Paul Carr: Fleet Foxes serve up another taste of their new album with this progressive folk song that comes across like a lost and less psychedelic Jefferson Airplane number. As expected it harnesses the power of the harmonies which after six years sound as fresh as ever. Just when things seem to be getting too settled the mood and tempo shift to reveal a gauzy, floaty gem of a chorus. A timely reminder of what we’ve been missing. [8/10]
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Mike Schiller: It’s just two verses and a hook, but these verses kill. Vince Staples hasn’t been around long but his mastery of meter, rhythm, and wordplay is in full effect throughout “Big Fish”, which says its piece and leaves us wanting more. It sounds like it’s a tale of self-aggrandizement thanks to its hook, but the lyrics are another tale of the difficulty and conflicts of interest that came with the gang affiliations of his youth (not to mention the literal sinking ship of the video). “Big Fish” is a fine way to lead into his new album. [9/10]
Nashville’s *repeat repeat have an amazing sound that’s rooted in garage rock and psychedelic rock, but possesses the energy and attitude of punk alongside some killer harmony singing that artists in Nashville do better than anyone else. The band’s sound is urgent with slashing guitars, waves of synths, yet beautifully melded to a hazy, sunny Calfornia vibe. They are describing themselves as a “surf rockcandy trio”, but their sound is a lot broader than that to my ears. I hear a significant way forward for the guitar and rock music, which have been maligned of late as things of the past. *repeat repeat’s stunning guitar work powers the rhythms and beats, but it also colors each passage and creates multiple voices in the music. The way the guitar effortlessly blends with the electronic elements in the song “Plugged In” that we’re premiering today, is impressive.
Last year when we reviewed St. Lenox‘s most recent album Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, John Paul said the record was “nothing short of a 21st-century pop masterpiece”. The album also appeared on our best albums of 2016 list. Now St. Lenox has an exciting new project on tap as he is bundling this album with his previous LP Ten Songs About Memory and Hope into a single audio collection as well as releasing a visual album for Ten Hymns From My American Gothic. Each song from St. Lenox’s last album now has an accompanying video and Andrew Choi (a.k.a. St. Lenox) says it is the first individually-made DIY visual album with him creating, playing and recording the music as well as directing the videos. It’s an ambitious and worthy project that could set the stage for more artists to develop these sort of projects given that we now live in a video-driven world.