently relentless than either of em. It kicks off with a triad of greatness that best showcases his mingling of busy+chill mix-work; the opulent opener/A.M. drug-ingestion anthem "Still Geekin'" and smooth-as-hell jovial joyride orchestration of "Skkrtt" particularly irresistible. Then in comes the 100mph r&b, the wistful vaporwave vibez, boasts of being a motherfuckin' G awkwardly cut with abrupt opera yelps, going overboard-n-quotidian on the voice bombardment and bass vs. blip contrast. A bit of a shaky head-rush crush when it comes down to it, but ooo what feet melting fun.
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
Dogleg Melee
Dorian Concept The Nature of Imitation
DragonForce Inhuman Rampage
Drake Thank Me Later
Overzealous: certainly, 808s coattail-riding: at times and I'm grateful, cocky: quite, sappy confessional: awkwardly so. But it all sure makes for some remarkable themes. The dominant one being dealing with newfound fame: enjoying its endless perks while also feeling hesitant and overwhelmed as hell. The star of the show has the words and lots of em, but is a bit newbish when it comes to flow (especially when compared to his guests, who all provide excellence). But it comes across as authentic, which is what's really important here. And when he wants to, he can really work it: I believe him when he says he's "been up for four days making money both ways", I'm almost positive he's not looking for pity when he admits to calling "some chick I met at the mall that I barely know at all" instead of Grandma in the nursing home, and he's smart enough to ask himself "what am I doin'?".
Drake If You're Reading This It's Too Late
Refreshing lack of commercialized furnishings while still retaining the kind of hooks that dominate pop culture, which this lengthy album-quality-"mixtape" delivers one after another after another. Not to mention, his rap game also has more space and time to be properly showcased, and as usual, he's all too eager to flaunt his ever-refined skill-set; bursting with clarity, confidence, and finesse. So maybe it's PartyNextDoor dropping in from Miami with some much-needed warmth and a bottle of tequila or Lil Wayne's touch of muck that push me to realize that it's mostly stylistic neutrality that is his downfall - he's wound up so tight in fame, drama, looking in the mirror, and pushing to be "number one" that he forgets to lighten up, get loose, or mention much else.
Drake Take Care
Earl Sweatshirt EARL
If nothing else, this makes me remember high-schoolers CAN matter. Matter of fact, this makes me even MISS high school. It perfectly captures that feeling of weirdo-homemade-Eminem worship, with tons of original character and standout lyrics that are equal parts complex, smart, 'uber-offensive' and memorable. Given their age groups, all that 'uber-offensive' stuff is most likely just natural instinct.
Eartheater RIP Chrysalis
Echo and The Bunnymen Ocean Rain
Echo and The Bunnymen Porcupine
Moody and dramatic in true Bunnymen fashion, but hits all the right spots. They can write ultra-catchy-wonder songs and bewilder with oddball arrangements and atmospherics, they can be fast, angry, sad, slow - and it's exemplified especially well here with 10 solid songs.
Ecstatic Vision Sonic Praise
Even if they were armed with just propulsive headfirst distorto-space riffage and a taste for trance-inducing repetition it would still enrapture. But given all the screaming organs, claps+bongos, lost-n-floating voices, ghost horns, and perpetually wailing solos that actually don't irk, it near reaches transcendence via full-on rockin' out with a schooled vintage-psychedelic palate. The only possibility for an appropriate pairing being old-gruff-biker-guy (i.e. Lemmy-like) frontman who makes "babe-eh" sound good and is most often coughing up nuggets of advice for when high/tripping/whathaveyou: look in the mirror, don't kill the vibe/just chill instead, free your mind, etc.
Ed Schrader's Music Beat Riddles
True to post-punk norms vox convey a mumbly spectral crooner and dramatic wildman, but this bassfuzz/drum duo is texturally punchy and dancy even at their dinniest. A good giant distorted bass line always works, but ample piano and a bit-o-sax and twinkling Springsteen+New Order worship make em a bit more than rowdy beatkeepers. That being said, the more beat usually the better: see "Dizzy Devil"s yelly percussive overload and "Rust"s rigid ruckus.
El-P I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Elder (USA-MA) Reflections of a Floating World
Elucid Save Yourself
Elucid Shit Don't Rhyme No More
All the understated murk and scrappy structures might have ya seekin' some more solidity, but this transmits quite the brusque throwaway weirdo charm. Its brevity make his dense+ramblin' flows a bit easier to dig through, "Hyssop" wins with dreary drone before rapidly collapsing, "1010 Wins" reads as resolute garage rock before going slo-mo, "Rick Ross Moonwalk" has a silly skimpiness Da Boss would probably abhor. Guest-free but sampled females provide accompaniment -- noteworthily, Bjork for the kickoff and Chelsea Wolfe's snarls/Laurie Anderson's airplane prophecies for the vampire bar.
Elvis Costello Armed Forces
Elysia Crampton Moth / Lake
Elza Soares Planeta fome
Enslaved In Times
Eric B and Rakim Follow the Leader
Eskimeaux Year of the Rabbit
Sports three titles that could fly on a Kanye album and three that allude to animals, and yes duh they still align with the hypothetical adorability of the latter all the way. Their brand of shy-n-soft vivacity remains a bit more compelling and, well, vivacious, compared to the maybe-too-meager-ness of collaborator/friend Frankie Cosmos; but on the whole this is of that ol' EP type: ya know, the kinda-passive, chiefly sub-3-minute songs that neither jar nor bore in particular, cordially-adequate sort. Topics include the complications of companionship, the potential derived from a day alone, and up-n-coming NYC musician life: i.e. the yearning/gratitude for a simple dinner date instead of gettin' bogged down by all those pesky newfound plans. Crucial Query: "What the fuck is a kiss anyway?"
Everclear Sparkle And Fade
Ex Hex Rips
Ezra Furman Transangelic Exodus
Ezra's eclecticism is both a quirk and a curse, his pen and scene-setting tend to fold to trembly self-focused theatrics and platitudes -- but there's a life-affirming urgency and raggedy runaway backdrop that give this detailed departure a rather rousing oomph. Hitting the open road and evading authorities alongside a celestial hospital escapee with no plan other than living as free-ass freaks functions as a prominent thread; and what it lacks in denouement it makes up for with detours towards introspection and nostalgia. Stylistic grab-bag and sporadic arrangements give it spice; even if it means going from buzzy wailin' to doo-wop worship to sour western to conceivable showtunes. Mope about a maid sweeping up his ~very significant~ breakfast remnants he may, but dig the ingenuity of involving "Thin Mints" and "Winstons" in losing his "innocence" to "Vincent".
False Portent
Father John Misty Pure Comedy
I don't dare read through the album-associated essay and will go ahead and paraphrase a forumer cuz it's just so brilliantly spot-on: 'sounds like a philosophy major who's come round to pay too much for an eighth.' But when he's pickin' apart all of our demented monkey ways and this big ol godless rock we've inhabited, this self-affirmed 2017 fake-named speck of a white guy is so calmly eloquent-n-biting that his smug blowhard turns perceptive persuader. Commentary+candor near full-time graceful and he steadily proves himself superb at blurring sincere and not, the plain-yet-grand arrangements and track protractions and "10-verse chorusless diatribe" approach kinda drowsy but are exquisitely provocative. Blips of backward psych and internet androids help seal the cynicism, though when he turns the critique on himself or smoothly serenades his "Smoochie" the realness refreshingly cuts through. Halfway through lofty 74-minute monster and after 13-minute aforementioned chorusless diatribe: "I've got the world by the balls / Am I supposed to behave?". I'm just glad he's no longer talking about cum.
FCS North Vocabulary
Fear The Record
Fear of Men Fall Forever
For the irrefutable irresistibles check "Island" and "Trauma", but on the whole they carry quite the clout considering the skimpy+secretive setup of plain-n-pleasant femme vox/mech-drums/stringent mood-synths and guitar wringin'. Dark and stark enough to curtail cuteness, too poppy and pretty for morosity, but they do nail an in-between fusion that's consistent and concise to boot.
Felicia Atkinson A Readymade Ceremony
There's no mistaking it - this is art-rock minus the rock, so much so that some sections may be minus the art, too. Dread and mystery loom over the entirety of this avant-garde haunted-house score whose magnetism comes from her unique+subtle use of rando-sound-hushery - fuzzy-static-attacks and industrial pulses+ticks are rendered cushiony soft, ominous synths+piano plunks abound, unpredictable splashes of French-accented-spoken-word/page-flutters/footsteps/zippers/whathaveyou are used for eerie coloration. "L'Oeil" for example puts you in a bomb shelter during a tornado while she whispers a books-worth of layered cryptic mantras in your ear ("Hang by the shower curtain's rod" "I wish I was a house") followed by a slipshod spoon-on-glass coda. And that's the ten-minute centerpiece: "2nd track of the compilation".
Fennesz Agora
Finntroll Jaktens Tid
Fiona Apple Tidal
fIREHOSE if'n
Good-hearted indie-funk road rock, hooks aplenty without sacrificing its quirk or prog, and of course basswork for days. Their forays into music nerd humor, acoustic, and spoken word are also welcome, but for the true masterworks please guide your attention towards the more obvious and effortlessly breezy "Honey, Please" and "Windmilling".
FKA Twigs LP1
Flaty Generic TARGZ
Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
Fleet Foxes Crack-Up
Striking me first was the ability to pass through a six-year lapse, stick by that grand folkie feel they excelled in more than most before it quickly seemed dated-n-homogenized, and still no-prob triumph with a labyrinthine piece of pastoral majesty. Striking me second was the emphasis on ambition -- lengths, structures, flow-wise, odd passages, and so forth. The second, though it no doubt spices things up, tends to make this more knotty than it needs to be. Song-by-song songwriting suffers a bit and despite its winding it can also just become a blur of vanilla lushness. Uplifting, heavyhearted, rich, vanilla lushness.
Fleetwood Mac Tusk
Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac
Floorplan Victorious
Titanic+tenacious techno jams that entrance with ease and go hard as fuck every time, deep-rooted and stringent while maintaining that dense dance-party mindset and still dishing out the nuances. Almost all of 'em venture past the 6-minute mark, but with grooves this fluent and textures this enveloping and arrangements this accurate-n-astir it's rare for one to get tedious. The varying cast-o-voices helps fo sho -- "spin it" sounding like "square-dance", the chaotic combo of a convo and a scuffle up against the invincible orderliness that is The Beat, "mmm hmm" sounding like "mmm hmm", the chutzpa of this planet's reckoned creation and sermon-esque religious fervor somehow upheld by the surrounding grandeur. The disco-drift near the end almost seems inevitable but comes off as a jarring peculiarity -- doesn't stop it from continuing to "push on, push on, push on" however.
Floorpunch Twin Killing
Floral Tattoo You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start
Florist (NY) If Blue Could Be Happiness
Fontaines D.C. Dogrel
Impassive vox and rigidity make their post-punk plain compared to oh say Idles, but unembellished precision and Irish-dry demeanor aptly appeal. Groove and buildups perpetually vital, raggedy rock conspiring with clarity+momentum, choruses that call for shoutalongs they would never dare orchestrate. Maybe most standout however is a capacity for moving calm-downs: with sarcastic-sounding "I'm gonna be big" and "sha sha sha"s the first impression is irony; formally forsaken by the effortless melodic punch of "Television Screens" and beckon-back to when he was "a cool cool kid" whose eyes were evergreen instead of dead. Heck, the ender could close a pub.
Forest Swords Compassion
Distinguished for really setting itself apart in the electro-field without going full bizarro, and sounding, well, distinguished -- structurally spotty and sometimes draggin' yeah, but the resultant aura is a heady nonpareil. Coated in jungle dust and lil glitch-marks, orchestral yet primal, grand but nervous, foreboding but primed for whatever comes. Abruptly cut sample(?) chants boost the mystery; treading between otherworldly transmission and ancient semi-hook. Occasional operatic coo there to haunt+soar, flute-hum hybrid(?) of "Panic" there to draw swarms of evildoers out from the shadows in a snakecharmer-esque manner. Most Urgent Abruptly Cut Chant in an album that captures the consternation of 2017: "I fear something's wroOoOoOng".
Freakwater Scheherazade
Vet-status ragged-n-sensitive female alt-country-but-quite-country duo that's been active beside a varying cast of fellas since '89 or so -- and though it's their first album in over a decade, it conveys what vet-country damn well should, that is to say they're casually earnest, genuine, down-n-out-n-proud of it, prone to provocative diction and pilfering nursery rhymes for addiction metaphors. Their voice-weave is an uber-gripping and seemingly-sporadic force of beautiful disparity on its own, and the partaking ensemble dispenses just the right amount of schooled swagger-accompaniment for their slurrin' and croonin', whether it be fury-infused rock that wouldn't dare blow its top or the prevailing broken-ache dismay and eerie intimacy. Effortlessly exudes elegance, but never without some tinge of rusty suffering. Usually a solid go-to elegance-buffer, if you ask me.
Freezepop Fashion Impression Function
This makes me want to lay in bed all day, space out, play video games, "eat candy bars and watch TV". Particularly Wheel of Fortune. They even cover an old Sprite jingle. It's heavy on the remixes but most of them are worthwhile.
French Montana Wave Gods
Having seemingly seized an upsurge from his Max B-camaraderie/Kanye's recent wave-based wrangling and resultant consensual-call-as-intermission via the incarcerated B-man himself, French Montana's bailiwick remains quite rooted in the aesthetics and persons of yesteryear (i.e. ~a decade ago) -- chipmunk-beats run rampant, he wonders why street rap ain't sellin' like Kendrick, "old men" Puff+Jadakiss join forces for some wildin' while almost-as-old men Kanye+Nas dispense particularly-substantial hook-n-verse work. But due to the presumable desire for relevance and bodacious-for-a-mixtape budget, there's also your conventional Future+Travis Scott spots and grime-steeped auto-tune slathers and handful of beats-n-choruses to absolutely die for. So sure, French lets others do alot of the work, and um, listening to the Silver Surfer babble from a prison-phone is becoming painful, and yeah, there's an inordinate amount of track-skipping going on; but at the very least the highlights are well worth the jaunt: the angelic Kingdom Hearts 2-exploiting shelter-seeker with an amazing/awful hook, a rippin'-remix finale that boasts unswerving flows and fancy vehicular zooms, and French's trismic back-n-forth with young-buck Kodak Black; the latter of whom I hereby declare chief cake-taker. Not bad for being barely legal/conscious.
Full of Hell Weeping Choir
Future DS2
His stylistic+thematic limitations are conclusively divulged, but undeniably an emboldened+expanded variant of Future's recent mixtape output. The trap-house essence is more explicit and enveloping than ever: even when cash is being blown, this lucrative kingpin sounds far from triumphal; the overriding grim grime of percocet haze, blood money, and multifarious salacities bleak+plainly-stated rather than glorified+hyped-up. But golly, does it get redundant -- so much so that blatant one-liner quotables about pissing out codeine and thumbing slut-butts may occupy more space in the memory bank than song-by-song disparities.
Future Monster
The formal unveiling of a post-breakup Future who's moved past putting blonde in his dreads and hovering in pop factions, and has sunk/risen to an ultimate in iterant mumble-chants who's insistently at the top of everything yet seemingly empty inside. An incontestably filler-ish second half manages to magnify the mechanized soullessness found woven throughout the banger-packed front half: smashin' hoes who're trying to give his dick a hickey sounds like a far cry from an activity that actually gratifies him, fuckin' up commas a vapid duty rather than exultant celebration. He's full-a spiteful nasty-nast, but also piteous enough to quash it -- the surefire example being the two-part emotional-pinnacle "Throw Away", where after blaming ex-boo Ciara for caring too much about his hoe-fucking, the 'you go your way and I'll go mine' concept is translated into thinking about each other during various lecheries with newfound lovers. His specific request? "I want you to fuck him in paradise." Monster, indeed.
Future Islands Singles
Leans towards overly straight-forward and the lyrics are about as bland as words get, but they keep a good beat, have nice synths and nicer basslines and even nicer choruses, and of course a notable singer. They don't truly convince me until the excellent grouping of tracks 5-7, other than that the okay songs are about even with the great ones.
G.L.O.S.S. Trans Day Of Revenge
Can't claim this ain't unlike a thousand-and-one other hasty hardcore EPs before it, or that the majority of those k+unos will ever see a smidgen of the spotlight these Girls Living Outside Society's Shit have seized from gender-bend topicality and being the prey of some tactless Whirr-hurled scurrilities -- but their ire is formidably tangible and even sanguinary; the downtrodden+rancor-ridden call-to-arms urgent, madcap, and presently pertinent enough to seem pretty much obligatory. And the tunes, right -- five songs, seven minutes, a few shout-along opportunities, succinct shredding -- hasty hardcore linchpins indeed.
Galaxie 500 This is Our Music
Gang of Youths Go Farther in Lightness
Their stagy-n-sentimental nature is a considerable red flag, the ambition overtly overstated, 5+minute loquacities the norm and broken up with stringterludes that transmit waiting for a wedding to start. Gotta hand it to da gang, though: their drive is dogged and rather gorgeous and oh how notably amiable they are in anthemic mode. Intelligent and genuinely emotionally engaging enuff to almost make ya fret that Le'aupepe is too oft-mumbly to let em meld into the rock-band mainstream. Able to tackle wrestling with religion in a mature manner and go noisy and make gripping mantras outta shopworn positivities and seamlessly cop Journey. Corny and/or steep on the whole, but hey -- he's a "heart in the gutter type" with Springsteen in mind and Flowers for posture, Gang Green's the pastor, they're seemingly gunning for a punk rock opera of sorts. Ehh give em a break.
Gap Dream This Is Gap Dream
If you possess a general fondness towards the whole 70s proto-punk thing or that there 90s lo-fi stuff or hey why not 60s girl pop and primitive electro pulsations, you're bound to be at least a little charmed fo sho. And if you happen to like it vague&lax and jumblingly hosted by a one-man kinda-awk amateur, this may be your Gap Dream indeed. Catchy, bit-o-weird and warm-toned, innocuous enough -- notable for delivering highlights while in hiding-in-the-basement hush mode. Hush Mode Matters: feeling separated from the world and no longer looking forward to tomorrow, rock n roll, death rock.
Garbage Version 2.0
Garoted Abyssal Blood Sacrifices
George FitzGerald Fading Love
Never inching even remotely close to any form of grandiosity or succumbing to helpful pick-me-up boosts, this is straight-up late-night mood-pop that could easily transform into an assortment of dance floor bangers if not for the hushed house beats and subdued-bordering-on-completely-detached vocals. Its restraint can get repetitive - three of the four instrumentals are blatantly voiceless mimicries of the non-instrumentals - but if said restraint stands strong and continuously offers up captivating slices of alienated coherence, I'd say that's fair-enough restitution.
George FitzGerald All That Must Be
Bit bigger, less alien, more glimmer, vox/sampling broadened yet not quite as crucial -- growth that accentuates the shades of hackneyed or basic that exude from FitzGerald's nighttime house-pop. But he also remains a well-honed layerer who's superbly sturdy and makes both alot out of little and alot sound like little. Its swells are simple+satisfying rather than spellbinding, grooves-n-soundplay safe but spotless, moodz huge yet subdued. Rich in subtlety and texture and thump; yet too forthright for flubdub.
Georgia (NY) Time
Ghost (SWE) Meliora
Ghost (SWE) Prequelle
Ghost Mice Debt of the Dead
Goldfinger Goldfinger
For mid-90's gloss-punk, competent and consistent: catchiness is all-too-effortless and there's no need to rely on the singles. When ska comes 'round it's congenial and complementary, and they even throw in a thrashin' L.A.-grouser/bandname-dropper/fuck-tallier. True to genre-era-customs, some infantilism pervades, but has the decency to mostly lie dormant till the filler-ish second half -- a shower is lamented, a prank call is made, a cat gets cussed out -- yet somehow, someway, considerable highlight "Mable" has the power to persevere through a faux-English-accent "she's the bomb" hook (the last of which is actually followed by an explosion) and a package comparison (tube of cookie dough vs. small pencil with broken lead).
Gonno Remember the Life is Beautiful
Its oft-lighthearted and trancelike nature invitingly ropes you in: "Hippies" welcomes rather than shuns, "The Worst Day Ever" conveys anything but -- though enduring fascination is truly crystallized by the stupefying and subtle build-ups+tear-downs, the skillful and perpetually-sprouting layers of organic and non-, the diaphanous textures intermingling with dance-worthy grooves. It remains snugly immured in semi-hushed-house mode with a modest soft-boom beat usually there to steer the way, but moments like the floating-in-space-with-a-circuitboard ethereality of "Already Almost" and the all-around soundscape-blanketings that span from squiggling keys+pulse-waves to friendly claps+gyratory cymbals to watery twinkles+sing-snippets to even a bit o' shoegaze-gale confirm that one really isn't necessary. It's enough to remind you that Life is indeed Beautiful -- and joviality that doesn't encounter sugary, well that can be pretty nice too.
Gorilla Angreb Gorilla Angreb
Gorilla Biscuits Gorilla Biscuits
Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
Somewhat corny, bordering on ICP-esque shtick, and they say their name way too much. But great beats, raps and production, and a fun listen all the way through, right down to the mutant jam session title track.
Green Day Insomniac
In some ways, merely the "darker Dookie". Not a total repeat however - it does manage to set itself apart with nice anxiety-ridden vibes all the way through, and though still slick-sounding it's noticeably rough around the edges - a bit less pop, and though it's constantly self-deprecating, a bit more confident.
Guerilla Toss GT Ultra
Guerilla Toss Twisted Crystal
Thus continues their recent streak of records that are irresistibly intriguing yet as wholes seem weirdly truncated or not quite fully-formed. But since trading in much of the dirty+difficult din for a dancier poppier demeanor their stylistic palette is a thing to behold -- a fun fusion of punk-funk groove and synthy psychedelic oomph that's catchy and curious, full-a perk and vague absurdity, layers squooshy and massive, loud yet light-hearted, boisterous yet candied. Kassie Carlson's vox being the cutesy android icing on the wacky-cake; oft wavering between near-nursery rhyme and straight talking.
Guided by Voices Under the Bushes Under the Stars
Though its aim is more complacent and polished than usual, you still get the charming collection of 20+ seemingly half-thought out songs you'd expect from GbV. It is a much longer listen than their previous two albums, with less obvious hits and quirky misses to perk your interest - but like its predecessors, grows on you with repeated listens.
Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion I
The punkier songs sound manufactured-yet-admirable while the bluesy ones may pass for remastered Rolling Stones minus Jagger. Some tracks simply show songwriting still on the sound path of their debut but with more experience and maturity. It's grandiose and slick, but with the songs and eclecticism to pull it off - even the ballads fit right in.
Guns N' Roses "The Spaghetti Incident?"
Gurr She Says
Guttermouth The Album Formerly Known as a Full Length LP
GZA Liquid Swords
Haken Affinity
After they boot up via ominous .exe file and promptly delve into initiatory off-kilter stiff-chug riffs+emotional falsetto whines, you get the feeling there's some clear-cut cheese in sto fo sho -- an assumption confirmed by the spasmodic 9-minute followup "1985" with its sudden swerve into a sprightly shmup soundtrack from the year in question and all-out beach-biker solo-fuck-wankery. Which winds up precisely the sort of proficient polished-prog-robot+sweetly-silly-jocundity intermingle that keeps me atingle through the inevitable noodling/dragging: sober heavy-lite with transitions aplenty they do fine, but when the soft-n-soaring stuff/fun-n-flashy solos approach stunning they do alot finer. Guest throat Einar Solberg brings a much appreciated and refreshing scream-section to the table, it ends on an empyreal wind-in-your-hair note and .exe reprise/shutdown -- and is there anything more exhilarating than when the sinuous 16-minute centerpiece is succeeded by the almost-hilariously epic-n-tender "Earthrise"?
Hamell On Trial Choochtown
Heart These Dreams: Heart's Greatest Hits
Helm Chemical Flowers
Helmet Strap It On
To think I called 'Meantime' raw! Their future albums almost sound 'pop' compared to this. The riffs are blockhead but crushing, the solos sound like electrical equipment malfunctioning. Probably the most moshable music you're not supposed to mosh to.
Herbie Hancock Mwandishi
Definitely didn't grab my attention as quick as Head Hunters or Sextant, but with repeated plays I've come to appreciate it just as much as those, especially as a full listen. The ambient dip in the middle can be hard to get by, but it's a piece of the puzzle and serves as a great buildup to the last track. Has a nice airy production to it which adds to the unique feel of this album.
Herbie Hancock Crossings
Hobo Johnson The Rise of Hobo Johnson
If you want premium Hobo I propose his 'Live From Oak Park' YouTube video series; which cutely chronicles the indisputably better half of this release in all its unfussy flubbing jokey awkward glory. This merely suffices -- puerilely wailing and witty and whiny, grating as fuck eventually if not immediately, this sunk cynic-comic is best in small doses and preferably watched. Stuck on a twin-size mattress and "fucking starving" while he tries to proceed past viral, he's got an ear for pretty piano and a bad case of bacne; the most salacious stuff he'll do to your mom is eat her sandwiches and call her a great woman; his split parents and substance abuse are causes for concern. And tho his desperation can get dour, it can produce humble poignancy: "I'm an artist with a certain special something / And that something makes me really really sad because of nothing."
Horrendous Idol
Husker Du Warehouse: Songs and Stories
A fitting final album that seemingly comes full circle from Zen Arcade - still overstuffed, maturity and accessibility replaces frenzy and LSD-inspired concept, great songwriting manages to shine through production that is shoddy and stale instead of shoddy and raw.
Husker Du Everything Falls Apart
Husker Du Flip Your Wig
I Hate Myself 10 Songs
I Hate Myself 4 Songs
I Hate Myself 3 Songs
Iggy Pop The Idiot
Igorrr Savage Sinusoid
Lots to like and lots to question in this officially oddball genre-jumble. Divinely ornamented yet chopped up mercilessly, honest to god operatics flirting with barefaced shrieks+babble, bewitching black metal beside riffs from the Life is Peachy playbook, touches of sedate piano and polka for good(?) measure. Most damning contrast-combo however is that of the highfalutin and the goofy. And while jumping from ancient castles to front seats at the symphony to pushin' in the pit to glitchin' in the club is for sure made into a twisted and tantalizing tour de force, it's hard to not hear it as novelty -- it's just not all that practical. Like having three r's in Igorrr.
Illuminati Hotties Kiss Yr Frenemies
Immune (UK-LON) Breathless
Commences with a play-it-cool litmus test of garden-variety ambience-lean and atypical 10-minute understatement, then advances as an ever-flowing murky electro-river where coarse workaday dream-fog and soft-scratch shufflin' does its damnedest to muck up/enhance the buoyant dance-trance and psych-pensive roving. Smudgy layers are there for the pickin', and the more-than-serviceable beats that waft you through seem to gain cryptic appeal from their semi-concealment -- its Burial is buried, Avalanches avalanched, voices all drowned and now in phantom form.
Injury Reserve Injury Reserve
Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights
Iron Maiden Piece of Mind
James Blake The Colour in Anything
Virtuoso when it comes to bonding fragile achiness with chilly cybernetics both vocally and instrumentally -- though sad-n-slender compositions and a nowhere-to-go flow and 17 tracks in 76 minutes make this an undoubtable slog, it's a slog that's oft-striking, satisfyingly sneaky, and sometimes strange; capacious enough to still forget about/get spooked by Bon Iver's startling "wooo!" some six listens in, reliable enough to still get goosebumps on the regz some ten listens in, irresistible in its intransigence enough to accept the 20 minutes it takes to hit his stride and the inessentials and the goofball dog-barks. Crucial Lyric from the pretty much music-less ender: "Music can be everything".
James Blake James Blake
Jamie xx In Colour
The entwinement of softly minimal rave-dayz-homage and cutesy commercial aspects is bound to garner some hate from apprehensive electronic aficionados, and I'd have to concur that there is a breezy elementariness to these compositions that can suggest banality - but given the harmony between the two fields, I'd also say it's for a decent-enough cause. You could do much, much worse than "Gosh", "Hold Tight" and "The Rest is Noise" for doing alot with a little, the mood-tone is fun yet never obtrusive, the actual-vocal tracks desultorily shoved in with the sampled-vocal tracks are the crucial dimension - fellow xx'ers slip in some intimacy assistance and emphasize the club-motif with foreseeable ease, while the Young Thug+Popcaan cameo is legitimately electrifying, refreshingly edgy, and a total curveball.
Jamila Woods Legacy! Legacy!
Jawbreaker Unfun
Jay Mitta Tatizo Pesa
Doesn't reach Bamba Pana's immersive mind-fuck drilling or possess Katapila's playful squeaked/yelped charm, but I suspect when it comes to Singeli-on-steroids stuff maybe I'm simply a sucker. Constantly teetering on maddening but the cuckoo velocity and fun fused with force are always an appealing aesthetic -- painful repetition simultaneously bounces and stabs, funny meets assaultive, the irresistible mashup of primal/propulsive/polyrhythmic, the endless effulgent energy, vox nice when there but not necessary, blurring over-the-top and brilliant. Plus some cat meows never hurt.
Jay Som Everybody Works
Comes off as a conventional Cali-indie singer-songwriter patchwork: the dreamy-jangly gentle, the intimate acoustic, the crunchy power chords+dueling sour solos, the fusion of lo-fi and lush. And while none of it necessarily stuns, all of it is pretty damn amiable. The uber-warmth is steadily winsome, guitar tones are particularly terrific, you get your choice of choice choruses and mini-mantras -- my fave of which promises punctuality, lets light in through the blinds, and helps shape a beautiful finale buildup for the ages. Which, okay sure, stuns.
Jean Grae/Quelle Chris Everything's Fine
Increasingly eerily-lifelike interludes carry most of the satirical titular theme -- when it comes to the songs, often beats are too lo-fi and raps too muffled+stuffed with obscure references to outright lay down the law. Not that I'm complaining, what with all this wit and tude and worry and wooz to wade through. In your face intermittently but a lyric sheet is sure to help unveil some gems: "I ain't social til I'm belchin' off of brewski suds", "Conspiracy craze a wave, a phrase that pays / White collar suits that look like Dave Coulier", "Your balls and malt balls, same scale". Final third is the true convincer, though: "Scoop of Dirt" gets dirty with da Droog, tension-filled/lecture-led "Zero" is Grae-exclusive and goes the hardest, "Waiting For the Moon" and "River" are Anna Wise-assisted emotional+durational peaks, "Everything's Still Fine" features Nick Offerman's broadcast from a feasible future.
Jenny Hval Blood Bitch
Jens Lekman Oh You're So Silent Jens
Jessica Pratt On Your Own Love Again
This delicately-picked and softly-chirped affair rarely strays from that description, letting up only for subtle vocal & guitar overdubs and the rare touch of faint keyboard. These charming limitations are led and composed by a 27-year old who vocally summons an elderly woman with a taste for hummed/la-la-la/do-do-do choruses, and it's all hauntingly wrapped up in a warm cocoon of room hiss, nodding towards a sort of sparse & intimate friendly-ghost folk.
Joanna Newsom The Milk-Eyed Mender
Joanna Newsom Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band
John Maus Screen Memories
John Prine The Tree Of Forgiveness
My first fling with Mr. Prine was earlier this year, when a randomly selected download of 1991's 'The Missing Years' wound up being quite the excellent eye-opener; singlehandedly solidifying him as a stupidly supreme songwriter who's earned his all-time-great country cred. Flash to present day and he is now around 20 albums deep and 71 years old, frailer-n-froggier after throat surgery and a couple bouts with cancer, calmly funny and casually intimate as ever. A tight ten tracks and abundant bareness showcases his skill at keeping it simple -- and barring rhyming "way I feel" four times over on the hopefully-sarcastic God ballad, still a master of the easy rhyme. Dig the 'uh huh's after getting mail at his domestic dream house/in his own head, the one that may subtly be about chasing your dick around circa 1967 before becoming a near-blind grandpa pissin' the bed, when he's knocking on your door for some help with a can-o-beans. Definition of Boundless Love: "If I came home would you let me in? / Fry me some porkchops and forgive my sin". Happily awaiting heaven too, he's got a master plan even. Which amongst the family-finding and forgiveness includes, yep that's right, smoking a cigarette that's nine miles long.
John Tejada Dead Start Program
Jonsi Go
Julie Ruin Julie Ruin
Kathleen Hanna armed with a Casio alone in her bedroom? A good thing to imagine in many ways, allow this album to help you. Some moments of cringe-worthy silliness are forgivable when an album has this much personality, creative production, and confidence in its homemade sound.
Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience
Ka Honor Killed The Samurai
Kablam Furiosa
Preternatural electro portrayal of that time you trailed those little creepy-crawly somethings deep down into the basement, only to come upon the writhing chained-up robot creature who proceeded to send y'all sailin' through the vigorous vortexes of phantasmal choirs and clocks galore. Then those same little creepy-crawly somethings ate you alive, or the basement caught fire and caved in, or something. Surreal and turbulent and fun, only took like 17 minutes, a lion showed up? You know the time.
Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park
Kali Uchis Isolation
Stylistic litheness here is laudable -- kind of a hodgepodge, tho a pretty winsome hodgepodge. Swanky sunny-island funk, dancy without dumb-downs, dreamy vibes-n-melodies, Colombian flava, classy balladry aboard an airplane. Tunes slickly straddle the line between radio-ready pop and richly+reliably arranged, a gaggle of guest-spots range from Tyler the Creator to the dude from Blur; wish there was more in the way of remarkable personality coming from Kali however. For my money, best in show is the simplest: "In My Dreams", in which her fancied utopia is both childlike and commendable ("I'm never stressing my bills, nobody ever gets killed / It's the dream world").
Kanye West Late Registration
Kanye West Yeezus
Karenn Grapefruit Regret
Karenn Kind of Green
katie dey asdfasdf
Promptly captures the heart with warm+coarse acoustic-driven hiss and teeny+moribund cyborg-bug vocal delivery, then proceeds to incorporate jittery electronics and spawn a tender homegrown glitch world out of its schtick -- which for a sub-half-hour at least (smart move), er, schticks with you. Most of the gurgling sounds kinda how the album title looks, and hearing something about bloodsucking during a rare instance of clarity only reinforces the mental image of cartoonish insects behind it all. Some patches of messy confusion, sure, but nothing that should be unanticipated while working under the guise of sonic manipulation with a budget of zilch.
Kauan Sorni Nai
As one may expect from a post-y concept album about an actual winter-expedition gone terribly terribly wrong, it's epic, sobering, occasionally triumphant and of course gradual; appropriately moving at a glacial pace. Atmospherically it approaches impeccable, but not without some dips into the drab-n-wearying -- but not without its soars towards Blissville either, sure. Transitions into 'hey something dangerous is happening'-MeTaL-mode are just a bit contrived if you ask me, but the resultant viking growler is a worthy change-up from Finnish-lullaby-guy, and perhaps I just get sore when extracted from the pristine symphonic-rock-wonder hypnosis. And much like the Dyatlov Pass incident, it leaves you with questions-a-many: What are those kid-talking samples all about? Is this, like, what it sounded like in those hikers' heads, man? Why don't I speak Finnish? Does the percussionist ever tire of that same ol' pattern?
Kedr Livanskiy Ariadna
Kevin Gates The Luca Brasi Story
Kevin Morby Singing Saw
Morby's well-promulgated Dylanflection doesn't carry over word-wise, prompting his sorta-sagely demeanor to come off rickety, nebulous; and perhaps the least felicitous for sorta-sageness, pedestrian. Not so much to become bothersome, but rather kinda conducive to further savoring the substantial deployment of a femme-vox triad and the oft-lovely instrumental implementation. Slow-n-sparse strings-toting echo-folk suits him fine, but the doses of behavioral breakouts are vital: psych+dub fuzz and piano-trance amid mountaineering and singing saws cutting down trees, actual singing saws weepin' and wailin', a sexy sax slink-in during "Destroyer", the oh-so-essential dirty rosy medial romp of "Dorothy". Would be good to see his singing become as seductive as all the saws-n-stuff tho.
Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of Day
Kids See Ghosts Kids See Ghosts
Once again, the 7-track 20something-minute format proves a hella G.O.O.D. format for airtight beat-work and artistic showcasing. It's not as definite as Daytona, but ya gotta hand it to Kanye as curator -- not only does he know what makes Cudi tick, but as a duo they auspiciously click; and together they craft a riveting recovery record that's far more poignant and playful and diverse than Ye's pompous Ye. Mental mantras go "keep moving forward", "stay strong", "I feel freeee"; Pusha T and Ty Dolla $ign are pulled for braggadocious grit and ginormous gospelized bellows respectively. Even the Kid's moaning muppetry and sad demo-ish acoustic strummin' are well-implemented.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Nonagon Infinity
The mucho-mentioned album-as-undisturbed-loop is novel and nice, but a plain ol' propensity for breakneck psych-drenched propulsion is nicer -- they straddle the line between firm and feral, goofy and gung-ho, fun and formidable; convincingly conjuring up images of fig wasps+people vultures and continuing to command attention through the flashes of deja vu and jerky-groove change-ups that serve as calm-downs from all that buzzy racket. Oh right, the hooks and the howling; very vital as well.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Paper Mache Dream Balloon
Reasonable to reason that their daydream-moonbeam sunny psych-rock via acoustic-flute-bongo abundance is a bit tepid, but me be damned if it ain't genuine and contagious, especially for a crew usually much more electrified -- it's got soul, man. Versatility and relative vigor do the trick; and whether conveying a carefree lay-sesh in some sort of wonder-field or cruisin' down a dusty highway in all sortsa style, they do it dynamically+delectably. Also much luv to the polite pop/punk pep entanglement predilection, the healthy doses of harmonica and piano skillz, and the quavery creep detour down a trapdoor next to the particularly sunny one about the chilly carcass at the frontdoor.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Flying Microtonal Banana
Kinda miss the pure fire that was brought on by the perpetual propulsion of their loopy LP from last year, but the provided variety and perma-stellar performances and this here 'microtonal' makeup still engage to the extreme. Seeing that their grooves are tight as they are effortless and this is the first of five albums they're due to discharge in 2017, I get the feeling they can make this stuff in their sleep. And yeah the stiff glued-to-the-guitar-lick vox get old quick -- but for two-to-three fuzzy rock bands' worth of sound that employs punky-plain tunefulness and old-school dusty-desert vibes with a penchant for piano+harmonica? Sleep it is, then. Plus screaming zurnas.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Fishing For Fishies
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Infest the Rats' Nest
King Tuff The Other
KT's locutions tend toward the trite and silly: put your hand in mine, tonight we're gonna fly, the time is gonna come, isn't life bizarre??, we'll meet again someday, the moon is looking wicked good, etc. But his proficiency at painting a picture paired with big+beaming instrumentation carry him along. A softie depressive slow-burner intro and the soaring glammy psych-rock that follows underscore his captivation with the enigma that is The Afterlife; the vibrant bounciness cushions defeated nostalgia and elementary existentialism and certain doom. Helps too that most of these songs have some distinct sonic trait -- "Ultraviolet"s classic stoner guitar groove, epic bright-blue-sky synth on "Thru The Cracks", g-funk squeal for sempiternal sunshine and sweaty rattlesnakes, angel harp for the ender, harmonica here, sax there. And tho I do dig his imagery of phone abuse by everyone from cops to street punx to himself, anyone who actually thunk it to be "paradise in the palm of their hands" don't know shit. Kinda like if you're expecting death i.e. The Other to be a wonderland, when you're probably gonna be, ah what was it again? Right, "laying in some hole."
Kiwi jr. Football Money
Koji Kondo The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time OST
Krallice Hyperion
Scuzz-prog gurus ring in the New Year with an EP recorded 30 months prior that is not only more pronounceable than 2015's Ygg Huur, but more pronounced as well -- a comparable lack of superfluous meandering makes 'em more graspable; and no that's not a bad thing, especially not if they're cranking the anguished-black-metal-brutality knob up a notch in return. Other preferable perks include riffs you can dive into, feedback-wash standstills and, sure, the brevity too.
Kvelertak Nattesferd
Parched production is rather beseeming for their old-school rock/metal homaging -- as is the could-be-an-NES-game-case album art -- but I can't help but hunger for the punchier 'oomph' these riffs-n-anthemics deserve. Still, they gotz a fair flair for summoning the fun and the forceful, the past and the present: their sound can oft-channel parties+motorcycles, they're partial towards a good trebly+jovial singalong and not opposed to grandstanding a la Kiss; but the black-n-thrash tinging is rife, the snarled Nordic vox are permanent, and considerably complex ~5+ minute songs are the ushe. Also apt at gracefully driving a riff home ("Ondskapens Galaske"), brutal berserker breakdowns (ahem, "Berserkr"), and acoustic coloration when applicable.
Kvelertak Splid
Lady Gaga The Fame Monster
Laurie Anderson Strange Angels
Le Butcherettes bi/MENTAL
Lee Gamble Mnestic Pressure
Leftover Crack Mediocre Generica
Leon Vynehall Rojus
Ah yes, good deep house that doesn't dip too much into the minimal and strays fruitfully far from the sterile -- oft-optimistic without surrendering its heavy trance-bass-thump and totes a whole boatload-a-busyness without approaching extravagant. Save for the atypical ambient-lean soother intro, the grooves are robust, buildups and tear-downs are judicious as fuck, the soundscape wields melodies-aplenty and voice flashes; but more importantly, percussion-sounds-aplenty and everyday etceteras and voices going ahhhh or woahhhh. Do just about all of 'em go on a wee-bit too long? Do the voices going "your love" and "energy" feel a trace trite? Sure. That parade-through-a-jungle-rave beat at "Kiburu's" tho.
Let's Eat Grandma I'm All Ears
Leviathan Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
Levon Vincent Levon Vincent
Though he seems heavily reliant on a rarely-wavering 4/4 stomp to set the path, the layered bass-synth textures, lucid rhythms and subtlety galore that he surrounds it with are often minimally danceable and mechanically spellbinding - so much so that you may let out a gasp of your own when some voices finally surface for air ~45 minutes in. The insistence, restraint and length both captivate and fatigue.
Lexxi 5TARB01
Lightning Bolt Sonic Citadel
Lil Wayne Sorry 4 The Wait 2
Hearing Beyonce's "Drunk in Love" belittled into goofball skateboard-porn and Makonnen's "Tuesday" mutated into Wayne's A-thru-Z ode for his 'alphabet bitches' may be worth the non-admission alone, sparkin' a blunt during track intros is now a prerequisite, his ever-increasingly quivery squeak is full throttle and oft-crude-to-the-max. And despite some lazy moments and lots-a sex+spite, I swear for my non-money he's never delivered so many zingers - like the sorries, the unpredictable rhymes and ludicrous persona are tireless. Apologies accepted.
Lil Wayne FWA
Lil Wayne Dedication 2
Limp Wrist Limp Wrist
Lindi Ortega Liberty
Her wild-west schtick can seem like sort of a put-on and not all that, well, wild. But compared to what coulda been overblown yee-haw goof-offs the relative plainness is appreciated; cherished however is their commitment to the dark, the desolate, the tenderly haunting. Littered with devils and storms and horses and ghosts, rockers reserved for vengeful resurrections and callin' out fakes, Spanish apt enough to possibly woo the picturesque mystery man known as Pablo, a ballad bout her-n-her lover's love so cocksure and condescending you kinda hope their relationship fails -- when liberty finally comes it feels like a triumph. Having a voice between Dolly Parton and Angel Olson helps too.
Little Simz GREY Area
LNS Maligne Range
6-track/sub-half hour techno-house-ambient concoction that soothes and ensnares with its clean refinement and calm complexity -- mood is oft-ominous but never onerous, it's insistent but stays outta your face, preferring to remain unfussy and understated. The studious no-frills no-filler disposition here is nifty, no doubt -- but those particularly-crispy cymbal-hits, vibrant surface-scrapes, and subterranean goo-gurgles make for some pretty gratifying perks as well.
Local H As Good as Dead
LSDXOXO Fuck Marry Kill
If you're under the assumption a project called 'Fuck Marry Kill' by an artist named LSDXOXO is an explicit novelty, well, you right. The beats are brash and blatant to the point of bizarro, minced-up vocal loops are gruntin' somethings and poppin' pussy more often than not and persistent to the point of hyped-up hypnosis, a Kanye remix gets tossed in for kicks. Stalwart and forceful as fuck but always bringing on the bubbly+kooky, these are sexually-charged club bangers rendered ridiculous and playful. Opening track embodies it well: rubber bands, water drops, steel-door slams, soothing soul-croon vs. moaning and booties, etc.
Lurka Stay Let's Together
Luxury Elite Moods
Luxury Elite Prism
M83 Saturdays=Youth
Mac McCaughan Non-Believers
As Merge Records co-honcho/Superchunk sovereign, it's safe to assume that McCaughan knows the indie-rock ropes -- i.e. in this case, understands the power of nostalgic pang hybridized with sweet-n-mild tunage. But an ear for sharp-n-trebly guitar-tones and employing buzzy emo-keybs/new wave fixin's/occasional femme-vox certainly don't hurt none; and barring some twee-sentimental-blech expressed during "Only Do", his reflective musings can bear some charm: antsy basement show wire-wind, night-venture into the woods armed with tapes and "the cheapest beer there is", a special someone's hand in his sleeve amid a wet-leaf-walk triggering an emotional-punch-to-the-gut 'ohhhh'. Sure, it's moderate; no ground is broken and they sport some generi-chourses, but in a way that winds up fortifying the simpler-times-anamneses. Still coming across this youthful at this stage of the game though, that's just Mac doin' Mac.
Magrudergrind/Shitstorm Magrudergrind/Shitstorm
Malibu Ken Malibu Ken
Sop's whirlwind wordplay and persistently static delivery are a combo bound to eventually go obnox, or at least become a big clever ball of mush you can't bother to chase. But they're HIS balls of mush, dammit. Gotta give it to him for accuracy and vocab, the ability to assemble assiduously then rap it intelligibly. Crucial tho is all the wit-n-weird wielded within, which Tobacco's warped minimal timbre and robot vox complement. Good at getting by on bemusement when it's kinda about nothin', better when there's a palpable point involved -- take the one where car fungus comes to symbolize his life, or the time a controversial eagle meal was caught on webcam.
Marie Davidson Working Class Woman
Mario Diaz de Leon The Soul is the Arena
A surreal 3-track sensory-plunge into a capacious black hole where the only indigenous activity consists of flute+clarinet duking it out with laser-blip synth-tronics in an avant-garde then-meets-now interpretation of classical. While jazzily oscillating between uber-precise synchronization stunt-work, haywire circuitry-din, good ol' fashioned dead air, and all-sides vagabond noodling, it unceasingly conveys the weighty dread that this musical form has fostered for centuries. Fortunately the squawks -- nay, demented-duck mating calls -- should help ease the tension a bit. Or increase it, either way. A 20-minute monster-ender is aimless+soporific when compared to its predecessors, but does make for a relatively halcyon ascent back into some conceivable semblance of reality.
Mastodon Cold Dark Place
Mastodon Crack the Skye
Matchbox Twenty Yourself or Someone Like You
Maxo Kream Punken
Dat Trap Lyfe is all Maxo knows, save for the effects of Hurricane Harvey and his inevitable oh-so-many hoes. And with his name in a news clip to prove it, his criminality is the real deal -- so with the understated beats and smooth deadpan flow to slash celebration, he's got some stories to tell and an upbringing to hash over, complete with the sketch of a sketchy family tree. Mama an ex-booster who's forever working doubles and facing eviction, Pop an ex-prisoner who's flooded out and stuck on the roof, admired Uncle Main a fatal stabber who smokes crack on occasion. Otherwise it's lots of the ol serving outta vacancies, hatin' on snitches, plain intimidation, narcotics+cash as semi-lamentable relief. Which, when paired with precision and mood and a handful of genius offhand hooks, is fine too, sure.
Maxo Kream Brandon Banks
Meat Puppets Up on the Sun
Meek Mill Dreams Worth More Than Money
If you kick things off with a brazen sampling of Mozart's "Lacrimosa", you best B.R.I.N.G. it -- fortunately, Meek is far from meek and scarcely not in vigorous-hype-mode. Teetering away from the beat to quantify his millions one-by-one, tossin' out nuanced and provocational rhymes with madcap abandon, making a celebrious chorus out of repeating 'check' 13 times in a row; it seems his insistence on possessing "The Juice" is factual. And when the requisite room is made for chart-prepping/star-studding, it certainly could be worse: a back-n-forth with bae Nicki Minaj comes off a bit contrived, Chris Brown is congenial if I overlook that it's Chris Brown, Future mumbles the same ol' same ol', an electricified-hook via The Weeknd is used as reinforcement for lurkin' on another man's girl, Diddy-as-elder brandishes a bumbling perils-of-fame speech. And of course, the now-famously ghostwritten Drake feature -- a beef-sparker that arguably left the accusatory Meek looking petty and Drake an untouchable victor, but given the latter's tidily predictable procedure versus the former's unrefined in-the-moment coarseness, can you blame the guy for gettin' vexed?
Meg Myers Sorry
Hits both 90's-alt-angst and unabashedly-huge-pop-chorus soft spots -- Meg's incessant trembly-fierceness can feel forced and overdramatized, but it's a reasonable compromise for all her yodeler oh-oh-ohs+ah-ahs and compellingly unstable personality. Unstable as in starting at "Baby I wanna fuck you / I wanna feel you in my bones", switching out 'fuck' for 'love', 'break', 'hurt', and 'taste', then ending up with "I'm gonna kill you / I'm gonna lay you in the ground". Compelling like she promptly goes from boldly serving herself up on a platter to a self-admitted good-for-nothin'. Extraordinary and slightly absurd relief from all the strained histrionics comes from the invincible power-chord-pep of "Lemon Eyes"; which not only sports shark-chomp-percussion and huff-n-puff coloration, but not-one-not-two-but-THREE super-hooks -- two of which are half-gibberish. Personality as in she's "no mother of a child" but later-on nonchalantly mentions her daughter. That could be just a flub, though.
Mega Bog Happy Together
I swear I hear a jerky-n-raucous post-punk party in there but it's so decked out in downplayed dream-state that what emanates is more like atmospheric pop rock. Which doesn't mean they ain't dynamic and bouncy and all-around dexterous as fuck -- that they are, the airy veneer just happens to add an agreeable aura of easygoing elegance. And so lovely when horns follow suit; seamlessly shoehorned into the mix with passion+purpose rather than defaulting to squawk mode. Capable of a crew as this is, their potential as of now seems deliberately buried -- many-an unnecessarily terse tune, some slipshod instrumental sections that don't add nothin' -- and though band-head Erin Birgy's vox have their quirk+charm, it'd be nice to see some more oomph in em. But hey, the effortlessly beautiful beside some keyboard stompings, not a bad synthesis.
Melt-Banana Cell-Scape
Michelle Shocked Short Sharp Shocked
Migos Culture
Wince and shrug your way through the kinda-generics of DJ Khaled yelling about fuckboys and an enjoyable but rather vapid hit single, and eventually you'll come upon the dark and unavoidably alluring actual-culture conqueror hit single "Bad and Boujee"; stick around some more and you'll get to official barnburner "Big On Big" which sets a heavier+preferable precedent for the remainder. Lyrically they barely reside outside the ol auto tune trap-trope bubble and rarely spit a line I'd call compelling, but their triad dynamic and hot potato ad-libs and constant catchiness make ya not care too much. Certainly nice tho that when handed the big-gone-towering beats they can toughen up to them too -- after taking on the staggering "Deadz" with a splendid "UH OOO" hook and rabid back-to-back Takeoff+Offset verses, I'd say a song called "All Ass" is permissible. Especially since they close with a sincere shoutout for all of their considerate lady friends that nears sweetheart status ("Head full of hair but the cat well-groomed": aw!). Notable guest spots include a sheisty-n-shiny Gucci Mane, a coke-liced Travis Scott, and a blue cheese lovin' Lil Uzi Vert.
Miles Davis Bitches Brew
Minor Threat Out of Step
Mission of Burma Vs.
Mister Lies Mister Lies
Mitski Puberty 2
Mitski Be the Cowboy
Decidedly designed to be a dead-set for Mitski, palpably polished+punchier while pushing for a sort of pithy pop-rock perfection. Which, in its own prudent and persona-pressing way, it kinda accomplishes. But starting suitably with the introductory explosion of "Geyser" is a feeling that a tunna the tunes are cut short prematurely, or more precisely, just outta caution. I applaud her song-set solidarity and grounded grandiosity and linkin' of lush/loud/tender, but it becomes a bit guarded-gone-drab. A husband-n-wife sticking together is the jocose jaunt surrounded by deadpan-desperate seekings of affection+attention, the depth is dubious, the distinction is there, the disco is real. To be honest, could use more power chords.
Moby Animal Rights
Modern English After the Snow
Modest Mouse Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks
Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Modest Mouse This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About
Moonsorrow Viides luku - Hävitetty
Morrissey Your Arsenal
Coming from a longtime Smiths fan/solo Morrissey rookie, the backing band simply not being The Smiths was a bit jarring on early listens. But they do a fine job with their own sound; and I'm pleased the emulation is minor. Fun, consistent and refreshing template for the always-overshadowing Morrissey sarcasm/sulk/wit/charm.
Motorhead Ace of Spades
Mount Eerie Sauna
The deep breath into lengthy crispy-crackly warm drone to start things off, along with the all-singular song titles, give the impression this album may be a gamechanger for Mount Eerie. Not quite. But if you dig his established prototype of ragged homebody nature-iffic folk noise, it delivers, per usual. Previous black metal junctures have drifted towards alterna-feedback fuzz, ghastly femme-angel vocals provide some accompaniment, there's more long warm drone shrouds, and many-a murmured musing about things like discarded gourds, how he spends his morning, and of course, the always-prevailing nature.
Mount Eerie Clear Moon
Mueller and Roedelius Imagori
Roedelius as in 81-year old electro-kraut legend of Cluster+Harmonia fame, Mueller as in one-third of even-more-niche electro-tango group Gotan Project; who cooperatively conjure up compositions that are something in the realm of ambient-creeper space-lounge. Any relaxation borne from this placidity is often offset by a feeling of unease -- broody piano rudiments, the alien abstractions of twittery scratch-n-blips and barely-there fuzz-flecks, the aloof melody-shortage. It's cagey and ponderous yet cushiony and finespun, with plenty of meticulous complexity to back it up. Not that they can't have some fun, too: their idea of it being givin' ol' cohort Brian Eno a transformative taste of his own medicine.
Municipal Waste The Art of Partying
Mutoid Man Helium Head
Mutoid Man War Moans
Yours and my favorite Smash TV-referencing super-trio sensation return for a much anticipated full-length part two; one whose growth is gainly but with mixed results. Ultimately the songwriting is no doubt upped and they further cement their standing as bodacious blenders of hardcore, metal, speed, sludge, ridiculous melodic fun, complex+ferocious crush. But other than an omg-riff here or a stupidly good guitar-strangle solo there, I get more enjoyment and energy out of their debut's dirtier directness. Brodsky's clarion chirp goin' a bit over-cheesy at times. And I love a good guitar strangle, but I'd gladly swap out one of the extra axe-guests if Wolfe did more than whimper.
My Bloody Valentine You Made Me Realise
My Bloody Valentine Tremolo
My Revenge! Less Plot, More Blood
Nadia Struiwigh Lenticular
Nails You Will Never Be One of Us
So preposterously pummeling and heavy and pissed that it don't matter much when it begins to blur some five minutes/four tracks in -- even for a genre where that's the norm, the accelerated aural assault they administer awes and appalls every time, making good on the get-the-fuck-outta-the-room inclination their prohibitive album title+prefatory mutterings hint towards. In fact, the production is instrumentally powerful to the point where the vox seem satisfied back-sat and comparably kinda stagnant, and the tunes drift toward middle-of-the-road after that aforementioned blur. But "they come crawling back" for the finale indeed; an 8+minute monster that sees 'em gettin' their sludge on while segueing into demon-ridden squall-pits and lasers-on-foil breakdowns.
Napalm Death Scum
Nas It Was Written
Smooth/somber/polished beats are mostly tolerable but leaning towards dull, Dre cameo sounds forced, comes off as somewhat safe and pompous; these are the expected effects of commerciality. The rapping and story-telling are exhaustingly great enough to make it worth it.
Nausea The Punk Terrorist Anthology, Vol. 1
O.G. crusties laying down the groundwork for combining thrashy anarcho-punk and crunch-metal: both male and female vocals are straight from the gutter, religion/technology/animal experimentation=big no-no, the whole world's going to hell, etc.
Neu! Neu! 2
They are only able to sound like themselves, which seems to have its limitations but is rarely boring. Side B this time around feels jumbled with some gimmicky mutations thrown in, but they're entertaining gimmicks nonetheless.
New Order Technique
It's a little stale and clubby for my tastes, and the song titles certainly don't help, but it does reveal itself as a pretty solid album of dancy alternative - something New Order are pioneers of, and it shows here. They show off their experimental side on the opening track, the majority of the album is more simple and catchy but succeeds well in that. Certainly worth the $1 thrift store purchase.
New Order Power, Corruption and Lies
Ni Pantophobie
Nicolas Jaar Cenizas
Nightwish Oceanborn
Nina Kraviz stranno stranno. neobjatno.
Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV
Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V: Together
Nisennenmondai #N/A
I adore+applaud their scarily-strict minimalist chug-offs of ticks-n-bumps-n-squeaks -- enough to shrug off the exhaustion they inflict and restrictions they require, even enough to kinda-tolerate the ceaseless+colorless grime-churn gyrating through the entirety of a 16-minute slow-build beast also known as "#2". With post-production peppering in light-fare muffled-mystery noise and panning/echo-psych shenanigans, this 3-piece "rock" outfit comes on more like a sole neurotic techno techie with a drum-kit -- and as much as caution and rigor and endurance are their bread and knife and butter, they oft-manage to project a sense of perkiness; the unshakable tension-upkeep that never-ever lets loose helping stamp out sterility while keeping the listener perpetually on edge to boot. Also keen at keeping the listener's brain feeling something akin to an overworked assembly belt.
Nkisi Kill EP
4 trax of established electro -- percussion centric, flashily haunted club synth, hyper but trancelike, bouncy but dark, panning laser worm, bit of repeato voice for good measure. And at ~15 minutes, over before you know it.
Nkisi 7 Directions
Each one of these 7 directions i.e. roman-numericaled techno tracks casually mesmerizes, and despite their near-neverending rhythm patterns trick you into thinkin' they're sparse. It's stark sure, rather simplistic and trying. But solidly-n-sneakily she stacks subtleties and complexity aplenty inside these lengthy bass-beat abysses. To follow up the curt cryptic-club Kill EP with this is a legit leap I'd say -- 6+minute stretches of smoky subdued-yet-not house done with ease, a few moments that actually awe, the mechanically fixed meshing with the hand-done random, keeping up with dat cryptic. That ol panning laser worm never hurt neither.
Nmesh Pharma
No Age Nouns
No Age Snares Like A Haircut
They may never again be as hungry as on decade-ago-now-wow Nouns, and comparatively our current musical climate ain't exactly hungry for no haze-punk dudes neither. But these two dudes happen to be a prevailing powerhouse -- in that they can stir up quite a racket but also really know how to write a tune, plus they've got the sunny shimmer/basement scuzz synthesis down to a T. Xtra dreamy interludes are more substantial and less obtrusive than previously, vague monotone shout better than overdoing it and fits fine amongst hard-hitting vigor and catchy muck. And when they snatch a riff from Nirvana's "Been a Son", well that's a-ok with me.
NOFX The Decline
One 18-minute supersong: very political, produced and polished, healthy amount of change-ups and variation while staying consistently entertaining, complete round-up of familiar pop-punk elements along with some unanticipated ones. But does The Novelty make up for a ~5-song EP? Depends on my mood, I guess.
NOFX So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes
A contented but solid romp of mostly no-frills first takes. Possible hints towards the deceleration of their punk+partying lifestyle ("All Outta Angst", "The Desperation's Gone", "Quart in Session") but still down for 45-second government annihilations and classifying Grandpa as a grade-A psycho dick - er - psychotic.
NOFX White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean
Noisem Blossoming Decay
Infamously known as a buncha young bucks that are wise beyond their years in the world of thrash metal/hardcore worship, but isn't this stuff sometimes the best when played by enthusiastic and fresh-faced devotees? Particularly when it's pure, sincere and bullshit-free - which, during what could pass for a tightly wound+relentless 25-minute live set with brief feedback squeals as song connectors, smoothly prevails over the pardonable lapse of individuality. They also sneak in some time for creeping violin-laced ambiance and a midway slow-build, which serve as dexterously welcome changes of pace.
Noisem Cease To Exist
Noname Telefone
Noname Room 25
Noveller A Pink Sunset For No One
Initially was yawning through what I perceived to be drone-float indolence, eventually tho found myself rather swept away by its sneakily deep low-key lushness. With a credentials list that also contains filmmaker and affiliate of Glenn Branca's assemblages, it's no surprise that she grasps the power of stirring score-like compositions and guitar layerin' -- what is remarkable however is her sonic contributions always amounting to much more than just a moody backdrop and not yielding to austere over-orchestration. Immersive and pretty say yeah.
Numenorean Home
Numenorean Adore
Canadian blackgazers with breakout potential up the ante from their great-but-kinda-forgettable debut for sure. The flow and flexibility here accomplish it alone, but helps too when there's a well-defined hook driving half the trax. What they've got in range and remarkable loud/soft dynamics they kinda lack in genuine gnar and spirit, however. Voice variety capable+considerable but few moments I'd mark as truly moving. Drums too dominant. Post-y parts glimmery-n-pleasant yet too oft a bit prosaic-n-tiring. Half of it also seems like interludes, for better or worse. Title track sounds like black metal itching for a brightly lit stadium all on their feet clapping along and a bit like Aaron Lewis; drip and triumph and fury neatly segmented and lasting about two minutes too long, for better or worse.
Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
WHY WHY WHY WHYYYYY
Octo Octa For Lovers
Simply put, sometimes all you need is a lil slice of solid no-nonsense house. For 3 tracks/23 minutes this nails the itch; by mostly sticking to basics. Each piece a wee bit protracted but still just kinda flying on by, it's casual yet enveloping -- dancy but diligently understated, sucking you in without going too deep, minimal melodies snug with resolutely smooth groove and actual emotion. Subtly panning hi-hats and sampled syllables, classic mysterious-yet-approachable ghost hook for introduction, nice touches. A shrouded lovey shoutout to family/supporters/yes, lovers, a nice one as well.
OG Maco The Lord of Rage
More than just another trite trapper automaton who's an avid yeller and yeah-er -- first and foremost is this lord's rage, the passionate foam-at-the-mouth aggression of which is so blood-pumping and flagrant and gruff that it could put some hardcore vocalists to shame. I wish he didn't save its extremest forms for exclusively "Ape Shit" and "Talk to Em", but it does help for the sake of coherence+tolerance, plus a few decent sing-song hooks and flip-flopping to a close+personal murmur for the ender ain't bad asides. Second yet more consistent is the sketchy-n-expansive trap-fury production, a dizzying and mammoth swirl of piano loops and echo-chamber screams and perscussion drive-bys and bottomless-pit bass and ad-libs of madness. Altogether it's a merging that conjures up one more non-trite trap-trait: this shit actually gets intimidating.
OG Maco Children of the Rage
Oneohtrix Point Never Age Of
My first go with Lopatin via 2015's GardenofDelete intrigued yet irritated; flashes of disturbing brilliance in an electro tangle too disjointed. Hearing his more accessible work as a major arranger for Anohni cemented continued interest, and here I am now with Age Of and I'm siked I stuck around. Still a total tangle flow-wise -- but the erraticism is both enhancement and enigma, patchy enough to still stay surprising+intricate ten listens in. Perhaps this one just has a brighter palate: medieval MIDI strings stick it somewhere in the classical cheese canon yet doesn't abstain from factory doom; and yes the singing from Trixxer himself, which balances out the ol screams/squelches/static and is a game-changer even if a bit garden-variety. Or maybe I've just grown warmer towards his webs -- definitely enjoyed GardenofDelete somethin' extra on a recent return listen.
Opeth Still Life
Oso Oso Basking in the glow
OutKast ATLiens
Owen The King of Whys
Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz
Panda Bear Person Pitch
Panopticon Autumn Eternal
Pantera Cowboys from Hell
Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill
An improvement over Far Beyond Driven in that it swaps out some of the sluggish dragger despondence for riotous thrash-against-the-media vehemence. The dirges are a bit tighter and less self-serving, the bipolar duel of "Suicide Note"'s is preferable to the shock-value depravity of "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" any day, the screaming is Seth Putnam-assisted, and "Drag the Waters" may be their groove-pinnacle. Questionable Phil-drivel still abounds - he confirms his cock is getting hard and there's something about "a nazi gangster jew", but then there's the show-stopper show-portrayal "The Underground in America"; which while painting a mosh-pit-scene as a picturesque utopia/disease-infested drug-hole and calling out phony punks, might kinda hint towards some form of unity: "Lesbian love is accepted and right / Shaved heads meet hair in the mix / Blending the 80s and 90s with hate". Hey, it's a start.
Paradise Lost Icon
Parquet Courts Content Nausea
With their second full-length in six months sporting the title 'Content Nausea', it can be deduced that at the very least they're self-aware. Avoiding a rehash of the comparably-cultivated precursor while finding fuck-around opportunity in absentee drummer+bassist, our two guitar anti-heroes are often left to their own dexterous anything-goes devices -- noise-ridden anxiety-anthems that both confront and induce the symptom at hand, feckless instrumental morsels, why-not Nancy Sinatra cover, oh and some regular ol' songs just to keep in good form. Unkempt deviance that delivers charisma foremost and spottiness secondly.
Parquet Courts Human Performance
With anxiety slightly demoted and speed-punk frenzies progressively perishing, this set of scuzzy-yet-ripe divergencies shuffle forth; showcasing their versatility, upping the song-craft a bit, and standing firm in the face of some sorta semi-composure. I mean, they still oft-sing in the coalescent realm of deadpan/sarcastic/bewildered and stick 'round the garage and throw down "I Was Just Here" and envisage how much dust is actually all up in our grill at any given time, but this is for sure maturation. Which I'll take over the smoke-screen Monastic Living EP any day, but the freak in me does yearn for that ol' furor now and again. O and I'll take the bonus/untraditionally-meditative "Already Dead" as album ender over the standard/somnolent sufficiency of "It's Gonna Happen" any day too, thanx very much.
Parquet Courts Wide Awake
It's been a pleasure hearing em progressively evolve and trickily come into their own -- performances and uptightness tightened, versatility and accessibility evinced, sprinklings of emotion+solicitude without withholding their bug-eyed+bewildered shout-talk. But through all the composed funk-punk and classic rock-esque accordance, I still find myself yearning for their more raggedy regimens of yore. More urgent and assured and shrewd and flow-centric than the last one methinks, which is swell, but the loaded lyricism tends to fall a bit flat -- maybe cuz they oft still sound ironic as hell.
Pavement Slay Tracks (1933-1969)
Pavement Spit On A Stranger
PEARS Pears
Peder Mannerfelt The 3D Printed Songbook
Title+cover suggest some sort of lush journey via psychedelic symphony, but alas, it's a short stint of transformative techno. Compact and vivid deliverer of varied virtues -- mystery, ambiance, groove, thud, scuzz, squeal.
Pere Ubu New Picnic Time
Perfume Genius Too Bright
Perfume Genius No Shape
Hadreas is still a wounded warbler that's capable of awing emotionally and atmospherically, defiant with his formidable blares and seductive sashaying. And it's revitalizin' to hear him reduce the industrialized edge+dark doom and go poppier, prettier, looser; glimmers of cheer and warm harmonies and acoustic strummin' welcome sun versus the sparse and solemnities. Arrangements are curious and cragged enough to make Weyes Blood's traditional croon-contrib sound very out of place. If only that along with the rest of the second half didn't kinda just flatly float on by when compared to the first.
Pg. 99 Document #5
Phantom Posse Home
Each of these anonymous ragtag vocalists (Chris, Renee, Eric, etc.) present their own unique flair, as does the more recognizable Makonnen (seemingly the bumbling leader of the pack) - and when intertwined with this charming easy-listening haze-pop, it gives the impression of a shy-but-talented living room karaoke session. But when none of these guys+gals are around (probably all off working on different music projects), the instrumentals still stand strong - partly in thanks to Cale, the anonymous ragtag instrumentalist.
Pharmakon Devour
Pianos Become the Teeth Keep You
Pink Floyd Meddle
Pink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Pinkshinyultrablast Miserable Miracles
A name like Pinkshinyultrablast sorta promises lustrous thrills and a sense of vacuity, and for better or worse methinks they attain that. Electronix are oft blissful busy and bouncy but seldom emit something extraordinary, Lyubov Soloveva's singin' is calmly celestial yet also stationary and aloof. So while track by track it may be a bit forgettable, the astral aura and adequate momentum and few highlights win me over on the whole -- one highlight being an opener that makes you wish they'd always try that hard, another being a closer that makes you wish they'd crunch more often.
Pissed Jeans Shallow
Unforgivably heavy, loud and chaotic, with a sound that conjures up comparisons to Flipper, Black Flag, Scratch Acid - quite refreshing in this day and age.
Pissed Jeans Hope for Men
Pixies Surfer Rosa
Pixies Come On Pilgrim
Pixies Bossanova
Pop. 1280 Paradise
Their uber-goth disposition leans towards comical, but the industria-synth sci-fi multiplex they invoke is capacious and persuasive -- textural reliability whether it's noisy punk propulsion or nearly-dance-floor-friendly or creepy-crawly bath-house atmospherics or whatever-in-between, rejecting languor on the regz, sovereign 'tude backed by a mien of doomful-yet-playful intrigue. A circuitous dystopian diapason wrapped up in ~40 minutes, not bad.
Porches. Pool
Sure, I too initially scoffed at the unshakable aching, the scant and mild electro, the near-stagnation via wounded-falsetto uniformity -- but then each-n-every piece-of-cake hook revealed itself to be distinctive and enduring, and soon after emerged the certitude that porticos-pacemaker Aaron Maine uses these attributes to rightfully bolster his aura of affection. The tunes are cushy-smooth and clear-cut enough to make a quick sax-spew and willful keyb-flub protrude like cute lil' anomalies; and for this security-seeking clean-shaven approval-addict who spends his loner/stoner hours in a twin bed floatin'+wonderin' about "her" and admires cars cuz they can get him the hell outta dodge, they leave plenty of room for rudimentary words and aboveboard alienation. Femme-harmony backups for xtra-tender support, occasional auto-tune inflections because why not?
Porches. Ricky Music
Portishead Dummy
Portrayal of Guilt Let Pain Be Your Guide
Post Scriptum Post Scriptum 01
Initiation "Decades to Millennia" seems harmless enough with its playful persistence and mysterious sprinklings, but followup "Even the Nearest" reveals what kinda techno non-party we're really in for: one where insistent fat-pound rigidity and impossibly deep bass blend into a cold-n-dense force to be reckoned with, and said force is pretty much principal. Mechanical repetition that, yes, after an hour-plus will result in my head slamming against a wall, sure. But these uber-textured grooves have a way of inculcating -- they leave so much room to get lost in, yet deceivingly provide oodles for ears to attend to. Mystery-sprinkles continue on as alien garble, circuit play, muffled explosions. At times there's even a detectable melody. Let's call it tautological hypnotherapy that is bound to drive you up a wall.
Power Trip Nightmare Logic
Nothin' really beyond the ushe as far as crossover thrash goes, but when it's this solid+spirited who cares? Punchy production that's heavy and never overdone, all-around rippin' performances, short but substantial duration -- not only a terrific hybrid of hardcore and metal, but of fun and tough too. The most these guys go goofball is when they make a trip to the executioner sound like a real hoot and even get you to empathize with him ("Even a killer has to get paid!") -- routinely however they're more on the ol impending doom/mass slaughter/perils-of-mass-complacency train, maybe kinda trite-thrash as well but sounds rather righteous these days and considerably rousing here. And they got ya both having a blast singing along to it and trying your hardest not to run amok without one mention of a party. Also included for interludial apocalyptic reinforcement are some gurgly steamrollers and robo-synths.
Preoccupations Viet Cong
A somewhat quick and spotty post-punk chameleon album that works its way from a crackly industrial intro to noise-synth new wave to jerky-riff punk to 11-minute closer; enhanced by warm and drony production that resembles an old dubbed over VHS tape. Comparisons to contemporaries Deerhunter and Wolf Parade are as valid as old standards like Joy Division and the Bunnymen - like these bands, Viet Cong has a knack for combining unique and catchy rhythms with goth-bleak dissonance. Not to mention hi-hat blitzkriegs, which never hurts.
Pressure Cracks This Is Called Survival
Prince Controversy
Profligate Somewhere Else
Ultimately comes off awkwardly dour with their frigid jet black tude and pop-up poetry and whatnot, but a noteworthy electro-mingle whose traits tangle well. The austerity-n-intricacy of straight techno with not just singing but hushed and stone-faced guy/girl singing; staticky scuzz alongside the sparse+sad and a few almost maybe dance grooves; seriously despondent sinkholes and the screeching of nails on a blackboard.
Public Image Ltd. First Issue
Public Image Ltd. Flowers Of Romance
Puce Mary The Spiral
After provoking just a bit more than a shrug following a live performance in a Brooklyn dive and conspiring to create one of the dullest albums of 2015 alongside fellow-droner Loke Rahbek, I slunk towards this salmon spirality skeptical-yet-hopeful. And maybe I've since grown more masochistic, or her aesthetic has become more efficacious -- most likely a lil bit of this and a lil bit of that -- but this time around she has spawned a screech-n-thud stew that is not only sincerely frightening, but ups the vigor and variance. The all-out bleakness is torturous and engulfing, but its inundation of the digitally damned is quite the riveter: suitability for horror-score material is sealed when a xerox of Hellraiser's Chatterer rattles on through, strident screamin' comes off equal parts abused machine/garbled human/dinosaur in the distance, and it still engages amid lowdown creepin'; staving off inertia and keeping mystery a-flowing. Motifs for deadpan+barely audible spoken word: the marriage of sperm and blood, the scratching and peeling of skin, you know.
R.E.M. Chronic Town
R.E.M. Out of Time
R.E.M. Green
Rabit Life After Death
Radiohead In Rainbows
Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
Delicate+divine+creeping+cryptic in a way only this band can do, an atmospheric+"rock band"+electronic+strings-n-piano commixture savviness few could claim -- in what tends to be procedure, the words wielded within Yorke's yakkin' aren't nearly as necessary as his fragile-gone-broken delivery in itself and the falsetto moanings/murmurs/mantras. And while a witch-wither opener teases at some semblance of liveliness, it's the frequently-following subtleties and sorrow and textures that find 'em fertile as fuck; them getting their kraut on during "Ful Stop" perhaps being the kinda-peppy still-exceptional exception. Stunner of a soft soundscape it may be, it's also overall a bit too subdued+shadowy for its own good: but if a track like "Daydreaming" doesn't trap ya in its gloomy grasp, terminator "True Love Waits" is there a-waitin'.
Rage Against The Machine Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine Evil Empire
Randy Newman Little Criminals
Randy Newman Good Old Boys
Rapsody Laila's Wisdom
Recondite Dwell
Red Hot Chili Peppers One Hot Minute
Sure their wahka-wahka white boy funk can irk and lyrically sometimes are oh so dopey, but this is just so wacked out, loud, and legit rowdy that it's hard not to get sucked in. And when heavy fever freakout jams are balanced with the softs of courtly boy-pop choruses, generous acoustic layering, pedal-psych dream states, a solid ballad or two, a fishy Flea+bass only track -- all pretty impeccably played minus the final btw -- it makes for a jumbled-whatever rollercoaster that's noisy and versatile. They jerk tears and confess love for the whiskers etc. of then-recently-deceased Kurt Cobain, they dance in the coffee shop like Iggy Pop, they absolutely shred your face off and shove static down your earhole then get a classroom-o-kids to sing along or goof about on a "Walkabout". Ooo and they do spoken word: culmination of free-spirit altered-mind nostalgia trip is "But love and music can save us, and did"; target of putdown lobbed by itty bitty pacifist a "homophobic redneck dick". Eh, fair enough.
Reversal Of Man Discography
Rhapsody of Fire Power of the Dragonflame
Richie Brains Who is Richie Brains?
The title's self-questioning has apparently been answered with the unveiling of a seven-piece electronic supergroup who are particularly proficient in the domain of drum&bass; so when it feels jumbled perhaps therein lies a reason, but when they customarily cook up quality compositions that are dynamic+frantic+exploratory it comes as no surprise and everything's gonna be alright. Pop-ups spots from thick-Brit-accented MCs are accommodated awesomely, it generally encourages bustin' a move (albeit quite the accelerated bustin') yet the spacier dabbles are worthy as well, plus heavy and/or wacky intricacy kinda never ceases. As anticipated from the introductory robot-in-sunglasses funk and pitched-down catchphrases, they undoubtedly tote a knack for tongue-in-cheek muck-ups of the tilts toward trite: ominous synth hums and ghastly gunshots segueing into a munchkin's "get ya hands up", echo chambers/space launchings/a dizzying 500 mph beat saving "Heartbreaker" from becoming too legit, etc.
Ride Fall
Rihanna ANTI
Scrappiness leaves this helplessly disjointed, which is okay cuz so is Rihanna kinda -- sensual swagger shining all-the-while, she prefers her love-tangles scabrous if not outright destructive and to resemble the feeling of crack, the let-loose whiskey slurs and semi-edgy electronic twiddling threatening to overshadow the epic balladry and mushy Drake guest-spot. Both sides of that coin deliver: "Kiss It Better" and "Close to You" are plain-ol' beautiful with their respective thunderous drill-synth geetar-wails and piano-strings subtlety, "Woo" sees her as a defiant mech-ghoul cooer for Travis Scott's stridulant auto-tune-max waltz, "Work" makes a Billboard-smash incantation from a hook that progressively twists into nonchalant gibberish. And despite the discernibly fractional moments and some half-hearted performances, the momentous waste of time here goes to the utterly weak and imitative Tame Impala cover; an instance of indie-exploit if I've ever seen it and one that nears the 7-minute mark to boot. Aw, but what about all those sub-3-minute coulda-beens?
Rilo Kiley More Adventurous
Riverside Love, Fear and the Time Machine
Robert Hood Paradygm Shift
Rolo Tomassi Grievances
Ron Morelli A Gathering Together
RP Boo I'll Tell You What!
Ruins Stonehenge
Ruins Burning Stone
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2
Rush Permanent Waves
Rush Moving Pictures
Saba Care For Me
SAINt JHN Collection One
He's kind of a generi-clone and can be a scumbag: the pair of god-blessers are beholden to Frank Ocean and Future respectively, and procuring the Porsche just ain't good enough; there's gotta be at least ten bitches inside too. He also prefers telling said bitches to suck it before they can ask, has a crib that's only open to lingerie models and porn stars, sends his steak back at restaurants. So it's striking when he somehow suaves his way through it. Could be his convincing low-key croon and Guyanese inflection or the stark+woozy aura or that damn catchiness, but the clincher for me is when that cocky coldness folds to vulnerability over gettin' too "litt" too often. The needlessly extended version of "Some Nights" in particular is genuinely and effectively pitiful. And hey, if you heard the soulful pop magic that is "Selfish" as a standalone you'd probably assume he's straight sweetheart -- little would you know it comes between correlating his GF-n-mistress with internet speeds and going right back to the ratchet bitches. His bucket list? "All I ever wanted was a brilliant bitch / with a nice ass."
SAINt JHN Ghetto Lenny's Love Songs
Sam Binga Nuh Chat
Sampha Process
As a fragile and forward-thinking English electro r&b man, James Blake comparisons abound. But Sampha dips more into varietal vigor and fuller tunes and humanness -- it's not too bleepy bloopy or overdramatic despite the initial astro-accents, he continuously confirms having what "some people call a soul" and clinches it on a too-sweet childhood-piano centerpiece. Has the wisdom to debut with a compact 10 songs/40 minutes as well as enough beat+vox smarts and authentic coy charm to hope he doesn't go robot anytime soon.
Santigold 99¢
She bursts out her curio-crammed airtight chamber and promptly gets you bobbin' head and yelpin' incoherence with a one-two punch of sunny-island busy-n-bubbly pop greatness; laying on thick+cheeky the exotica cocksure jauntiness that triumphantly emanates throughout and rhyming 'sycophant' with 'elephant' while she's at it. And sure, just about every arrangement here churns out concordance, but it's ol Santi's invincible chorus-belting and forever-pleasing potpourri of enunciations that keep on keepin' on -- even during dives into the dramaturgy of circle-strolls/ran races/pre-fires and a bumbling-per-ushe ILoveMakonnen feature, she always makes singing along a wildly obligatory hoot. For my money however, it's the straight-n-steady joyride finale of "Who I Thought You Were" that takes the elation-cake, while also showcasing her punk-fronter roots. Barely comprehensible message for the man who's been modified by money: "I like you more when you poorer / Your new ID is a borer."
Santigold I Don't Want: The Gold Fire Sessions
As the season's first legit snow starts to pile up here in Massachusetts it's all too suitable to take solace in Santigold's tropical-island transmissions. Eternally exuding sunshine and spunk, her tude and enunciations and sack full-a irresistible hooks seem particularly piece-o-cake on these apparently subsidiary sessions. Simultaneously robotic and elastic, cutesy and peculiar, cheeky and cheery. Much props also due to front-2-back producer Dre Skull; whose uniquely uniform beats help make this a tight+true ten trax. Can I assume this is finally the 'dancehall' I've been hearing so much about?
Saweetie High Maintenance
Saweetie's debut EP is short and saweet -- banking on hooks and thematically humdrum sure, but her tude is equal parts tough, silky, lusty, playful; with intoxicating beats to match. Most imperatively perhaps, there's catchy irresistibility. See the sub-2-minute "ICY GRL" and title track for non-stop vital verse-work. Qualifications for a chance at gettin' that "good good": having a hot whip, being King Of The Club.
ScHoolboy Q Blank Face LP
As a whole it's pointlessly prolonged as are at least a handful of singular tracks, there's a ginormous glut of guest-spots including an inevitable prank-waste Kanye feature, there's the despicable deviation that is "Overtime". But when it hits it hits hard: two-part "Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane" more-than-warrants its 6+ minutes, "Dope Dealer" dispenses a classically criminal chorus alongside a bifocal-bumpin' E-40 verse, Tyler the Creator's production unexpectedly contributes a big ol' jolt-o-vigor a la "Big Body", "Str8 Ballin'" is all sortsa stunning and sports a breathtakingly boastful bush-2-kush hook from Jesse Rankins. And despite the hodgepodge of visitor-n-virtue variance, Q's persona still firmly prevails -- a snarl that's mostly sinister and slightly wise and isn't shy towards slow jamz; a guy who callously dons a Blank Face when he's letting shots ring and giving your mama condolences yet candidly calls his Crip-dad a bitch for leaving him "where hope just don't exist". And he would prefer to fuck right now, as opposed to sometime later.
Sebadoh The Freed Man
Secret Boyfriend Memory Care Unit
Skulks things off with an immovable 7-minute simmer-slab that indeed could be likened to warbling umbrage, and each act of patience-testing crust-dream hypnosis that follows seems to be progressively more evocative, enigmatic, and dammit, downright despondent -- the kind of electro-moan VHS-scum melancholia that gradually sucks you into its turtles-pace vortex and instills an unabated state of cogitative concern. Its version of sweetening is the aptly-titled "Little Jammy Centre", which actually rocks a beat (albeit the world's most archaic) and vox (albeit the world's most unintelligible) alongside beatific twinkle-keys/low-key sparkler bursts/glitchy rumblings; and stabs at ultimate bittersweet ascendancy are the terminal twosome of "Stripping at the Nail" and "Memorize Them Well" -- the former an arguably fully-formed and legit stunner, the latter able to pass for a steadily-beating heart sluggishly soaring towards a sketchy-n-staticky heaven. Never underestimate the power of an uber-rudimentary keyb-note pattern.
SeeYouSpaceCowboy... Songs For The Firing Squad
Sega Bodega Ess B
Sports the same sounds-n-spirit that lotsa electro-alterer's minor offerings bring to the table -- nods to the club with a predilection for collaging and the cuckoo at its core, girl screams, fair amount of formlessness, deep bass thuds fused with the buzzy+bright. But I dig the mix of mischievous and meditative that it accomplishes in a sub-20-minute timeframe, the bookended dramatic string application, Shygirl's phlegmy and echo-crammed interruption preceding the reserved and echo-crammed "Bush Baby".
Sepultura Chaos A.D.
serpentwithfeet soil
Shamir Ratchet
Brat-pop persona+Prince-esque falsetto with super-deep-voice-man as occasional opposition and fat+fun production backup that nods heavily towards old-school house-tronica - which is instantaneous+substantial enough to overcome the puerility while still helping beef up the attention-grabbing fun-factor. Low-key-strut nighttime-creeper initiation "Vegas" does little to prepare you for the ensuing kinda-Too-MUCH bubbly pep, which manages to smooth itself out a bit for an easier-to-handle second half.
Sheer Mag Need to Feel Your Love
Shellac At Action Park
In many ways it's stripped down Big Black, but by no means rehash. It is distinctly stark+abrasive Albini, but the band-in-a-room sound here works wonders, as does their precision and chemistry.
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers Door Girl
Showtime Goma Smiley Face
Silver Jews Tanglewood Numbers
Sinjin Hawke First Opus
Slayer Seasons in the Abyss
Sleaford Mods Key Markets
This duo's scant restriction and ceaseless repetitions of plain ol' bass line-n-drum beat in a plain ol' room, occasionally graced by toyish+bygone keyb-taps, grants a whole lotta room for a whole lotta rabid rant and even a few almost-sung choruses. Opportunely, frontman Jason Williamson has the kind of vastly venomous thick-English vitriol that The Fall hasn't managed since some thirty years ago. Vocab is intelligent without giving a shit (the troublesome inner-workings of the world come up as often as farts, eloquent evaluations are expressed right along with absurdities and "DIE DIE DIE"), the anti-'s are copious (complacency, gimmicks, frippery, music, etc.), and the scathe is colorful -- many-a fuck/cunt/mate/arse, sure, but this roster of mockeries includes everything from limited-edition Vans and chinny wine tasters to "Tumbling Dice" receiving too much radio-play and "that tool from Blur". And equally riveting is all the slang I will never/wasn't meant to fathom -- titcakes, purple polo lards, you know.
Sleaford Mods English Tapas
Their latest rendition of minimalist rant-punk lets up a bit on the hyper ire and colorful oddities while boosting the consonance+catchiness of their fundamental beat-box and bass-man confinement. Compelling choruses and observant Brit-grit abound, but I do miss the denser diatribes of yore that provided many-a LOL puzzler line; especially upon excavation. But an engaging cleanup nonetheless, one that includes twizzled beards and fat bastards and deadlift-induced farts to boot.
Slipknot Slipknot
Slowdive Souvlaki
I prefer my shoegazing to be a little more rough around the edges, but sheen and relaxation be damned, they do a fine job.
Snail Mail Lush
From a foolhardy afar I suspected Lindsey Jordan would be just another strummer in the considerable herd of overhyped 90s hark-back singer-songwriters. And in some ways she sorta just is. But the tactfulness of her songwriting+tonage sneaks up on you, the emotion elicited ineluctable and free of bombast. And despite drowning a bit in convention and the nondescript emotional-struggle doldrums, she's wise well beyond her sub-twenty years: tunes steadily stripped back and clear-cut, bonafide and bored without being boring, despondent with drive. This is homespun purity harnessed and honed, an overhaul that doesn't overdo it -- plenty of time left for that methinks.
Snapcase Progression Through Unlearning
Snoop Dogg Doggystyle
Soilwork Verkligheten
Sonic Youth Bad Moon Rising
Sonic Youth Rather Ripped
Sonic Youth The Eternal
Sonic Youth A Thousand Leaves
It feels somewhat comfortable for them, they're more than willing to take their time, subtlety outweighs ACTION, some moments take off while others plod. But even when in what perhaps may be their most relaxed state, they still manage to pull together a fully-formed and unique behemoth of an album - not bad for 10 LPs deep.
Sophia Kennedy Sophia Kennedy
SK can kinda come off as familiar female singer/songwriter full-a quirk. Wit in the midst of detachment, dips into absurdist wordplay, assortment of vocal flourishes/complete lack of vocal flourishes, anything-goes arrangements; e.g. tense violin jabbin' joined by the boingy-boings of a mouth harp. It can feel clunky and stiff at times, but most of the material here prevails -- the unpredictable mixes of organicity with keyboard mishmash and cheap drum machine are usually wrapped around quite a winsome pop tune. Highlights include killer sorta-centerpiece "Kimono Hill", somber spoken-worder for suffering specks (i.e. you) "A Bug on a Rug in a Building", and that one where she grasps that heartache and uniqueness can go hand in hand. Which is why I like when she finds her sugar bunny at the end; tho of course it's hard to tell if she really did or is just mocking those who have.
Sorority Noise It Kindly Stopped for Me
Resolutely depressive pop-punkers deliver a diminutive followup to last year's bipolar vice-and-anxiety-fueled magnum-opus; gutting the punk, the pop, most of the band, and any temperament that's not mournful. The resultant stripped-down hush-fest reads as a wearied breather aftermath from the high-strung oscillations of Joy, Departed; and under the scant guise of principally acoustic plucks+lonesome piano, the palpability of frontman Cameron Boucher's downtrodden despondence is endearing-going-on-excruciating. Begins on what seems like a hopeful fresh-start note, which lasts all of two minutes: then friends die, "A Will" is as funereal as it implies, Boucher drunkenly tramps through the woods and can't bare/bother to keep a tune; poor guy even fucks up his hoodie and rips through his hypothetically black jeans in the process.
Soulwax FROM DEEWEE
Vox when applicative hover around adequate or bland or corny except for maybe when they accuse ya of spewin' bullshit, their stiff and somewhat antiquated style of electro can tread there as well. But it's obvious that they're DJs first and singers second, and vocal deficiencies simply help highlight doze big ol beats: bassy-n-spacey, fat funk and drops-o-disco, nerdy and sturdy, oh and a tireless live drummer triad.
Spazz La Revancha
Spectral Lore III
Spillway As Astronauts or Atoms
When a scrawled-on free-of-charge CD-R enclosed in a paper sleeve comes into my possession upon leaving a VFW show, it often comes with some degree of intrigue, but expectations admittedly can be on the lower side -- hence my surprise at this punchy-n-versatile 5-track not-quite-full-length. Noisy alt-melodics are never not a full-team effort, slight-but-oft off-kilterness is well-conducted while evading superfluous diversions, guitars that twist-n-turn and spray psychedelic flourishes turn longingly pretty and sparkling with ease. And they don't skimp when it comes to detouring down archetypal avenues: soft jazzy breakdown interrupting ferocity, animal-rights-speech sample submerged in cacophony, extended beach-wave ambiance finale following jam-out. I've certainly been handed much worse.
Spiritualized And Nothing Hurt
Sure he recycles quondam ideas and conveys a rather questionable commixture of mumblin' young'un down-n-outer and 52-year old who continues to call himself a lonely rock-n-roller and still wants to hit the road with you, baby -- guy's taken with kids btw. But above all else Jason Pierce is superb at soaring his self-indulgent sadness into the stratosphere; "wasted / faded / uneducated / doing the best that he can" with a propensity for buildups and the symphony. Acknowledging the ability to be a great guy yet giving up and dumping you instead is not only nobly pathetic but makes for some timeless tunes. Much cred of course goes to the presumably many many MANY other members, without whom such groove and psychedelic walls wouldn't be as proper+powerful. Excels in the pleasant, pretty, blaring -- bassy saxxy boogie, you say? See "The Morning After", which begins with Janey's problem with the modern world and ends with her tying a noose. That groove-n-wall, tho.
Staycore Erelitha
Electro label's assemblage of who's-that producers wherein they each lay down a track while imagining "the lightest light" -- which, for this rambunctious roster, doesn't equal gettin' full-time soft+airy; instead just coating all with lush luminosity and clarion everythang. Each club-caterer works in their own distinct touches, but as a compiled crew the vibe is quite unanimous: chipper and complex, catchy and dance-floor ready, hybridizing the heavy and atmospheric with the sharp and high-pitched. And it's not without aggressive peculiarities that cut through the pretty and serve as propulsive pump-ups -- chipmunk garble, prolonged sirens, gunshots+girl screams; and in Toxe's justly-titled "Bite", a chained demon's dander.
Steffi World of the Waking State
Stephen Malkmus Stephen Malkmus
Steven Wilson Hand. Cannot. Erase.
It takes the monstrous drag of "Ancestral" for it to finally feel like noodling and break an impressive streak of wide-range polished-prog-plethora - cleaned-up Yes-circa-1971 impressions, radio-friendly alt-rock, well-incorporated electronics, deadpan spoken word, euphoric mantra-buildup, children laughing, explosive synth/fiery guitar orgy, nostalgia, rainfall, wondrous mellotron and choirs and piano aplenty - how can you go wrong? The musical proficiency and variety seems a bit under-utilized with Stevie Dubz as frontman, who is a bit awkward (Title. Is. Giveaway.) but gets the job done, though I do tend to prefer the instrumental sections and when his femme-counterparts take the reins.
Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at Carnegie Hall
Sturgill Simpson A Sailor's Guide To Earth
Much of the material between the album-welcoming luscious+heartfelt strings-turned-swagger world-welcoming for his beloved pre-bullfrog progeny and the so-damn-real frantic fuck-the-bullshit finale can feel a bit deficient comparably -- be it the hints of hokey during "as I say" life lectures or simply a propensity for more mid-range temperaments. But his tender+softened hits as hard as/if not harder than his rowdy rocker struttin', world-travel soldier-spins have him reminiscing bout "king cobras fighting in boxing rings" and playing Goldeneye high "on that old 64" but reckoning that it's all a ploy/we're all screwed/fucking off beats participating in war anyway, and when a cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom" creeps in for the centerpiece an eye don't bat -- a selection Simpson apparently hoped to be a "very beautiful and pure homage to Kurt". And yes, mission accomplished.
Suldusk Lunar Falls
Sunny Day Real Estate Sunny Day Real Estate
This album has this big, mysterious, whatever/nonchalant thing going for it - the songs, the song titles, the (lack of) album title, the artwork, the liner notes - especially noticeable when compared to their more focused first album, Diary. It works both good and bad - while it may not be the big gamechanger that is their first album, it's obviously not supposed to be - LP2 does a good job at showing the band being looser, but not slacking.
Sunwatchers Illegal Moves
Superficie Helices
Thumpin' electro terseness that consists chiefly of percussion and secondly of monosyllabic grunts+gasps, with the occasional wisp/whoosh/jab of synth sound and some broken glass for good measure. File this under the increasingly intriguing intermixture of bustling kinda-bizarro club jams and stripped back jungle-esque primitivity. Pair-o-remixes also available for those aching for an increase in synth sound or fire alarms.
Surgeon The Golden Sea
Swans Swans
Debut EP that's also pre-transition into unrelentingly assaultive troglodytic-steel mill-industrial. They actually had (dare I say) some bounce, Gira's intimidation was turning up on the lyric sheet more than in his vocal performance, and it's generally cast from more of a usual dark-post-punk mold. The Swans-spore was clearly laid: bass plod, guitar-for-dissonance, other stuff-for-dissonance, derangement-basement motif, etc.
Swans Greed
Swans Children of God
Swell Maps A Trip to Marineville
Artsy punk that starts to transform into punky art around track 8, and by track 12 it delves into some sort of other undeclared realm of sound. A post-punk album that collects all that is chaotic, noisy, humorous and dark; where slammed piano keys, popping balloons, blowing bubbles and vacuum cleaners are all welcome.
Syclops Pink Eye
Sylosis Cycle of Suffering
SZA Ctrl
Voice that's collectedly erratic and loosely luscious, tightknit production team bringing consistently seemly-n-soulful dream-funk subtlety. Gets sluggish going into the second half, but SZA's selfhood is what sells it on the whole: the cheater/cheatee/cheated on, sensitive about having nobody as she is having no booty, stuck between loyal love and cursory dick+licky, a defiant and emotive 20something who yearns to be parentally presentable but'll happily bust up your headboard. Out of/very much in ctrl.
T. Hardy Morris Dude, The Obscure
Minus the help from his Hardknockin' band-backers Hardy M gravitates away from grunge; leaving this more hushed, lush, personal. Still grunge in mood and mumbliness, but it's less buck and more morose; taking the time to acoustically layer with a newfound taste in glam+psych. Personally, I think there's more heart-n-guts in the scuzzy catchy country ruckus of yore, tho listening back reminds me he did always have a knack for the gently gripping grandeur, the quieter; and that is righteously retained and highlighted here. Yeah yeah a successful solofied maturer strip-back, but could've used a bit more 'shit in the wind' -- slogans that were worthy of shouting and attitude-wise.
Talk Talk Laughing Stock
Taylor Swift Lover
Tegan and Sara So Jealous
The Avalanches Wildflower
16 years since they left us and a copious amount of copycats later, this anxiously anticipated followup is less of the wild "what's next?!" ride from their first and more of a strikingly insouciant+sunny daydream; swimmingly fluxing from festival traffic to a bounce-house to the skies to the sea to a bit of the sublime beyond. Whimsy and frolic and psychedelia are in full effect -- and though it's not without its overly mild moments and middling disco-leans, the flow+detail+amazingly affable aura beg for basking; not to mention fashion a universe where getting pulled over with prohibited paraphernalia is nothin' but an amusing aside. Lighter compositions also make room for greater guest utilization: the highlights of which include Danny Brown with his "blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt" and fittingly wacky delivery, Dave Berman "drumming up a little weirdness" for the finale with his soft-spoken and poignant poetry, A.Dd+ killin' the bigots with kindness, and of course Biz Markie with his vociferous appetite and penchant for cereal.
The Beatles Let It Be
The Beta Band The Three EPs
The Birthday Party Prayers on Fire
The Black Dahlia Murder Miasma
The Black Dahlia Murder Nightbringers
The Body I have fought against it, But I can’t any longer
First two tracks have me siked for a refreshingly subtler ride with the eventual potential to match the marvel of their last one. Then the ol standby mien that has previously crushed and elated and terrified me starts to kick in; albeit a seemingly stiffer staler sillier but ultimately still roaring+riveting rendering. Lotsa dependence on bass-blare blowouts and cymbal crashes, some fall-flat dramatic corn, craggy noise that sounds like a fan filtered through crunch, and of course that rooster a-crowing; which fades from creepy digitized abstraction of a scream into redundant frivolity pretty quickly. More evident here than heretofore is that these aren't actually troubled mutants, they just like playing em -- the consummation of which is a closing monologue so clumsy I find myself giggling at rather than sympathizing for someone who's reached the peak of emptiness. As far as the truly vibrant voxers go, allow me to quote an unfamiliar bench-sat skater from Supreme's 'Cherry' video: "Shoutout to the ladies, yo."
The Bouncing Souls Hopeless Romantic
The Breeders Last Splash
The Cars The Cars
The Carters Everything Is Love
Double Fantasy this ain't -- Jay and Yonce's coupled collab is essentially an exercise in stated+sonic opulence, their lifestyle and story and mutual affection safely amorphous besides a few distinct-yet-dubious detail-drops, and even during back-n-forth bickering over some bygone shit it never seems like they're really in the same room. "I don't give a damn about the fame", right; now plz bless us with more boring brags about your collective assets and status. But they as dynamic vet team and all dat money are persuasive, particularly when the bills are going towards the beats. Neither of em access the candor or character achieved on respective recent solo releases, but transmitting its own sort of magnetism is them casually killin' it while simultaneously kinda just mailing it in. Can they still cling to street authenticity? Are they truly stressing over false arrests? Is Beyonce really dropping her daughter off at school personally? They're big enough to make you ponder it, and it's pretty easy to be reminded as to why.
The Clash Give 'Em Enough Rope
Being wedged between two undeniably classic albums, this one often gets looked over in comparison. While it doesn't capture the raw debut punk magic of the earlier or the all-encompassing eclecticism of the latter, what it does deliver is expected Clash solidity - even if it's somewhat inconsistent.
The Coathangers The Devil You Know
Scuzzed pop-rock grooves that seemed a bit routine+tinny initially but prove to be their selling point, tight-without-trying punk-without-posture femme-trio that each contribute specific vox. Resultant is the tude of melodic purity and raw been-through-hell 'fuck bullies' toughie merged magnificently, a sweetened anthemic scorning of the NRA swoopin' in outta nowhere at the midpoint ("Suck my dick"), dreamy "ooo-woo"s beside background horror shrieks, junkies crawling up the walls, a potential hoarder realizing their possessions may possess them, grungy punchiness capped by a lithium-laced chill-thrill. Special shoutout to drummer Stephanie Luke aka 'Rusty Coathanger'; who can make simple cymbal splashes and cowbell taps define the tune. Right, and her voice sounds like rust.
The Cranberries No Need to Argue
The Cranberries To the Faithful Departed
The Cranberries Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
The Cure Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
While its tracks are a bit hit or miss, this album does a good job at attempting to encapsulate The Cure with all their forms present: sad Cure, happy Cure, wailing Cure, ecstatic Cure, strange/exotic Cure, quiet Cure, angry Cure, pop perfection Cure, etc. etc.
The Damned Machine Gun Etiquette
The Do Shake, Shook, Shaken
The somewhat-prepubescent vocals, humdrum themes, and familiar hooks (I swear I hear Tears For Fears in there) has this electro-duo feeling too saccharine at times, but persistence prevails - surprisingly deep into the album, my hips are still swingin', fun and succinct songs are still rollin' out, bits of irresistibility still popping up, beats still great, singing slightly leveled.
The Evens The Evens
The Ex 27 Passports
Post-punk veterans from The Netherlands who are immensely diligent when it comes to the ol long-winded dry repetition, even in a genre where that's convention. White toast with nothing on it kinda dry. So they let groove be their guide and exert their stiff charm, coupling stripped back fuzz with cohesive hypnosis. Part-woman part-metronome Katherina Bornefeld as terrific+gentle timekeeper and part-time voxer, three guitars intertwining with always at least one giving way to din. From which you'll remember maybe three melodies on the whole. Not sure chief voxer Arnold de Boer's bashfulness does enough for em drive-wise -- squeal here or a shout there is nice, but I like best when he gives his spoken word some snarl: "It's the worst job I have ever had". Source being epic ender "Four Billion Tulip Bulbs", best of the aforementioned maybe-three melodies and a post-punk exemplar methinks.
The Fall The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall
The Fall The Frenz Experiment
The Fall Dragnet
The Game The Documentary
The Geeks Every Time We Fall
The Get Up Kids Problems
The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat
The Golden Filter Still // Alone
'Still' side thumps sharp-n-minimal artsy house with vox limited to sparse too-cool-for-school spoken phrases and some breathing, 'Alone' side allows in muck, melody, pop, flash, even bits of emotion. Mysterious yet in your face, robotic yet boogie-worthy, beatz deserving and receiving priority even though they ain't house-heads at heart. '//' is muck-starter and interludial separator.
The Housemartins The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
Debut-successor sees 'em newly armed with occasional horn sections and falsetto-builds to be reckoned with, but chirpily crusading against civil ignorami stands firm as their bread-n-butter -- and thanks to dat all-too-facile well-versed alt-rock verve and dem polite+wondrous group harmonies, you too will somehow find yourself merrily wagging your finger at those good-for-nothin' dead kids who dared to put out classifieds and take a risk-or-two, or siding with God in hatin' on those dastardly farmers for the oh-so-despicable acts of workin' workers and rippin' up fields. And when caught in the clutches of the grandest and most sarcastic hook of them all, you may even sympathize with the church going ignored on Sundays. Title of that one: "The World's on Fire".
The Lemonheads Lick
The Lewd American Wino
Fun guy/girl scum-punk with shoddy production to match. Notable lyric: "They think that I've lost my brains/They think I wear too many chains!"
The Maghreban 01DEAS
The Maghreban is not particularly a master in any of em, but the copious fields covered here are consistently engaging, always finding ways to squirm outside the realm of ordinary house: piano jazz, organic?/may as well be organic drumming/percussion fests, a hip-hop circa 1988 flashback, "L's Theme" interpreted as frisky dream-funk, trippy creepy creepers, bright+drony thumpers. Often boasts a bassy boogie that sneaks up on you, and enough moxie and space-squelchin' to conceivably confirm the album art is half-shump.
The Magnetic Fields The Wayward Bus
The ultra-charming fusion of dreamy and wholesome 60s throwback pop gone toy-synth with sublimely bored and innocent female vocals.
The Magnetic Fields The Charm Of The Highway Strip
The Magnetic Fields Distortion
By 'distortion' they mostly just mean a kind of hazy squealing that hovers like a spectre over the songs - which initially feels too much like novelty, but winds up just contently co-existing as an enjoyable bonus layer and modulation for customary Magnetic Fields greatness.
The Magnetic Fields 50 Song Memoir
Anyone who's been aware of dry-witted magnetic pop mastermind Stephin Merritt for more than a minute should know he's also a concept connoisseur, and in celebration of turning quinquagenarian and just-himself-in-general duh, that convention continues. With each disc representing a decade's worth of life and lasting a substantial+reasonable ~30 minutes, we get a semi-crucial and humorous peek into all age chunks: skeptical yet captivated by cockroach reincarnation as punishment for bad behavior and misconstruing protests over paedocide pre-six, up past bedtime ordering disco comps off television and forming rickety "bands" during a brutal blizzard pre-high school, cultural all-nighters at Danceteria and failing/passing ethics in fabulous fashion circa academia, broke and crammed in an apartment with pals-n-pets-n-bugs in his twenties, staying faithful to his bar and an ex in his thirties, hatin' on surfin' and being misquoted in his forties, wishing he had as many solid memories as he does songs when approaching the big 5-0. Given the towering track tally and perhaps those fadin' memories, there's also of course the etceteras and goofs with varying degrees of comparable worth and autobio-centricity -- but 1999's "Sweet Lovin' Man" turning cold-blooded for 2004 and the optimistic na-na-na's for a shall-not-be-named dead creep are highlights fo sho, while the detailed 1981 synthesizer demonstration met with the careless clatter of harebrained self-deprecation ten years later kinda sums up their shtick. As does the all-around lyrical acumen.
The Mekons F.U.N. '90
This EP is a cover-exclusive affair, but any worries about being unacquainted with the O.G.s can be shoved to the wayside -- these mystery-maestros spin 'em into their own via Madchester-esque repeato-groove simplicities, and though the dub-inflected male moper that kicks things off seems harmless enough, from there on forth it's a one-by-one trot deeper into peculiarity: some-between-gender English traditionalism, less-than-thrilled/basked-in-irony female shindig anthem, a something-or-other that involves echoes aplenty and posthumous Lester Bangs? Not sure an O.G. even exists for that one.
The Microphones The Glow Pt. 2
The Offspring Ixnay on the Hombre
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Higher Than the Stars
The Pop Group Citizen Zombie
Zany post-punks rise from the dead with their first album in 35 years, and though elderliness is affirmed through dated monster-metaphors and self-destructing messages, they still churn out jerky-catchy dance rhythms, zonk bizarro-keyboards, vocally blend shrill whateverisms and political preachings, and play around with oddball+overblown production with peculiarly fresh-faced enthusiasm.
The Pop Group Y
Their jerky jazz-funk aptitude is implemented only to be giddily disclaimed by just about every crackpot method one could come up with to eliminate cohesion and generally fuck with a mix -- they run the gamut of sketchy studio trickery and idealistic disarray, from abrupt volume discrepancies to wails that redefine demented desperation to rando-sounds and dissonant squeals aplenty to dead air and a-cappella to sprawling piano-slop to so-often refusing to remain locked in a pattern for more than ten seconds. The resulting fickle folly enraptures with its frolicsome unpredictability while that aforementioned aptitude provides validity and a groovy groundwork -- not to say this pitiless mischief doesn't grate over time. It certainly does. But coming from a buncha talented misfits that slyly call themselves The Pop Group, it's the kind of grate you're grateful for.
The Prodigy The Fat of the Land
The Prowl Misery
The Prowl What Are You Doing?
nm u?
The Rapture Pieces Of The People We Love
Guitars are less scathing (i.e. barely there), not as consistent as Echoes, grooves remain ravishing and lively as fuck. Check the sweet, creamy center (tracks 4-6).
The Rolling Stones Dirty Work
A bit lacking instrumentally, and as the cover might hint towards, falls victim to some 80's-production cheesiness throughout, but a great listen. Both of Richards' light-hearted tracks - one goofball reggae and one goofball lullaby - nicely cut through Jagger's snarly hard rock anthems.
The Rolling Stones Aftermath
The Smashing Pumpkins Gish
The Smiths Meat Is Murder
The Smiths Strangeways, Here We Come
The Thermals The Body, The Blood, The Machine
The Undertones The Undertones
The World Is a Beautiful Place... Harmlessness
The xx xx
Throwing Muses University
Tica Douglas Joey
Sporting a huskily-delicate eternally-yearning drawl, a rusty acoustic, and a backwards baseball cap, Tica Douglas AKA Joey has a band-o-garage folkie-backups that are only capable of being complementary - whether it be full-fledged accompaniment, backdrop subtleties, or just a feedback burst. But the real essence arguably lies where it's just her and the strums, with or without outdoorsy bug-chirps. Palpable city-life restlessness and faceless-female dependency through-n-through.
Tica Douglas Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us
Not quite the magnificent leap one might hope for on a debut followup, but evidence of evolution is everywhere: tunes once largely sticking to the two-to-three-minute range now rest comfortably at four-to-six, they stray from sounding demo-ish, acoustic less rusty, outdoor sounds minimal. And though that garage-folkie band-o-backups attain enterprise+emphasis, it's still very much Tica's show -- unadorned solo strummin' and tender huskiness remains the forte, and when she tosses in touches of electro-horns expect epic. Would like to hear more picture-painting lyrically tho, just cuz when occurring it's oft optimum. I.e., dealing with deaths, awkward run-ins at readings, everyone desiring drinks and serenity while viewing the news in bed ("Oh no oh no oh no.").
Tierra Whack Whack World
Epitome of charm and palpable potential that both sustains and suffers cuz of its novelty -- i.e. the all being fifteen one-minute motifs; each of em distinguishable and delightful with a semi-centered trio of deceased dogs/bird-flipping yokeldom/Mario as the capstone, the bookends of which even incorporating a meow and Luigi for good measure. Give this a go in video form and jointly it feels more like a genuinely proper project, as a straight listen however it can't help but feel like a tease with its explicitly terse tunes. Heck of a preview nonetheless.
Tink Winter's Diary 3
TLC CrazySexyCool
Today Is the Day Temple of the Morning Star
Today Is the Day Willpower
Coming from late 90's/early 2000s-only knowledge of this band, this in comparison is a raw, straightforward noise rock refresher - less drawn out and cinematic, maniacal but not yet child porn ballet level, hey even sounds like Dinosaur Jr. at times. Songs structures are usually proggy or haphazard or both, and themes match the samples: tense relationships and a twisted sense of self-empowerment.
Today Is the Day Animal Mother
Today Is the Day No Good To Anyone
Todd Snider Songs For The Daily Planet
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedoes
Tom T. Hall Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits
Tom Waits Franks Wild Years
Tornado Wallace Lonely Planet
Travis Scott Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
Further confirmation that he's got a big ol' ear for auto-tune-slathered extraterrestrial affectations, boomy+groggy after-hours atmospheres, crazy catchy everythang -- but also that he's indeed a bit of a biter and in need of an assistant wordsmith, or at least a passable personality. Between guiding you like a pilot, getting his cactus stroked, "Sweet Sweet" blatantly ripping off "CoCo", "Beibs in the Trap" basically being Drake's "Madonna" except oh-so-blatantly about coco; it can be lame or laughable or both. But like predecessor Rodeo, production and irresistibility quash most of the vacuous qualities, not to mention the laundry list of guest-spots: Bryson Tiller takes the cake for most surprising/affectionate, hearing 3K+Kendrick get the Travis-treatment is particularly thrilling, and Kid Cudi mimicking a muppet takes the second cake for most awesome/awful.
Tricky Angels With Dirty Faces
Tropical Fuck Storm Braindrops
Tunde Olaniran Yung Archetype
Titillating grab-bag electronix, affable set of croon-pipes coupled with shrewd+witty bars, socially-conscious panache and the entanglements of selfdom laid on thick ("Cuz I could be charred up in the barbecue / But still come out and not be black enough for you").
Turnover Peripheral Vision
Despite the sort of dramatic love/anti-love/self-loathe lyrical retch that has practically made 'emo' a three-letter curse word (red stains in drains, pinning girls up to the wall, cutting off fingers, etc.), for just having caught the dream-pop bug, these guys play it as if they've been doing this all along. Bathed in wistfulness yet pretty and catchy, consistent enough to save two big hitters for the end (self-destructive summer-scowler glee "Take My Head", self-righteous grudge-fest "I Would Hate You If I Could"), skillful+subtle guitar intertwining - this offers much more than a simple distortion+vocal tone-down.
Turnstile Time and Space
Akin to tourmate Angel Du$t's mergence of friendly-pit hardcore with boyish pop sensibilities and 90s rock, only Turnstile don't really take the complete leap. Still chiefly tied to an ol stock mosh-n-shout, their cleans are hit or miss, interloping touches are sorta tacked on: block clackin' and rapid-fire piano bit here, cute lil handclaps and elevator music morsel there. But a pithy jamboree with an approach I appreciate? Indeed.
Twerps Range Anxiety
Well-rounded Aussie-accented guys+gal jangle-pop whose warm allure is instantaneous - right-off-the-bat slow-burner softie "I Don't Mind" establishes itself as a sort of anomalous touchstone to the breezy twee sunbathing that follows; exhibiting bonafide 60's flair with casual ease without a beat missed along the way. Their sanguinity never feels irksome (or, ahem, twerpy), but doesn't particularly lend a helping hand in the depth department, either - as in, there was nearly nothing new to note between the first play-through and repeated listens thereafter. That being said, repeated listens were plentiful.
Ty Segall Emotional Mugger
Ty Segall Freedom's Goblin
At an hour fifteen it sports surplus sure, the fertile song-after-song format sans flow gets tiresome. But this anything-goes garage rock agglomeration seldom spits out a dud and the stretch makes room for heightened pop sensibilities, thrashers with spouse as guest shrieker, feelings beyond the fun+fuzz but yes plenty of that too. Horns come both classy and crude, and their divergent full-band durability bolsters balladry and crunch and the warped. As a parting gift, their very own "Free Bird".
Tyler, the Creator Flower Boy
For Tyler followers, this is surely most striking as a rewarding sophistication-fest. And not just by rejecting the rape jokes or softie singing or comin' out the shed as the gay guy he so assiduously-n-irrelevantly insisted he wasn't -- nuance, structures, and production are on a noticeably new plane. Go back to 09's 'Bastard': flow-wise and conceptually it's dogged as hell, but almost laughable how puerile and histrionic it sounds. His raps don't relay that same up-and-coming exertion as they used to and an array of guests take on alotta duty here, but this turned leaf provides a personality portrait that's more vivid and amenable than ever before. It makes his alienation+apprehension more sympathetic, the bangers broader and more bangin', the plentiful little deets worth digging for. Not bad for a scumfuck.
Tzusing 東方不敗
Horror-tinged techno from what I can only presume is the dark dungeons of China's creepiest clubs. Its eeriness is righteous -- coercive and stark and crawly, vox/sampled vox when employed are warped or shadowy as hell, emanates a wee slice of b-movie cheese. Which, along with huge-yet-soft bass thumps aplenty stompin' out those grooves, make this fright-fest quite fun. Maybe altogether too stiff and strange to be funky, but what the hey, funky too.
U.S. Girls In A Poem Unlimited
Meg Remy's disco-drifts further unshrouded from relative obscurity, still floating in a fog but with a newfound punch and fullness and flexibility. Sonically it's vibrant, varied, organic, a bit freaky, pops with pop potential and personality -- silly me misses the muck a bit. Singin' seems kinda stiffened and still demands a lyric sheet, but per usual peeping one pays off: "As if you couldn't tell I'm mad as hell" goes the buoyant chorus of a considerably veiled and regrettably refreshing Obama opposition, bold bangers "Incidental Boogie" and "Pearly Gates" are boosted by the subject of sovereignty reaped by many-a shitty male, and excavated from "Poem" is a mantra idyllic enough to warrant transparency: "No one needs to make a profit / No one needs to get paid".
Uboa The Origin Of My Depression
Ugly Casanova Sharpen Your Teeth
Ulla Tumbling Towards a Wall
Vampire Weekend Father Of The Bride
Van Halen Van Halen
Vermont (Ger) II
Ah sure it's feelin' sleepy and samey well before the near-hour is up, but this is the kind of active-ish ambient that serves better as a backdrop you can tune in-n-out of anyway -- deeper listens don't make it necessarily dazzle anew and do tend to make it drag moreso. But for something all bout that subtle soothe, it stays busy, provides languid melodies and firm ~feels~ throughout, and has quite the range for a subdued synth+stuff sound-set. Plus panning as pleasure source.
Vince Staples Summertime '06
Staples' version of summertime is not so much chillin' in the rays with a pair of shades on and more nervous perspiring under the sunbeam-bake of gangland reminiscence and social tensions with eyes wide open. It corresponds with the avoidance of star-studding, and his lack-of-effort hooks - that's what Future/whisper-girls/James Fauntleroy are good for - and when feelings of tiresome excess start to materialize over the course of these 20 tracks, the mini-two-disc sequencing is there to offer major flow-support, as is the ear-catching stew of production: sloshy seagull interludes, quick-claps, Latin shufflin', robot choirs, and a dreamy-molasses-haze centerpiece all find their niche amongst buzzy bangers and ominous loopers.
Vince Staples Prima Donna
Its ~22 minutes is an endorsed beeline after his overstuffed opus Summertime '06, especially when it's altogether punchier than most anything on said opus anyway. Beats have upped their bustling/bizarro game and Staples has no shortage of fire flows to match, an ample hook-per-track cert-don't-hurt none, "War Ready" is a proper presentation of the prevailing 'tude and also here presently on Election Eve. And there for discomforting counteraction are his bare-bones barely-able tape-player confessions and of course The Most Startling Gunshot in a Song Ever -- a condensed+eerie ebb and flow, if you will.
Voivod Nothingface
Vundabar Smell Smoke
90s-centric indie-rock that's versatile and moderately melodic and pretty loud; albeit not particularly peerless in the stuff. They're cryptic but chipper, jittery and anthemic, unifiers of the jaded jagged structurally strange and emotive power-pop fun-times. Not afraid to mellow out but clangy+jangly at large. Lotsa guitar and guitar lines that are sung along to. And perhaps in homage to their Bostonian base, the catchiest chorus borrows from Mission Of Burma.
Warzone Fight For Justice
Weyes Blood Titanic Rising
White Lung Sorry
White Lung Deep Fantasy
Somewhat disappointed that it's nearly interchangeable with 'Sorry', but it certainly succeeds in further cementing their sound while applying some semi-polish. Not to mention that this time 'round, the blistering & melodic 10-song ~20-minute attack ends with "In Your Home" - probably reason enough that my complaint doesn't matter.
Wilco Star Wars
As to be expected from a sporadically-dropped freebie whose cover is adorned with a cat painting, this is a fun little let-loose romp, exposed right from the spastic and cryptically acronymic get-go and clinched by the casual tinny-guitar tunefulness that follows. The calmly at-ease attitude revitalizes the spirit as do the squall/squeal-buryings, those tinny-guitars sound all sorts of great, they know enough to toss an extended+shimmery ballad-of-sorts in between joke explanation explanations and ceiling tastings. It's trebly-twang goof-rock performed at a professionally erratic level.
Wilco A.M.
Kinda sounds like a surprisingly good demo album from a bar band. They utilize having chops in both alt-rock and country, the talent and potential is obvious, the songwriting is very safe but varied and consistent. Never underestimate the power of a well-played steel pedal.
Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wilco Sky Blue Sky
Windhand Grief's Infernal Flower
The molasses-swamp density of snails-pace sludge-grooves is spellbinding on its own, but there are those little personal touches that help distinguish it from your standard ol' leadenly ~70-minute stoner-metal trek of doom: solos that come oozing out the cauldron, following-suit-yet-attentive drumming, ear-relief in the form of bare-bones downer-folk acoustic that sounds fit for a dusty+desolate dive bar. And a vocalist like Dorthia Cottrell certainly don't hurt: on the heavy stuff she's graceful and tough, possessed but cool+collected about it, and ineluctably semi-buried. When she's suddenly deprived of all the muck five tracks deep, bewitchery only increases -- which may explain the subsequent retaliation of extra-extra-emphasis on slow+heavy crush, which includes back-to-back 14-minute monstrosities. The peak, if you ask me.
Windhand Soma
Windhand Eternal Return
Wipers Alien Boy
Wire Wire
The crotchety 'tude towards what seems to be the entire internet doesn't really prevail past the opener, C.N.'s Morrissey-simulation while saying "Manchester" is made up for during the finale's mightily-sustained-yells; the safe, simplistic, no-frills (well, maybe lazy too) approach here is almost complimentary to simply how great this band still sounds - Wire Lite, in a way. But it's the kind of Lite that showcases consistency and ease, only further cementing their status as tight-tension-titans.
Wormrot Voices
Wreck and Reference Indifferent Rivers Romance End
This tortured pair of drone-experi-metal sonnetists follow wounded ravens into abstraction, face the direction that flowers droop ("down"), reiterate "within a jail" four times and an unhinged "that's fine" twelve, alternate/amalgamate hoarse screams of unembellished anguish with soft-spoken straight-up talking. So yeah, their dramaturgy can drain+bug -- but between the outrageous emotion and complete lack thereof and almost operatic flow of tumult/tension/explosions/chilly stills/stone-faced spoken word, it's ultimately quite arresting and makes for some bitter-n-breathtaking grandeur. Shove feelings down my facehole and gimme moments of comparable mansuetude for reflection and a few eyerolls, sure that works.
Wussy Forever Sounds
In the (admittedly dissipating) sea of shoegazin' guitar-rokk torchbearers, Wussy's flame flickers with remarkable finesse: the he-and-she vocal turn-taking/occasional collabing from axe-slingers Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker promptly prompts comparisons to Yo La Tengo/MBV/Sonic Youth/Pixies; but rather than clone it up via flaccid rehash, they seem set on aligning themselves with that almighty legacy -- especially given that this is their churn-out seven albums deep. The symmetry of dense hum+wail+sparkle feedback and fetching tunefulness is frequently superb -- not to propose that it's perfect through-n-through, but you positively get your pick of peaks: weeper-beauties ("Donny's Death Scene", "Better Days"), assertive anthemics ("Gone" "Hello, I'm a Ghost"), and perhaps my claimed fave, earth-stopping majesty that's aptly titled to boot ("Majestic-12").
Wussy What Heaven is Like
Xiu Xiu Fabulous Muscles
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever To Tell
Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz!
Yes Fragile
YG Still Brazy
What YG may lack in a discrete identity and novel ideas he makes up for with clear-cut and compact tunes through-n-through, blending humor+dread in a candid depiction of Bompton-Blood lyfe -- a realm where Gimme gets popped for demanding handouts and our narrator ponders bout who popped him in the studio, a vibe that Drake seems utterly unseemly in, a disposition that somehow someway endorses the ugly-ass misogyny of "She Wish She Was." True persuasion however comes when 'fuck's start flying and shit gets real during the topical terminal triad: "Fuck Donald Trump" is the bluntest and maybe most imperative out of all the winning hooks this album drops, Sad Boy comes through with a defiant cockcrow declaration straight outta Mexico, and second bluntest "Police Get Away Wit Murder" is incensed enough to incite the riots its title calls for; or at the very least a bustling mosh pit. That last one also sees YG reading off the names and dates of innocent youngins killed by cops, discovering aloud that Kimani Gray's death falls on his birthday -- it's the most resentful he sounds on the entire record.
Yo La Tengo And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside...
Yo La Tengo takes their previous experimenting with drony, ambient-ish mood music and emphasizes it into a very long, full work here, alternating between creepy and cutesy most of the way. The catchy and upbeat moments are sparing, just enough to make the album not too lopsided. A nice change-up in their discography that puts a big focus on atmospherics rather than a guitar-oriented sound.
Yo La Tengo Summer Sun
Well, when it's good it's great, but when it's not you will notice. There's a good amount of usual Yo La Tengo effortlessly subtle genius wonder songs going on, but there is almost just as many awkward tracks that bog the album down and interrupt the flow.
Yo La Tengo There’s A Riot Going On
Lotsa complaints of tedium being hurled at this defiantly quiet riot; a shame cuz I find much amenity in its aura and a flow that's pensive, quirky, cryptic in the kindest way. Floppy pit-pat grooves, gentle vocalizations that come and go, afternoon laze and island breeze and heaven-wades and casual hypno-drone without the respite of squealy feedback pop or jam-outs. Even for a group that's long fucked with hushed, this is a cherished curveball that comes 15 albums deep; and further proof that for them "doing it wrong" is pretty damn difficult.
Young Fathers Cocoa Sugar
Muffled roughness and a bit-o-silly always provides a fair chunk of their charm, resounding here however is how soulful they are when they wanna be. And while the songwriting ain't quite consummate or spirited as it could be, their 3-way vocal chemistry+variety and blip-n-buzz and toylike melodic thumper insistence secure exceptional emanations. Perhaps in defense of stirring emotions or soundplay over solidity goes the line "I didn't work this damn hard to stay where I belong"; right before taunting ya with a barrage of buggy 'na na na's.
Young Thug Slime Season 3
Cleanliness+consistency uber-upped from the preceding pair of this slimy series -- as confirmed by the right-away gag-hook of a sky-high fellator being labeled an airhead, cleanliness pertains to production only -- but most notable by far in this installment is the benevolent brevity, second most is the resultant consolidated horsepower. Perhaps he got the "Memo" that 8 tracks in 28 minutes is infinitely more viable than yet another half-good 70+minute hodgepodge, 'specially when all 8 tote a hook that kills, a beat that really tries, and an explosion of personality. And in the midst of the aforementioned airhead and the slime bitch and the tatted+pierced bitch, there's the bonafide ballad for the bitch who's "Worth It", i.e. his fiancee. The Cunning Come-on? "I need a deep throat baby, swallow me."
Your Old Droog Packs
Funny that this ol droog was initially conjectured as Nas incognito, cuz Nas hasn't come through with this much character or conspicuous lines since Illmatic. A self-claimed rap superhero and certified cancer-stick spokesman, ex-fiend who's moved onto green tea and tangerines, loss-hater whose marked references include Charizard and Redman's MTV Cribs appearance. The skits are irrelevant and terse, but verse-work and dust-grit and otherwise guests go a long way -- a prompt yarn about an impromptu cop killer is fitted with a beat just as manic and when he wants to 'rock' everyone involved ups the ante. When the beat turns into a circus, in comes ringmaster Danny Brown. The Droog is so into skill tho. Enough to know that it should take precedence over skin in the rap game, enough to think that if you don't succeed swiftly you may as well just surrender, enough to profess he's better than all of em anyway. "I'm sick of these sycophants who want to make their idols proud / I want my hero to hear me and shit his pants". We've all got dreams.
Youth Code Commitment to Complications
Though it'd be nice to see the vox fixate on variance as half-much as they do malignity, the agonized she+he venom-spitting sprinkled with samplings of antisocial sentiments are frequently vehement and dare I say deliciously diabolical. For industria-beats so mechanical+aggressive+minatory they'd sound at home on the killing floor of a futuristic terrorist compound, suitable supplements indeed. Not to say it's absolute thickheaded carnage -- floating-ghost-synths help channel celestiality, plenty of intricacies and subtleties are there for the pickin', they're not opposed to churnin' out some catchy+melodic, and occasional plunges into slowed-down sparsity grant the listener some breathing room while our vocalists get their decrepit-elder on. Pretty positive that a gagged woman is getting whipped at one point, though.
Zeal and Ardor Stranger Fruit
Siked foremost that Z&A administrator Manuel Gagneux has managed to forge a formidable full-length out of his dicey stylistic amalgam -- though it was an abbreviated mishmash, Devil Is Fine was fine as hell and bursting with potential and individuality. With xtra bolstering from a drummer and producer, this followup sees a satisfactory smoothing. Tunes buffer, metal less blackened, glitchy electro extinct, palette for soul/Satan/slavery/mortality vaster. Structurally however a number of these songs can come off unsure or clumsy. Screechin' and blast-beats as spurts rather than mainstays are sort of a tease, interludes are kinda fruitless, suddenly he'll get all Fithos Lusec on your ass, and at times they seemingly unearth a formula for nu-metal (middling chugga chugga squeaka riff+bluesy yells). Bit exhausting on the whole, yet enticement still overrules.

3.0 good
070 Shake Modus Vivendi
18+ Fore
Guy-n-girl duo's homespun protean sprawler where their respective roles as frail whimperer and spurious seductress are reminiscent of a twisted and amateur xx-portrayal -- which leaves trap-banger renditions lying somewhere between hazy art-school caricature and self-aware dork-fest, exercises in understated glitch-tronix sluggish flounderers, and latecomers "Love Was Like"+"Glass" I-swear-it's-true beautiful. The biggest bummer being their too-cool passivity becoming a real bore -- cuz for what it's worth, in spite of some awkward bumblings, they've got something here that's vital and invigorating; from the trap-rap takeovers to the ambition and track-flow. Plus they make me laugh and wonder and roll my eyes and sympathize with their mental pickles all at once. See "Sour" for a particularly-classic hook-n-line from each of 'em: spurious seductress goes for stutter-'brrr's and asks how you'd like her "butterfly flapping on your face", frail whimperer spits out the gem "Katy Perry / dysentery" and pledges to "keep her squawkin' like a crow". Er, not Katy though, someone else I assume.
18+ Collect
Comes off as somewhat surplus when taking into account their more-sprawling/parentheses-packed release from three months prior, especially being plainly plainer and really no less obnox persona-wise. But if you dig/tolerate/get a kick outta their apathetic weirdo disposition and art-n-pills-at-night mood-trap beats then this shouldn't disappoint -- matter-o-fact, a reduction in glitch-work experiments and the comparative cleanliness arguably give this the upper hand in some ways. "Drama" sees 'em at a surprising tier of legitimate despite repeated allusions to tigers+chimps, "Glow" is an anomalous shrill-effect acoustic solo effort via the femme-side, standout bangers and hooks sprinkled healthily enough throughout. Patent silliness toned down here too, but they still manage to bust this one out while simultaneously kinda summing up their schtick: "If you ain't depressed then you probably dumb / You could probably choke you so full of cum."
21 Savage i am > i was
311 311
Awkward rapping and soft-ass reggae parts like you might expect from Nebraska natives and a bit questionable lyrically, but similarly lovable in a 'but they're so well-meaning' sort of way. Not to mention, they're about infinitely more natural, well-versed, well-rounded, and fun to listen to than most of their rap-rock peers.
A Place to Bury Strangers A Place to Bury Strangers
A Pregnant Light Lucky All My Life
Abbath Abbath
When it comes to metal of the black inclination, the breadth and barbarism of Abbath's scare+despair components just about match that of the silly album cover -- instead of a full-on commitment to swallowing worlds and coercing into abysses, they transmit something a bit more in the way of traditionalist heavy-n-gallopin' thrashy riffage; their sturdy trounce rather stock but proficient and consistent enough to remain engaging and warrant some war-troll kitsch. Particularly adept at crescendo-breaking belches and well-timed synth-horns.
Abigail Williams Legend
Ace of Base The Sign
Adam Ant Friend or Foe
Adia Victoria Silences
Adiel Musicofilia
Adolescents Welcome to Reality EP
Adventures Supersonic Home
AFI Answer That and Stay Fashionable
AFI Very Proud of Ya
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Agorapocalypse
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Bestial Machinery: ANb Discography Vol 1
Agoraphobic Nosebleed Arc
The inaugural of a four-EP series, each "designed to decimate your total being" and allegedly tackling a different genre/a genre differing from their customary psychotic grind-freak blitzkrieg-core. So here we have the officially-dubbed Sludge-Doom Inc. 3-track 27-minute EP from the group whose 100-track LP was a mere 21 mins. and change. Exclusively Kat vox (along with occasional accompaniment from anonymous low-pitched demon) is revivifying, riffery is substantial and sonically pleasing, mech-drums mesh specially well, samples remind that this is indeed ANb -- but though her vox slay they also never really alter, and songs seldom feel comfortable in their own tacked-on skin; kinda just going wherever and doing whatever and transitioning whenever. Which considering the outcome, is fine and good. But I can't say part of me has been decimated, certainly nowhere in the area of 25% anyway.
Alcest Kodama
Allan Kingdom Lines
For a lil while there AK comes off as another surefire Kanye producer/rapper/crooner protege-of-sorts -- like Cudi without as much mope, like Travis Scott but less twisted and facepalmy. More funky and natural than both of em, really. But despite the five could-be-hits with unescapable hooks right off the bat and sweepingly discernible space+bass beat crafting, its vacuity and novicehood are eventually if not instantly glaring. Like he says, "it's all about the vibes ooo yeah". More or less other than that: late night party, comin' up, fiddling on his phone, surrounded and astounded by fucked up bitches. Like he says, "I do not really got nothin' to say / I check my balance and order a lobster and steak". Duly noted for promise tho.
Amen Dunes Freedom
Amps For Christ The People At Large
Good-sized chunk of flittering fluttering blipping bleeping Bastardized folk. The fully-formed songs are great, the Indian instrument noodling is tolerable, the powerviolence is muffled, the noise is fun, the insect chirps are synthesized, the Old Lang Syne variants strike a nerve. The spoken word poetry, however, is better off left in the liner notes.
An Isolated Mind I'm Losing Myself
Anal Cunt I Like It When You Die
Andrew W.K. You're Not Alone
How can ya not have a soft spot for this white-denim-clad wonder. Gone from bloodied puker to authorized motivational speaker and has managed to redefine partying in his image. He emits so much earnestness, goes huge ceaselessly+unabashedly, pulsates with reassurance and victory and positivity -- all crucial and lovable traits but that don't mean it won't make you go blech. Going the protracted route has consistently turned up the dial on corn and exorbitance, but generally this is impressively epic nonetheless. Grandeur and energy and crescendos can't help but engulf, yet nothin' really has me hummin' afterward. Plus, that creeping feeling of a church service or children's TV show. Plus, is it wrong to desire a debut's brevity? Plus, am I a hopeless grouch if I prefer to skip minute-long pep talks?
Angel Du$t Pretty Buff
Angel Olsen My Woman
Acknowledged by Angel as having implemented a polar-opposite rift between first-n-second halves -- which oh-so-artistic as that may be, really just ain't that advantageous here. Not that her and backup comrades aren't versatilely versed+competently commanding on both the direct rockin' A-side and placidly prolonged B, but the inaugural switch-off from the wonderful wailing of "Not Gonna Kill You" into said placidly prolonged B is quite the drastic drop in energy and excellence; and barring a moment-or-two it never fully recovers. When ya don't spread that slow it seems really damn slow. Especially when it rarely matches the trembling heartache throb of "Intern" or the basic be-mine urgency of "Shut Up Kiss Me". The wailing's great wherever, though.
Animal Collective Campfire Songs
Like any good "trained" jam session should be: confident overall; yet surely unsure at parts, and deep in the zone-or-groove-or-whatever at others. Mostly, it is carried by the concept of it all: soft and outdoorsy yet spooky, the pseudo-spontaneity of random hippie guys who show up semi-invited to your backyard bonfire armed with acoustic guitars, the chirping of insects and birds, the constant tape-hiss, weather and time taking their course, people walking about. It makes for an enthralling eyeroll of a listen.
Answer Code Request Gens
Aphex Twin Come to Daddy
Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works Volume II
Arca Mutant
Arca Arca
Compelling to hear how provocative electro mutant Alejandro Ghersi evolves/devolves over time, this one being on-the-cusp imperative no doubt: the self-titled stamp hints at it and the induction of vox alone change the Arca game. That Bjork work stuck with him, seemingly -- not only is there this new transparence of having a bold+tender weeper-composer arise from the shadows, but also a far more restrained/refined/dare I say poppier palette to match. Not to say it ain't still an aimless-n-alien tangle or that weep can't peeve, 'tis and it can. With respect to the new direction, I kinda miss the spastic violence of releases past. May be why I like when he whips out the whips on "Whip"; followed by "Desafio", the kind of driven pop-transition perfection I wish were more prevalent here.
Artificial Brain Infrared Horizon
Ash Koosha I AKA I
Still steadfastly squooshin' all kindsa koosha in your hear-holes: right from the onset of "Ote" there's bizarrely blistering bleeps+blops and a pitched-up someone switching between "poopies" and gobbledygook. But such overzealous scrambling is otherwise scarce this time around -- still a sharp+woozy litter of sketchy convolutions and slime-slides and fairly-warped everythings, surely, but I AKA I often finds his sound palette a bit more reasonable (dare I say relatable?) and the compositions steadier (dare I say composed?). Still kinda arduous after about 15 minutes, though, too. But if slowin' your roll increases the capacity for observation and ken, and even makes for moments of poignant placidity, so be it. Cuz I do dare say, I prefer this digestible to the debut.
Audio Push The Stone Junction
This fleeting hip-hop forest-footslog forks over its fair share of solid verses+hooks+beats+inflections; which amid the condensed kinda-conceptual venture-flow/occasional compositional curveballs/allegiance to vigor makes for a proficient and pithy project. Personas+motifs ain't particularly distinct, it routinely gratifies but nothin' quite wows, super-chorus of choice is served via Bmacthequeen on "Servin'", too-easy chorus of choice is obv-hit "Vamonos", compositional curveball of choice is when "Hard" goes soft.
Babyfather BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow
Cements its satirical snobbery and affinity for experimentation thick-n-quick by hollowing out a sampled British-pride line via a C-or-so's worth of loops; casting the path for "20 bands" and "pour some liquor on my head" as deadpan+bored mantras entwined with baby-cries, casual remarks of "gunshot" and "mad smoke in the studio" during one of the jet-engine noise-hunks and a snuck-in "fuck you mate" in the other, and not-one-but-two reprises of that ol' British-pride line. Primarily it's an extensive slab of hip-hop mockery that places concept, album-flow, and a skittish+squeaked-up narrator on a pedestal far above songs and strain, abstractions/phone calls/icy-drink-clinks more obligatory than bangers/sincerity/significance. Real riveters are there but few and far between, though near-end "The Realness" may take the cake for managing to channel just that: nothin' quite like chattin' bout the entanglements of trusting your crew and mini-reviewing a Cormega album over some solemnity.
Banana Live
Quartet of quirky instrumental compositions from Cate Le Bon and her Crab Day crew -- ostensibly frank+off-the-cuff stuff with its live sketch deportment and lack of tune titles, but if you're a sucker for stringent structure or uber-repetition or marimba-n-vibraphone aplenty this'll tickle a fancy. See "A" and "C" for bouncy and busy, "B" and "D" for pensive and pacific.
Band of Horses Cease to Begin
Barker Debiasing
Barker Utility
Beach House Depression Cherry
The systematically churned-out niche being transmitted here is all-too-cautiously measured doses of molasses-drip pop, its crystalline tones and dream-drones and apathetic drum-programming languidly suspended in time. Toss in Victoria Legrand's cherubic vocals and altogether it paints an unquestionably pretty picture -- but one I wish wasn't so complacent within its dead-set aesthetic. On the flip-side of all the floaty ascension there's all this enervated immobility. How about a wee bit of agitation, or a risk here and there? Hey, just throwing "Sparks" somewhere towards the end instead would've lent some assistance.
Beach Slang A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
Beach Slang is back and the same rules apply: young hearts in the gutter, being alive/not dying, downtrodden determination, euphoria via volume and passion and good ol' fashioned drugs-n-drank. So while those teenage feelings are permanently palpable per ushe, it feels rather tamed-n-timid as far as loud bashes go -- whereas last year's (sigh) 'The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel the Same' was a fiery and urgent incitement of such motifs with its wild hazes+broken guitars, this one comes off more like a moderate rehash. Stiffer performances, unnecessarily veiled vox, but not without some here-and-there irresistible lil' guitar melodies and thunderous riffs and concise wide-eyed charm. Epitomical Cliche Teen Feelz Chorus From 42-Year Old Man: "I'm an atom bomb, tick tick ticking."
Beck Sea Change
Beck Mutations
Belle and Sebastian Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Though nearly every track is overlong and the songwriting is a bit by-the-books, this is still the beautifully vocalized and effortlessly lush Belle and Sebastian we all know and love. And while the disco dance floor-rousers aren't quite their forte, the efforts here are appreciated - the standout of which manages one hell of a coda and compares love to a frog that's been misunderstood.
Ben Howard I Forget Where We Were
Ooo if I wasn't such a sucker for nice atmospherics and a good echoey acoustic I'm not sure I could tolerate the cliche chorus lyrics ("Has the world gone mad / or is it me?", "Oh I am not myself today / I am not feeling okay" - the first and worst two) and its rock stadium-esque buildups. But bleak slowness is a proud shroud for this otherwise overly familiar English folk songwriter - instead of poofing it up and maybe scoring a handful of hit singles, he airs out the production, stretches out songs, and throws down a heaping dose of plain ol-fashioned sadness. Hm, more things I'm fond of.
Ben Howard Noonday Dream
Bent Knee You Know What They Mean
Beres Hammond In Control
Betonkust & Palmbomen II Center Parcs
Don't be daunted by the cumbersome appellation alliance or leery of the initiatory shlock-hoots, for this is an estimable little dollop of haze-crust house and other electro-etceteras -- you've got your summery alfresco romps and sunset jams, cogitative dream-land lingerers, a spooky slinking-in-space 6-minute ender, volume oscillations and queasy surroundings reminiscent of a faulty VHS tape. A fun+varied instrumental 27-minute EP that doesn't drastically alter your life either way, worse comes to worst.
Between the Buried and Me Automata I
First half of divided full-length issued independently months before part two -- less for aesthetic reasons and more cuz it would prove more palatable than yet another enormous prog-pill to swallow methinks. Hence it reading like an extensive EP instead of concluding on a cliffhanger I spose. As is often the case for highfalutin concepts in the extreme metal sphere, the one here is basically invisible; and that's likely for the best. Raspy vox goin' ragged and persevering gaudy awk mitigated by boosting the urgent gruff a bit and the fact that these guys have seemingly been touring+recording complicated-ass music 350 days a year for like 15 years now. Going through the motions maybe, but those are still some instrumentally impressive motions. Momentous Moment Within Motions: premiere guitar hook on "Blot", which is both intriguing and abominable.
Between the Buried and Me Automata II
Bezier Parler Musique
Difficult not to get down with lively melody-centric techno splashed with bright+soaring space-fantasy synth; boasting a near industrial-punk pace at times to boot -- at first anyway. Eventually it reveals itself as kind of a one-trick pony, its shiny spectacle tending to wear thin when taken as whole and many trax not evolving into much over time. Sooo many fluttering hi-hats -- not that I'm complaining.
Bibio Ambivalence Avenue
Big L Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
Big Thief Masterpiece
Billy Joel Streetlife Serenade
Corny but also endearing in his own way - the humdrum of visiting suburbia ("Out in the yard where my daddy works so hard / He never lets the crabgrass grow too high"), the caustic-against-the-music-biz hit single (I'll get put in back in the discount rack like another can of beans"). And hell, I'll admit it - I get a kick out of the instrumentals.
Billy Woods Today, I Wrote Nothing
Bitchin' Bajas Transporteur
Bjork Debut
Bjork Selmasongs
Black Flag Slip It In
Black Flag Six Pack
Black Midi Schlagenheim
Black Sabbath Master of Reality
Black Tusk Pillars of Ash
Even-split hardcore-metal trio whose stylistic conventionality would be a straight-up shortcoming if it weren't so-oft played with such plain-hearted vim and power -- a far stretch from breaking new ground and siked on it, complacent but surefire where it counts. So it's a fairly catchy, heavy riffin', devoted kind of shortcoming; not wasting time and shouter swap-outs are certainly pluses too.
Blatz/Filth Shit Split
Bleached Can You Deal?
With 4 tunes that are sweet-n-catchy perhaps but stiff-n-obvious fo sho and never match the magic of their last LP? Yeah, I spose.
Blood Orange Freetown Sound
Lotsa good bleedin' on through here: lush-n-dreamy arrangements that are percussively preeminent, multi-instrumentalist mastermind crooner with loads of soul and sensitivity and smarts to boot, a gaggle of propitious girl-guests. Prominent Prince worship and kicking things off with a fiery feminist recitation never hurts neither -- but I'm not sure the near-permanent placidity is quite conducive to the durational ambition and socially conscious commentary, the latter of which comes through in interludial sampling more than it does the actual tunes. A handful of moments pump up the pep, but on the whole it seems stuck in a shell of subtlety. Nothin' wrong with that per se -- just could've done with a bit more in the way of hard-selling methinks.
Bloodlet The Seraphim Fall
Bogdan Raczynski Rave ‘Till You Cry
Boliden Surfaces
Still pumpin' out the placidity that comes with minimal-yet-moving loops warmly smothered in spectral-dub-soup ambience, still winningly meditative and rather jaunty all things considered. But really seems like a less-striking overlong reiteration of his 10-months-prior album 'Landscape and Memory'. Still eventually grows toward samey-gone-stagnant too; which the whole overlong thing certainly doesn't remedy.
Bombino Azel
This Tuareg axe-slinger and concomitant squad have their formula and they're stickin' to it: acoustic+electric high-string-centric bustle+sputter, rigorous handclaps, dynamic drumming, set-in-stone song-structures that synthesize jocund hippie-jam fiesta and mesmeric world-music grooves. High spirits and breezy virtuosity help annul any apprehensions about a language barrier, and either way his singflections and intermittent quavery party-chirps are quite the charismatic components in themselves. Stylistic redundancy does reveal itself rather rapidly, however -- enchanting and easeful as they may be, I can't help but find myself achin' for some expansion.
Bon Iver i,i
Bonobo Migration
Boogie The Reach
An endearing kids-first church-reference kinda guy with a whole lotta soul+sappiness, a tough+unique lisper flow, and down-to-earth expertise in gangland complications and repercussions; all rolled into one big, warm, understated boogie-ball. Gets a bit heavy on the sap, though -- which makes solitary banger "Oh My" feel all the more alien, and towards the end even gets me pining for some more texting/social media melodrama. Yeah, he dabbles in that as well.
Boogie Everything’s For Sale
Boosie Badazz Touch Down 2 Cause Hell
Having been locked up since 2009, he's got stored-up verses for days+days and guests aplenty stopping by to help commemorate his return. Straight out the prison gate/right off the introductory bat, he's nothin' but passionate+weaselly all the way, amping himself up in the third person and seeking forgiveness while mingling with soulful ensembles and gaudy drama-trap. Antiquated overindulgence quickly takes its toll as he moves onwards through savage revenge and stripclub tales and radio-friendly nightclub bait; but the ardor endures, and in the process a knack for making the unlikely somehow work is unveiled: the tragically-lengthy name-droppage of "Black Heaven" is touching even when Rosa Parks is labeled "a O.G.", "How She Got Her Name" still manages to rouse up sympathy within its misogyny and saves the day beat-wise with a softly-sampled purr-hook, "Hands Up" feels forced but offers a refreshingly clear opinion on the current police state ("Fuck That SHIT!"). When an ender finally rolls around, he's returned to the basics: piano-only for backing and apologetic shout-outs for everyone - Mama, the crew, the aunties, God, a million fans, all seven kids, etc.
Boosie Badazz In My Feelings. (Goin' Thru It)
Losing faith in God cuz of a post-prison cancer diagnosis, in women cuz they stressin' him, in men cuz they failin' him; considering a pooch purchase for some semblance of actual companionship: Boosie's goin' thru it alright, and throughout this wisely-terse relentless downer of varying volumes it's his earnest charisma and unmistakable delivery that help you through a lethargic-by-nature aura and seize some real-life sympathy. And much like on last year's Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, the final track showcases a badazz w/ just piano that is downright touching, if perhaps a bit self-concerned this time around -- though given the circumstances, appropriate enough methinks.
Boris Heavy Rocks
Braid Frame & Canvas
Breakfast in Fur Flyaway Garden
It immediately grabs you with sun-kissed opener "Shape", what follows sets focus aside and just sorta drifts along like pixie-dust in the wind, slightly devolving into honeyed run-of-the-mill pop-gaze that's heavy on airy vocals and aimless interludes.
Bright Eyes Cassadaga
Brittany Howard Jaime
Brockhampton SATURATION III
Brockhampton Ginger
Broken English Club The English Beach
Broken Water Wrought
Their heavily-tremoloed-fuzz is highbred and the soft+sleepy/at-times-inaudible female-drummer occasionally gets the vox-reins taken by grungy-guitar-guy - shame about the at-times-inaudibility too, because she seems like the one with things to say. But the overly familiar moments of by-the-book Sonic Youth/MBV worship and kinda-samey songwriting (is "Love and Poverty" not just a slightly tweaked/inferior "High-Lo"?) don't offer them a ton of distinction. Still though - they paint the tedious scene of a cashier-at-closing time all too well with realizations that ring all too true ("my wages garnished for a war"), unexpectedly close it with a 12-minute molasses-creep violin-charged psych-jam, and ya know, there's worse bands out there to resemble.
Brooks and Dunn The Greatest Hits Collection
Brother Ali All The Beauty In This Whole Life
Emcee Ali and interminable beat-man Ant are so longwindedly straight-laced but awfully hard to hate: the articulation, the emotional earnestness, the disquietude, the persevering positivity, the soulful and live-ish crispy clean production. Go ahead n try not be touched by an attempt at teaching his son that peeps will scorn him simply cuz of skin and how to proceed if the police come 'round; try not be taken aback with how collectedly and even comically he discloses details of the heavy repercussions from rapping in Iran/procuring a 4S at the airport.
Bruce Springsteen The River
Bruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
Brutal Truth Need to Control
Bryan Adams So Far So Good
Collection of generi-rock mega-hits that have been painfully overplayed over the years and are particularly bland word-wise. But between its comprehensive familiarity and nostalgic wailalong charm, this is a rather undeniable smorgasbord of mild-mannered stadium-packing radio-single schlock. Starter "Summer of '69" stands out as most anthemic and is probably the only song that's not all about needing someone; "Run to You" the epitome of late night drives (or, er, runs). I myself tho am a sucker for the sap -- "Do I Have to Say the Words?", "Heaven", "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You", "Please Forgive Me" -- suspiciously similar to each other but hey. A must for any mom with a minivan.
Buffalo Tom Big Red Letter Day
Built to Spill Untethered Moon
An amiable "let's-make-this-real-quick" offering that also serves as an excuse to try out all sortsa fun+fuzzy pedals, get all loose+loud, and throw some cares to the wind - and the more power to 'em, they've earned their keep and remain established maestros when it comes to the whole alterna-indie-rock-guitar thing. However, the noisy-feelgood-showcase of the first two tracks dwarfs the varying-degrees-of-passable performances that follow - with an exclusion for the big pay-off finale, which reaches a Wire/Husker Du coalescence of on-point dirty+distorted hypnosis.
Built to Spill Perfect from Now On
Butthole Surfers Butthole Surfers
Butthole Surfers Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac
Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
Camper Van Beethoven Key Lime Pie
Can Flow Motion
Fans only familiar with Can's earlier work will be taken aback - if not by the first track, then definitely by the next two. Very worldly music for a band that specializes in being otherworldly, but it is still an fun, odd, entertaining listen.
Can Soundtracks
Car Seat Headrest Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
Toledo revamping his 7-year old Bandcamp breakthrough may seem a bit superfluous, but it serves as a testament to relative newcomers like myself that he's long had an appetite for ambition. And whereas mainstream breakthrough 'Teens of Denial' took seventy minutes to get through twelve tunes, here it takes that to get through ten; with a less fluent flow to boot. Though his nervous+mopey mutterin' talk-sing tends to wear thin, Will is a stirring and sympathetic character who's also up for going hoarse and harmonizing; and spread through the many passages that are dynamic and immerse ya in greatness you're sure to find declines in direction and declared descents into cliche and dull+sulky diary-reads bout how he's not doing "shit" cuz he's not traveling the world like last year. Most convincing when resisting schizophrenia or in a room that's spinning.
Cardi B Invasion of Privacy
Siked on her stripper-to-stardom success story and unfiltered persona, the wordy grit and wit, the well-engineered loud+proud debut roll-out. But her rapping is only slightly less grating than her interviews; which admittedly is part of the appeal. Plus so many mentions of money bags and possessions while drowning in drama-n-hostility is taxing on its own. LOL moments include a plethora of pussy-popping techniques, YG's so-bad-it's-good "She Bad" hook, and her revengeful proposals for seeing shit she don't like on her man's phone: telling his mama that she raised a bitch, posting his received nudes on the Gram, cutting the tongues out of his sneakers, getting stabby, feeding him bleach-laced cereal like "bon appetit".
Caroline Says No Fool Like An Old Fool
Cat Power Moon Pix
It has its moments - the last 4 tracks are the highlight - but it also kinda makes me wanna kill myself. 90% of the energy is in the first track, way too depressing and sluggish to make it too likeable. Though maybe that's the point?
Cavern of Anti-Matter Hormone Lemonade
These kraut-revering synth-ultraists still churn out exquisite groovework and cohesive layering like no one's business; steadfast shooting you off into space while keepin' it busy+upbeat. Making em rather undeniably engaging is their fusion of man and machine, deep dark galaxy drifts and video game fun-time, jammy goodness and sincere sound-care. So the dearth of character and a creeping feeling of caution may be permissible I spose. But few of these trax are the tremendous treks that so many on their last one were. Matter of fact, the 16-minute opener (by far the longest tune here) on its own sums this all up pretty unsuccinctly.
Cerebral Rot Odious Descent Into Decay
CHAI Punk
Chance the Rapper The Big Day
Charlie Daniels Band Fire on the Mountain
Cheap Trick Authorized Greatest Hits
Chelsea Wolfe Hiss Spun
Chelsea Wolfe Apokalypsis
Chelsea Wolfe Birth of Violence
Christian Scott Stretch Music
Circle Jerks Golden Shower of Hits
Circuit Des Yeux Reaching For Indigo
Cloud Nothings Life Without Sound
Seems unfair in a way to complain and claim it as tame -- overall it's a successful softening of their acerbity and an angst-punk maturation that doesn't forsake their roots or mope too much in Cheeseville. But alas, tame it does feel: oft enjoyable as it is, it also comes off a bit flat-n-formulaic; tuneful and snarly as they can be, they've done both better on projects more ambitious+arresting.
Cloud Nothings Last Building Burning
Coca Leaf Deep Marble Sunrise
CocoRosie The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillbo
Cold Beat Chaos by Invitation
Their last one saw 'em flingin' both clamant punk and synth-driven electro, here however they dump much of the punk -- a few great guitar-included tracks ("Don't Touch", "62 Moons", "Strawberry Moon") but they're now essentially synth-pop at heart. Which ain't a bad thing; they've certainly upped their electronix game and still excel in the cute+catchy and dark+dreamy. It does kinda dampen their distinction, though. Leaves me missing that momentum too.
Colleen A flame my love, a frequency
Collin Raye I Think About You
Conan Revengeance
A bit by-the-book when it comes to sludge-steeped low-n-heavy simple riffage, not without its dawdling or wearisome propensities -- but their sinister slows-to-crawls appropriately decimate and lure, semi-gauche breakneck burst provides a brief pick-me-up, an appreciated no-frills procedure grants some slight background-space for the customary bubblin' psych-pedal-fx stew. However, the true horsepower comes from the poised+possessed duality of these stationary-scorcher-shouter frontmen, the human-ish mountaineer taking prevalence with a demonic roarer there for foil and further severity.
Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel
Lyrically inspired as her preceding breakthrough was, it also lent itself to the record's undoing for me -- which may be why I prefer this more moderate effort. The songs here are comparably slack but confident+charming as such, admirably rawer yet still a bit too deep in the realm of drably stated garage-alt regularity. Faves come precisely at beginning middle end: the nervous bass-lined tread of opener "Hopefulessness", the snarly keys-as-weapon determent of insecure men from "Nameless, Faceless", missing someone's face on singularly intimate ender "Sunday Roast". For what it's worth, her live performance conveyed a much less rockstar'd combo of Kurt and Courtney (Love, that is), so that's promising.
Craig Taborn Daylight Ghosts
Daniel Avery Slow Fade
Daniel Brandt Eternal Something
DAWN (US) new breed
Certainly more expressive-n-exciting than 2016's sloggy Redemption, but makes me yearn for the concise cohesion of her airtight Infrared EP. Stuffs so much into ten trax/just over a half-hour that it becomes a bit of a blur; such a brisk mix-bag it's tough to tell who she's trying to be: hard-nosed NOLA-born boundary buster, pop-crossover/club-hit hopeful, tribal signee, theatrical vocal soarer, artsy acapella applier, jealous Instagrammer, "the motherfucking king", Dawn Richard, DAWN, SZA. Does em all decently, though.
Dead Kennedys Bedtime for Democracy
Dead Kennedys go out with a stifled bang. A lengthy album loaded with cockamamy but amusing ideas, politics, and lashing out at the scene that they helped birth; but the songwriting itself is a bit lacking and repetitive.
Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death
My favorite parts may be the novelties: the live anti-subtle satire "Pull My Strings", the presidential conspiring/background jam "Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'Round". "Night of the Living Rednecks" is entertaining, during the first playthrough at least. Elsewhere: the first two tracks are classics in Dead Kennedys World, single versions from 'Fresh Fruit' are unremarkable, b-sides are b-sides.
Deafheaven Roads to Judah
Deafheaven New Bermuda
Perhaps Sunbather's well-constructed dramaturgic flow was more essential than I assumed, or it could just be that they just lost some cohesion on this one. Sound-wise they're still majestic: heavies remain potent and shimmery softs prevail, arguably maturing as a band too -- the scourge here lies primarily in so-so songwriting and awkward transitions, and secondarily in questionable chugga-chug riffs/soloing of both dead-end and wah-wah varieties. Most Intriguing Moment is also most natural and most unlikely: ender "Gifts for the Earth", which ventures surprisingly close+comfortably to some sort of softie-screamo while fluidly embracing that strong ol' quiet-loud formula. Maybe a niche to consider if they don't wind up sorting all this out.
Deafheaven Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
Hate to keep harking back to Sunbather since their trajectory since has grown stylistically and certainly ain't without its merit -- it's just that none of it has been blistering or persuasive or beautiful as that pink-painted classic could be. This beats New Bermuda on flow and tenacity but ups the drippy and long-winded; which at times can transmit strikingly. Too often tho there's a whiff of cheese and a willingness to make intensity sound languid. Flashy yet kinda flat, punchy but predictable and exceedingly polished. Plus some solos still make me groan.
Dedekind Cut Tahoe
Leads with an ambient hush that's hard to hate yet easy to ignore, a sufficient synthesis of somber and elegant and barely there. Which is adequate and all, but I'm relieved when they eventually supe up the sounds and incorporate nature -- bit more tension, bit more weird, bit more glow. Ride the ripples of those gurgling streams through forests from dusk til dawn, encounter a cauldron and some throat-singers along the way; just be back on shore in time for church.
Deep Blue Something Home
Deep Wound Deep Wound
Youngsters playing fast and sloppy, perhaps overly so. Influential? Sure, sure.
Deerhoof Milk Man
Deerhunter Rainwater Cassette Exchange
Deerhunter Fading Frontier
Monomaniacal discord-days have come-n-gone, and with 'em goes much of the desperate+damaged despondence that arguably supplied the lifeblood and a considerable amount of drive to their previous output. Maybe it's just his very-much-broadcast car accident talking, but this feels like Cox's adieu to a former self; and instead of gravitating towards another gothic transfusion, we're fittingly served something temperate and reserved, reclusive and bittersweet. To call it cozy+complacent would be unfair since actual contentment is never quite felt, but the terse passivity does place this in a comfort zone of sorts. I could've gone for a bit more in the way of snakeskin-spunk, personally.
Deerhunter Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?
Deftones Around the Fur
Deicide Serpents of the Light
Dengue Dengue Dengue Siete Raices
Destroyer Rubies
Definitely some good moments, but most of these songs are too ambitious for their own good. All the musical and vocal eccentricities are usually attached to tracks that are needlessly long and not strong enough to support them. Highlights - "European Oils", "3000 Flowers"
Dieterich & Barnes The Coral Casino
Deerhoof guitarist and Neutral Milk Hotel drummer/organist/piano man collaborate to create an instrumental something that doesn't particularly sound like either -- part seemingly sporadic and thrown together/part not and slyly byzantine, oft-propulsive and hectic yet lax and lighthearted, the commixing of psychedelic radiance and basement scuzz generating a crudely carnivalesque aura at times. Compatible fellas fo sho who emit a project that's welcome+engaging and do good not to dillydally, but to brand it as bounden would be a stretch.
Dinosaur Jr. Dinosaur
Dinosaur Jr. Green Mind
Dinosaur Jr. Without a Sound
Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis Live at CBGB's
Dinosaur Jr. Hand It Over
Dirty Projectors Rise Above
DJ Taye Still Trippin
Refreshingly proportional+proper welding of hip-hop and footwork, of the vocalized and the non-; but winds up a somewhat tepid tangle. Out of the gaggle-o-guests DJ Paypal probably pays off the most, assuming you prefer it blippy and blistering and kind of annoying. On the whole tho its chill ain't really celestial, its birr rarely floors, and raps so oft tend toward torpid tales of doing drugs and how potent those drugs are it just might make ya crave more abstract sputterin'.
djwwww Arigato
Well, I adore the introductory melodious mosquito choir and the methods administered on followup "Sampling" so it lives up to its appellation; i.e. the bairn beckoning for ya to take a looksie under his sheet of mystery to reveal a getaway car/building demolition/person getting eaten/etc. And 4 realz, kicks are gotten from the majority of this throng-o-sounds, along with the comprehensive commingling of the recognizably contempo+the absolutely absurd that spews forth during this spastic avant-collage: flashes of Future/a Death Grips blip/a countdown into waves of Animal Collective rub shoulders with feminine cackling/rousing robots/choking humans/sundry gunfire/all sortsa miscellany and percussive implements. But much like this description suggests, raucous dizziness is its downfall -- so much is thrown at you but there's not a-lotta stickage, and the persistently transformative nature of it overwhelms to a fault. Then there's that extreme+vexatious volume spike at the midway point, perhaps an intentional shake-up seeing that it succeeds the interludial sleep-mode breath-catcher of "iPod". Elsewhere, "Network" says "network" alot, "DIS" says "bitch" alot, and ender "Hometown" serves as a congrats-you-made-it consolation prize; fittingly soothing like a revisit to a good one should. Which is a relief. Which you'll need.
Dr. Octagon Moosebumps
A reboot no one really needed, but now that it's here and Dan The Automator is executive beat-man and they made sure to follow in Dr. Octagonecologyst's footsteps to a T, sure we'll take it. When beats do break out that mold a bit they stick, but prevailing is still the thrill of Kool Keith's rhyme-stuffed serious-bout-absurdity rollercoaster flow. As hinted from opening with a song called "Octagon Octagon" that samples Dr. Octagon and octagons everything in sight, he's either overly confident in his self-mythology or just trolling; but his non-sequiturs are more often than not a hoot to trail -- lotsa animals, colors, lechery that's almost always attached to a laugh. But even when curbing it to only one porno sample this can't help but feel a bit dated+awkward at times, and I like scratchin' as much as the next guy. Not that it's full-on Awktagon, just doesn't have that same album flow or belly-fire or edge, and I wouldn't expect it to. Not to mention, KoRn chords just ain't what they used to be.
Dr. Yen Lo Days With Dr. Yen Lo
Drake Nothing Was the Same
Drinks Hippo Lite
Dropdead 1st LP
Drudkh They Often See Dreams About The Spring
Duke Uingizaji Hewa
DUST (Brooklyn-NY) Agony Planet
Sturdy, fairly mesmerizing, dense, robotically groovy, texturally aware -- quite acceptable for sweaty grave raves or when that stringent-creeper-techno scratch really starts itchin', but on the whole this can get old quick, often too quotidian to justify such elongation of both the separate tracks and overall album. Most of the voice utilization is stellar, with the background groaner of "Alien Prey" and "She Woke Up in Water"s anomalous straight-up distorto-shrill screaming serving as pinnacles amongst all the consonant echoey utterances. On the voice-usage flip-side however, the alien-talk is beyond corny; and I'll keep my fantasies/dreams/fears to myself, thank you every much.
dvsn Sept. 5th
The more I tuned in, the more it wavered -- what was initially despicably drowsy and tepid r&b using syrupy understatements as whitewash turned into gravitating towards a few of the particularly-gratifying hooks became somewhat-smitten with their slo-mo sensual+emotional sincerity, the trap-n-bass-inflected ethereality for beats, and the falsettos qualified at melting heart. "Try / Effortless" at track 3 is when they start to do just that / and make it seem so, "Do It Well" is perhaps when they do it the well-est, "Hallucinations" is a dream on a cloud; on the whole however it heavily recalls the ol' drowsy-n-tepid thing with a dash of cringe to boot. The soulful old-style croon vox intermixed with not-so-old-style propositions are a hoot, too: "fuck with me now" as a come-on, the straight-up proposal that sleeping with him will make her feel better about all his wrongdoings, opting not to pull out but eager to go in+out. Name of the one about being eager to go in+out: "In+Out".
Eartheater IRISIRI
El-P Fantastic Damage
Elephant Micah Genericana
Elton John Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
Empath Liberating Guilt and Fear
Demo tape that's 60% birdy psychedelic squall and 40% promising noise-pop -- rough and radiant, rowdy and chirpy, fun and to the point while making room for protracted droning. Would love some louder vox, however.
Endon Boy Meets Girl
Whereas their severity generated stunning shock-n-awe on 'Through The Mirror', here it's comparably flattened and fuck-around; the shock still shocking but spun sillier. Skimble-scamble for sure. Band without much plan stuffing as much scrumble and squeals and swishin' into the mix as possible mostly serve as a vehicle for Taichi's vocal antics, and together they transmit something between a group with big amps trying to piss off talent-show attendees and failing at taking care of your friend's newborn. But screeches are horrifying as they are hilarious, rigor and Motorhead riffs never hurt, 11-minute monster "Doubts As a Source" seems to simulate sex and/or a horror flick and closes with opera -- I get a kick out of it. Just hope they don't fall from purveyors of auditory authority to sheer agitators.
Ennanga Vision Ennanga Vision
Enslaved E
Entrance Book of Changes
Still not sure if Entrance here is supposta imply 'an entryway' or 'to fill with hypnotic delight', but given the instrumental elegance and sparkly softie-psych overlays I'm gonna lean towards the latter. Its adornments transmit a sort of folkie fantasy land and Guy Blakeslee's warble comes off a bit like a less clever+more corny Conor Oberst, complete with seasonal allegories aplenty and quotidian yearn and a cast of breathy dream girls to echo his sentiments and spout 'la-la-la's. But oof can that warblin' and adornin' get tiresome. Which may be why the straight-up rock-out of "Revolution Eyes" is such a rejuvenating ender -- and all he had to do was ditch Cali and find a nice gal to drag him away from the gates of hell.
Equiknoxx Bird Sound Power
Essaie Pas New Path
Explosions in the Sky The Wilderness
Sure, they cling to the proverbial post-rock patterns: the piecemeal pacing, the serene silkiness segueing into optimistic alleviation escalating into thunderous intimidation or some other amalgam of vice-versas. But for a sensibly configured 9 tracks in 46 minutes, this does pack in alotta intricate proteanism and satisfying shift-work, sidestepping undue lulls and readily tiptoeing movement-to-movement without wilting towards pure precision. Not that it's without many-a slack or stagy section, but many-a poignant ones and a primarily peachy overall package make for adequate amends. And though it seems they're chiefly used as an apparatus for stability, some xtra exertion on the drums would be nice: "Tangle Formations", I'm lookin' at you.
Ezra Furman Perpetual Motion People
With an inflection that converges Dan Bejar+Neil Young and a propensity for snazzy doo-wop+emphatic drunkenness, Furman seems like he's starring in his own autobiographical community college stage production; at times utilizing fuzz attacks, sad-sack sleepers and jerky gender-bend jocosity. His jaunty pursuit of a secure-ish place in this kuh-razy world is rich+resonant, but oh can it get irksome -- between horns-gone-wild and all-out drama-warble and shoobie-doops there's also the sad-n-sinning-artist exhibitionism: kneeling at the toilet, whiskey-gulp confessor-sessions, solitary walks/drives/life, rich kids+smoke rings, the concerned grousing of a 28-year old. Which can make not only for riveting performances, but lines here+there that achieve (some form of) poetic profundity -- the trouble is deducting the ones that read like a Dollar Store keychain. Just ask Conor Oberst.
f(x) 4 Walls
At the risk of coming across as dat dood who thinks Asian girl-groups yield a sort of inimitable and peregrine glee, this album is at least a partly-potent portrayal of such a postulation. Like anywhere else, the blatantly candied club-hypers can overwhelm with their rambunctious sprightliness; but more endearing than most are the quirkified bubbly-bustle pop-tronic beats, the sporadic rap-chops, the personas that can go from the stupidly-cute ad-worthy lure of "Glitter" to flagrant cash-snubbers who possess "swagger like Jagger" to the wistful Carly Rae-reject ender of "When I'm Alone". Submission to English is primarily used to safeguard and optimize the approachability of their catchy hook-splendor, though the more-disputables are likely fated to be misconstrued by goofball 'Merican ears as "show me the asshole."
Faith/Void Split
Fen Winter
Surely a solid crossing of metal that's black and rock that's post, ambitious too with six massive tracks in an hour fifteen. But all those aspects come off a bit middle-of-the-road here, considerably cohesive and occasionally electrifying they may be -- an intense well-executed epic on the whole but couldn't help crave something more-often vehement; further brutality here, increased bleakness there. And this length: I know Winter's long, but dayum.
Fire-Toolz Field Whispers (Into the Crystal Palace)
FKA Twigs M3LL155X
Flesh World The Wild Animals In My Life
Foo Fighters The Colour and the Shape
Frankie Cosmos Next Thing
With a mild modesty that's heartrending as it is heartwarming and the scanty-n-pure in-a-room instrumentation there to correspond, the charm of low-key personable perspicuity and tenderness that doesn't nauseate works wonders. Can't say it doesn't leave these cozily terse tunes a bit lacking and/or overly meek at times, though. I can say that said scanty instrumentation does elevate the enjoyment of distant dream-synths when those decide to pop up, however. Also relished is the 20-year old sell-out with the corporation's pen and the composed glee over that friends+touring lyfe: the latter of which enables her to not only "embody all the grace and lightness", but also "warm my vocals, sing a song / sit in cars, read a book." Ah, best of both worlds.
Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand
Freezepop Freezepop Forever
French Montana MC4
Fuck the Facts Desire Will Rot
The foremost cluster of sub-3-minute songs cram a whole lotta knotty hustle+bustle into those brief timeframes, and though their fusing of metal+hardcore extremes can feel a bit run-of-the-mill they maintain a fairly formidable momentum and abstain from extraneous noodling. That is until things get ferhoodled at the end with some passable-but-extrinsic slow-burn experimentation. Eternally-agonized gender-duel throat-work is always a perk, though.
Funkadelic Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow
Future EVOL
I WAS TRYIN' TO FUCK THE D.A. LADY IN HER MOUTH DOE
Future 56 Nights
Future BEASTMODE 2
Future Islands The Far Field
Their cultivated formula is too affable to abhor but routine enough to pester. Genuinely great groovage, ceaselessly creamy bass lines, invincible synths; yet oft so mechanical and mundane. That same ol back-beat every dang time is beyond conspicuous, firework choruses seem fashioned for festival fodder, word-wise they're drab as ever and vox-wise there's a real lack of remarkability; even with a frontman like Sam Herring. Certainly no lack of full-band synth-pop solidity, though. And when Debbie Harry herself comes through for the surprise near-end duet, it's something like a then-meets-now new wave miracle.
Gabi Sympathy
Cavernous, courageous, the Enya of Brooklyn-based experimental vocal projects - calling it beautiful wouldn't be a stretch, but there's just too much hamming it up, particularly paired with these meager and spacious arrangements. The glacier-slow pace is overbearing, the many good-sized-stretches of exclusively voice fatigue (with/without barely-sounds and string-things), oh but then the last song invokes a Dario Argento soundtrack.
Gang Green Preschool
Gang of Four Solid Gold
Garbage Garbage
Germs (GI)
Ghostie Poltergeist Slim
Gin Blossoms Congratulations... I'm Sorry
Girlpool Powerplant
God Is an Astronaut Helios/Erebus
The skepticism that comes with predominantly Greek song-titles from a non-Greek band is overpowered by a post-path of refined tone-centric prudence and impeccable flux -- perhaps a bit prosaic at its core, but winning-n-worldly when it comes to transitioning from rigid+urgent rock-outs to pensive+shimmery atmospherics and slow-jams. Notable qualities include the ability to resist dragging sections out into tedium, upholding persuasive space-aura throughout, and the interjection of pianos/the most faintly tender vox ever. As far as the English titles go -- who knew something named "Pig Powder" could exude beauty?
Goo Goo Dolls A Boy Named Goo
Grass Widow Past Time
Green Day Nimrod
Gregory Alan Isakov This Empty Northern Hemisphere
Gucci Mane Everybody Looking
Dude's flows are middling, tired, permanently slow-to-mid-paced; not to mention he's barely likable as a person to boot -- but with Zaytoven+Mike Will Made It commanding a bulk of the beats and a steadfast sense of artistic solidity throughout, he ain't quite a schlockmeister. His clarity is refreshing, his hooks catchy and understated, and by the near-end when he's claiming "all-a these rappers" as his offspring it's not hard to concur that he's been an impactful fellow in hip-hop's trajectory. Plus there's something to be said about a guy who spits "fuck the feds, fuck the cops, fuck the DEA" on record hours after being released from prison early, or can promptly call upon Kanye to help compare his cash-stuffed pockets to a "pussy print" and have it come off no-nonsense momentous. Noteworthiest moments occur after the guests depart, however: the so-cocky-it's-funny "Gucci Please", the nightmarish jail-cell fx and back-turning mama of "1st Day Out tha Feds", the teasingly wealthy "At Least a M", the one where he reminisces about the day he got robbed but never quite reminisces about the day he got robbed, etc.
Guided by Voices Isolation Drills
The tunes not only lack the strange charm of albums past more than ever, most of 'em sound undeniably slick and at times cringeworthy. That being said: if they're going to sound big, this is the way to do it - it's triumphant, confident, and loud; and further proves this band doesn't need tape hiss to compliment great songwriting. I'll take their version of 'generic' any day.
Guided by Voices Vampire on Titus
Gun Outfit Dream All Over
Inaugural ear-jams had me shrugging in neutrality at their no-rush breezy twang-rock, but what eventually hooked me in was precisely that. Coming across as once-upon-a-time punk pep that has formally retired to a dusty ol' back-porch and hip dive-saloons upon request, this debonair guy-n-gal-fronted-outfit's foremost asset is oh-so-naturally emitting that cooool -- think if Yo La Tengo chopped the eclecticism to just a penchant for sitars, or if X settled down and grew comfortable.
Hatchie Keepsake
Helado Negro This Is How You Smile
Hell to Pay bliss.
Think Nails essentially; albeit a somewhat run-of-the-mill rendition. Their terse bursts of hardcore/grind provide persuasive pummelings but ain't the most powerful or put-together, interspersions include sludgy slowdowns that dare to stretch past the 3-minute mark and samples that'll help ya gear up for a resistance movement. Goes out on "Battle Hymn of the Republic" juxtaposed with humans aflame.
Helm Olympic Mess
Arduous when it comes to duration, but invigorating in that it expresses a considerable amount more than anticipated for those tagged both 'ambient' and 'drone'. Pulsations still purr and sustained-synth-ahhs remain ripply, yet the bulk of these atmospheric offerings achieve immersion through cryptic bustling, sound-divergence, and principally, simply a willingness to ripen: see the abstractly-has-a-beat-isms of "I Exist in a Fog" and "Olympic Mess", the clamorous stomp of "Outerzone 2015" which simulates being forcibly sucked from the year in question, and maybe the most radical+creepy+personable, the intimately whispered mini-biography/obsession-disclosure of "Strawberry Chapstick". Tru-2-lyfe quote from one-man experimentalist: "I am - well - I'm not really a musician. I don't make a living..playing music."
Helmet Betty
On Betty, Helmet manages to break out of their well-crafted box and open up their sound a bit with mostly positive results. It doesn't repeat the single-minded statement that is Meantime and delivers just the right amount of newfound light-heartedness and experimentation without making the change seem drastic or forced.
Herbie Hancock Thrust
High on Fire Luminiferous
High Wolf Growing Wild
Instrumental encapsulations of a tropical-fever-mindfuck -- forever-restless percussion overload, world music dosed with psychedelia, a broad and frenzied league of loopy sonic mutations to hold down the groove-fort and further delirium. Would befit a rainforest-run post-rando-fungi-consumption.
Hong Kong Express Dragon Soul
Hootie and The Blowfish Cracked Rear View
Liking an album moreso after discovering that everyone I know hates it has always made for a fun pastime, but I found myself unabashedly enjoying this for real, yes even most of the non-singles. I accept its momentary cheese (the last track is called "Goodbye" for godsake) and appreciate their comfort in banality.
Hop Along Painted Shut
HORSE the band The Mechanical Hand
Huerco S For Those of You Who Have Never...
Its warm and scratchy ambiance is sweet to soak in, pretty much no complaints about obscured-n-shuffling dub-beats or glimmering keys, the murky and oft-childlike aqua-dream aura is somehow enigmatic+rigid yet affectionate+bouncy; but seldom does a track seem worthy of its usual 6+minutes or steer clear of eventual stagnation. Maybe the most splendid cut is perhaps also the most simplistic: "Promises of Fertility", which is reassuring as its title and prime RPG-house material to boot.
Husker Du Metal Circus
Iceage Beyondless
Trades in some of the ragged despondence and punky pummeling for arrangements that dip into bluesy, symphonic, shaker-filled -- nicely dense and rough around the edges, for the most part diggable, but these half-awake-rolling-in-a-gutter vox certainly ain't lendin' it propulsion; something that seems achingly absent here. Part of me likes the near-cheese "Take It All" best cuz it just goes for it emotively.
Iglooghost Neo Wax Bloom
Ilsa Corpse Fortress
Into It. Over It. Standards
Intrigued/enervated maestro/multi-instrumentalist Evan Weiss is observant, articulate, tolerably sensitive, collectedly perturbed; hell, downright palsy-walsy. That, along with the charming lil off-kilter guitar hooks and partiality for lithesome drumming, gets 'em by fine without ever necessarily wowing or mesmerizing -- it certainly gets slumberous on the tail-end once the weeping-string "anesthetic" starts coursing its way through your veins, but the fluctuation of peppy punk tunes and levelheaded emo semi-sobbers throughout flows righteously and keeps things compelling. And the convincingly bleak canyon-isms of center-ish-piece "Your Lasting Image", never treading too far over the whine-line, a surprise double-bass incursion; well those are nice too.
Inventions Maze Of Woods
J Fernandez Many Levels of Laughter
James Blake Overgrown
Janelle Monae The ArchAndroid
Japandroids Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
Particularly when compared to the sweat-drenched fireworks-clad singalong wingding epic that was its predecessor, this comes off a bit stale and softened and sappy -- still blaring for a guitar-drum two-piece with melodic fuzz and choruses certainly worth celebrating, still skilled at stirring up emotion and woahs+yeahs, but easing up musically tends to let the vocal rhapsodizing engulf. Then you get female barkeeps servin' up smooches and a "give em hell" upon his embarkment to somewhere far away, passionate and poetic-bout-life whiskey words cheesy-n-earnest enough to make you gag, the self-proclaimed status as a holy roller when the "cool hard beauty" starts crashing at his place. A couple too short, a couple too long; most infamous of the latter has gotta be the anomalous "Arc of Bar". Surprisingly pretty winning with its buzz-synth crush and a slowdown strut that somehow successfully sells the vision of jokers dealing cards and rooms galore full-a whores in a diamond dust fantasy land. Ah, but then there's doin' the devil (quite the) favor for her love and "those damned mosquitoes".
Jay Rock 90059
Jay Rock Redemption
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma On The Echoing Green
Jens Lekman When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog
Jeremy Cunningham The Weather Up There
Jesca Hoop Memories Are Now
Jets to Brazil Orange Rhyming Dictionary
Jhene Aiko Chilombo
Jimi Hendrix The Ultimate Experience
Jimmie's Chicken Shack Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope
JK Flesh New Horizon
Jlin Free Fall
A transient followup to her feverish debut Dark Energy, arguably one of the more illustrious and ear-grabbing electronic albums to emerge this year. While this one kicks things off sufficiently enough, it winds up feeling like a single plus subsidiary trifles -- "I am the queen" and "Live and let die" sample-utterances are haphazard toss-ins, a Godzilla-roar succeeded by uh-oh-trouble synth-bursts is painfully on-the-nose, fall-flat instrumentals don't quite expose the prowess she's really capable of. Bobble-heads/percussion-fests/Mortal Kombat still abound.
Joey Badass B4.DA.$$
John Maus Addendum
Aptly titled as it does mostly read as a middling tack-on to his recent and rather great Screen Memories. For Maus this just seems like going through the motions -- funniest/only funny repeat-o phrases are the first two, in which he calls out outer-space ignoramuses and takes a baby to the dump; deja-vu arrangements are recurrent and most-a the mumblin' don't amount to much. But his old-school drum-machined motions do tend to strike a nerve musically, even when tunes are trivial.
Jon Hopkins Singularity
Joni Void Selfless
Joni Void Mise En Abyme
JPEGMAFIA All My Heroes Are Cornballs
Julia Holter Aviary
Julianna Barwick Will
Her airy+layered+indecipherable Enya-esque vox are steadily breathtaking; and whether paired with soaring synth drones or ambiance with pinches-o-piano and subtle strings, it makes for a captivatingly churchy tranquilizer -- or straight-up divinity deliverer at its best ("Nebula", "Same", "Someway"). That's not to say the uniform wafting and sense of inactivity don't become a bit snoozy; that they predictably do. But thankfully it doesn't get as vast or inflated as, say, comparable contemporary Gabi; or for better or worse, as weird: instead of Argento vibez for the finale, we just get drums and a lil electro-takeover.
Kacey Musgraves A Very Kacey Christmas
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Ears
Kali Malone The Sacrificial Code
Kamaiyah Got It Made
Kamasi Washington Harmony of Difference
The EP(ic)
Kamasi Washington Heaven And Earth
Kanye West ye
Kanye's cumbersome ego-wielding is obviously nothing new, and unfortunately neither is his penchant for spouting hogwash. Thing is, this same kuh-razy cranium of his once led to some of the most fascinating artistic veering of the century. Present day however it's just horrendously hard to stay invested in the guy -- if "it's been a shaky-ass year" he certainly assisted in the shakin'. Beats and production shine no doubt; even if he does smuggle sections from way-smaller artists who he really coulda/shoulda shelled out to. But a bulk of this is a bit of a self-serving pseudo self-pity bore: bragging bout the drama he himself created, a gaggle of gag lines, topical namedrops just cuz, women appreciated only if they stick around through your shittiness or become your daughter. "I said 'slavery a choice', they said 'how ye'", Ye whines. Sadly, they're right. Kudos to the guests; particularly 070 Shake, whose troubled triumph may be the apex -- even if it is damn difficult to bleed via stove-burn.
Katy B Honey
Katy B as fairly faceless dance-pop-voice reigns over the Katy B with slew of prominent house production at her disposal -- but despite the tangles-of-love/in-the-club thematic banalities and capable-yet-customary delivery, she rarely overbears and is regularly adept and reliable when adapting to late night vibes, summer pop, the boisterous bangers, the slowed-n-sensual. A few killer hooks and revitalization via bicontinental guest-spots and the ability to hold a good long note are always nice too, but lordy does it get fatiguing by the final third or so -- luckily said slew does its best to graciously keep ya groovin' right up to the soothing reward/headphone homage outro. Slew also does its best to rectify the fact that maybe the most curious she gets is when admitting that "anxiety's a bitch, babe."
Kayo Dot Plastic House on Base of Sky
Synth layers upon sumptuous synth layers and semi-shrouded vagabond drumming are enough to spawn an immersive spacemosphere that's enthralling as it is jittery, and prevailing to the point where one may forget they ever tread in metal. Sounds great, sure; terrifyingly technical, totally -- also often compositionally unstable to a fault, sporting less sections of inspiration and solidity and more moments that seem indifferent+cluttered. Vividity that begs to get lost in but becomes tiresome and disorderly; though the whole 'woah space maaan' thing definitely deserves partial blame for any yawnin' that may occur.
Kedr Livanskiy Your Need
Kehlani Sweet Sexy Savage
Keiji Haino and Sumac American Dollar Bill
Haino a guru in outlandish improvisation and collaborating, Sumac a three-piece supergroup of post-metal sludgsters. And over a presumably unedited and definitely extemporaneous hour-and-then-some you'll get the desultory gamut: pandemonium, rumbling, squealing, meandering, shriek-rants, psychedelic sprays, time-outs. A glorified jam that's capable of cohesive invigoration but also tends to sound hesitant, a challenge due to its intensity and patience-testing span but also cuz there's a paucity of ideas.
Kemialliset Ystavat Siipi Empii
Kero Kero Bonito Time 'n' Place
Kerridge Fatal Light Atraction
The difference between your ol' run-of-the-mill industrialized brazen-faced buzz-work and this is the buzz-work here is markedly high-par -- it still beats up the brain and punishes the psyche but the causticity is brimming with clarity and texture-centric rectitude, its ruthless poundin' and churnin' oft-concocting a techno-esque momentum and its static detonations+wanderings/dead air as extended halts/shrouded mutterings consistently catching the ear. It still gets redundant and whittles you down to nothingness, too, but does so pretty damn kindly and luxuriantly.
Kesha Rainbow
Her legal dealings with predatory producer of yore Dr. Luke invoke accomplished artistic freedom and emotional scarring gettin' tackled by a determined defiance that's silly and striking and sincere. Hence Kesha seemingly on her mettle -- it surely tips the obnox+sappy scales on occasion (intentionally and un) but there's alot to appreciate bout the range and a bulk of the tunes. Country chops, breathtaking balladry, big bright punk-pep barnburners backed by Eagles of Death Metal, a clawed bare-barring-boots rolling stoner one minute and a dittier about the double-edged sword that is dating Godzilla the next, cursing aplenty, catchy as fuck. If it sounds like a somewhat ridiculous romp with a topical twist, that's prolly cuz it kinda is. There's also the hook of "Learn to Let Go" being like a hair away from Miley's "Party in the USA"; but I was aurally swayed to let it go.
Kevin Gates Murder For Hire
Checkup EP five months after the excellent Luca Brasi 2 - less forceful intro, a hyped-up new-race "John Gotti" remix, more rasp/grime/wooziness than hooks/pop-leans/focus, Spanish flava, a breathless song-long-verse banger ender, undisturbed potential, stagnation avoidance.
Kevin Gates Islah
Generally known in the public eye as an infamous chest-booter and unabashed booty-eater, K-Gates' official full-length debut seeks to add trap&b crossover-crooner extraordinaire to that list -- a potentiality that thus far has acted like more of a side-sweetener to his ardent ruffneck flows; which when grouped with a flair for hooks/crackerjack rappin'/an endearing-yet-questionable personality, struck quite a honey-mud harmony between tough, tender, and catchy, with a good touch of goofball nasty-nast. All traits that still stand for the most part, but seemingly in favor of carving out a somewhat-contrived path towards hooks-n-glory it's the blazing aggression that takes a hit: adrenaline jack-ups in the vein of "Luca Brasi Intro" and fierce song-long non-stop verses a la "Khaza" are sorely missed in the midst of this hard-but-not mid-range medley. But the soft stuff does shine more than ever, and the deadly rap&sing combo of vivid rhymes and irresistible choruses can be a hard thing to come upon these days -- even harder if they confess erection-reliance over exotic-island pop or make tending to multiple phones sound glamorous as fuck -- and that is the speciality Gates revels in. Right along with, er ya know, making love to the pussy.
Kevin Gates Murder For Hire 2
Checkup EP one year after the original and four months after a mixed-bag major label debut -- welcome return of emphasizing da rough stuff and rappin' over pop propensities and romancin', a self-comparison to Kurt Cobain, still puking via depression and pining for privacy despite his swelling success, notable hooks crafted from goin' stupid and a "fuck it" chant, Muslim flava, proof that his excess offerings are more stalwart than most of his peers, sustained stagnation avoidance yet not particularly pressing.
Killing Joke Killing Joke
KING We Are KING
Invariably wafting in a subdued dream-in-the-sky electro-r&b euphoria -- which is intoxicating and intricate as it is fragile and subtle, but does become rather snoozy and rather redundant rather quickly. Bound to happen when all-sounds-concerned are routinely lighter than air and melt before you, I suppose. But their mellow ethereality never isn't pleasant as hell (er or heaven), 6+minute extended mixes allow for structure-play and the chance to get even driftier, and though the capacity for could-be easy hooky hit-making is evident, this self-made trio is duly diligent 'bout bestowing priority to silky-steady trance above all. Refresher in both attitude and execution.
King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Polygondwanaland
Konrad Sprenger Stack Music
Korn Life Is Peachy
Impressively frenetic and frightening energy, a newfound semi-light-heartedness, and a vast improvement over self-titled. More variance, more fun, better production, and ~20 minutes less running time make KoRn about 300% more enjoyable it seems. Good mix of being authentically nightmarish and unabashedly goofy. Some noteworthy subject matter includes bashing a neighborly TV personality ("Dumb / old man" "Child / fucker"), writing shit ("I hate writing shit / It is so stupid"), and of course, sex (he dreams about it; all day).
Kowton Utility
Krallice Ygg Huur
They've got the vigor and the skill and the scuzz -- and with the exception of the more-traceable non-6:41 death metal-leaner bookends, the majority comes off like a confounding train-wreck, though ofttimes not in a good way. Not to say it's without bits of section here and pieces of passage there of pop-up enthrallment that burst out from these trails of incongruity, but spasmodic bedlam devours all. Vocals that periodically attempt to reside either have no choice but to surrender or get squeezed out, bass primarily serves as an occasional belcher. Let's hear it for that drummer, though.
Lack of Interest Trapped Inside
Wad of compressed+curtailed drill-sergeant-grunt hardcore, moments that really break away from the flatly breakneck bark blur tend to be - gasp - the change-ups, like the here-and-there struck high strings and pick scrapes and slowdowns. When a song title is identifiable that's nice too ("My Life / my life", "What's up / what's up"). Serving as a mid-way marker is the true highlight; a sustained one-note eye-bulge bellow of vigor and hilarity.
Ladytron Ladytron
Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Last in Line (USA-MA) Congested EP
Laura Stevenson Cocksure
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
the classroom convos are the best part tbh
Leif Loom Dream
Len You Can't Stop the Bum Rush
Their 'peace, man' positivity 'vibes' can be pukeworthy, the rhymes are stuck usually somewhere around 1987, the maturity level in the vicinity of an 11th grader, chunks of stale live-show hype-up are too often used for filler; but sugar-coated female vox 4e, and I do enjoy their brand of sunny light-heartedness and wide diversity in dispensing it: stoner-chatter-inflected summer wonder single, scratchy hip-hop, video game-ish synth pop jams, Kraftwerk homage, "Hot Rod Monster Jam" (the name fits), play-around punk. They save the big stuff for the last three and muck up most of it - check the delightfully floaty arrangement in - sigh - "Big Meanie", only to hear the lyrics ("It's been so crazy, too bad / And a shame, so sickening and lame / A shitty motherfucking pain"), which is followed by the Moon Safari-quality "Junebug", which makes up for it. Then it all somehow ends with a soul choir.
Leviathan True Traitor, True Whore
Lightning Bolt Fantasy Empire
Lil Wayne I Am Not a Human Being
Lil Wayne Tha Carter V
Lil Wayne The Leak
Lil Wayne Funeral
Lil Yachty Teenage Emotions
I think it's safe to say no one buys this guy when he forces a freestyle or feigns a tough-guy tude; even his ever-loving momma. But if you get through the gaggle of gag-worthy lines-o-lechery and Migos showing him up without breaking a sweat and undeniably drawn-out duration, Yachty and his bevy of beat-men can wield quite the peculiar pop power: surprisingly pliable production, cheesy crooning, youthful yelping, an affable positivity commixing with love+longing and pitiful priorities. Contrast Of Teenage Emotions: "Sent me pictures of her coochie / She said they nicknamed her Juicy / Cuz she keeps a wet pussy", "Since a young one you've always been clever / Let's grow old, rock in chairs and play checkers". But for what it's worth, my fave just goes "Harley harley harley harley harley".
Lil Yachty Lil Boat
Lilys Eccsame The Photon Band
An album that sounds pleasant and delivers solid songs, but ultimately lacks distinction. Its crawling pace and distracting studio snippets also drag it down.
Limp Bizkit Three Dollar Bill Y'all
Notable cringeworthy moments: "YOU WANNA PLAY THAT GAME, BITCH?!?" "You're so much better than me - YOU SUCK!" and other similar sentiments that sound like they're being echoed from the hallways of a junior high school. Otherwise, I found this to be somewhat irresistibly enjoyable, in a crude and depraved sort of way. Perhaps it's the 13-year old in me.
Little Simz A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons
Loathe (UK) I Let It In And It Took Everything
Lolina The Smoke
Loma Loma
Lone Levitate
Incessant hyperactivity and luminous melodies and sparkling spacy joviality make this an immediate grabber, and a vibe-filled breeze-out starring a heartbroken semi-stalker as an interludial breath-of-air is always a charmer too. Admirable beat-layering meticulosity and mood-swelling capabilities no doubt, but digging past the swiftness-n-swooshes tends to expose a sense of vapidity obscured by all that benevolent and dancy birr. Could just be skilled+smooth treading into sterile, or that sampled hook stating "our style is the craziest" when it kinda just sounds old hat -- but eh, why dig?
Lost Girls Lost Girls
Girl+guy lost inside 2 tracks/25 minutes of meditative electro and clatter: calmly communicated inner monologue, whispering, floating, sobbing, howling, panting, "the vast expanse, or whatever".
Lower Dens The Competition
Lucius Good Grief
Wafts of ho-hum melodrama and grandiosity and overdone pep do permeate throughout, but the ones most afflicted are over with rather quickly -- that is, the supposedly-special-someone who she can't describe so just kinda doesn't and all those lofty landscape-ridden fidelities. Personally, I enjoy 'em most when they clinch the preliminary possibility of being driven to madness and writhingly become the ones who are going insane over some clocky tick-tocks. Then comes the bubblegum parade-float of "Born Again Teen", the glitch-lite electro-flourishes+wacky instrument whackin', the yearned-for rain gently comin' 'round after culpability forms from feelin' good and a pause. So right, their traces of emotional realness and adept aspiration towards diversity are bolsters, and also prolly why the sad ballads are as winning as they are. Parting statement: "Everyone's around right now and I'm still alone." In other words, they're not plastic pop quite yet.
Lucy Dacus Historian
Dacus+crew's superficial downfall is imparting the sound of customary-n-cautious indie singer/songwriter -- seldom not slow too, which can make it wane. Lucy's grace and modesty as a voxer however are harder to challenge. Hers is a steady down to earth divinity that's downplayed enough to make ya proud in the rare instances that she breaks out and just belts it. Matters that stick don't hurt neither: being creative without calling yourself a creator, riots, spit, grandma turning into dust, acknowledging that you'll turn into dust while sucking on a ginger root, etc.
Lungfish Sound in Time
Lustmord Dark Matter
There's bound to be heaps of deep dark drone that transmit staring into the void, but I bet few have ya full-on free-floating in it. Of course not everyone is able to employ a decade's worth of honest-to-god space sound, much less sprawl three 20+minute tracks into the immense yet ignorable dread-vacuum that ol solar system deserves. This would be suitable for sci-fi soundtrack fodder yet its instillment and creepy factor are pretty impeccable, and if the right mood strikes you could drown in it. Try too hard and you may just feel dull+sullen, understandably so.
M.E.S.H. Piteous Gate
Similar to that there Ash Koosha -- is it hereby inherent for electronic artists with 'sh' in their name to deliver some weirdo spaced out+squishy formless-ish form of stretchy-sloven-techno? Comparably though, this makes (some) sense -- the pace is constantly teetering, it's generally random as fuck, complexities boggle, tension deepens, somehow it's not quite obnoxious yet treads close to underwhelming. But at the core of all that maddening jumpiness and what-the subtle industrious intricacies there's a deep and intriguing bag of intermingling sounds. And variety is good: acoustically-driven gloom-fog atmospheres, extended gunshot intervals and briny ship gear-grinds help break things up. Oh and the squishes: like two sets of soaking-wet guts scouring each other.
Mac DeMarco 2
Twang-centric alt-garage-breeziness that is befitting for armchair-slouches or killing time on a suburban porch during good weather or just a plain ol' chill sesh, man -- and despite appearances, DeMarco is more than just a walking cigarette with no job. His guitar-intertwine of casual surf and gray afternoons with fun-n-oddball psych-flourishes, though treading towards sickeningly light-hearted at times, is never less than engaging. Can't quite say the same for the rather-indifferent vox, or the rather-indifferent overall ensemble for that matter -- a bit-o-vigor never hurt no one, right? More important than those trebly tones (maybe) is his girl: presumed inspiration for the only tune to attempt+approach beauty and summon an inner rough sketch-John Lennon, the goof-proof "My Kind of Woman". Definite inspiration and kinda-participant in the permanent-reversion-to-goof falsetto-serenade-ender "Still Together" -- if that kind of boldness isn't love, what is?
Machine Girl The Ugly Art
Madonna Like a Virgin
Magrudergrind 62 Trax Of Thrash
Mariah Carey Daydream
"Fantasy", "Always Be My Baby" - pure, un-fuck-with-able pop/r&b fun, always a pleasure. "Forever" - slow-danced to it in 6th grade. A sizable chunk of the remainder - ballads with varying results, some overindulging and others taking a more subtle (hence, more tolerable) approach. The 'sweet dub mix' interlude is a nice touch tossed in for those nearing the end. Oh, can't forget the Journey cover - instant skip.
Marilyn Manson Portrait of an American Family
Marina Froot
Marina LOVE + FEAR
Mark Barrott Sketches From an Island 3
The a-side follows the title to a novel T and wouldn't seem out of place on a Donkey Kong Country soundtrack -- the second song's exploratory jungle-romp trumps the first's cruise line-ad fodder, but both instrumentals are mellifluously rich and organic enough to persuade even the most hard-nosed cynics that they're not just sojourning in some exotic domain, but are full-on frolicking alongside cackling monkeys. Still, it's the kind of curiosity-listen best reserved for uber-specific contexts: blanket-wrapped on a frigid winter night with the heat cranked while dreaming of warm days to come, en route to a sunny haven as a sort of pre-game pump-up. So the subtler b-side's probable ability to fly on any ol' garden-variety non-island-themed release comes as open-ended relief -- with mellifluous richness kept in tact, and some light bird-tweets to keep you company.
Mark Lanegan Whiskey For the Holy Ghost
Haunting folk for those that are feeling down & out, done 1990's Seattle style. Mostly stark, dark and somewhat hushed, without sounding brooding. Appreciated acoustic layering.
Marnie Stern In Advance of the Broken Arm
Martha Blisters in the Pit of My Heart
Martyrdod Hexhammaren
Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On
Massive Attack No Protection: Massive Attack vs Mad Professor
Matmos Ultimate Care II
All spin-cycle and AWOL-sock jokes aside, this makes quite the mercurially labyrinthine romp out of exclusively washer-derived sounds; transmitting a sort of exorbitant cut-up reconstruction of what the super-DUPER-wash setting might be like. Thus its format as a single 38-minute composition, in all of its cumbersome delight -- of course one consistently fluctuating with ups+downs, vigor+lulls, pure meandering, alien+domestic. The alien being that many-a-sound could be construed as just about anything other than a washing machine, having been mutated into whatever-the-fuck fits; the domestic being the reality-reminders of knob-cranks and soapy aqua-shuffles that seemingly cleanse the mind. And when they just flat-out rhythmically beat the shit out of the thing, that's cool too. Always nice to see object-technicians that acknowledge both mad manipulation and plain ol plainness. Is it just me or does that buzzer-click closure absolutely epitomize a domestic reality-reminder?
Matt Karmil IDLE033
Combating garishness all the way via understated bass-murk submergence and not being in a rush to get somewhere, this gamut of electro-instrumentals skulks its way through chopped-n-crackly ambience, lumpy slow-churnin' chill-outs, reticent-n-loopy hip-hop, ominous+oscillating specter ensembles, and for the terminal twosome, a revitalizing superimposition into surprisingly snappy techno. In a sea of slackened adequacies that are agreeable but never astounding, the principal-persuader award goes to "Freeform"; whose multitudinous incessancy at least comes close.
Matt Karmil Will
Karmil's staunch minimalism here is surprisingly substantial and curiously comforting, and also as a whole comes off more cohesive+calculated than its somewhat erratic prior. You'll still find some basic house thump here-n-there (particularly on, of all things, "Can't Find It (The House Sound)", who'd a thunk it) but it steadily revels in ambient murk with a commitment to low-key constraint. Thing with minimalism sometimes tho, it's got that damning fusion of moderation and monotony. There's just too many inert loops that are simply fine to pass the time with and not much else -- for extremest and bleakest example see the 17-minute ender, which I may request for my funeral.
Meat Puppets Huevos
Meek Mill Wins & Losses
Went from cooking ray-men noodles to chowing down lobster, status as a legitimately impassioned MC overlooked for his taste in futile feuds, left to "fuck the baddest whores" following a split with Nicki Minaj/the star he'll never be, bout to begin a two-to-four in prison for violating parole: Meek knows something about wins & losses. And sure his shouty style can get shrill, but you gotta respect his refusal to be bogged down through the mess-o-guests -- resolute yet loose as ever, tricky wordsmith and hook-man when he wants to be, grittily vivid but perhaps too often gross or greedy or generic. Overt obstacle is how overstuffed it is, undeniable are the load of lavish beats and handful of true-blue bangers. Best Of Mess-O-Guests: Rick Ross and Quavo for ensuring true-blue bangers. Worst: Chris Brown and Verse Simmonds for feigning sensuality. Honorable Mention: Young Thug for most earnest display of emotion.
Mega Bog Dolphine
Melt-Banana Speak Squeak Creak
Metallica Hardwired... to Self-Destruct
Michael Rother Flammende Herzen
Rother's space-robot guitar & keyboard work very much continues where Neu! '75 left off, the biggest differences here are less pummeling drums and the lack of punk-leaning tendencies - which makes these tracks feel a little bland at times, but also helps showcase some of his best melodies.
Miguel Wildheart
You'll be hard-pressed to find a better allegorical summer-sex song this year than "Waves", or a morning-after-summer-sex song more fragrantly soothing than "Coffee" -- which may or may not pardon the lecherous porno-dream gimmick of "The Valley" or the stilted falsetto bumbling of "Flesh". But this r&b crooner isn't all about sex -- er, fucking. Or r&b. Or crooning, for that matter. There's plenty of both pros and cons for both death and California, and that 'alternative' tag runs its ever-adaptable course; from enticement to muddlement to cumbersome gangsta-swagger+amphitheater rock. Which may be why the bare -- er, stark -- confessions of "What's Normal Anyway" are such a relief: "I look around and I feel alone / I never feel like I belong", "Too involved in my own life / to spend time with my family". Ah, there's that exhilarating lapse of cockiness -- er -- yeah, cockiness.
MIKE MAY GOD BLESS YOUR HUSTLE
Mirah C'mon Miracle
Modest Mouse No One's First, and You're Next
Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Moire No Future
Mondkopf They Fall But You Don't
It is what it is like much minimalistic sinister synth drone, but this one shines in its precise pacing and drama-inflecting efficacy. Letting these six interconnected pieces expertly escalate before your ears can result in deep dark aural pleasure, plod though it may. Easy to drown in, possible to ignore, poised enough to spellbind. The ambient dream warmth of playful keys and angel choirs on part five+finale serve as consolation-prize refreshers.
Morbid Angel Covenant
Mount Eerie Lost Wisdom, Pt. 2
Mr. Mitch Devout
Blippy or blissful it may be, it's difficult not to feel kinda let down by the plenitude of scant-n-slow floating-cloud production on this thing. Especially after the gently urgent "Priority" at track two, in which grimester P Money spits sincerely endearing fire about all the feelz of newfound fatherhood -- scared with no plan to blessed and content, getting called 'Dad' now the vibe provider instead of the ol drink+smoke. Though that fire winds up being a tease, those same feelz make for a charming motif that runs throughout; what with its toylike twinkles and aura of hushed adoration and baby gurgles and romantic reminiscences. A somewhat curious structuring of instrumentals and voxed stuff, too, though I'd say they're equally guilty of inducing somnolence.
Municipal Waste Slime and Punishment
My Bloody Valentine Sunny Sundae Smile
Nao For All We Know
As if to deliberately defy my disappointment in the brevity of their EP last year, they clock in almost an hour here; tossin' in behind-the-scenes studio scraps as intervalic unnecessaries and an intro and an appreciated alternate take on an old one ("Inhale Exhale") and still thirteen songs besides. Thing is tho that other gripe is still a thing, i.e. they really don't seem to churn out anything extraordinary, and despite lil dreamy ventures into space and "sloooow motioooon", don't dare go above-n-beyond. Certainly capable of bringin' that deep+amiable electro-funk throughout and impressively consistent considering the mass trax, but there's maybe a handful of tunes that don't seem interchangeable. Isn't best when a good singer gets stuck in by-the-books banal r&b mode and ultimately grates, neither. Nice as a fine and dandy electro-friendly funk/r&b blur.
Nas I Am...
Kicks things off with a lump-up of thus-far Greatest Hits snippets and tedious holier-than-thou scurrilities ("fuck all y'all faggot motherfuckers" -- what a moment to oust the beat) and an old guard-part II/remix of a Hit they forgot ("NY State of Mind"), closes shop with theatrical lovers-tiff butchery and a track called "Money is My Bitch". Toss in some Puffy-orchestrated determination-through-pomposity and Nas -- er sorry, "Dr. Knockwood" -- as a sexual lecturer, and all-in-all the pre-mercantile virtue of debut Illmatic seems rosier and more remote than ever. Disappointingly abhorrent and inflated as this can be, his proficient flows-n-wordplay remain irrefutable, and unless he's pulling my chain, deep down he still cares dammit: obligatory-at-the-time 2pac+Biggie paean is heartfelt and ruminative, desire to interrogate societal ringleaders seems burning+bonafide with incisive reasoning to boot. And serving as a paragon of vividly detailed yarns is that aforementioned theatrical butchery, "Undying Love" -- which with the aid of sound-fx, brings nightmarish rancor frighteningly close to reality.
Nelly Furtado Loose
Out of the multitude of audiences that are being catered to here, the Timbaland-assisted pop enthusiasts will come away the most pleased - not really surprised or enthralled, but pleased. Not quite sure how the God ballad and the random Spanish stuff really fit into all this, but hey, I've heard worse.
Nicolas Jaar Sirens
Nilufer Yanya Miss Universe
Nine Inch Nails Ghosts VI: Locusts
No Age Weirdo Rippers
Comfy enough relishing in noisy beachside cellar-scuzz to not fret much about form, hooks, a bass player, decipherability - a nebulous dismantling of DIY-punk that asks some burning questions ("Why are there so many records in my life? / Why can't I just curl up under a knife?").
No Doubt Tragic Kingdom
No Joy More Faithful
Little-by-little these femme-led fuzzsters have become knottier, denser; riffs are riffier, drums more expressive. The blissed-out submergence in floating-dream harmonies and feedback fun continues to derail the songwriting, but they're less reliant on pedal-shrieks, and can go from cute drifters to punky galvanism at the flip of an amp switch. Divergence is peachy and development is peachier, now let's strive for comprehensibility.
No Joy Ghost Blonde
Embracing Cali-aesthetic a la No Age and Wavves. Not the most distinct sound in the world in 2010, but a nice fuzzy mix of catchy and fast and hazy and slow, some screeching feedback, buried female vox, comfort with wallowing in more feedback.
NOCHEXXX Planet Bangs
Ah yes another EP of categorically difficult electronic etcetera that makes cool sounds but ultimately is never gonna rock your world. Trivial seems mean, captivatingly unnecessary is more like it. Could be a suspenseful score for an alien lair gone berserk or trouble in the club, engages in both gunplay and swordplay, delves into squishy techno and minimal industrial and the box of rando sound fx, doesn't forget the girl-n-robot screams.
Nonlocal Forecast Bubble Universe!
Now, Now Saved
Objekt Flatland
Objekt Cocoon Crush
Obnox Boogalou Reed
Should satisfy any loud+dirty psych-garage-crunch fix you may be craving, but those who search for meaning beyond said crunch may come up short, finding it all-too-easy to scoff at the contrast of piles-of-volume vs. lack-of-topics, the too-drunk-too-punk rocker dude posturing, the customary playing itself - but it's made up for with an unadulterated dedication to steroid-injected punk-metal-hybrid sonority. Of the few decipherable lyrics outside of song titles or something about money in a cooch, here's one from what happens to be the least-maxed track: "I only care about maximum rock n' roll". Sometimes that's all you need. Though having good amps helps too.
Obscura Akróasis
Obscura Diluvium
Octo Octa Where Are We Going?
Oddisee The Iceberg
I admire his prudent positivity and punchy soul beats, his tenacious social concerns, the care taken for both lucid flows-for-days and pro-level choruses. I chuckle when he says the gender pay gap irks him more than cargo shorts, but cringe when he tacks on "yoga pants that's worn at anything that's not a sport" as well. The poppy pep can get a bit vexatious, "Waiting Outside" is an anomalous mess; but it's around when he grouses about his not-even-girlfriend choosing those good-4-nothin 'drug dealers' with 'the locks and the beards' over his wise+intelligent self that I'm left yearning for some modesty. I bet they're cool with yoga pants worn whateverwhichway. Love the fat funk drum jam sendout btw.
Offa Rex The Queen of Hearts
Omar S The Best!
Total traditionalist house down to a T -- the mid-pace no-frills dance-or-nah manner of which doesn't conform to the consummate cockiness of the album title nor the exclamatory eccentricities of the song titles, but is sturdy+simmering+sagacious for days; and considering the platform, sufficiently sundry. Also true to house ritual, just about every piece is overlong; and guest-voice bestowals are a toss-up: "Seen Was Set" a narrated standout surge of bittersweet club-nostalgia that truly sets the 'seen' of a Detroit dance floor and its devotees circa 1988, "Ah'Revolution" a long-winded and dare I say even embarrassing ad-lib with hand-drum backin' to boot, finale dyad featuring Diviniti and John F.M. both prosaic but pleasant.
Oneohtrix Point Never Garden of Delete
Onyx Bacdafucup
Opeth Orchid
Oso Oso The Yunahon Mixtape
Ought Room Inside The World
On one hand it's swell to see Ought divagate some from their preceding post-punk apery, on the other kinda quashin' the dissonance tends to trim the propulsion, the tunes, the catchy catchphrases. Structures knottier but shakier, Darcy's sarcasm-n-solicitude converted to a calmer crooner, still good for slyly guiding you through a gratifying buildup. And they're rendered beautiful on a centerpiece once again -- this one comes with gospel singers.
Overmono Arla II
Oxbow Thin Black Duke
Pallbearer Heartless
These coffin-carrying slow+steady heavy-riff-heads aren't the macabre maulers ya may be expecting, and they certainly ain't heartless -- their melodic chops and stretches of soft and prudent performances say otherwise. Gorgeously sprawl-n-soar-n-groove they do, graceful passages that emit emotional epicness and staidly rock your face off are provided and oft-parallel. Gets ho-hum on the whole tho -- their studied arrangements and samey-paced wanderings tend to usurp the tunes+juice. As does the bleary wail-rawk vox.
Panda Bear Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Probably his most fully-formed album and a good listen - and though I enjoy the pulsating dirty/busy/warm compositions they kinda just sit there, and the vocal harmonies (usually more befitting than significant) kinda just sit there too. The standout harp&piano-sampling ballads make you wish he'd try breaking out of his habitual monotony more often.
Pantera Far Beyond Driven
New focus on low crushing heaviness, sound-wise and lyric-wise, which gives this a unique intensity but also becomes sluggish and sucks the fun out quite a bit. The Black Sabbath cover at the end comes off like a sigh of relief.
Paradise Lost Medusa
Paradise Lost (US) Paradise Lost
Mistakenly purchased under the assumption that this was one of THE Paradise Lost's early works -- that'll teach me to not scrutinize suspiciously uncharacteristic kinked-out 'dos and aglow cover-art. So instead of legendary English doom-metal in primitive form, I've wound up with the one-and-done 1989 debut of a long-evaporated Tennessee outfit whose "little white asses" were "saved" by Bruce Dickinson and rode between the heavy-rocker-domains of new wave-gleam and drama-prog lite. Though unafraid to wail or go softie or flirt with hair-cheese sheen and spoken word, they're endearingly rough around the edges, avert garish and/or carnal cock-rock obnox with flying colors, emit effective eventide-auras, and keep it remarkably groan-free; at least up until the near-end back-to-back where the 7-minute mark is ineptly verged upon and elevators are metaphorically ridden. "Dream of Love" even sees 'em as seers: how'd they reckon 27 years ago that something called Tinder would be in the hearts of men?
Pavement Perfect Sound Forever
Pavement Pacific Trim
Pavement Terror Twilight
Payroll Giovanni Big Bossin Vol. 1
Giovanni and sole producer Cardo Got Wings's take on smooth-ass g-funk is uber-versed flow-wise and very rarely insufficient when it comes to doze beats -- very articulate and on-point and a purveyor of many-an unforeseen rhyme, instrumentals decently fresh+distinct for evident throwbacks and, well, pretty goddamn smooth. But, man: money money money money. Hustling hustling hustling. Being on top of women and the world. Genuine and thorough sure, but oof does it get monotonous and thematically bore before ya know it, nevermind after an hour plus. O Papa Payroll, is it wrong that I maybe empathize with you only during the paranoid snafus in "Day in the Life"? Though I suppose fuckin' on a pile of money has always been on the bucket list.
Pearl Jam Vitalogy
Peder Mannerfelt Controlling Body
Exploiter of euphonious voice-drones and a speech-repeater button, Mannerfelt's yak-mods manage to both spellbind and assault: "Limits to Growth" starts like an art-installation cliche and but literally seems to "cr-cr-create bre-bre-breath" as it builds into the fascinating fixedness of something akin to a cyborg-brought-to-life simulation, "Perspectives" revels in turning "subject" into "sub-ject", "Her Move" gradually dwindles "crucified" into "fine art" into "er", the first one just kinda goes "eeee". For the instrumentals flip-side he's commonly creepin' on the cryptic-electro DL, which makes for some welcome caesural contrast but more-oft tend to drag. See the ender and only the ender if you want your vox non-chopped and vaguely Bjork-ish.
Pelada Movimiento Para Cambio
Pennywise Full Circle
Quite possibly the epitome of immaculately static skate-punk -- a more-mechanized, more-moshier, less-literary Bad Religion replication, frustratingly formulaic+fixed in attitude yet so ridiculously tight and adrenaline-pumping, effortlessly banging out a multitude of songs that end up piercing right out the sameness in their own nonpareil way. Appreciated vigor and yep even the semi-sheen, but jeez, just so general when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. And though the closing title of "Bro Hymn" may have an unfortunate connotation these days, this pseudo(?)-live tribute to forever-fallen founding member Jason Thirsk is perhaps the be-all end-all of instantly captivating energy-soaked group-woah-oh-singalongs -- not to mention, a moment that sees 'em bustin' out they mold for once, adopting some tumult, thank heavens.
Pere Ubu Worlds in Collision
Pere Ubu's wacky and irreverent take on polished pop rock, seemingly aimed towards the hip-but-square middle-aged population.
Pere Ubu 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo
Pharmakon Bestial Burden
Sub-half hour playtime and bodily conceptual aspect assist with the easing-in process of an album that is predominantly industrial thuds, noise and inhuman screaming; and a puke-choke interlude for good measure. Though listenability is limited, it's authentically disturbing and admittedly gripping. Female vocals are a nice plus too.
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Pianos Become the Teeth Wait For Love
Overly reticent and tautologic tone-wise, nil screams and less explosive escalations -- no doubt it can feel torpid. But that adamant aura of ache-n-shimmer seldom ain't pretty or poignant to be in, their subtle bustle and structures banking on vigilance while the vocalist aims for passable. Kudos to the dutiful drummer who's determined to keep em outta the doldrums.
Pile You're Better Than This
Pinegrove Marigold
Pixies Trompe Le Monde
Pixies EP1
Okay, "Another Toe in the Ocean" is kinda shlock, but surely it could be worse right?
Polo G Die a Legend
Porcelain Raft Microclimate
Porridge Radio Every Bad
Portal ION
Thrashy and terrifying and extraordinary enough to tolerate the burnt-to-a-crisp trebly production, which don't exactly alleviate their penchant for erratic farragoes -- they make Krallice sound like groovemaster softies. Frontcreature's constant gasp-grunt bizarrely baleful but not the most dynamic of vox; sections of all-encompassing intensity outnumbered by strained slogs camouflaged in commotion; welcome brevity yet feels kinda brusque. Maybe-fave is "Spores": most clear-cut, most cacophonous, second quickest.
Portrayal of Guilt Suffering is a Gift
Preoccupations Preoccupations
Stripped of their controversial-yet-hollow appellation, the mentally afflicted brooders formerly known as Viet Cong have cut back on the dark-n-dirty in favor of pretty synth patches, drafty ambient segues, and a more subdued+by-the-numbers take on post-punk in general. Not necessarily a negative thing; they're still stewin' in shadowy depths and spewin' out some striking stuff fo sho, and arguably they're hookier this time around -- but the whole numbed new-wave thing has 'em sounding a bit stiff and slack compared to last year's effort, or as they put it: "We're all reluctantly engaged." Lines that are hard to sell when reluctantly engaged: "The persistence of monotony is blowing out the sun / This repetition's killing you, it's killing everyone", "There's nothing to do cuz we're all dead inside / All gonna die".
Preoccupations New Material
Ever since they amended their name and started committing exclusively to one-word song titles they've sounded like a stiffer and tamer version of themselves. In that respect this doubles down on their last one -- this just isn't the same band that partook in hi-hat blitzkriegs and savage 11-minute bliss-jams. Now they near competent new-wave/post-punk cyborgs. The shrugness of naming this new material 'New Material' translates to the tunes as well; slow things down or take away a solid groove and bass-line and it kinda crumbles. But as always the production imparts an eerie warmth that goes a long way, instrumentals more engagingly plain than outright boring. Fave may be the ender's haunted VHS electro-drone, the only one that's vox-free btw. A sign, methinks.
Priests Nothing Feels Natural
Each of these ten trax has its own fun lil distinction whether it's a standout surf guitar loop or a deadpan-n-driving spoken word tirade or a good Cookie Monster growl or a catchy corporate-mock mantra -- but reliance on repetitive and rudimental drum+bass patterns can leave the tunes feeling weak, and said patterns usually aren't particularly novel or notable. They never quite outdo themselves in the catharsis department after the teardown/buildup/dinning dogpile of the opener, but as a succinct set of summed up post-punk routines complete with an outta-place placid interlude it's nice on the whole. If nothing else, they've got a versatile and perturbed frontwoman and are steady as fuck.
Priests The Seduction of Kansas
Primus Sailing the Seas of Cheese
A sound that merges Rush and The Minutemen and filters it through demented, corny 90's cartoon humor and that certain type of metal/funk that everyone heard alot more of later in the decade. The basswork is obviously stand out, but really what makes this solid is all of the overall instrumentation, very technical and unique.
Prins Thomas Principe Del Norte
Sporting 9 compositions over nearly 90 minutes, the unhurried pace and conscientious composure of these lean-n-subtle electro-behemoths are concurrently hindrance and highlight: uber-gradual escalations+tear-downs compel without ever approaching overly overt and he consistently does alot with a little; whether it's continuing to command attention during extended sections of glaringly sparse rigidity or reluctantly slithering its way towards a fundamental funk-groove. Any likelihood of mucking up the mix outside of your ol' token spacey synth-play is renounced in favor for simple mucking about, bringing about an endearing aura of expertly vigilance turned lax and content to ramble. I endorse the ample space supplied here for such a thing, and acknowledge that it's just as (if not more) ignorable as it is mesmerizing. But at a dilatory and reiterative hour-and-a-half, ramble it can, and will.
Prurient Frozen Niagara Falls
This ambitious tour de force of gloomy poetic harshness spits out a bountiful and disturbing goulash, and whether it be minus-two-minutes or ten-plus-minutes, each of these sixteen tracks is monstrous. The scale of it is a badge, and also a hindrance - but ultimately, it's just that most of the brain-eraser noise blowouts/muffled spoken word sections don't do a whole lot for me. Call me a square, but I was left wishing for more "Dragonflies to Sew You Up" and "Christ Among the Broken Glass", whose broken drum machine/piano-synth bliss and haunting+rainy acoustics (respectively) feel almost docile compared to the rest of it. Though I do like some torture too, really.
Puce Mary The Drought
Purple Pilgrims Perfumed Earth
Quarterbacks Quarterbacks
Timid and speedy pop-punk trio who like their songs simple, their sixers from Mobil, and their boyish crushes numerous+unresolved.
Quelle Chris Guns
R.E.M. Monster
R.E.M. Fables of the Reconstruction
R.E.M. Lifes Rich Pageant
Radiohead Hail to the Thief
A nice big assemblage of band-admitted cursory that is pretty consistent for the most part - though it leans a little heavily toward pure curiosities, it is well-varied, and refreshing to hear Radiohead in non-big-serious-album mode.
Radiohead Amnesiac
Ramones Brain Drain
Rancid Trouble Maker
Ravyn Lenae Midnight Moonlight
Solid six-song mini-slab of bedtime r&b -- beats bring space-synth soothe, fitful bass and other electro-particulars, champion clacks-n-snaps. Interlude thing/half-length track for good measure. Perhaps too subtle for hits, but for the hits see the side-closers: oodles of savory flavors and lustin' for a refill.
Ray LaMontagne Ouroboros
Atmospherically, tone-wise, flow-wise, it's attentive and winsome: fragile+pensive acoustic+piano sounds like a bliss-float dream-state, slinkin' strut cool-guy repeato guitar hooks are soaked in brittle-crunch distortion, forays into mountainous psych-rock and slowed-to-a-crawl holy om-choirs show initiative. The songs themselves, however; adequate but not exactly the epic riveters able to prop up all the sonic treatments, or justify Pink Floyd-esque melodrama and a sluggish pace -- something established once the second half ups the listlessness and generic-realm spout-outs. That is; starlings and their apparent murmurations, spending the day in his own nondescript lethargic way and having the sleepy tune to match, nature-scene rhapsodizing and correctly assessing that he doesn't have much to say on this other day, etc. And though instrumental focus certainly lies elsewhere, does the drummer really have to sound bored evermore? And though "hey, no pressure" doesn't make for the most absorbing mantra, it beats the pants off the conclusive "never gonna hear this song on the radio". Like, yeah, but do they want it tho?
Real Estate In Mind
Polite and pristine enough to declare em prosaic, but ooo does that pristine shine and push em into no-doubt pleasant. Guitar tones in particular are all sortsa sunny-day substantial, and when dueling they channel the warmth of flowerbeds full-a dancing fireflies and wheat fields softly wafting in the breeze. Bass bouncy and expressive, drummin' crisp, temperate boyish affectations through-n-through yet centered on clever playing and down to deviate into a gradual organ-backed patch of crunch. Just the one, though.
Regina Spektor Begin To Hope
Richard Dawson 2020
Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats Anger Management
Rina Sawayama RINA
Rival Consoles Howl
Rival Consoles Night Melody
RLYR Delayer
Admittedly, the first two tracks had me thrilled: an opener which boasts par-for-the-course steady post-rock patterns sure, but is loud, bright, and inspirative all the way with an electrifying crunchiness and nada dawdling; and a followup that's simply soaring+shrieky shoegaze squall. But then they reconduct themselves with a rather uneventful 8-minute chug-fest that portends a comely climax but never really delivers and a bit-by-bit descension into a pretty-gone-pleasant-gone-sluggish 23-minute protraction. All their boisterous buzzin' is highly appreciated however, and the guitar tones? To die for, true.
Robbie Fulks Upland Stories
Roly Porter Third Law
Sumptuous industria-tinged ambience whose free-drifting formidability sprouts from the remote nether-regions of the galaxy and hovers above like a smoldering fireball, eternally portending an imminent space-pocalypse. It regularly broods and occasionally bursts; and though the ominous low-end tremors and aerial glitch-grit are rich+dense+dandy, I do wish it did more of the latter -- like the anguished-wail churn-outs that surface from the furor in opener "4101", or when "Mass" bouncily nails electro-parallels into your skull while the world around you deteriorates. But spiking terrorization with riveting repose does seem to increase the sinisterly aspect: never underestimate the meditative unknown or the blazing unexpected.
Sada Baby BROLIK
Savages Silence Yourself
Savant (WA) Artificial Dance
This compilation of a 1983 re-issue+more-recent unreleased tracks is no doubt a disinterred treasure trove of often-warped sound-collage dub-funk -- grooves simultaneously jerky/random/dreamy/hypnotic, polyrhythms aplenty, occasional talking that alternates between being backwards and becoming an instrument all its own, and of course the imminent lunges at banal-grotesque spoken word and faux-newscast. But I'll be damned if this doesn't ride 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts'/its-creators-in-general's coattails so hard it hurts: probably a trivial objection, but just when you think it's blatant it gets blatant-er ("Stationary Dance"). Either/or, many arrangements just can't withstand their timeframes, therefore/furthermore, this is quite the slog. An end-lean slight-ambient-ish dip clinches the faulty cohesion that usually comes with this sorta assortment, but also makes for a restorative sound-shift.
Sega Bodega Salvador
Sepalcure Folding Time
Starts sleek and sprightly with its lush sway between techno-backed straight-up r&b and chopped-voice-collage garage thump, undoubtedly grooves in both, but never quite gets past seeming somewhat safe and subdued. As pretty and tricky and bouncy as these beats get, they don't really bear that mesmeric mind-grasp or whip out an aberration for kicks; and when vox get less prevalent they don't make for the most riveting of reinforcers, neither. Soothes more than it stirs, if you will -- albeit a considerably peppy and graceful soothe.
Seratones Get Gone
When it comes to ruckus-rock that would read well in either a roadside blues-bar full-a boogieing+swaying or a packed-tight garage full-a shoving+sudor, constitutionally they're a bit by-the-numbers -- they get dirty but never filthy in spite of the initial allusion to choking on spit, instances of xtra zing and memorability are seldom compared to ones that kinda just blur on by. But they don't quite tread into Dullsville either, the couple of calm-downs are convincing and exhibit ambidexterity, and if all else fails frontwoman AJ Haynes always manages to grab ears a la bestowal of earnest-n-elastic spunk; or for the calm-downs, a bonus side of comforting coos and good ol' fashioned longing.
Sham 69 Hersham Boys
Sharon Van Etten Remind Me Tomorrow
Shura Nothing's Real
The two titles that ask questions are truly magical specimens of big+bouncy emotional dream-pop, mosta da rest is merely mildly memorable but persistently pleasant throughout -- a bit on that blandly familiar front but never quite treads into obnox -- dancy and easy as it may be, it retains a certain modest charm. The subtly soaring ballads bout the distraught dumpee who thought they were bout to "get married and have kidz n stuff" and the 2-shy-2-talk-2-u headphoned cig-smoker, the interspersed lo-fi domestic discussions and airy atmospheric stretches. Attaching bonus ender scrap collection "The Space Tapes" also signifies a sense of individualism. Would be more fittingly called "The Take Up Space Tapes", however.
Shutdown Against All Odds
Silver Apples Contact
Silver Jews Starlite Walker
Thoroughly shambolic - almost every song/lyric sounds like it could've been made up on the spot, and what is maybe the only discernable 'hook' is delivered via Stephen Malkmus falsetto. Accordingly, it does come off as half-assed, but in a good way - fun, sloppy, experimental, folky, jammy, odd, lyrically intriguing - if nothing else, the Pavement member recognition helps you through.
Simon and Garfunkel Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Those rehashes of the traditional folk songs sound pretty tired, but most of the originals really shine.
Sinai Vessel Brokenlegged
Sinistro Sangue Cassia
Though I spose Patricia Andrade's haunting+near-operatic exoticoo will surely remain the selling point, her accompanying sludgy post-metal is nothin' to sneeze at. Like so much postiness, overall pace plus a plethora of passages seem sluggish-n-safe; composure and drama slowly exhaust. But within there's certainly a fair share of beautiful bursts and soars, hypnotic roars, crusha crush, dark/shimmery atmospheric mingling, stalwart and epic crawl sprawls. Both uplifts and sucks the life out of ya, that's good.
Sinmara Hvísl Stjarnanna
Skee Mask Shred
Eloquently shifts between/skillfully marries floaty atmospherics and zippy microcosmic beat-work, consistently hits a junctional sweet-spot of driving+elaborate+reflective while remaining sufficiently subdued -- the expanse and expertise of it is admirable, and though I dig some tossed-in hand-drum+spoon-clack percussion and possible skateboard references and complicated-chill-beats as much as the next guy, the whole of it feels so drawn-out; and ultimately i.e. maybe halfway through, rooted predictability settles in. Driving as it may be at times, scarcely do I get through a track-or-two without gettin' at least a lil snoozy. Not a bad thing obviously, especially when it's imaginably somehow beneficial to the brain and momentarily wondrous -- would like a bit more moxie in its tatterin' is all.
Slayer Hell Awaits
Sleep Dopesmoker
Sleigh Bells Reign of Terror
The blimpo production here is truly something to behold, and initially it hit me like a ton of bricks. But opener/showboater "True Shred Guitar" ends up a tease more than anything - what starts as shred quickly bubbles over into overinflated and saccharine sweet Disney-esque pop. Hearing gargantuan riffs and pounding double-bass drum in this context has its charm, and oh does it get stuck in your head, but I'll be damned to get through more than a few tracks without audibly groaning.
Slipknot We Are Not Your Kind
Slugabed Inherit the Earth
SOB x RBE Gangin
Initially it's electrifying hip-hop for those sick of the same ol languid auto-tuned gurgles and oh so saturated trap sound -- vigorous youth-group dynamic that's hard-n-haughty yet convincingly pensive, coherent no-bullshit flows with melodic sangin' chops that don't go overboard, distinct beats and a throwback quality that don't ditto and maintain modernity. But tone, tempo, tude, themes; monotony city.
Soen Lykaia
Solange When I Get Home
Sonic Youth Murray Street
Sonic Youth Confusion Is Sex
Sonic Youth Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star
A big bag of clips, bits, pieces of ideas, guitar skuzz, and assumed first takes into Whateversville - which makes for a fun but incomplete-feeling listen. Nothing here really feels fully-formed, but it is at least comfortable in that sense.
Sonic Youth NYC Ghosts & Flowers
Its passivity is reminiscent of 'Experimental, Jet Set..', but there is a unique lure in the utter uncertainty of this one. With all those specialty made-to-order guitars/pedals/whatnot stolen, here they are left to their own deviant devices: including but not limited to Beat poetry, warped keyboards, and more-often-than-usual noise codas; but mostly just different guitars. Classic Thurston pretty-turned-crashing catharsis reels you in, then later on we hear him mutter-rap over weirdo electronics and grab-bag percussion. I'd gladly listen to 3-4 word-randomizer Kim voices any day, as opposed to Lee's remarkably awkward readings (unfathomably stiff the first time around, improved on the title track).
Sonic Youth Sonic Youth
SOS Gunver Ryberg Entangled
Soulwax Essential
Soundgarden Superunknown
Spacehog Resident Alien
Spazz Dwarf Jester Rising
Special Request Vortex
stenny Stress Test
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Sparkle Hard
Stern Missive: Sister Ships
Steve Earle So You Wannabe An Outlaw
Steve Miller Band Fly Like an Eagle
Street Sects End Position
Sturgill Simpson Sound and Fury
SUMAC What One Becomes
At their best when razing everything in sight, which is admittedly often. The low-end riffage is more sickeningly crushing than most but certainly no crutch -- they groove hard no matter the speed and care a bit about melodies, whip out lotsa twists-n-turns, bassin' and drummin' are particularly superb, Aaron Turner's renowned roaring is righteous. But all the fidgeting, the breaks to seemingly just stand there for a moment, the momentum-maiming paths towards Whereverville, kinda just plugging stuff in for a minute or so? Concision obvz ain't their predilection at 5 tracks in nearly an hour, but a number of these traipsing detours are just plain excess, if not cumbersome. Their peak of solidifying the ol' groove+melody admixture is the 5-minute shutdown of the massive "Blackout", which eventually moves on to razing everything in sight. But how we got there, I'm not quite sure.
Sun Kil Moon Tiny Cities
Scourged upon release -- partial blame goes to the covered troupe at hand's appellation as the 2005 Music World's untouchable luminaries, but an actually-reasonable reason being setting out to tackle Modest-goddamn-Mouse songs and settling primarily for half-hearted+abridged sleepy sketches. But if you fancy the idea of all the gruff that oft-obscures Isaac Brock's discourse stripped away and seeing its more-sorrowful qualities accentuated via expert sad-man Mark Kozelek -- or simply Mark Kozelek in general -- and can forgive some steps towards Sap-ville, it's ducky. The discography-reach is appreciated, the guy knows his acoustic tones+mood-setting, "Space Travel is Boring" receives bombastic string-soar treatment and "Grey Ice Water" could pass for Spanish waltz. And maybe just for kicks, "Truckers Atlas" is wrapped up in 2:49.
Sun Kil Moon April
Sun Kil Moon Admiral Fell Promises
Sunset In The 12th House Mozaic
Gradual and imposing instrumentals with sections drove into the ground before giving into finespun adjustments: yep, it's post-y alright. The moderately moderate jammy-hypno-flow of heavy/soft/'om' synths can make for some elegant background metal, but the impeccable detail and clarity that's provided for each+every instrument rewards closer listens. Impatients can also take comfort in each of these songs being shorter than the last - so if the 14:43 opener feels like a trek, know that it's followed by a 10:56, along with eventually-reduced-rigidity and an exotic-tinged second half. Finale tosses ya a 5:48 and some bonus vox for a job well done.
Swans Holy Money
Swans Leaving Meaning
T.I. Trap Muzik
Semi-imperative Southern pre-grim-era-trap that falls victim to the usual-suspect-obstacles of oh so many hip-hop albums circa 2003: needlessly prolonged, inferior second half, chiefly shopworn beats, stylistic homogeneity, choruses like the one from "24's" -- therefore the two Kanye productions come off as extraordinary succor-gems (particularly the aw-shucks dope-dealer lament of "Doin' My Job"), as does David Banner's baseball-organ/kiddie la-la/beatbox-bass banger "Rubber Band Man". T.I. is proficient and authentic and an ample enough wordsmith, sure. But he never really strays from, well, trap life, and he tends to glaze over gritty deetz, electing instead to stick with generalities and brandish this whole 'I'm the best/I'm better than all ya'll/but don't be like me' thing. Oh, and women come up of course, but not often. They may get in the way of da game or something.
Tamaryn Cranekiss
Tame Impala Currents
Adorned with soaring+sumptuous synth-waves and flawless finger-snaps that firmly install themselves into your subconscious, but seldom is there a song that rises to the occasion to truly grab your face and refuse to let go. It could be that the nearly 8-minute opening tour de force "Let It Happen" with its pronounced urgency and beat-skip-trickery and the leisurely coming-of-age acceptance soul-melter "Yes I'm Changing" set an ivory-towered bar for the remainder, but what about the offhand sub-2-minute ditties and ceaseless compression? The tedium of uninflected+immovable vocal performances?
Tame Impala The Slow Rush
Tee Grizzley My Moment
Tee's momentous mixtape shines in that it feels proper and purposeful and tidy too; fresh-outta-jail 23-year old showcasing savvy for both hard as nails rappin' and single-ready singin'. But between the mechanically resolute flows and so-serious permanence, oh does it exhaust. And get predictable. Grim tales and acappella opener and alotta piano are bound to equal heavy, but here it just weighs on ya hard -- it says something when the funniest lines involve having ISIS on speed dial to bomb someone; the most lovey for a girl he encourages to stay in her relationship so long as they continue to fuck. Tenderness is reserved for the deceased, and reputable to boot. Voice-wise, think Kevin Gates meets Froggy Fresh. But, you know, not very funny.
Teen Daze Glacier
Tegan and Sara Love You to Death
Hoppin' back on the ol T&S train for the first time since 2007's The Con and hmm -- ya skip a couple albums and suddenly find these once rock-centric-yet-eclectic bedraggled-book-insert-sporting titan-indie-twins have gone full-on gaudy glittery synth-pop, the enormous choruses crying lines like "when it's love it's tough" and "you're fuel to my fire". But "just let me into your heart", "you can't stop desire", some good points there: can't help but slightly scoff at the comparative gloss and transformative transparency, but damn if they don't sell it well. Emotionally genuine even if simplified and stiff, vivacious arrangements and performances though broadly by-the-books, fun as hell at its peak but can get its sad on too. Ten-track concision is a good thing; especially when near all of 'em rock driving multi-hooks that'll stick around fo sho -- albeit some more annoyingly/emptily than others.
Terrace Martin Velvet Portraits
Prominent Pimped-Butterfly producer puts together a hybrid hodgepodge of r&b-jazz-soul-funk: roughly in that order when it comes to genre-tilt with a modicum of hip-hop/electro-dream extract, boasts a laundry list of erudite guest features, and smoothly interlaces instrumentals with the non-. And considering its 14-track tally/nearly 70 minutes/inordinate collaborating, caliber and consistency really run rampant -- many lay it down so smooth-n-mellow as to epitomize 'chill' or driving into a Cali sunset, some superbly scratch that itch to get up and get down, others revel in nowhere-to-go jam-outs and fat-n-farty bass blurts. But, er, that nearly 70 minutes tho, that much-appreciated stylistic traditionalism at times translating to starched and slack. See the ender-revision of Kendrick's "Mortal Man" for an extended example of artfully fusing past+present, see nondescript-yet-empathetic lyrics for themes passable in the past but prosaic in the present: coming together now, being together forever, waiting for someone to come back, funking you up, etc.
The Amazing Picture You
Warm, delicate and hazy, this is tastefully played sad+sprawly psych-folk whose meekness can't come close to upholding the ambition: 10 songs in 65 minutes worth (oof), each one of them beautifully indifferent and softly treading at a snail's pace. Conceivable for classy-cafe atmosphere, if a barista remembers to lower the volume for pop-up extremities (spoilers: noise segment and eruption into crushing 70's acid-rock freakout).
The B-52s Cosmic Thing
The Beta Band The Beta Band
The Black Dahlia Murder Unhallowed
The Black Dog Neither/Neither
The electronic expertise of these ebon-pup-vets shines through, but real ear-catchers are rather intermittent: the title track's sparse sway-beat+lone-pitch synth-scream buildup, the magnetic "Them" with its ninja-esque scratch-clips, the explosion-fraught closed-off-room rave-jerk of "Commodification". Their dark+sedulous gamut that stretches from ambient to no-nonsense-boogie-worthy caters to/should placate those seeking to scratch a multifaceted techno-itch, but between the full-package glut and interludial bog-down, someone somewhere's attention is gettin' sapped. Given most of the beats, I'm gonna go ahead and chiefly blame the ambience.
The Coneheads L.P.1
Self-confessed Devo-dittos whose robotic rapidity and (to paraphrase) 'Alien and Warm' approach land them in some alternate-universe's basement, the peculiar turf of which may have to be divvied up with the likes of The Residents. The full-time flippancy is counterposed by performances both penetratingly-tight and confidently-ruffled and made bearable via sub-20-minute runtime, but adamant non-believers should promptly guide their ears towards the riveting rendition of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer": what better way to follow up "I Used to Be a Cheesepuff" and "Nasal Load" than with a semi-sincere sped-up sendup of a bonafide classic?
The Cramps Bad Music For Bad People
The Cure The Head on the Door
The Cure Seventeen Seconds
The Cure Faith
The Dillinger Escape Plan Miss Machine
Some more eclecticism, some more experimenting, sure, cool, that's great, most of it's decent, even the unanticipated skeezy industrial and poppy stuff - it all just comes off as very jumbled. Actually, see the cover? It kinda sounds like that.
The Dirty Nil Higher Power
Insubordinate with their arrant amp-shrieks and dual throat-shredders and disregard for the man of a gal he's tusslin' in the reeds to Husker Du with, but these loud-n-earnest rock-n-rollers bring some munchable melodies and a high-spirit ruckus that's palpably sweaty and generally welcoming -- for the first half, at least. A peak is attained at "Friends in the Sky", which suitably reaches near-celestial levels of catchy emotional squall; but barring the prolonged rodeo-entombment-request ender it's decidedly downhill from there, opting moreso for the so-so and inevitable sub-minute thrasher. Timespan of 'prolonged' ender: 3:29. Thoughts on that aforementioned man-of-a-gal: "Oh yeah / fuck him."
The Doors The Doors
The Faint Blank-Wave Arcade
The Fall Extricate
The Fall Bend Sinister
The Fall Live At The Witch Trials
The Fall Sub-Lingual Tablet
31 albums / 39 years deep: Mark E. Smith is still up there, murmurin' and rantin' and ravin', dentures rustling around in gum-slime and nostril-breathing all the while, his newfound careless snarls+trollish growls dutifully sullying and intensifying ("Pledge!" may wind up my Favorite Vocal Performance of 2015). And there's still makeshift backup bands ready to provide him the primitive-synth whine-blurts, various-percussion by the boatload, ropey guitar hooks, and skuzzy guitar whatevers he needs. The laugh-out-loud mumbles+bellows embrace scorn, topicality, and the absurd - on a good day, all at once - and will sporadically annihilate the mix just for kicks. As far as the rest of the mishmash goes, it seems he's landed a good crew here - as in they play crashingly, sour, repetitive and strange, could pass for vintage Fall at times ("First One Today", "Auto Chip"), and can whip up some generi-garage-punk to keep up appearances. Notable/deducible subjects include getting prescribed a "bed-wet pill and deep grief", artists' online pleas for "creative money", nondescript Facebook-Troll-hysteria (or is it 'baseball chow'?), and remaining in line with aging-post-punk-band stereotypes, shunning modern technology - though at least they're fun+plaintive about it instead of preachy+pompous ("Stop looking at iPhone / Stop looking at iPad-Phone, alright!").
The Flaming Lips Transmissions From the Satellite Heart
The Flaming Lips The Terror
The Folk Implosion Dare to be Surprised
The Garden Kiss My Super Bowl Ring
The Leaving Trains Loser Illusion Pt. 0
The Lemonheads Come On Feel the Lemonheads
The Magnetic Fields Distant Plastic Trees
The Microphones It Was Hot We Stayed In The Water
The Moody Blues Days of Future Passed
The Olivia Tremor Control Dusk at Cubist Castle
A long, somewhat aimless album packed to the brim with material, mostly veering towards psychedelic pop with lots of experimenting and depth for the avid listener - all the ambition and sound trickery tend to outweigh the songwriting, and the length makes this one a haul, but still a fun listen.
The Outfield Play Deep
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Belong
The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup
The Rolling Stones It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
I'd say this was probably a point in the Stones' career where they were starting to seem like old news. Yet it doesn't quite reach stagnation - it feels more like a throwaway album from a band that can't help but kill it.
The Rolling Stones Between the Buttons
The Rolling Stones Their Satanic Majesties Request
The Sounds Weekend
The Wallflowers Bringing Down the Horse
With a dynamic duo of atrociously-overplayed smash singles shoved up front and titles like "God Don't Make Lonely Girls" and "Angel On My Bike" tossed to the back, I treaded skeptically. And while it may be positively moderate all-in-all, it's an amiable and surprisingly-consistent neutrality -- nice big-ol-choruses are habitual and proportionate, ever-present Hammond-hum and choice-spot pedal steel help 'em drift away from the customary alt-rock trudge, they're good for an atmospheric ballad ("Invisible City"), a Crucial 90's Moment is actualized when Adam Duritz joins in on some backup-vox. And despite those aforementioned tossed-to-the-back titular uncertainties, it's the mousy "Josephine" that winds up wieldin' the heave: "You're so sweet / You must taste just like sugar / and taaaannngerrines". Get it? Josephine, tangerines?
The War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding
The World Is a Beautiful Place... Always Foreign
The xx I See You
A bit more in the way of beat-bulk is welcomed here, finding a sweet spot in between their matter-of-course cool-pop minimalism and the more dance-club ready efforts from the beat boy's recent rainbow-clad solo record. And though they still surely showcase knacks for mood+simplicity and manage a few genuine gems, this middle ground has 'em losing some distinction; vocal dueling once seducing and tired kinda gone just tired. They never repeat the iffy generics of opener "Dangerous", but more often than not plainness eclipses their enticement. My Not of choice that's also the easiest being "I Dare You", Not of choice that's also the dreamiest being "Replica" -- so it should be no surprise when I think there's more flops amid the less lively.
THEESatisfaction EarthEE
Thomas Brinkmann What You Hear (Is What You Hear)
The obscure-color-coded track titles may serve to reinforce the enigma but the forthright album title bears mental reassurance -- something that is much-needed here. Other than the out-of-place industranoise that serve as bookends, this coughs out rough and/or stripped bare sketches of formable techno out of slothful extremist minimalism. Sit-still one-note drone-tone-rows drill themselves so deep that they start to sound like voices; shadowy patterns emerge and take shape so slyly, with shifts so gradual+slight, it comes off as aural illusion, as well as tricky coercion into observing+analyzing all the little things. Whether it's softly unfolding, menacingly grinding away, or employing the woozy swiftness and click-clacks of helicopter blade chops and textile mill machinery, these methods of unrelentingly dominating headspace can be exasperating, enlightening, numbing, maddening, world-encompassing. But an hour-plus of it mostly just solicits a desensitized shrug.
Throbbing Gristle 20 Jazz Funk Greats
In case you're not in on the joke, you're actually getting 11 Creep Noise Things. This is about as art-school as it gets but it usually keeps the ears intrigued - it's got the nightmare vibe going on, mystery noises, industrial skuzz, less-disciplined-Kraftwerk-and-Neu! beats and ambience, the occasional mantra.
Thundercat Drunk
Whimsical warmth and playful electronix are fetching enough, tones both sharp-n-crisp and nighttime dreamy please the ear, expected jazzy verve is there but woulda liked to see it more amply utilized. For my money, the peak of this 23-track 51-minute yuck-it-up jumble comes at what may as well be the beginning, the 2 tunes/4 minutes of "Captain Stupido" and "Uh Uh". The latter a simple speedy jazz drill that shoulda lent some of its liveliness elsewhere and the former gagger-goofy as the best of em with its flatulence and meat beatin' beard combin' Beach Boys scurry. Following that, it seems like video game/internet/cat culture is catered to more than the songwriting; too many half-songs and less-than-half-songs with a bulk not making a dent. Monotonous vox, smooth-gone-shallow, garden-variety guest spots -- except for Wiz Khalifa, tho not in a good way -- his gnarly weed and red cups take the gagger-goofy crown.
Titus Andronicus The Most Lamentable Tragedy
Akin to Zen Arcade with its character-driven manifestation of crumbly mind-states and intermittent impulses, and The River by way of americana-jingles and triumphal destitution; this is cluttered exorbitance that just can't help itself, salmagundi be damned. Ran ragged and perspiring with perfervid desperation, roguishly structured -- but for all the self-referencing, easter eggs, bracketed moments of silence and parenthetical symbology, only a handful or so of these 29 tracks are standalone-great, even fewer worth hunting down specifically. This pile of broken shards has trouble perceptibly shaping the bigger picture: the 'acts' come off as claptrap, and the long-anticipated conclusion is a cut-short purport (aka acknowledgement that one doesn't exist) and a reflector-loop right back to square one. Which compels the listener to repeatedly trudge through until they begin to vaguely grasp the stuff about the doppelganger, the dream states, the love interest? Maybe. But what's foremost and palpable is that bandleader Patrick Stickles is a snarlin' visionary-guy with an affinity for allegory and Daniel Johnston who's goin' through some shit -- valuable qualities when in the right hands, methinks.
Toby Gale DNA Party
Short-lived electro-shindig whose super-sparkly bustle is sure to lure and yield a smile, or at the very least create a shrill and unobligatory diversion.
Today Is the Day In the Eyes of God
Tofubeats Fantasy Club
Tomb Mold Planetary Clairvoyance
Tornado Wallace Midnight Mania
Toxe Blinks
Tracy Bonham The Burdens Of Being Upright
Travis Scott Astroworld
Trupa Trupa Of the Sun
Turinn 18 1/2 Minute Gaps
Twitchy techno at its core, cloaked in muffled muck for aesthetic, creates quite the textural cosmos within its graininess and lumpy dub -- fatiguing and not much for tunes, commendable cosmos and lo-fi filter.
Two People First Body
Ty Segall First Taste
Ty Segall Manipulator
Tyler, the Creator Bastard
Tyler, the Creator IGOR
Ulcerate Shrines of Paralysis
Ulver The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Longtime shapeshifter black metal collective goes far enough down the experimental rabbit hole to arrive at the rather accessible antilogy of all-sang synth-pop; albeit retaining the dark+heavy tone-wise and thematically. No doubt these compositions are sturdy and sumptuous, symphonic flair throughout adds an air of grandeur. But really kinda hokey throughout, too. Personal prized moments are when songs venture into extended territory over historical tragedy -- i.e. the boisterous buildup of "Rolling Stone" and the smoky space-jazz of "Coming Home". Sections that are both basically vox-less, hmm.
Various Artists (Electronic) Waystation Compilation: Sequence I
Vince Staples Big Fish Theory
Thinking back, Staples sure has been buoyed by beats and buddies. And that's very verified here. Arguably this is just as much his and hip-hop's album as it is commonplace companion Kilo Kish's and inventive electronic producers -- which ultimately does make for a pretty pithy package. But with all the best hooks being via guest and not exactly alotta charisma besides, it never fully meshes. Ya do gotta love blankly braggin' bout being boring and Kendrick on top of Sophie's jerky screeching though; and of course telling the one percent/government/president to suck it on the bodacious banger that is "BagBak".
Visible Cloaks Reassemblage
A bit too formless for my plain ol beat-preferring inclinations, not smooth or emotionally enthralling enough for utter ambient envelopment -- but I do dig the rather fluky fashion that these synthblipsetc. soothingly glow, squoosh, crumble, tinkle, fidget, float, ping, moan, whathaveyou; tickling the senses and tranquilizing a room without gettin' obnox or comatose. Think erratic martian spa with just a touch-o-glitch, artificial windswept exotica, and adherence to Japanese diction.
Wavves Wavvves
Weaves Weaves (LP)
No, not some magical mixture of Weezer and Wavves -- rather, a kinda punky femme-fronted on-the-fringe exercise in squirrely squeaking and bitter bending, combining clamorous+cute+coarse into a cultured and catchy package. Certainly a bit heavy on the piercing pep, but zany and turbulent and loose enough to enamor; and when quieting things down they remain prosperous and quaint: "Coo Coo" is cute-cute as it sounds til sour chords are (un)accordingly struck, "I wanna live stress free" is the theme behind the closer, a calm-ish crawler after the ruckus-dust has settled. Elsewhere, "Candy" and "Shithole" appear back-to-back, which may or may not be a metaphor for their mien.
Weeping Icon Weeping Icon
Weezer The Green Album
Weezer The White Album
Solely eying titles like "California Kids", "Thank God For Girls", "Do You Wanna Get High?", "Jacked Up" -- hell, kinda all of 'em, really -- may lead to some rash conjectures involving the patented Weezer corn being carted on this here ivory-hued+self-proclaimed glory-dayz recrudescence. With their alt-rooted power-pop pioneer-isms in full and facile effect, a filler-free and to-the-point complexion, and let's face it; just an all 'round wondrous knack for writing songs that are sunny and catchy as fuck and quaint to boot, it don't really matter what they're goin' on about too much. But then again -- the whole contrived-seeming naivete and fantastical puerility and general outmodedness and lotsa questionable lines thing remains quite the polarizing quaint. It's a nice thought, but in 2016 am I to believe "the California Kids" are gonna solve all my woes and take care of lil ol' me? The 'woo's are great, though. Not wince at the "If I was king of the world, you'd be my girl" chorus? I mean, it's very well-meaning, sure. Same well-meaner that tells L.A. Girlz to act their age and sweeten up their lemonade yet frets over leaving his headphones in a car and "trying not to stare at her chest." "L.A. Girlz": hangs with the best of 'em.
White Lung Paradise
Continued concretion of their now-distinct and much-entrenched sound, no doubt -- between Way's vehement vox and William's high-string-centric ninja-riffs and Vassiliou's dogged drummin', they have taken a somewhat sapped style and developed their own unmistakable rendition of it. But damn me if this isn't yet another near-carbon copy of their previous albums: okay yeah there's a bit more semi-polish applied, this clocks in at 28 minutes instead of the ushe ~20, "Below" is an even-more conspicuous+spectacular tone-down than "In Your Home" was, and from a technical standpoint, they've improved as a group. How bout that creative growth tho? How bout that taking 2 years to make a 10-track sub-half-hour record (again) only to transmit a touched-up reiteration? Speaking of "In Your Home": now that was a laudable closer.
White Reaper The World's Best American Band
If you couldn't tell from dat title or the introductory faux audience cheers, they still ride the bratty-n-insouciant train pretty hard. Difference is now they've earned it; the cheers part at least. Most if not all 10 trax are a small step away from stadium-status punky power-pop, swaggerin' and distinguishable to boot -- making riffs+solos+hooks really count, honed performances all around, successful spectacle of solidity packed in at just over a half-hour. Tho will admit, they still got me feeling somewhat empty at the end of the day. Maybe if Esposito's tonsil-tone wasn't so treadmill.
Whitney Light Upon the Lake
The fixed falsettos and soft-boy civility and 'na-na-na's get red flags a-rising, but through warm folk-pop-venerability and instrumentation that's classy+cultivated but never highflown their charm is rather unavoidable. Effortlessly stuffing a 10-song half-hour this full-a soul and flow and sensibilities, well hey that's pretty nice too.
Whitney Forever Turned Around
Wilco Being There
Now officially part-time risque, this finds these formidable alt-country boys discovering excess, contrast, dissonance, suggestive lyricism, and new levels of heart-string tugging.
Wilco Schmilco
As somewhat suspected from the comical cover art and celerity of completion, this seems like a spiritual sequel to a-year-ago's 'Star Wars'. A soberer softie one, sure, but one that sees these confirmed-adept rockers humbly exhibit their acoustic+brush-drum chops with the same laid-back 'tude that charmed on its predecessor. And since they're Wilco we get guitar layering both lush+tight and whiny+rusty, all-around pleasant proficiency except when purposely mucking it up and then it's still aight, an assortment of nice lil touches such as stick-hits and scuzz jams and keyb flourishes. And since they're in nonchalant mellow mode we get a sense of routine passivity, a few true standouts and a few true inessentials, a handful of lines that fall dead flat and a bunch more that do nothin'. Or is that usually just Wilco anyway and the restraint here simply starts to drag?
William Tyler Modern Country
Titled perhaps as a knowing wink towards what just about anyone considers to be the majority of modern country, Tyler+troupe bypass words and corn and airwaves for sprawling-n-spotless instrumentals that combine the alfresco atmospheres of finespun folk and the pacific pensiveness of post-rock. Certainly comely, no doubt all-around dexterous and detailed, rarely gives way to abeyance, but the constant composure has 'em gravitating a bit too close to congenial background music -- see the climactic great unwind's seamless segue in-n-out of Birdville for verification.
Witch Hunt Blood-Red States
Hmm, I think I liked this album alot more when I was 23, had patches on my jeans, etc. It's a little same-y throughout but I still enjoy it, good guy+girl vocals and tight musically.
Wolves in the Throne Room Thrice Woven
Women Women
Wreck and Reference Alien Pains
Novelty quickie in which four classic cuts from GBV's 'Alien Lanes' are loosely covered, protracted, industrialized, fractured, dramatized. Hearing some of your fave rough-take alt-rockers receive the shadowy electro/stony-faced talking/harshly screamed treatment is a hoot and that in itself makes this a pretty commendable curiosity. Not sure it's really supposed to be a hoot, but hey.
Yaeji What We Drew
Yellow Magic Orchestra Yellow Magic Orchestra
Pioneers of electronic music to Japan as Kraftwerk were pioneers of electronic music to Germany. Ultra-chipper, busy, jaunty, lots of beeps and blips, nauseatingly upbeat, but mostly entertaining. A definite predecessor to video game music, and on a good listen, it's easy to imagine yourself in an old-school sidescroller, or a shmup perhaps. However, I think my cold and heartless soul prefers the dark mechanisms of ol' Dusseldorf.
Yes Drama
Yo La Tengo Popular Songs
Young Thug Slime Season
The sort of prolix mixtape hodgepodge that can eventually bore-n-vex even the most fervent Thugger fans -- by the time the aptly-titled "Overdosin'" oozes on through 12 tracks deep, I'm doin' just that and then some, only to realize there's still 6 left here, an even-longer not-even-two-months-later Slime Season sequel, oh and a third one on the way. And there are those who will wholly prefer the raggedy unrestraint of this suite to a more decisive and commercialized effort like Barter 6: that I won't dispute, but the inconsistency of this quantity-over-quality configuration paired with a style that grows onerous all-too-readily makes this a total skip-around fest. However, the handful of absolute gems surely make it worthwhile, and the handful of satisfactory sufficiencies help as well. While opener "Take Kare" chiefly comes across as a way to embarrassingly exhibit an unusually pitiful guest-spot from idol/rival Lil Wayne, bonus-ender "Wanna Be Me" is a conclusive slice of sparkly quirk-wonder that's no-doubt one of the aforesaid gems -- also perhaps the only post-"Overdosin'" song that's even close to eligible for such a thing, but hey.
Young Thug BEAUTIFUL THUGGER GIRLS
As a stab at softie singin' it's largely a success -- the beats stylistically adhere to a sumptuous degree and it's still very much full of tried-n-true goofball Thugger flow, albeit with extra emphasis on lust-n-love (mostly lust duh). Not to say it don't drag on many-a song/as a whole or get samey sorta swiftly, both qualities that last year's catalog crux 'Jeffery' evaded in spades. And while elastic verses and giddy hooks persist, they can oft come off uninspired, particularly topically and the per ushe assortment of one-liners. Freely unintelligible and creaky as ever, a lyric-look can result in unearthed gems ("She look at him like he roadkill and I turned 'round her life like I'm Dr. Phil"), but mainly confirms shrug-worthy tedium ("I want that cat like a leopard").
Your Old Droog It Wasn't Even Close
Yves Tumor Safe in the Hands of Love

2.5 average
2 Chainz Felt Like Cappin
Lax-n-stripped shorty-discharge embodied by the final track's title: "This Me, Fuck It." The carefreewheelin' disposition bears stylish persona aplenty and a refreshing sense of ataraxia, flows and particularly the beats seize quite the clarity-bolster -- but his usually-cunning braggadocio is rendered into shuffling about in the ho-hum as are the monotonous choruses, and the whole of it emits an aura of inessential lenience. Worth it for shining production via Zaytoven/Timbaland/etc., a winning+Shinobi-referencing Lil Wayne verse, and the semi-charm of offhand oeuvre from a guy pushing 40 who apparently just Felt Like Rappin'.
3 Inches of Blood Advance and Vanquish
Adam Sandler Whats Your Name
Bonafide epics "The Lonesome Kicker" and "The Goat Song", along with the latter being in board game form on the CD insert, are its saving graces. Sandler's studio band does a decent job at passively parroting prominent rock acts and providing the staple funk track, country track, reggae track, hoodie ballad. But boy can they drain a song; and boy can he make a topic tired -- or just pick tired topics. The middle chunk that starts with four minutes of fat jokes and ends with four more of rhyming celebrity names with dick jokes is the worst of the bunch. And then there's portraying a whiny wife and a rascally preschooler, with the same inflection no less. I mean it's not without its funny and thoughtful moments, but really, what do you expect from an album who's first word is "shnine"?
Adele 25
AFX Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008
Well, this is the Aphexer we're talkin' about here, so undoubtedly it's got a barrelful of fun sounds, dense+restless grooves, enigmatic omnipotence -- but accepting this release as something other than a transient compilation of wonted leftovers that could've just as easily ended up Soundcloud-freebies is going to take some convincing. Particularly as a ~$15 EP that's been plopped alongside the only-7-month old riskier venture from his more-renowned moniker: a costly short-play in itself, but at least one with some semblance of neoteric intent.
Age Coin Performance
Algiers There Is No Year
Alice in Chains Facelift
Alice in Chains Alice in Chains
American Pleasure Club Fucking Bliss
American Pleasure Club It's the Big Joyous Celebration..
Album Title Interpretation: Teen Suicide Suicides Name and Go Out With Big Sprawling Bang. By Big I mean 26 tracks in an eternity-seeming 68 minutes, and by Sprawling I mean winding barrage of sketchy+washed out lo-fi-rock that's charming in its let-it-all-hang-out grandeur but oh so overtly overkill. It's defiantly dense, warmth and melancholy and awkwardness and dollops of psychedelia and incoherence run amuck amid the bedroom acoustics+pianos and choral-cooer lullabies and cozy electronix, doses of fuzz-n-scuzz are fairly forcible and depraved, respectively -- but the ratio of solid standout tunes and seemingly one-off/kinda forgettable inconsequentials is excessively lopsided, and like, not in the good way. And outta this whole ungodly-sized mass, the apex might just be the opener.
Ami Dang Parted Plains
Amon Amarth Berserker
"WOULD YOU LIKE SOME VIKING FUCK BERSERKER" "...DID HE SAY VIKING FUCK?"
ANAMAI What Mountain
Not that this breed of minimal folk and malign murk ain't eerily placid and mesmeric. The droning goes deep without dipping too much into dormant, I dig a good chain-drag, the contrast of angelic basement cooer and ghostly doom-metal drifter never hurts. But its sustained snail-pace renders it sorta samey and so soporific -- however, grant it the space to suck you in and bring you down, and it may just succeed.
Andy Stott Too Many Voices
Semi-intriguing skewed electro that fiddles in both the weird and the genteel, the overblown deformities and the airy twinkles, the disquieting and the quiet -- and as semi-intriguing skewed electro oft-tends to, the bulk of it feels bumbling, cobbled together with its stitches showing, going out of its way to evade the groove. Sections of stimulation seem lost in all this staggering+stagnation and any sense of solid connectivity is out the window, pitch-shifts encumber far more than they enhance, and those huntin' for plenteous melodies should go hunt elsewhere. Just in case you were curious, no there isn't too many voices; an adequate amount actually -- but in concurrence with the "tunes", they don't really accomplish much.
Animal Collective Painting With
Could be conclusive confirmation that these animals have collectively ceased to keep giving a shit following the long-time-coming and merited 2009 breakthrough of Merriweather Post Pavilion -- while lotsa peepz bemoaned the exorbitant clutter of 2012's successor Centipede Hz, at least that felt refulgent, agitated, bustling; hell, kinda filthy. Here we see arrangements similarly thronged but muffled and flattened, an enunciated simpler approach that often comes off as a hasty rush-job, vexatious bouncy-ball harmonies that manage to be both vertiginous and lifeless, and John Cale+Colin Stetson drone+sax guest spots left nearly illegible. Not that its without ear-worms that beckon and standout/bearable moments and a boatload of wonder-sounds, but never before have they come across as clocked in. Eliminating that aura of indifference at least woulda been nice.
Antwood Sponsored Content
Aphex Twin Cheetah EP
Cheetah; as in this serves mostly as a demonstrative dabbling with the seldom-seen synth of the same name, not as in this is a speedy+voracious set of tunes that are gonna hunt you down and sink their teeth in. And per ushe, the Aphexer proves himself a gracious enough guru, establishing the particular characteristics of said synth slow and safe and steady while compiling its miscellaneous morsels into 30-second asides for the sake of consummation. But unlike his similarly satiated showcasing of computer controlled acoustic instruments last year, this sound palette reads too much as routine and the bore fruit is pretty much dispensable. Shoutout to stark-n-crawling thick-ass bass thumps, though.
Aquarian The Snake That Eats Itself
ASAP Rocky At.Long.Last.A$AP
Ash Koosha GUUD
At times it'll keep a sensible beat, deformed voice snippets can haphazardly form some semblance of melody. But principally this is an abstract blob of bizarro-space-synth wonder, satisfying squishes, disturbingly deep bass, and course sounds for sounds-sake: dog barks, reverse chatter, car-starts, and lotsa etceteras join hands with high-pitched blips and bloops and bubblies. Sure, its otherworldly chopped-up charisma is enchanting enough -- but so disorienting, too -- yeah, did I mention the entirety of this sounds sped up somehow? Or how the tracks all seamlessly-yet-confusedly mush into each other? It's either disheveled or elaborate or genius or arduous or all of the above.
Bad Brains I Against I
Bad Bunny YHLQMDLG
Bad Religion 80-85
Bane The Note
Bane Don't Wait Up
Definitely improves on the meh production of 'The Note', as far as songwriting goes though, I'm not so sure - many of these tracks are forgettable, much of the focus/sentiment seems to be on the breakup/life after "the scene" (though I have a sneaking suspicion I will be seeing these guys tour again by 2020). Most inspired moment by far is also the least Bane-esque - the guest-charged "Calling Hours"; I particularly enjoy the laughing lizard vocal leading into plaintive and pleasant female vocal.
Baroness Gold and Grey
Bay City Rollers Rollin'
Benji Hughes Songs in the Key of Animals
Complaints concerning the overt corniness, justifiable as they may be, seem like targets too easy -- though he certainly has it comin' what with the ah-fuck-it zoological thematics and boom-shocka-locks and unrestrained use of exclamation points and cupcake-citing and his entire selfhood in general, it's egregious enough to assume there's at least a mondo quantity of self-awareness at hand to back it up. You don't just pen a tune like "Girls Love Shoes" in 2016 or rhyme 'monkey' with 'donkey' in the first stanza without claspin' some serious tongue-in-cheek tendencies, right? Besides, the contrast of panicked screams-n-chatter with a mild-mannered sugar-hook is a-ok in my book, faceless studio-female voice-appendages provide a generic-yet-essential foil, and once the perpetual gag that is this album's first half has passed, far-more-endurable legitimacies are the norm: "Magic Summertime" is actually a bit magical, "Picnic" a mild lovey-dovey pleasure, "Song For Nancy" on auto-pilot ride-out from the get-go but a rather rational and touching instrumental. Then again, anything can seem sensible after good-time peacockery and zebra-saddle yearning I s'pose.
Best Coast Crazy For You
Comes off as too simplistic, ditzy, and at its worst, downright dumb at times ("Happy"). It pulls off that lonely-laziness-bathed-in-California-sun feel, which gives it some pleasant moments, but other than reminding me of warm summer days this album doesn't do much for me.
Between the Buried and Me Coma Ecliptic
Bibio Phantom Brickworks
Bicep Bicep
Billy Joel Turnstiles
Billy Joel Glass Houses
Black Flag Family Man
We learn that Rollins' rage is probably more effective with a backing band and that Ginn without constraint is equal parts sketchy and exhilarating. Maniacally odd enough for the occasional listen.
Blood Orange Negro Swan
Blur The Great Escape
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Lie Down in the Light
Bookworms Xenophobe
For those who like their techno deep, rigid, and unnecessarily time-consuming; stiffen up, grab a book, and hop on in. It's stellar, sure, modestly motley, highly hypnotic, some of the grooves convey emotion here and there, it references partly-privy skate slang -- but the passages of extra-monotony paired with kinda-all of these track lengths push entrancing to encroaching, intriguing to 'so what else is going on?'. Standout "You Say So" is a cute+pestersome peculiarity, which at just under 6 minutes is nearly the shortest of 'em all and feels like a flittin' ditty squished between 10-and-18-minute monsters. The shortest being the title-track finale, which just resigns to a blah-blah ambient blob. Makes sense for a Xenophobe I s'pose. Kinda.
Boris Dear
Upped .5 after seeing em perform it live. Plus they're Boris
Boss Hog Brood X
They've got a hard bluesy swagger that would be a hit at any worthy down-n-dirty dive bar and the sort-a electrified garage scum that ain't apologetic. Led by gal-guy but-mostly-gal power couple who are into black eyes, Sunday routines, etc. Guy, adequate axe-shredder he may be, kinda just shouldn't sing. Tunes, though oft-fun, tend to lean towards generic, shrill, campy. "Rodeo Chica", just a big ol roundup of corny.
Brandy Clark Your Life Is A Record
Bright Eyes There Is No Beginning To The Story EP
BTS Map Of The Soul: Persona
Buried Alive The Death Of Your Perfect World
Bush Razorblade Suitcase
Carla dal Forno You Know What It's Like
Ceephax Camelot Arcade
Central Om Dans
Chevel Always Yours
Cobra Verde Easy Listening
Code Orange Forever
I applaud its labored-over low-end crushing heaviness and appreciate their apparent ambition for a band whose sound mostly just conveys moshing and/or breaking jaws. And guitar-n-vocal fx that sound like a cat attack or shots of static or malfunctioning electrical equipment, sure, I'm in. So given the number of awkward+unnecessary transitions and dubious dives into industrial electro/singular almost-indie-pop moment/plainspoken vox that make this quite the jumble, I suppose I'll consider ambition chief culprit. But the taxing tough-guy throat shredding, those same ol 'chug chug really high note' chestnuts, the trudges through foreseen breakdowns while gettin' called a motherfucker before 'em -- eventually and predominately, just kind of a tedious demeanor either way.
Code Orange Underneath
Corinne Bailey Rae The Heart Speaks in Whispers
The heart speaks in whispers, perhaps; along with many of the tunes presented here -- nothin' wrong with that per se, however too often they simply speak in winces and whimpers. Much of the semi-oomph is stuffed up front and still squats in the sphere of generic, the clubby electro-pop coming off ungainly in the midst of the serenely silky soul and leisurely balladry. The definite highlight/melodically strong+soaring "Stop Where You Are" has the power to make me do just that, the soft stuff can pleasantly befit a mope-n-chill sesh and/or sitting by a window on a rainy Sunday morning -- though by the time the final third's particularly dire drag comes rollin' 'round, it transmits moreso as tepid fodder for mall-store speakers.
Cough Still They Pray
Decent if you're lookin' to satisfy that heavy sludge hankering, especially if you want it dragging and dirty and gradually doleful -- lotsa longanimity necessary to sit through the entirety of this one despite the appreciated occasional migration into softer non-rumbly sectors. Obviously cuz it's leaden as hell, but also there's just not a whole lotta noteworthy justifying the enormity of it; all too handily it begins to blur and/or tilts toward excruciation. The wailing-surfer-dude vox don't particularly help either. Wait a sec, wasn't that the riff from "Sunshine of Your Love"?
Courtney Barnett sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit
I can enjoy me some logorrhea, and while her brand is impressive in a technical way, often the rambling within rests in the realm of wince-worthy rather than whimsical - any charisma is relinquished by it being constantly delivered oh-so-unflatteringly-flat. I can enjoy me some typical sorta-catchy garage-alt too - but the transparence and 6+minute dragger-efforts here can make it difficult.
Damien Dubrovnik Vegas Fountain
Industri-drone-noise duo, ah you know how this goes: an array of clarion electric frequencies, the buzzes, the squeals, the incessantly synthesized ooos n ahhs, the esoteric rumblings; entrenched in trepidation all the while. Although this one does bear a disturbingly captivating demeanor, and I enjoy its personal flourishes: the door knocks, the well-timed sinister bass-thuds, flashes of static-attacks and crowd-racket. Highlight-opener "On Its Double" features desperate voices coming from every direction spouting unidentifiables and everyday-mundanities-turned-cryptic-slogans ("timing/presentation is everything", "cigarette case placed next to water glass", various actions involving the mouth/upper AND lower lip, etc.), and I wish what comes after was more into the idea of orally following suit. Stolidity gradually grows, momentum is ultimately lost, some sort of unsettling awe remains steadfast.
Daniel Avery Song for Alpha
Sufficient if you're seekin' some ol brain submergence with a beat, this is hushed house that's deep+dubby first and harping on playful-yet-prosaic melodies second. Spacey ambi-drone is a periodic hit-or-miss; his assets largely lie in bass and groove and echoes and the ensuing entrancement. Or is that lethargy? Frustration, maybe. So many duplicate tempos and static soundscapes.
DAWN (US) Redemption
Dead To A Dying World Litany
They're good for a crusty-n-leaden soul-swallow ravaging and extended passages of violin-laced snaillike solemnity, the latter of which they may be TOO good for. Forgive me for stating the obvious, considering our band-at-hand is 'Dead to a Dying World', after all -- but lord, how quickly this devolves into an almost-laughably draggy dirge. Vox-variety is nice when present (deep-n-weathered rasper guy, go-to fierce screecher, female..singing!, chanting choir, etc.?) and the intense magnitude of it can't be denied -- but amid a 6-track 70+minute total GlumFest, neither can the uber-rueful meandering. Sepulchral mottos: "Each day more gray than the one before", "The blade is sharp against my throat".
Debit Animus
Delroy Edwards Rio Grande
It's all in the aesthetic on this one: consistent room hiss, homespun VHS/video game vibe, blocky bass and whiny funk-synth that would fit fittingly with a night-cruise circa early 1980s. Vaporwavish one could say, tho it's headmost a thudder. Its house is playful and not quite boring -- ay it even works backwards -- but none of it really goes anywhere either. Nearly every track is like a compressed draft that's all too similar to the one before it. Perhaps great in small doses, a small dose being any 5-or-so selections at random. Much more than that and watch playful turn plain+painfully stiff. 22 of em, and well, oof.
Destroyer Have We Met
DIIV Is the Is Are
Despite their dishy-dream guitar tones/feedbacker squeal-skills/generous bass-lines, the full-time glum-bounce apathy leaves 'em feeling vacuous from the get-go, and they fall so rapidly into reiterations that I wouldn't hesitate to call it impressive. But hey, dishy's dishy; they bore agreeably, keep a fine beat, nurture a stylistic formula enough to churn out a true ear-perker now and then, pay tribute to godfathers Can+Primal Scream with mantric amp-yowl jam-out, etc.
DJ Healer Nothing 2 Loose
Commitment to the hush may be healing for him or y'all, to me however he's DJ Dozer. This is where aspirations of unadorned purity end up just plain plain -- even though there's something to be said of its simplicity and subtleties and all-textures-matter mien, too much of the material here either starts sterile or gets there eventually. The house is good, for a few minutes anyway; some poignant patches of funereal ambient; bit of an eye-roll when it goes robot or tries hard to be heaven. Most vocal spots repeat-n-repeat til they match the plain; worst offender being whispering "everything is everything" in your ear 500 or so times for the finale. It suuuure is.
DragonForce Extreme Power Metal
Drake Scorpion
Drumloop Revenge Body
Earthen Sea Ink
Ecstatic Vision Raw Rock Fury
Psych-obsessed momentum masters resting on their laurels -- 2015's 'Sonic Praise' had me indeed praising them sonically with its rigorous ruff-rocker repetition, the locked-yet-jammy jams prolonged and chock full-a swirl noise and sometimes approaching the stratosphere. Same applies here, and the smatterings of harmonica+horn are still a plus. But while these grooves are fun and rockin' and painless enough, there's just not a whole lotta evolvin' going on here. I'm willing to bet it's more effective live, but riffs and patterns get predictable, they tend toward static despite all that swirl, and it sounds like it was recorded in the back of a van that's flying down the highway; for better or worse. Decipherable words involve "babe-eh"s, the desire to boogie and trip, and something that initially sounds like a T. Swift sendup.
Elliot Moss A Change In Diet
Elysia Crampton Spots y Escupitajo
Spots=8-piece Crampton-style DJ tag sampler pack. Escupitajo=muffled muck and Crampton-style collage and verbose doomsday spoken word and a meandering lone-piano dragger; most of which are aight but clearly casual and nothin' worth droolin' over. Would've liked to see Spots breaking up that Escupitajo instead of stuffing em in at the start. Spots y Escupitajo=a decent enough offering but the epitome of gallimaufry.
Eminem Music to Be Murdered By
Empath Active Listening: Night on Earth
Empty Country Empty Country
Enemy Soil The Ruins Of Eden
Eric Church Desperate Man
Ex Hex It's Real
Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting Undone Harmony Following
Chopped & screwed, I think they call it -- to further summarize, distant hip-hop that's scrambled, fried, melted down, sold for parts, slowed, stretched and smothered as it degrades into echoey static-slop mush. Not without its entrancing or texture-iffic factors, however.
Eyehategod Dopesick
Official titleholders for The Longest 5-Minute Song Ever, as well as The Longest 37-Minute Album Ever. Although I do appreciate its 'sick'ness, the dirty sludge, the pure guttural screams, the hardcore spurts, the glass breaking; I just get bored.
Ezra Furman Twelve Nudes
Facs Lifelike
Factory Floor 25 25
2.5 2.5
Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear
For someone who "hates that soulful affectation white girls put on", this white guy sure seems to enjoy filtering his thick-headed sexual transgressions through lush old-timey arrangements and pompous balladry. Starts tellingly sardonic enough; sounding something like a 1950's country ballroom while FJM coos to his honeybear amidst pointing out blood & cum on the sheets and bending her over the altar. Similar eye-roll-cringe aside, there are some shining moments: the dense and bouncy "Chateau Lobby 4", the neutral and electronic "True Affection"; and could-be staple modern satire "Bored in the USA" - the only track where his candor actually comes off as graceful; until it caves in to a laugh-track-gimmick.
Father John Misty God's Favorite Customer
I cringed at Honeybear's contrast of lush and lewd tude but appreciated the aptitude; thought Pure Comedy was a pretty bold-n-grand beast bursting with smart-if-slightly-ridiculous satire and ambition. And this is, well, just alright. He's got the chops to lean on and a persona that'll prohibit true generica for the time being, but this just kinda seems safe and sappy; few keen lines here few duds there. Carries a certain egotistical quality like the rest of em, only last time out he really earned it.
Fazerdaze Morningside
Pulls off pleasant summery pop in a simplistic yet finespun fashion, delicate dream-states and and bedroom grunge and the dance-worthy fulfilled, conspicuously single-ready "Lucky Girl" early on but assuredly advances from there. But as a one-gal full band it's just so comprehensively cautious; elementary and calculable constructions lazing into the lackluster. Think bleached Bleached.
Flying Lotus Flamagra
Frank Turner Positive Songs for Negative People
Not sure 'bout all the other crapehangers out there, but I find this type of overeager jubilation fulsome enough to stay put in my pit of despair. Gotta give Frankie T. some cred for trying though, because try-try-try he does: emotional flowery rhapsodizing, triumphant punk-plus-piano vitality with plenty of big-singalong-solace, some unquestionably great melodies, poignant live-acoustic eulogy-ender. His staunch dedication to keeping your (and his own) head up and stickin' through this shit we call Life is inspiring, really -- penning fully-sincere choruses like "rejoice, rebuild" and "goddamn it's great to be alive"? Quite gallant. Oppressively zealous and wince-worthy, too, but hey.
Freezepop Future Future Future Perfect
Fun Lovin' Criminals Come Find Yourself
No need to be scared around these guys, one can rest assured that in actuality these "fun lovin' criminals" prefer romanticizing a good mob movie alongside some competent grooves over participating in any real-life malice. Not that there's anything wrong with pseudo-Mafioso tales - but what about bank-rob-fantasy indulgence wherein the female teller you're sticking up "gives you the loot with puckered up lips and a wink"? Nothin' wrong with competent grooves either - in fact, the musicianship trumps the singer - it's just very safe and a bit bland. I bet if their wish to free John Gotti was granted, they'd retreat back to the jam space posthaste.
Future Purple Reign
I MIGHT SMASH HER ON THE COUCH AND TELL HER BYEBYE
Future FUTURE
This protracted platter of familiar Future fodder drops the inevitable handful of bangers and a few distinct beats-n-flows -- after all, studied grimness and catchy hooks can possess the ability to possess without much effort elsewhere. But like 2014's 'Monster', this coulda shoulda been half as long; and unlike Monster, shifts are seldom and persona is dwindling and there's a pair of insufferable radio-call-in skits. Longer than Monster, too. Feelings are saved for last per ushe and provide highlights per ushe too, unless you count the flute-sublimity unmasking around the midway mark feelings: "Percocets, molly, percocets / Chase a check, never chase a bitch" goes the chorus. A suitable summary at this point sure, but can ya at least talk about pissing em out+off again?
Future Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD
Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD Sour Soul
Girl Band Holding Hands With Jamie
While I appreciate this non-girl-band's insistent primodial-minimal take on dirt-punk noise-rock, and of course their feedback gusts that could remove wallpaper, can't say I'm as fond of the try-hard puerile-foodie vocalist. Try-hard as in Taz-in-a-blender conniptions when it comes to obnox-level, try-hard as in embellished snotty indifference. Puerile-foodie as in what that yellin' is all about ("Spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down / Covered in Sudocream and talking to myself / Garlic curry cheese chips").
Girl Harbor Shine On
Grimes Visions
Grimes Miss Anthropocene
Guided by Voices Please Be Honest
K.
Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion II
Guns N' Roses G N' R Lies
Note: I'm not racist/homophobic/misogynistic, but I do enjoy a Lies listen now and then - unfortunately those very same qualities are most prevalent on the acoustic side, which is otherwise much more preferable than the contrived-live-side.
HAIM Something To Tell You
Haken Vector
Hand Habits Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void)
Well it's not WILDLY idle per se. But once comfy inside that sunkissed sphere of slow goin' dream-folk they sure ain't hustling neither. Which is fine; hustle isn't decisive, they're comfy from the get-go and dat sphere is seemly. But ooo, quite dull-n-dozy too: maybe not from the get-go but soon enough.
Helmet Aftertaste
Aftertaste has its moments ("Like I Care"!!) but overall seems generic when compared to Meantime and Betty. However, still leagues ahead of most of what their 'peers' were putting out at the time.
Hiatus Kaiyote Choose Your Weapon
Holly Miranda Holly Miranda
Home Blitz Foremost & Fair
DiMaggio's permanently choked-up flamboyance-vox are something to behold and, yes, perhaps appreciate too -- a voice that loquaciously exudes personality right on through and, yes again, perhaps overbearingly so. Out of the fluctuating-degrees-of-legitimate arrangements, it's the domesticated state conveyed during a handful of great full-band-ish songs where he (and they) come across best, and most self-evidently. Ah, but then there's the flatulent goofy-keyb gasper-sonnets and stagnant chanteys, and a particularly flummoxing crypt-dive into rusty-chain-rustles/spotty yelps/miscellaneous knockings/empty space.
Honne Over Lover
Dreamily windswept coo-hook or not, there's gotta be something more woeful in life than homesickness whilst 42 floors up in Tokyo; and despite the usage of 'fuck' as rouse-stabs, this is still generi-bloke electro-soul -- sleek, mild, funk-lite bass, slightly infectious rhythms that wouldn't hurt a fly. If only they were as suave lyrically: "Do you always look so goddamn fine? / You must be tired from all of the time that you spent running through my mind / 'Cause I could really be your guy". Oh and the things this guy is willing to give: "the once in a lifetime chance, girrrrl", "heaven if you want it", "shelter, food, and wine, no-no-nooo", etc.
Hop Along Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Hudson Mohawke Lantern
A vaguely-hip-hop cute-glitch-conglomeration, the dizzying boom-boom-bap shrillness of which aspires to be inspirative and/or featured in a high-school pep rally/rated-PG-movie score. The lofty vocalized-and-non weaving of buzzy noise-pop and playtime-artillery percussion no doubt brings vigor and lure, but obnoxious production and predictable patterns drag it right back down -- on the sing-side of things, it's particularly disheartening to hear Antony Hegarty misapplied beneath what sounds like firecrackers exploding inside of a garbage can, and while Miguel manages to save himself by intuitively ascending to the heavens, it just feels like overcompensation. Initially, the instrumentals are often irresistible in some sick candy-hype way -- that is, 'til the inevitable big-dumb-beat kicks in, and they promptly morph into detestable-as-hell.
Igorrr Spirituality and Distortion
ILOVEMAKONNEN Drink More Water 5
"Me and my friends don't go to jail": a pretty callous chorus-boast from a guy whose music career took off shortly after escaping a manslaughter charge for accidentally killing, erm, his friend. It's pretty detestable compared to sellin' at the club while under house arrest, which can be said for nearly any time he attempts the drug-money tough-guy thing - the atrocious opening freestyle and amazingly stiff "Cash Cash" verse are exemplary hints that he should stick to singing, and when he does, it's consolation - unique voice with a knack for hooks, and instead of rigid mumbling, he actually sounds sad/happy/impassioned about girls/girls/cocaine.
ILOVEMAKONNEN ILOVEMAKONNEN2
No doubt more tolerable than earlier-this-year's mixed-bag mix-tape Drink More Water 5: not just from the comparative brevity of this endeavor, but ya know, the kid's got his singing voice and ear-worm hooks -- even the doltishly simplistic one from "Flippin' All Night" (title says it all) is semi-irresistible. Too bad his stuffy-stiff flow doesn't come close to complementary and verses often still sink into bumbling drug-runner/hoe-hater banality -- particularly glaring when the otherwise splendid dream-ache balladry of "Being Alone With U" and "I Loved You" is marred not just by the eye-roller vaunter gross-out that's in between 'em, but the former's truly rickety-ass rhymes as well. Hard to take his mope-yearn too sincerely when he's planning to steal my bitch and turn out all up in her mouth, ya know?
Incubus S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
Insane Clown Posse Riddle Box
Just when I thought this was a laudably thorough improvement from the first two albums -- better beats and skits through-n-through, barely any overt murderous misogyny, successful foray into rock-rap-remixing, some genuinely funny moments ("fook off!") and genuinely creepy ones too ("12", "Cemetery Girl") -- in comes this rewind-required lil' somethin' somethin': "There she go, she workin' at Dairy Queen / Bitch couldn't be a day over fifteen / So I threw her in the buck like that / I hit it so quick I made her buttcheeks clap / Why wait around till she gets married / Cuz I'm ready as long as her neden's hairy." Shame, the beat is kinda great.
Insane Clown Posse The Great Milenko
Integrity Humanity is the Devil
Decent metalcore EP conclusively sabotaged by 12 minutes of preachy poppycock narrated by a barely audible cartoon wizard over plodding spacy electro blah.
James Ferraro Human Story 3
For the most part I get a kick out of the classical-style midi-piano hypermania -- these laborious and noodling symphonies are sprightly and silly enough to charm if not outright oppress, and as a whole it manages to achieve a sense of grandeur while in the format of resolute goofball abstraction. Grows toilsome all too promptly as well tho, especially with the detached CPU-voices offering up social commentary via overt catchword. Lattes, smart-cars, Starbucks, Ikea, fay-tay-lities, yes yes this is like the consumerist world we live in, man. But cred for holding down the whole bold-n-visionary classical-madman thing.
Jane's Addiction Nothing's Shocking
Wedged between boisterous 80's metal and the early roots of grunge and alternative rock, with doses of heavy funk, psychedelia and guitar pyrotechnics. It's overbearing and obnoxious at its worst, pleasant and fun at its best.
Japanese Breakfast Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Jay Som Anak Ko
Jeff Rosenstock Worry.
Welcome novel structure, certified current-controversy canvassing and squalid-living confessions, lotsa ambition and substance for a sub-40-minute undertaking -- but between the second half's flurry of fun forgettables and the first's more time-taking tolerables, this can feel like a rush-job jumble where not a whole lot sticks. Topics that make me cringe a bit and miss the straightforward stinky senior-feeling sad-sack from 'We Cool?': making out in vehicles, still somehow not fathoming working/babies/promotions, dejectedly accepting appearances in hashtags+memes as the sole modes of recognition.
Jeff Rosenstock POST-
Rosenstock n crew pullin' the surprise New Years drop, one that with its nine sturdy tunes and meek five-second salutation forgoes the sporadic sprawl that was 'Worry'. A pair of puissant protractions, anthemic anxieties abound, rich and noisy and perpetually proficient at amplifying the 'pop' in pop-punk -- but what the diehards die for just kinda glides on by yours truly. Maybe cuz there's no peak, no lowlight but no real highlight either. Maybe cuz what might stick with me most is "Beating My Head Against a Wall" eliciting "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
Jessica Pratt Quiet Signs
Jessie Jones Jessie Jones
Fittingly-titled opener "Sugar Coated"'s downplayed and slightly-cryptic acoustic plucks intermixing with saccharine tease and an overblown chorus hints at some sardonic form of pop, which is then quickly abandoned altogether for middling mundanities both sluggish and perky, which in turn are preferable to the awkwardly unpersuasive diversions of viola-induced trance ("Lady La De Da") and pseudo-worldly waltz ("La Loba"). Then there's a heteroclite her+Walkman quickie-ender. It's a neophyte singer-songwriter hodgepodge with a few standout styles that would be nice to see eventually strengthened and established. The evocative mourner "Nightingale", for example. And onset-friendly as it may be, that ol' sardonic pop packed a punch, too.
Jim O'Rourke Simple Songs
Ambitious+lush yet cool+collected -- certainly understated, but a distinguished display of proficiency in both the playing and mixing of this array of folk-pop apparatuses. The concision also suits the whole levelheaded-complacency thing. These vocals, though -- so aloof, so hushed, frustratingly inaudible at times -- given his 25-year laundry list of production credentials I presume it's intentional, to accentuate the instrumentation perhaps. But this preference feels more like sorely missed potential: wouldn't boosting 'em a hair-or-two-or-three add some much-needed punch? Put forth that ostensible wit with a bit more plangency? Make these songs, I dunno, worth it?
JK Flesh Rise Above
Does the trick if the itch that needs scratchin' involves thick+reliable 4/4 thumps and a comprehensive industrial pummeling. Static and scrunches are scrupulous, bass earthshaking, blunt as all hell but doesn't skimp on submerged grooves and subtleties; its depth and masterly marriage of doomsday muck and heavy house are appreciated. But oof, that relentless denseness and same-tempo stomp over-n-over tho. Got me feeling like a soulless nothin' working an assembly line in hell -- which I could see getting sucked into, honestly.
Joel Ross Kingmaker
JPEGMAFIA Veteran
Amateur+disheveled Death Grips devotee who's barefaced bout all that -- while I dig some of the bodacious beat choices and altered homemade ambition, much of this is ruffled to the point where it hangs somewhere between frivolous-n-frustrating. Oddball abrasion and ODB's ghastly gurgle as ginormous guest spot and soulful transitions into doubting a car's ability to create happiness, okay awesome; the dull doodling and hollow aggression tho? He says he don't care and frankly hey me neither I spose.
K-Ci and JoJo Love Always
Ohhh baby i love our love girl and i love your love for our love lady he did you wrong you did me wrong sorry baby that i did you wrong i hope you still love our love girl cuz i love our love and pray for that love ~love ballad~ lady.
Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour
Amongst the bewildering abundance of praise for this Beige-ish Hour is GQ somehow calling it 'gutsy' (I hear "High Horse" in Stop&Shop), which makes me assume they considered her previous works outright terrifying. Tame as they may be, there's something to appreciate in the feather-in-a-breeze production and tidy arrangements; but where's the spunk? The country? The wit? At least her trite used to have bite -- now it's "You've set my world on fire", "You look out the window while I look at you", "looking at my phone, putting it back down", "everything that goes up must come down", marveling at how time zones work and that plants are real. And barring a moving moment for Mom, I struggle to see the much-touted 'most personal' artistic statement shine through much. I'll take Dime Store Cowgirl over Dime Store LSD-lite Pop-Rock in this case.
Kanye West Jesus Is King
katie dey flood network
Kaytranada 99.9%
A qualified and versatile enough house-hop-r&b producer undoubtedly -- exceptional kindler and sparer of guest-extent overkill, however, I've got my doubts. Cuz for a beat-master's beat-boaster bevy there's quite the heap of ho-hum, then there's the many-an instance of unnecessary track-protraction and marring by means of bass muddlement. And the visitors ain't much help neither, oft-opting for the sterile or obnoxious ("The young girls wanna love me long time / But then you gotta listen to 'em talk", laments Phonte). Good for moderate funky groovin' and and occasional instrumental notables, but beyond that perhaps the sampled interviewee within is the most accurate descriptor of its remarkable traits: "..the musicality, meaning the beats, um, you know, from the chords and the bass-lines and, um, the rhythms, uh the you know?"
KeiyaA Forever, Ya Girl
Kevin Gates Luca Brasi 3
Kevin Morby City Music
Kid Cudi Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
King Krule The OOZ
Kodak Black Lil B.I.G. Pac
A languorous letdown -- maybe I was just anticipating a moment that lived up to his cake-taking guest-work on French Montana's "Lockjaw", or the fact that it's now realized that yes, he legit sounds barely conscious on the regz, and no, its allure ain't lasting. More of the latter I'd say, as his soporific+sloppy slurring almost always exasperates and the words don't really help much neither, attributes amplified by lotsa double-tracked flows (like, why?). But the beats generally catch the ear, he plays the dazed-n-down-n-out role decisively, second-to-last "Letter" is an innovative perk-up about a penning to a prisoner that's heartwarming, sincere, and far too short. Other worth-its are the guest assists/takeovers: Boosie showing a leanin' youngin how it's done and PNB Rock with a ginormous miracle hook; even if said hook seems suspiciously celebratory for the lamentation of mates stuck in slammers and cemeteries.
Korn Follow the Leader
Jon Davis's disputable lunacy is now restrained and uniformly confined to the starting-to-feel-forced final track, overall it's more melodic and palatable than ever but kinda makes 'em sound overproduced and bored, the hip-hop tracks are particularly questionable.
Kraftwerk Kraftwerk
An interesting debut entry to Kraftwerk's discography - cool to hear the raw/abrasive/ambient at times/funky at times?!?/live instrumentation side to this band, and you can certainly see how Neu! may have started to form their sound. But it's mostly just that - interesting. I dig it for what it is, but it does suffer from being a tad irritating and unremarkable.
Lampgod GOD SHIT
Convokes charm with its unusual beats and disheveled amateurism, gets better as it goes on too -- but the coulda-been-made-in-a-day laxness and ad-lib talks/samples nearly outweighing the rhymes and sub-15-minute runtime leave something to be desired and present a rather ambiguous persona in the end. Until the coming-soon full-length, we know this: he wants to eat and wants everyone else to eat too, he's not out to impress or care about production levels, he bleeps out his own "bitch" and has a sample scold him for saying it.
Lancer Mastery
Perhaps this stuff is just getting harder to stomach for me -- so sillily shrill and triumphant -- but the more palpable problem with this particular pile of power-metal not-quite-mastery is how much it suffers from blandness via aping. Helloween+Iron Maiden bitin' is immediately overt and firmly implanted, and they get stuck in a somewhat soulless by-the-book box where they don't bother to reveal much identity of their own or attempt any exciting new extremes; plus they can go pretty hard on the sillily shrill. But as with most anything speedy and vociferous and riffy and competently catchy, it offers up an enjoyable enough ride with adequate balladry-n-cooldown skillz. Also noted as relevant was the rockin' coinage of a nickname for the leaders of our "21st century corrupted supremacy" ("Freedom Eaters") followed up by the so-cold so-sad droop of us all "going down, down, down to the world unknown". But 4 real, listen up when singer-man says "former gods" on "Iscariot", then go listen to Helloween's "Twilight of the Gods". Another track name on here: "Envy of the Gods".
Laura Gibson Empire Builder
A commendable crew of multifaceted folkies, yes, commendable indeed -- can't say commendable creeps near really-remarkable at any time here, but it does rest rather comfortably in really-quite-pleasant. Starts strong/strongest? with the one-two friendly handshake of "The Cause" and "Damn Sure", but soon after begins to fall into sleep-mode a bit too often. But hey, kudos on the percussive nuances and the percussion in general and the capable lyricism and the striking slow-churn string-swells. The title-track also lives up to its name by building an empire impressive enough to not be eclipsed for the remainder of the album, at song #4 outta 10. But very likable, really.
Lee Gamble In A Paraventral Scale
Leon Vynehall Nothing Is Still
Lil Nas X 7
Lil Yachty Lil Boat 2
Be it the flourishing fame or haters or turning 20, this ain't the same Yachty that sheepishly sang "Minnesota" or penned a 'positivity song'. Thing is tho his tude seems tacked on trying to stand up against this bevy of moody-banger beat-men and superior guest spots. Some silly shouts and softie mope and hooks sure; wealthy toughguy monotonous mumbler who insists he'll get my bitch and emptily shit-talks baby daddies however don't impress-a me much. Notice how finale "66" is such a bright breath of fresh air. Notice how hard Trippie Red outshines him in it.
Liziuz Geschichten des Lebens
Locrian Infinite Dissolution
Short-lived vocal bombardments that occasionally swoop in and swarm like nefarious locusts are like fickle prizes whilst undergoing this passive+dreary world's-end post-metal-slosh -- airy-buzz electronics and feedback-whirrs carry the most clout but fizzle out in the long run, and the lack of percussive gumption treads towards unforgivable. But hey, surely the actual apocalypse will have its ups+downs, too -- I just imagine a bit more urgency. Some sapience, perhaps.
LOFT ell oh eff tea too oh won ate
Lower Dens Nootropics
M.E.S.H. Damaged Merc
A kinda eh-why-not lil' spurt of grimy electro, combining the clubby and the erratic with a disheveled+scurrying mix of repeat-o vocal blurts, rapidly rotating percussive 'what the's, cryptic car-start ambiance, etc. Doesn't have the span or flow that made last year's Piteous Gate LP sufficiently engaging, the crammin' going on here too-oft irritates or leaves me shrugging.
Marc Houle Sinister Mind
Pedestrian protracted techno for the most part, but its grooves are deep and prominent enough to grab ya -- tenacity that doesn't quite torment, mild patterns at least tolerable if not engaging, creepy+spacey yet funky+lively. Do I yearn for spunk and surprises? Indeed. Think it coulda used some track trims? Probably. Wish he kept it up with the colorless vox after the first two? Not really.
Mark Kozelek Down In The Willow Garden
All-outsourced desolate+morbid folkie-quickie: two versions of title-track traditional murder ballad as bookends, one comparably lush Led Zeppelin cover, and one make-or-break by means of plain-as-hell 10-minute John Connolly chapter-read about a family on fire and the kid responsible, in all of its drawly and apathetic anti-glory. For a free-with-purchase EP, it's certainly harmless enough. Very much treads in the realm of completely unessential, though.
Marriages Salome
As far as atmospherics / genre-mushing goes (dark+dreamy / er, post-metal shoegaze?), they do intrigue and show promise - but the slow-tempo opaque murk it's continuously bogged down in sucks the life out, and the Evanescence-reminiscent vocalist who murmurs verses and overdramatizes choruses never seems to quite fit in. Decent grip on a unique sound, but seems muddled and redundant.
Mastery Valis
This one-man black-metal brain-scrambler rides the line between gnarly primal exhilaration and ridiculously strenuous torture - three slabs of heroic abrasion with two brief interludes that serve solely as breathers. Abilities include aural desensitization, thrash-lick swoop-ins, and stitched-together change-ups that help keep anguished ears intrigued.
Me And That Man Songs of Love and Death
Versed death metal yeller takes a stab at straight clean-voxed blues rock that would feel fitting at a dark-n-dingy bar deep in the woods or while drivin' down some dusty graveyard-laden trails. A surprisingly successful stab I'd say, but on the whole kinda too by the numbers; compelling moodiness eventually turning strained+silly. For the singing children see "Cross My Heart and Hope to Die", for standout softie that should've been an opening theme for The Leftovers see "One Day", for Song Of Love And Death see "Shaman Blues": "She got a black pearl in her pussy / and it'll be there til the day she dies / Then I'll stick it in her mouth, honey / and spit on her vacant eyes".
Meat Puppets Meat Puppets
Melt-Banana Cactuses Come in the Flocks
32 tracks in 28 minutes: first half "live recording at an improvisation festival in November 1992 in a small room", second half actually recorded "for this album", hardly a difference between 'em. Good for clearing out the head.
Memory Cassette Rewind While Sleeping
MGUN Axiom
MIEN MIEN
MIKE Black Soap
Mike Cooper Raft
Modest Mouse Strangers to Ourselves
Motley Crue Dr. Feelgood
Mount Eerie Lost Wisdom
MX-80 Sound Hard Attack
Although the band trips and stumbles for nearly the entire duration, they at least come upon some interesting areas of sloppy post-punk/pre-metal hybrid - the grating vocals and lyrics are really the ruiners of potential here.
My Bloody Valentine m b v
Now that it's released and the 20-year hype bomb has mostly dissipated, is it safe to admit that this album is pretty boring?
My Bloody Valentine Ecstasy
Nada Surf High/Low
19 years later and I'm still unsure as to what 'psychic caramel' is exactly, anomalous hit single "Popular" remains amazingly awkward+bizarre and, coming in at track 3, it also prematurely launches the album's decline. Takeoff+followup "Deeper Well"+"The Plan" boast some pretty commendable alt-indie chops, later-ons "Treehouse" and "Icebox" are decent even if a bit by-the-numbers, but the residual bulk is good ol' fashioned tolerable mediocrity marred by some half-baked seriously-obnoxious rhyme schemes.
Nadine (USA) Oh My
Placidly minimal pop arrangements, passing moments of pep, moderately soulful, cautious coffeehouse complementer -- but far too reserved for resonance.
Nao February 15
A pretty prime example of the difficulties involved in trying to make a solid statement via sub-20-minute EP, especially as a new+unfamiliar artist. Really especially when new+unfamiliar artist semi-intrigues with quirky electro-r&b fronted by a skillful helium-sucker, but despite adequate exhibitions of fat-funky-fun and soft-airy-intimacy, don't particularly bring forth anything noteworthy. Here's hoping they give themselves more time to do so for the next one.
Nas Nastradamus
Nas STILLmatic
Natalie Prass The Future and the Past
Nef The Pharaoh Nef The Pharaoh
Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
Nine Inch Nails Broken
Considering what came before and after, this mostly comes across as a transitionary newsflash, and comparatively, it feels like a wayward afterthought - negligible instrumentals, big stale cock-rock riffs, hidden cover songs that aren't worth waiting around for - T-Rez would soon learn to tone down his vocals and refine his heaviness to a less obnoxious state while better incorporating wiry creepy-crawly electronics.
O'Brother Endless Light
Their steadily leaden swirl of partly-proggy post-rock crunchin' is atmospherically appealing, and though overall overcast inching is pretty much intrinsic, they stir up an adequate amount to chaw on -- opaques, acoustics, shimmers+squeals, slo-mo agility, strikingly sharp group-vox harmonizing, a conclusive stretch of ambiance. But whereas the dismal drag is manageable, the melodramatic non-group angst-vox have me rolling my eyes and muttering the band name typically throughout. Indubitable smh moments include when he wants to watch it all burn and that part about the brain-dead infant.
OJ Law Let's Be Adult
These polite-indie-poppers might have something good going if they weren't eye-roller clean-cuts steeped in sentimentality and unnecessary-line-repetition. The piano-laden lushly-light-electro lacks persona but is easy enough to like/certainly could be worse and their harmonization-charm is not unlike the Beach Boys', but "If you'd like to be my muse / I will be your rockstar, yes I will" - just by example, is painful even once, and then there's the overselling - particularly uber-drippy "Waves Gently" (no pun intended) with scene-setters as gag-worthy as its tender buildup ("Sweet perfume smells of exotic fruit" "Sipping wine as we dine"). If you're somehow offended by my chosen numerical rating, allow me to also quote the opening track: "I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry...."
Olga Bell Tempo
Bell's playful sass and pushing of the electro-pop envelope intrigue, but the beats often seem far too eager to eschew cohesion for abstraction+eccentricity, and usually the result comes off labored and lumbering more than it does engaging or felicitous. Potential abounds but it seldom gels here -- not looking for total uniformity or nothin', but some more solidity would go a long way. Doing away with the pesty pitch-shifts and hackneyed house hi-hats would too, methinks.
Oneida Romance
Fractured and firm and down with minimalistic hammering+dissonance, all admirable attributes. But really too stationary and longwinded for their own good most of the time -- its kraut will catch you in its hypno-trap of staticky buzzwork and fluttering psychedelia and insistent jams, but when going the distance (as they near always do) their repetition reveals its limitations. Don't help that vox when there are pretty vacant whether dreamily moaning or stony-faced sing-talking or punkin' it up or buried. Consider the 18-minute ender both a climax and the choriest.
Pacific Yew (​(​(​( Maidenhair )​)​)​)
Palberta Bye Bye Berta
Even the most permissive post-punk pundits may find these 20 half-songs too sour and slipshod -- not that the discordant clatter and youthful yelps and hectic harmonizing aren't fun or the "Stayin' Alive" sendup ain't a hoot. As a whole however this is just frivolous gone kinda fruitless, more goof-off than gung-ho. "It's a free space", an anomalous man muses at one point. Agh, it's a bummer when those backfire.
Pan Daijing Lack 惊蛰
Panda Bear Tomboy
Partner In Search of Lost Time
Pearl Jam Ten
Perc Bitter Music
Caustic techno sprawl that drains+disorients more than it rivets. Lotsa meandering and sporadism for better or worse -- sections full-a tough well-toned thumpage to those that just hauntingly hover and sit there, the draggy derangement of sputtering subtleties and grim glitchy grindin', the loopy go-around of a bored painter who's realized the futility of appeasing an audience's suggestions as possible empathetic ethos. Physical vocal performances include Gazelle Twin's stony monosyllabicity and Aja Ireland's sulphurous "Spit". Pharmakon should take note re the latter.
Pete Townshend Empty Glass
Piebald If It Weren't For Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curt
Pissgrave Posthumous Humiliation
A handle like Pissgrave grouped with a megalomutilated mug for album art ensures a disgusting ordeal methinks. And ceaseless scum it does deliver. The disorienting+deafening mix'll pump dat blood and immerse your brain in spew and admittedly nears spellbinding in its own sick dinny-metal way, above all else though this just excruciates and exhausts. Not without their riffs or exceptionally vicious vigor but leaves you craving some variety. Endurability past a short while would be nice. Pissgrave, they just try so hard.
Poe Hello
Literal-greeting opener promptly conjures up visions of the 1990's with its prefiguring of the Daria theme and metaphorical use of a disconnected modem, and stylistically throughout, they attempt to run the decade's radio-friendly gamut: resentful heavy-alt-fuzz choruses, painless-n-jazzy trip-hop, wahka-wahka guitar, sappy softs. None of which are bad, really -- except the wahka, where that's usually inherent -- but it's fo-sho the r&b trip-hop that takes the cake, or perhaps has just aged kindlier, with now-vintage-dream single "Angry Johnny" and smoky old-school cut-up "Another World" particularly standing out. And though they certainly don't convince in the balladry and spoken word departments, Poe's no doubt got the voc-cords -- shame so many of her deliveries are banal or awkward or both. How many sex-as-violence violence-as-sex double entendres can ya really handle?
Pond (AUS) Man, It Feels like Space Again
Poppy I Disagree
Porches. The House
Followup to the precious 'Pool' is a bit bigger and blander -- moments that are more akin to club-house (not necessarily a bad thing) and too oft-lacking the soul and horsepower to contend either way (usually a bad thing). On one hand I admire his commitment to wounded warbling but it's oh so much whiny tedium; and be it the many middling shorties within or shortage of solid hooks this just becomes a big achy blur that I can't quite recall afterwards. Not much I'd call unpleasant on the whole however. Few standouts. Auto-tune heightened. Touch of sax in tact.
Post Malone Hollywood's Bleeding
Prime Minister of Doom Mudshadow Propaganda
An additional alias of DJ Healer, whose companion album to this prevailed in pretty much putting me to sleep. And tho this comparably bears many-a persistent house groove, it is similarly a snooze. Same attributes apply: his devotion to poise and texture and simplicity is palpable-n-palmary. But compositionally this is so uniform and immaculate it's tough to imagine who really gets their kicks sittin' through this stuff. Mesuspects it may be the same folk who are preoccupied with the bait of multiple monikers united in a mysterious web of artistic anonymity and limited vinyl-only releases -- that and/or patient house purists who don't need none of that there, ahh whatchamacallit, oh right, innovation.
Public Service Broadcasting The Race For Space
A decently-executed educational yawner novelty item: an abundance of newscast samples tell the ol' space story with conservative-but-mostly-inoffensive electronic/rock backings (exception goes to "Gagarin", which could be used as an alarm clock substitute in a practical joke), while cinematic extravagance glazes over all with tension and despair and humor and drama and joy. But I prefer these disembodied voices of the past when they're simply utilized for cheap thrills, like the standalone track-greatness of "Go!", or the line "He's walking in space" punctually followed by groove-increase.
PWR BTTM Ugly Cherries
Raime Tooth
Now hey, I dig straightforward sinisterness and detached scream snippets as much as the next guy, but the unceasing scant creepin' here gets monotonous fast and doesn't offer much beyond its modest evolutions and through-n-through cogent chill. But the cogent chill is chill, and it does excel as an eerie+easy exercise for beat-construction dissection: stern and simple booming bass pulse here, picayune percussion/scratches for contrast there, maybe throw in some clarion drones, in comes the repetitive two-note guitar part. I dig a repetitive two-note guitar part too, and they've got 'em in spades -- if only they varied from song to song.
RAP (UK) Export
Red Axes The Beach Goths
Redbait Cages
Rich Homie Quan Rich As In Spirit
He has me steadily double-checking that I haven't accidentally put on Young Thug, but Quan does impart a persona of his own -- instead of elastic wacky antics he tends toward croony forlorn flows; grieving over Grandma and waxing nostalgic and the conflicts+gratitude of coming up. But ooo does this get redundant and droopy quick. Many an instance of deja vu, all the more noticeable over a near-hour that's solely him save for a sufficient Rick Ross spot. Makes me yearn for cavalier yelpin' and low-minded one-liners.
Ritual Chamber Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)
Opens with a bestirred beast and ominous drum-march+bell-tolls, ends with ambiguous chanting and an approximation of being swallowed by Satan complete with a slimy slide through his gullet-n-guts -- and though what's in between is fittingly chock full of substantial low-end grime-riffs and exclusively-low-growl vox to match, this is quite the protracted and dispiriting trudge on the whole. Which may be par for the course perhaps, but when coupled with a lack of memorability and range, it makes for a rather tolling and eventually exhaustive listen. Further fusion of the freakishness found in the bookends throughout woulda been just dandy.
Rival Schools United By Fate
Road Hog Spares
Roc Marciano Rosebudd's Revenge
A steadily dusted deliverer with low-key beats to match, Marciano's raspy murmurs give ya lots to dig into -- full-a gifted grit and wordplay, periodically fun to follow, 'aha' lines more recurrent than the 'blech' ones. But lack of variety via maintaining this motif takes its toll. A near hour of this same ol particular flow and feel, scarce and interchangeable-anyway guest spots; his therapeutic art it may be but this just gets tiresome. As do the growls.
ScHoolboy Q CrasH Talk
Screaming Females All At Once
I mean not to say there ain't a notable tune or four, but stylistically there is just something so pedestrian about em. A notion that's particularly prominent over the course of a near 50-minute runtime -- there hasn't been a full listen in which upon thinking it was almost over I wasn't astounded to find there were still 5 or 6 tracks to go. And when it comes to a cogent quaverer, I'll take Corin Tucker any day.
Sebadoh Bakesale
Sia This Is Acting
Salient voc-cords that'll rope in rooters for radio-friendly skyrocket showboating with toss-in tinges of weird in the form of bellower-vibratos and willingness to crack-n-strain -- the inevitable handful of alluring hooks ("Cheap Thrills", "Reaper", and "House on Fire" make for a notable triadic chunk) being no match for the brashly generic club-cliches and exorbitant vociferous schmaltz. Then there's all the nondescript against-the-odds triumph and self-assuring redundancies, oh and the self-sacrificial metaphors: she'd take one million bullets for you babe, she's a house on fire that wants to keep burning baby, etc. On one hand I admire her audacious pluck, but the other has me craving a less-hackneyed tone-down.
Silver Jews American Water
Skee Mask Compro
Sleater-Kinney The Center Won’t Hold
Sleep The Sciences
I may wind up murdered via bong-clutching metalheads by disclosing this, but I find their seminal Dopesmoker to be a bit of a slog. An obvious objection given its hour-plus "song" undertaking sure, but span ain't really the issue -- for me it's more a dearth of direction+deviation considering its duration. 15 years later: riffs, production, symmetry; enhanced unquestionably. Graciously sectioned off into song-songs even. Vox on the other hand kinda contribute a layer of xtra corn. Speaking of which, is it just me or does this sorta feel like Plainville compared to their raw+roary precedent-setting predecessor? Am I just over Sabbath riffs played loud and slow and steady? Is it sad that the intro intrigues me more than the majority of it?
Slow Club One Day All Of This Won't Matter Anymore
Some Girls All My Friends Are Going Death
Sorority Noise You're Not As ____ As You Think
"Cuz I've lost too many friends / So I'll say it again and again and again.." -- and that he does indeed do and do and do. Props on the upped production successfully sprinklin' in some more pretty+polish, but combined with Boucher's frank-as-fuck mope it gets to the point where it all feels so strained. Friend-of-suicider sympathizer I am, lyrically however this is nearly insufferable -- mourning tragedies and yourself is one thing, but using a chum's self-induced overdose to challenge the existence/intentions of god? Chronic oral obits for pals who've passed yet calling your animate ones mouth-breathers and threatening to disappear? Telling a concerned party to meet him in hell and then adding "It gets pretty hot where I live"? "This is the part where I'm a marathon runner and both my ankles are sprained"? And don't get me started on what's happening in heaven.
Soulfly Soulfly
NO BULLSHIT, NO SLAVE SHIP, NO MOTHERFUCKIN HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH
Spencer Radcliffe Looking In
Steve Earle Train A Comin'
Steve Lehman The People I Love
Stevie Nicks Bella Donna
Suda Hives
There comes a time in every consumer's life where these EPs of enigmatic electro experimentation begin to blur. That or this just ain't very diacritical.
Suicide Suicide
Though I like the sound of distorted+pulsating organs as much as the next guy, just about the entirety of this album is downright prosaic. I regard it respectfully as the Smutty Horror Film of post-punk.
Suicide Silence Suicide Silence
It's not their Korn+Deftones assimilation that's total crap, it's the synthetically heavy yet flat as a board production. Personally I got a kick out of the extreme-nu blend; at least until overstated screams and miserable mosh angst wear ya down -- from the opening wank solo and grunting "fuck yeah" to the impish walk-n-whistle exit they at least bring some character and chug-chug chutzpah, crude and cringy and muddled it may be. Gotta give it up for those varietal vox too. Singing funny if not sustainable, screeches deathly and close to the mic, shouts very very tough, raw being-dragged-into-hell chorus and far from the mic incoherent hardcore guy impression authentically unhinged and a hoot.
Sun Kil Moon Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
Between the sternly scant+oft sterile arrangements and ludicrous leviathan length, it's officially pretty hard to give a hoot about Kozelek's meandering minutia-mumbles -- we're talking a cat versus chameleon scene; losing boxing bets and starting to burp alot; finding a shoe store; the any-thoughts of any-day events -- idly delivered. Coulda been manageable maybe if he hadn't kept a journal or read other people's letters or gone hokey artificial-vague when he ran out of ideas, but at 2+hours this feels not so much like an adventurous accomplishment and more of an intentional annoyance. Though his rifling through worldwide newsreel negativity is altogether noble, harebrained, grumbly, defiant; certainly providing some of the more notable moments, it comes off passive in the midst of mundanities and painfully period-specific. Still, he's something to behold: old DGAF dude who beautifully serenades peeps and places, paints a distinct picture, uses cute harmonies to call Trump a "huge fucking asshole" and emphasize his bowl of gazpacho back-to-back, investigates the mysterious Elisa Lam murder case and makes up his own featuring a Clapton impersonator, etc.
Sunn O))) Kannon
Surfer Blood Astro Coast
Swans Young God
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio D'Agala
Now I'm certainly no jazz guru, but methinks this deft piano-bass-drums trinity may be too aberrational for their own good -- I'll be damned if lotsa these detours don't seem dubious. Rapid+random key traipsing and being free-n-ugly while sustaining traditionalism, terrific; but so contented in creepin' and guesswork. Background or in passing okay, close+complete listens at times enthralling often frustrating and sometimes funny. Touches of abrupt commotion and meager creaking there to keep you on your toes; I prefer that out-the-gate lowly piano march and The Sierra Grille gone awry.
Talaboman The Night Land
Tall Friend Safely Nobody's
Taylor Swift Reputation
Thank You Scientist Stranger Heads Prevail
Between the clarion vox and histrionics and burnish and questionable collision of horns+strings+prog, the mighty forces of obnox are strong with this one -- it'd be super-superfluous to cite the skill and silly to say it's free of stirring moments, but also damn difficult to declare this ain't an overrefined+overstuffed corn-fest whose fusion is usually unwieldy. Speaking of corn, an excerpt from the (blech) epilogue: "We have so many songs still left to sing / Too many notes for normal folks to understand". From a normal folk to y'all, nah I think I'm good, thanx tho.
The Amazing Ambulance
Grudgingly gave in to their leisurely haze-folk last year ('Picture You') as the dolefully dreamy atmosphere was kinda hard to combat. Plenty-o-pretty to go around on this one too, but oof what a snoozer. Downy+demure as they may be, there's definitely a decent amount of instrumental aptitude for a troop that's about 90% tone and 10% showmanship -- do the vox really hafta be this vacant tho? Breakin' up the doldrums last time we had a piercing noise segment and a crushing acid-rock freakout, on 'Ambulance' it's the much less anomalous "Blair Drager" with some low-down creep-funk that recycles "How Soon is Now?" and would suit a night-prowling mystery solver. Tonight's mystery: The Case of the Missing Moxie.
The Breeders All Nerve
The Cure Three Imaginary Boys
The Dillinger Escape Plan Ire Works
Managing to cram a brutal math-glam pop-electronic weirdness-whirlwind into a sub-40-minute listen is something that DEP seem to revel in - this one feels kinda like the last one, only less memorable. A lengthy instruments-used list in the liner notes ends with "...and a lot of Duct tape and Monster Energy drink" - you can take that one to heart.
The Fall Room To Live (Undilutable Slang Truth!)
The Fall New Facts Emerge
The Flaming Lips Embryonic
The Get Up Kids On a Wire
The Killers Hot Fuss
The Offspring Americana
The Presidents of the United States of America The Presidents of the United States of America
You gotta give it up for them I suppose, dedicating an overwhelming amount of songwriting to kitties and bugs and monkeys and candy, godspeed fellas - Alt-Grunge Lite that is a viable option for your kids' birthday party, except maybe when they say "fuck you" or talk about girls with no clothes on or cover MC5. But a garage-suited 3-piece of regular-ol-dudes that know their place in the world has its appeal ("We're not going to make it / 'Cause there's a million better bands / With a million better songs").
The Psychedelic Furs Forever Now
The Residents Fingerprince
More of a morbid curiosity than a listenable album, it has just enough wacky Dadaist charm to keep me intrigued and amused. Maybe not for 50+ minutes, but for a little while at least.
The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon
The Thermals We Disappear
Fuzzy power-chord-pop on autopilot is one thing, but how bout palpable vacuity in both production and performance? They come across clocked in and cursory, fulfilling a duty rather than exerting some oomph -- the squeal+scuzz bookends on the opening track may be the edgiest juncture here, the admittedly magnetic guitar-hook on "If We Don't Die Today" for sure most ear-grabbing, and most of the remaining bulk squeaks by through semi-competent+semi-catchy formalities. Not often do 'oh-oh-oh's and 'alright, okay's and 'woah-woah's sound so bubbly-yet-blank -- and before you know it/barely a half-hour in, they do indeed disappear. But, like, were they ever even really there, man?
The Wonder Years No Closer to Heaven
Throwing Muses Red Heaven
Good sound but lacking. Not much here sticks out or keeps you coming back for repeated listens. The short interlude tracks particularly don't do anything except fill up time. Their follow-up, University, definitely trumps this one.
Tim Darcy Saturday Night
As Ought's guitar-wielding frontman he's quite the piquant post-punk aggregator; enough to pique interest in this here solo path anyway. Which, despite having its moments and brandishing some bedraggled charm, is too much of a disjointed toss-together. It's a shame yet reasonable tradeoff when the tunes all but disappear at the midway point -- out with the generic garage riffs w/ good tonage and warm psychedelia, in with the whatever'd basement scraping and truly touching 2-minute piano ballad called "What'd You Release?". A good question.
Tim Hecker Love Streams
While the floaty flow and sinister-shroud/cozy-heaven conjugality are fairly fetching, so much of it is a flustered clutter of non-action and nonsense. Which is sorta-kinda worth wading in for when the sublime church-choir vox loom or the glitches rip on through to the other side. An appealing atmosphere as far as minced-up synth-somethings and meandering go, but some cohesion is cool too tho.
Torn Hawk Union And Return
One can't help but be swept away at least a smidgen by this broken bird's elegant ethereality; the cleanly commingling of strings+keys/easy-going electro/silky guitar/bogus brass marked with fitful femme-blurts and reverb aplenty is palatial+playful and steadily sails+soothes. But what initially warms the heart and apprehends the ears so effortlessly ends up blurring into tolerable tepidity and meandering just as handily. Alluring atmosphere, impressive intricacies, verve-sucking mellow mannerisms.
Toro Y Moi Boo Boo
Trim 1-800 DINOSAUR Presents Trim
Defensive+dramatic Brit MC curated by minimalist-weirdo-electro production posse featuring the likes of Airhead, Bullion, James Blake -- skilled-n-stalwart guy assuredly, distinct style, good for a cutting quip here and a tangled ramble there, but uptight enough to suck the fun out of a room. Despite being a bit of a non-meshin' mixed bag, the production posse does aight. The adventurous blending of Trim+Blake, however, is really rather painful.
Two Inch Astronaut Personal Life
Straddling the line between wacky-tinged 90's-alt-angst and gawky math-rock inclinations with variable prosperity/tolerability; where sex-n-school grumblin' seems inevitable and cello is employed for sleepy time.
U.S. Girls Heavy Light
Veldes Flameless
Seldom should black metal of any breed sound so, er, flameless. Not that its sheen ain't regularly pretty-n-pummeling or he don't bring the overall genre-given goodz; albeit in his overly automated and rather boilerplate way. But this is precise to the point of lassitude, predictable and calculated to a languid fault. Tries so earnestly to be epic but is oft too restrained+rigorous to bear real vigor or emotion. It does get me groanin' during both soft and loud stuff though, so there's that. Perhaps I'd prefer an abyss.
Vince Staples FM!
Weezer Maladroit
White Reaper White Reaper Does it Again
Full-on poppy brat-punk saturated in sunny-honeyed garage fuzz with tambourine rattles/buzzy organ/familiar riffs galore. Perhaps most applicable for an insouciant summer backyard bash, one where so long as good vibes are voluminous and undemanding, no one would ever complain. And definitely one that involves a trampoline and a pool. With a slide. And noodles.
Wilco Ode to Joy
William Tyler Goes West
Wire Silver/Lead
Fairly certain that post-punk icons Wire are incapable of making a record that doesn't at least SOUND good, even 40 years deep with some dubious detours. This maintains that streak, but after a bright-n-exciting first few trax this just steadily sinks into the mellow and languid. A no-frills approach was rather complementary on their last one, here unfortunately it just turns into a drag; frontmen Newman and Lewis in particular refusing to reveal much of anything in the way of ardor as voxers. Proficient in tonage and contented restraint.
Wreck and Reference Absolute Still Life
Yes Going for the One
YG Stay Dangerous
Young Thug Slime Season 2
I got Halloweeeen trick or treats up my sleeeEeEeEve
YPY Zurhyrethm
Zach Cooper Sentence
The Sentence spelled out via song-title sequence: This Is For Us To Incite Stillness In Our Hearts And Minds. The Sentence bestowed via actual auditory adventure on the other hand, somewhat incarcerative. Its shaky tape-recorder braiding of rando-noise/instrumental tinkering/mysterious-yet-consoling jazz-flute ambiance creates an intriguing and unique microcosm, one that could be likened to a sort of old-timey movie score gone wishy-washy lo-fi gallimaufry -- but torpidity and irresolute floundering make for a pretty tough slog, and the extensive sonic asperity and quick+loud bursts of weird-n-shrill don't do much to incite stillness in my heart and/or mind, personally. And what would room-fuzz exploration be if it didn't include extrinsic bits of dialogue? Two tidbits that may be inklings towards this album's conception: "Umm..I was just..not really thinking" and "Okay, you start something, whatever you wanna start.." followed by stress-breath. Perhaps this was an incarcerative sentence for Z Coops (and crew?) too.
Zella Day Kicker

2.0 poor
All Out War For Those Who Were Crucified
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti The Doldrums
There's 'lo-fi' and there's this: aptly titled, The Doldrums is permeating with thrice-dubbed-over+thrown-underwater VHS befuddlement, siphoning early psychedelia and bedroom pop through a deliberately smudged lens. Ariel's homespun solo-specter-scribbles and prolific mouth-fx undoubtedly make for a warm-n-innovative aura, but it's also bumbling and disheveled to the point of utter irritation -- especially as an hour-plus endeavor. Xtra-especially when there was clearly potential being held captive in this closet of incoherent muck, something that would be further realized some years down the road when he embraced clarity and the musical companionship of other humans. But 'til then, cast your ears towards "Among Dreams" and "For Kate I Wait"; which double as this album's back-to-back saving grace legitimacies and circa-2007 skateboarder's interest-kindlers.
At Wendy's webeefin?
In which a wise-ass fast-food Twitter account deploys a vanilla shorty mixtape to taunt its fellow corporate competition; welcome to 2018. Nothin' but semi-novel self-promotion trying to rope in the youth's dolla bills with teh trap musics, that seems obvious -- yet some YouTube reactionaries call it fire because, erm, you can hear words or something? Outside of its existence in general there's a few chuckles to be had: calling out clowns-as-mascots and busted ice cream machines and slack drive-thrus, pronouncing "principal" "prince-uh-pal", "4 For $4" an actual promotion turned into a rather crafty hook. But it's basically bitchin' bout Twitter beef with feeble beats and even feebler burger puns galore; all while asking "what's more childish than Twitter beef?". Good question but I think we mighta found it. Also disappointing that she does not once boast about their baked potato, a menu gem if you ask me.
Bad Gyal Worldwide Angel
Spanish dancehall whose only discernible function seems to be serving as club fodder, and it's forgettable fodder at that. Simultaneously shrill and stale and a steaming pile of auto-tune mush, I find myself pausing numerous times during this sub-half hour listen for sanity breaks. Not wanting to blame a language barrier for contributing to the drivel, I searched and struggled to gather translations; eventually settling for this FACT Magazine excerpt that summed up my suspicions: "On 'Realize', she sings about smoking a blunt at the party wearing Luis Vuitton, while on 'Trust', her heart pines for her "baby" and his sadness is "the worst thing in the world"."
bbymutha BbyShoe
Bjork Medulla
Mostly irritating babble with a few of the sparser arrangements delivering some moments of serenity. Interesting idea/execution but silly-sounding.
Blind Melon Blind Melon
Bonnie Raitt Longing in Their Hearts
Boysetsfire After The Eulogy
"Rookie" will forever be an incredible nostalgia jam tho
Brian Eno Reflection
App-fueled autopilot ambience that's pleasant enough but so stubbornly stagnant. With acknowledgment that this rumination likely exists as a why-not prototype or simple illustrative exercise -- and that Eno is eternally da man no matter what -- this is just too much of a tedious near-hour, too uneventful to reward dive-in listens. But as some innocuous background sound? No problem I spose. Something that just sits there and adjusts every so often while you just kinda sit there? Eh, certainly could be worse but most definitely could be better. Playin' it pure is cool and all, but take last year's 'The Ship' for example. Had a bit of this but also, like, did stuff. Cool stuff.
Brian Eno Ambient 4: On Land
BTS Map of the Soul: 7
Com Truise Iteration
Cruel Diagonals Disambiguation
Cuco Chiquito
Closer "CR-V" is cute and catchy and curt enough, refreshingly self-aware bout his dorkiness to boot. But namedropping Santana/Lennon/1960 for surface-level "psychedelia" is painfully platitudinal. Stiff+sleepy delivery and kissing my bitch with LSD spit and luv in the sun and bleary production on the other hand are just painful.
Desiigner New English
Destroyer Poison Season
This venomous juncture sees Bejar ditching the creamily opulent grooves and soulful femme-backups of Kaputt for something less quick-to-click -- which would be a-ok if it weren't so comically histrionic through-n-through. The ubiquity of baroque/piano/bongos sounds hifalutin and hokey more often than not and rarely is there a balance struck between underwritten and overwritten, a reprised Times Square trio seems fairly trivial, "Dream Lover" is a noisy one-off salvo of monumental stadium-rock that comes off as a premature jolt at track two. Furthermore, the nonchalantly-delivered impromptu lines feel stock and curiously charmless this time around -- there was an extensive period where "It's a miracle every time I open my mouth" would've almost rang true. Now I just kinda like whenever he says "scum", or emphasizes the 'kok' in "Bangkok".
Dr. Dre 2001
Drake Views
A faceless female's commencing comment forecasts the constitution to come -- "It's a little chilly out there." And considering how promptly this sets sail into a near-bloodless grouse-fest, 'little' may have been an understatement. When "Fire & Desire" schlepps on through at the tail-end of this elephantine track-list, it's a kind of indicative corroboration that those are the two traits this album lacks the most. Well, those and magnitude-moderation: how about accommodating an 80+minute slog with a flow+format that propitiously correlates? What happened to the vigorous bars-4-dayz from that year-gone scrawled-on mixtape? Why not propel the pulse provided by a bulk of the beats and a handful of highlights towards the rife-n-dull not-so-fortunates? But one thing hasn't changed -- blame the length or Drake's Drakiness existing in a particularly listless+bothersome state or both -- and that's guest-spots instantaneously contributing heroic relief by merely deviating from our star-at-hand, without much effort to boot: PartyNextDoor accomplishes it (again) by simply emoting, Future kills it while reiterating the same chuckly line four times in a row. If it interrupts poutingly rattling off yet another surfeit of women and their chosen life-paths instead of settling down with the boy, I say do it up.
Earl Sweatshirt Some Rap Songs
Earthen Sea An Act of Love
One part dawdling ominous ambient, four parts dawdling ordinary ambient, three parts beat-driven deep-dub submergence -- which is too tenacious+trancelike for dawdling perhaps, but uneventful enough to earn drab.
Empress Of Me
Enemy Soil Live At Fiesta Grande #5
F Ingers Hide Before Dinner
From the titular choices that involve cubby-house-bliss/Mum's caress/peculiar places to stash oneself to the vocal choices that involve dead-float incoherence to the never-ending rustic-nebulosity, this evokes the wonder of childhood memories and backyard shenanigans through a dingy and languid set of dream-state-sketches. Atmospherically, it's decently distinct and even eerie and enchanting, structurally they're wide-open, but good lord, the listlessness at hand here.
Failure The Heart Is a Monster
Sensitive alt-grunge-revival fans of the globe, forgive me (or don't). Though I will attest to the fact that this really just ain't my bag, this particular bag is quite superb sonic-wise despite being generally tedious song-wise -- so kudos and all, but lord, 18 tracks? Six of which are segues that offer not-much-more than time-killer-filler? The Album is a Monster; not to mention overt highlight "Hot Traveler" is placed right at the forefront, and most of the residual notables are enclosed to the first half as well.
Father I'm a Piece of Shit
I'd argue that guest-crony ILoveMakonnen is the real piece of shit when it gets down to the shitty-nitty-gritty, but Father's certainly got a point: evidently he's self-aware at least, though it doesn't stop him from threatening to put a bitch outside if she talks to him wrong or droppin' her at lost-n-found after he dicks her down. Right, not too freakish for hip-hop -- but what really seals the spurn is that unlike his comrade, he's got nothin' in the way of croon-clout; usually settling for torpid murmuring or gibber-groans or sleaze-stuffed sniveling. When torpidity is at its worst, I question if he's even conscious; when sleaze equals redundant sex-n-drugs raunch and porno-moans and "that sweat that funk that nasty", it's barely bearable. Sniveling at its most pitiful, however, is when he turns endearing: "I wanna die a little, cry a little, get a little high right now", "Started capping pills but I can't get my dick to stay hard". Always helps when chauvinistic lechery slowly reveals itself as jaded loneliness.
Frankie Cosmos Vessel
Whereas the meekness and transparent tunes worked as a strength on Next Thing, here it's just straight tepid. If anything the tunes are beefier, more oft upbeat; but also perpetually in a mid-pace safe-zone. Polite band-in-a-room pleasant and not without its intimate-yet-guarded charm, but this just refuses to thrill. Potential downfalls may be median song lengths of 1:50 and the oh so monotonously modest vox.
Fuel Sunburn
GG Allin Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies
Best songs - "Suck My Ass It Smells" and "Outlaw Scumfuck". The rest consists of GG's mumbling and growling and boring rock/metal that really pales in comparison to his earlier stuff. I gave it an extra .5 because it's GG.
Girl Band The Talkies
Glass Beach The First Glass Beach Album
God Is an Astronaut Epitaph
Their last one had enough flux and bits of shimmery beauty to prevent its postiness from gettin' too prosaic; this on the other hand could pass for an epitaph to trying. Predictable post-rock buildups will sometimes lead to heightened horsepower and welcome pedal howl, but you're mostly drifting through placid patterns and the humdrum doldrums; occasionally interspersed with generically inspirative rays of hope of course. Its darkened decorum is appreciated, its strained drama and dry production ehh not so much.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Hobo Johnson The Fall of Hobo Johnson
Insane Clown Posse The Amazing Jeckel Brothers
James K PET
Inaugural demands for kowtow fall kinda flat when it yields to disregardable drafty driftin' and glitchin', and even through the generally angelic vocal-soars and mysterious misty-dream tranquility and occasional peppy pop pulses it's that same drafty driftin' that ends up prime deterrent. Too floaty for fun, too airy to care, too illegible to assume there's a whole lot to care about anyway, too sleepy to ever really "sokit to me".
Jealousy Paid For It
Spry moments are driven by a basal garage-rock bass-line and/or eldritch psych-auras, stagnant moments are corroded by pococurante performances and wretched rambling, the majority of it is far too languid+way too reliant on reverberations+plain ol' lacking in derivable substance. Which is all by design, I'm sure. But to quote 'em: "I don't feel anything at all."
Jimmy Whispers Summer in Pain
When he's not dropping coins or spouting rants that are usually reserved for startling pedestrians at street-corners, Jimmy Whispers is the self-proclaimed "greatest bedroom popper in the tri-state area"; sporting a voice not even a mother could love (if only he lived up to his name), cliche Casio hums+homegrown percussion-hits, and a whoooole lotta whine. Think a bland, guitar-less Daniel Johnston that's nearly devoid of charisma. "Love is easy when you don't give a shit", Jimmy wails. Whaddya know, so is music.
Juicy J Blue Dream & Lean 2
He insists to be workin workin workin workin hard every every every every day day day but it can't be on these songs, though perhaps if you ingest all the weed they suggest you do in the first minute of this album you won't notice how dreadful the rest of it is. As usual, Juicy seems to teeter between miserably-mundane and braindead-offensive, is good for an occasional/unintentional lol-line ("Catch your ass at that Mickey D's / Merk your ass in that drive-thru" - not funny at all, come to think of it) and boy does he have things to say: he's stoned, lines are gettin' blown, he's treatin' hoes like shit, he's really high, he's got lots and lots of money, strippersguns etc. Facepalm Moment: when things get all atypical and a point is almost made on "Don't", only to have it immediately tainted by following it up with the trainwreck "Anybody" ("Grab a bitch by the neck / Say bitch can you suck a dick?").
Katatonia The Fall of Hearts
The Hall of Farts
Klara Lewis Too
Its tenebrous subtleties render this most effective while lying down in a dark room, or perhaps seated in a corner facing the wall while wearing a blank expression. Bookended by blatancies with a kindly curt in-between that goes somewhat hard+bold for creepin' ambient synth-drone -- a sorta-tune at hand on occasion, uber-covert itty bitty details, static-ridden dialogue fragments, oppressively opaque atmosphere -- but ah, just so much of a muted float-by bore on the whole. It is, however, a murky drifter that'll color that corner at least, and provide a light at the end-o-the-tunnel to boot.
Korn Korn
Drawn out and spirit-draining slab full of overbearing teen-level angst and low-as-hell dumb-as-nails riffs on top of repetitive songs - most of which aren't total stinkers to be honest; I think the main downfall is that it's such a damn long & miserable listen. Remains essential though, particularly for a few gem moments that are truly bizarre cornerstones of the 1990s and nu-metal: the now-absurdly passe "Faget" into the always-will-be absurd "Shoots and Ladders" is strangely bewitching, and oft-discussed ender "Daddy" is deservingly legendary and actually quite jarring.
Lady Gaga Artpop