reviews

Owen Pallett’s Avant Chamber-Pop Plumbs New Depths on ‘In Conflict’

Owen Pallett's Best Score nod for Her ranked with Elliott Smith's among the bigger Oscar surprises of recent years. Toiling in the background as an…
Alfred Soto / May 26, 2014

With Comeback ‘Gz II Godz,’ G-Side’s Trippy Trap Thrives on the Other Side of Hype

In retrospect, those embattled late '90s underground cats had it pretty good, what with Rupert Murdoch money fueling indie hip-hop staple Rawkus Records by way…
Brandon Soderberg / May 22, 2014

Supergroup Serpentine Path Drops Gale-Force Crusher ‘Emanations’

For anyone who's ever wondered what a super-group featuring members of Electric Wizard, Winter, Unearthly Trance, and Ramesses would sound like, Serpentine Path would be…
Kim Kelly / May 22, 2014

Conor Oberst Channels Don Henley on Delectably Inscrutable ‘Upside Down Mountain’

It's useless to use clichés like "return to form" for a talent as inconsistent and impervious to outside influence as Conor Oberst. His finest record…
Dan Weiss / May 21, 2014

Tricks Are For Kids: ‘Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra’ Is Mind-Blowing

Beginning in the mid-'50s, kids music evolved from naive story-songs created for children exclusively to often epically weird Gesamtkunstwerken actually aimed at adults. Among the…
Richard Gehr / May 20, 2014

The Roots Save Their Sour Notes for the Quizzically Bleak ‘…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin’

In this post-Internet age of cross-platform synergy as condo down-payment survival, the Roots have flourished. There is the band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy…
Mosi Reeves / May 19, 2014

Coldplay Consciously Uncouple From Trademark Bathos on Appealing ‘Ghost Stories’

To Chris Martin, there's nothing more terrifying than a broken heart. While love makes him see the world in rich, vibrant colors—from "Yellow" to "Green…
Stephanie Benson / May 17, 2014

Iamsu! Almost Escapes Bay Area Rap Vortex with Immersive ‘Sincerely Yours.’ Almost.

Empowered by guest appearances on recent hits like Loverance's "Up," E-40's "Function," and fellow HBK gang talent Sage the Gemini's "Gas Pedal," Bay Area rapper/producer…
Brandon Soderberg / May 15, 2014

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Pump Fresh Blood into ‘Days of Abandon’

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have wisely taken two steps back and one step forward for their latest, Days of Abandon. The Smashing…
David Turner / May 15, 2014

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Drummer + Avant Pianist = Brain-Melting ‘Dub Narcotic Session’

As one-third of art-rock institution Yeah Yeah Yeahs, drummer Brain Chase has earned Grammy noms, played the world's arenas, and sold a shit-ton of records,…
Brad Cohan / May 14, 2014

Agalloch’s Blackened Folk Metal Soothes the Soul on ‘The Serpent & the Sphere’

Agalloch are one of the best bands in modern metal. This isn't a question; it's a fact, one corroborated by a world-class discography that stretches…
Kim Kelly / May 14, 2014

New Black Keys Album ‘Turn Blue’ Is Pretty Good, But It’s Still a Black Keys Album

With a tribute EP to Junior Kimbrough and a Damon Dash-sponsored rap-rock album in their catalog, not to mention an armful of Grammys and a…
Dan Weiss / May 13, 2014

Swans’ ‘To Be Kind’ Is a Monolithic Orgy of Blood, Guts, and…Love

It will come as no surprise to learn that one of the most frequently used words on Swans' new album is "no." Michael Gira has…
Philip Sherburne / May 12, 2014

Chromeo’s Sappy Soul-Pop Comes of Age on ‘White Women’

At the beginning, Chromeo had to be a joke. An over-styled, overly self-aware Arab-Jew duo signed to Vice Records cribbing Hall & Oates' synth-pop playbook…
Jonathan Zwickel / May 9, 2014

Fatima Al Qadiri Conjures a Cinematic Din on Exceptional Debut, ‘Asiatisch’

Someone needs to hire Fatima Al Qadiri to score a film. If all of the experimental electronic producer's releases to date were soundtracks, they'd be…
Anupa Mistry / May 8, 2014

Lily Allen’s ‘Sheezus’ Is a Tepid Mess of Bitch Bombs and Botched Satire

Oh, Lily. You so had us when we first saw you eating chocolate in bed and slipping laxatives into the cheating ex's coffee, all over…
Stephanie Benson / May 7, 2014

Lykke Li Waffles Between Pop and Anti-Pop on Soggy ‘I Never Learn’

Here are two things that contradict each other: wanting to be seen as a singer-songwriter rather than a pop artist; and getting hitmaker Greg Kurstin…
Katherine St. Asaph / May 6, 2014

Unsung Guitar Heroes Wussy Nail Rust-Belt Americana on ‘Attica!’

Over the last decade, Cincinnati garage/pop/folk practitioners Wussy have refined a winning formula. Every 15 months or so, they break from full-time jobs (stonemasonry, waitressing,…
Jason Gubbels / May 5, 2014

tUnE-yArDs Transform Turbulence into Transcendence on Exultant ‘Nikki Nack’

Success brought crisis to tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus. Following up 2011's Whokill filled her with fear – not a great state for a performer beloved for her…
Barry Walters / May 2, 2014

Gucci Mane and Young Thug Join Forces, Drag Feet on Phoned-In ‘Young Thugga Mane La Flare’

Presumably cobbled together using old recordings from back when waning trap hero Gucci Mane wasn't in jail, and released now to capitalize on the 2014…
Brandon Soderberg / May 1, 2014
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