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by Jordan Blum

16 Aug 2017


Photo: Wally Jay Parker

Earlier this year, Canadian “orchestral indie” quintet Common Deer released its debut EP, I, to national acclaim. A striking collection of symphonic folk rock whose male/female vocal interactions, heartfelt melodies, and robust arrangements conjured shades of Death Cab for Cutie, Of Monsters and Men, and the Decemberists, it signaled the arrival of a resonant and tasteful new act. Fortunately, the group is gearing up to release its next sequence, II, on September 8th, and if their latest song, “Glass”, is any indication, it’ll sustain its predecessor’s excellence in every way.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Aug 2017


Chris Ingalls: Dense stuff, but it really breathes, thanks to some incredibly imaginative samples and beats. Playful but not insignificant in the least. Reminiscent of some of the great music Jameszoo‘s been cranking out. A dizzying collage that fuses dance, funk and electronic pretty seamlessly. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

14 Aug 2017


Mike Schiller: “Strobelite” is a perfect example of what made HUMANZ such a difficult album by Gorillaz standards: While Gorillaz have never been shy about adding guest vocalists to their songs, HUMANZ is practically a mixtape more than it is a proper album. If you heard “Strobelite” on the radio, you’d never know it was Gorillaz. Its disco-R&B intentions are shockingly straightforward, and there’s no Damon Albarn to temper Peven Everett’s vocal style. It’s a perfectly dance-ready slice of retro bounce, and the video drives home its affiliation with Albarn’s animated gang of talented hooligans but divorced from the album, it’s very difficult to hear this as Gorillaz. It’s a fine enough song searching for a true sense of identity. [6/10]

by PopMatters Staff

11 Aug 2017


Chris Ingalls: Pure Comedy is a giant leap forward for Father John Misty, not just in terms of his already high “mystique” factor; it also shows his songwriting prowess growing by leaps and bounds. The piano-led compositions and analog studio techniques show a maturity that falls somewhere between Brian Wilson, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson, all major-seventh orchestrations and heart-on-sleeve vocalizing. Indie rock isn’t supposed to be this sophisticated. Thank goodness Josh Tillman is here to break conventions. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

11 Aug 2017


Ian Rushbury: Khalid comes across like De La Soul’s nephew. “Young, Dumb and Broke” manages to be wryly funny and meaningful at the same time. Throw in a bit of teenage angst and you’ve got yourself a summertime smash—people are going to be singing the chorus in shopping malls all across the U.S of A, all the way to Christmas. The video is cute, too. [8/10]

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