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Reviews

Wednesday, December 24 2014

D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah

The urgent Black Messiah proves that sometimes, life won’t let a cultural statement that’s chomping at the bit wait for a proper marketing campaign;


Friday, December 19 2014

Kate Miller-Heidke: O Vertigo!

The real attraction to a Miller-Heidke release lies in the pleasure given by her voice. She may sing about love and life and engage in some interesting wordplay, but her distinctive vocals and range merit the bulk of attention.


Kim Hiorthøy: Dogs

Scandinavian renaissance man's first album in seven years is glorious piano purity over sample-free glitch.


Diana Reyes: Mis Mejores Duranguenses

Heartbreaking melodies belted over Hi-NRG beats of endless momentum -- only the beats are polkas.


Bastille: VS. (Other People’s Heartache Pt. 3)

VS. both affirms Bastille's successes up to this point and highlights the weaknesses that need to be remediated as the band moves forward.


Thursday, December 18 2014

Charli XCX: Sucker

More often than not, Sucker just ends up being too clever for its own good, despite Charli XCX's attempts to be the smartest student at the Pop Music Academy.


Spank Rock: The Upside EP

“Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” This EP is meant for those who want it both ways.


Homewrecker: Circle of Death

Circle of Death works best when things become subtle and a big part of that is slowing stuff down.


Various Artists: Palo Alto (Music From the Motion Picture)

Devonte Hynes and Robert Schwartzman head up this synthy, très indie companion piece to Gia Coppola's film.


Wednesday, December 17 2014

Nikki Yanofsky: Little Secret

She started as a pre-teen Ella Fitzgerald clone, flirted with being Norah Jones, and now (at 20) finally sounds like the young pop singer she is...despite some lingering belief that she needs to "give jazz new life".


Faust: j US t

Ostensibly a grand experiment, Faust's latest is just another pretentious excuse to avoid the most difficult step in all art: finishing it.


The Society Islands: The Big Sleep

There’s strong production value here, as alt rock and indie rock sensibilities are mixed in with dreamy psychedelic ambience.


Unwound: No Energy

The No Energy boxset provides a valuable opportunity to place the unsung Unwound in a proper context, both offering nostalgia-tinged appreciation of a band at the height of its powers, as well as putting the music of the '90s Kill Rock Stars stalwarts in a new light.


Tuesday, December 16 2014

Joni Mitchell: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced

Love Has Many Faces is a great box set, but make no mistake: while it does tell Joni Mitchell's story, it may not be the exact one you've been wanting to hear.


Rancid: Honor Is All We Know

...Honor is All We Know is a solid but ultimately inessential addition to the Rancid catalogue that finds Rancid back where they belong, crafting straightforward punk anthems without pretense.


Nerina Pallot: Small Things / Spirit Walks

EPs nine and 10 in Pallot’s 2014 song-writing project are polar opposites of each other; from the cheery to despondent.


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to African Blues

Yes, there's already been one Rough Guide to African Blues. But don't go thinking this is more of the same.


Monday, December 15 2014

Old 97s: Hitchhike to Rhome

Twenty years on, the Old 97’s see their indie debut re-released in deluxe packaging by Omnivore. It’s worth the plunge.


Cretin: Stranger

If you're looking for a pretty sick and twisted metal record, here you go.


Easy Star All-Stars: Dub Side of the Moon

Space-rock and dub reggae sound great together, man. Who knew?? 10th Anniversary reissue for the Pink Floyd reinterpretation.


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