On the Monthly: January 2018

Lol actually successfully reviewed a lot of stuff this month, enjoy my favorite albums, not really in order although Pop 2 is a masterpiece

Charli XCX-Pop 2

“Pop 2 is a new world that’s not entirely comfortable for all of us but Charli XCX charges up her batteries with ease and sets her sights on the tron-like neon violence of the future.”

Porches-The House

The singles for the latest from Aaron Maine see two sides of the singer-songwriter. “Find Me” is Maine the detached partier, accompanied by rattling horns and driving rhythm, whereas “Country” is a confessional croon, the climax articulated by flourishing vocal layering.  The album leans a bit towards the later, oftentimes showcasing autotuned vocal wandering over sparse territory, but Maine finds ways to sneak uplifting dance-isms into the overarching gloom.  “Goodbye” offers the full scope as a mournful departure finds enlightenment with a soaring chorus and bright beat.  It’s a more patient listen than “Pool,” but Maine’s comforting intimacy again shines.

Cupcakke-Ephorize

“Cupcakke may have difficulty fitting into the FCC regulations for radio play, but her music is wide-reaching—perfectly tuned to tell young folks everywhere that their desires are valid.”

Tune-Yards: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

“I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life also sees a little bit of an evolution to sharper and tighter sensibilities, but Merrill Garbus and her collaborator Nate Brenner remain in their relentlessly unique niche, any extra fans coming as a result of sheer will.”

Profligate-Somewhere Else

“Who’s counting but a singular work spanning noise, spoken-word, post-punk-rock, electronic feels so right on Wharf Cat Records and so fresh in the year of our lord 2018.”

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Year in Review 2017

This is wicked late but here’s my personal listening list from 2017.

Top 25:

  1. Lorde-Melodrama
  2. Tyler, the Creator-Flower Boy
  3. SZA-Ctrl
  4. Jaimie Branch-Fly or Die
  5. Moses Sumney-Aromanticism
  6. Mich Cota-Kijà/Care
  7. Kelly Lee Owens-Kelly Lee Owens
  8. Bibio-Phantom Brickworks
  9. Jessica Moss-Pools of Light
  10. Tim Berne-Incidentals
  11. Julien Baker-Turn Out the Lights
  12. Jay-Z 4:44
  13. Palberta-Bye Bye Berta
  14. Common Holly-Playing House
  15. Jay Som-Everybody Works
  16. Brockhampton-Saturation Trilogy
  17. Priests-Nothing Feels Natural
  18. Paramore-After Laughter
  19. Mount Eerie-A Crow Looked at Me
  20. Arca-Arca
  21. The Courtneys-II
  22. Kendrick Lamar-DAMN
  23. Slowdive-Slowdive
  24. Perfume Genius-No Shape
  25. Laurel Halo-Dust

 

Pop:

  1. Lorde-Melodrama
  2. Paramore-After Laughter
  3. Kesha-Rainbow

 

Rock:

  1. Slowdive-Slowdive
  2. The Courtneys-II
  3. Jay Som-Everybody Works
  4. Waxahatchee-Out in the Storm
  5. The National-Sleep Well Beast

 

Punk

  1. Priests-Nothing Feels Natural
  2. Palberta-Bye Bye Berta
  3. Downtown Boys-Cost of Living

 

Indie/Dream Pop

  1. Mich Cota-Kija/Care
  2. Perfume Genius-No Shape
  3. Japanese Breakfast-Soft Sounds from Another Planet
  4. St Vincent-Masseduction
  5. Dirty Projectors-Dirty Projectors

 

Electronic/Dance

  1. Kelly Lee Owens-Kelly Lee Owens
  2. Laurel Halo-Dust
  3. Blanck Mass-World Eater
  4. Arca-Arca
  5. Yaeji-EP2
  6. Vince Staples-Big Fish Theory (lol)
  7. Four tet-New Energy
  8. Blue Hawaii-Tenderness
  9. Ibeyi-Ash
  10. Pierre Kwenders-MAKANDA: The End of Life the end of Time

 

Folk/Singer/Songwriter

  1. Moses Sumney-Aromanticism
  2. Julien Baker-Turn Out the Lights
  3. Mount Eerie-A Crow Looked at Me
  4. Common Holly-Playing House
  5. Feist-Pleasure

 

R&B/Soul

  1. SZA-Ctrl
  2. Sampha-Process
  3. Kelela-Take Me Apart

 

Hip Hop/Rap

  1. Tyler, the Creator-Flower Boy
  2. Jay-Z: 4:44
  3. Brockhampton-Saturation Trilogy
  4. Kendrick Lamar-Damn
  5. Migos-Culture

 

Jazz

  1. Jaimie Branch-Fly or Die
  2. Tim Berne-Incendentals
  3. Nicole Mitchell-Mandorla Awakenings II
  4. Kamasi Washington-Harmony of Difference
  5. Whit Dickey/Matt Maneri/Matthew Shipp-Vessel in Orbit

 

Ambient

  1. Bibio-Phantom Brickworks
  2. Jessica Moss-Pools of Light
  3. Kara-Lis Coverdale-GRAFTS

 

LIVE:

  1. Austra/Jessy Lanza @ Pop Montreal
  2. LCD Soundsystem @ Laval
  3. Slowdive @ Olympia
  4. Henry Threadgill @ Newport Fest
  5. The Roots @ Newport Jazz Fest
  6. Tim Berne @ Newport Jazz Fest
  7. Jaimie Branch @ Suoni Per il Popolo
  8. The Courtneys @ M for Montreal
  9. Lightning Bolt @ Foo Fest
  10. Tom Rainey’s Obbligatto in NYC

 

Old Albums I couldn’t stop listening to:

  1. LCD Soundsystem-Sound of Silver (they’re back!)
  2. Carly Rae Jepsen-Emotion
  3. Radiohead-OK Computer
  4. Roscoe Mitchell-Sound
  5. Nas-Illmatic
  6. Mobb Deep-The Infamous
  7. Sleater Kinney-All Hands on the Bad One
  8. Laurie Spiegel-The Expanding Universe
  9. New Order-Power, Corruption & Lies
  10. Arthur Blythe-Illusions
  11. Bjork-Homogenic
  12. Daft Punk-Homework
  13. Rihanna-Anti
  14. Katy Perry-Teenage Dream
  15. William Basinski-The Disintegration Loops
  16. Kate Bush-Hounds of Love
  17. Underworld-Dubnobasswithmyheadman
  18. Death Grips-The Money Store
  19. Grimes-Visions
  20. Frank Ocean Blond ❤

 

On the Monthly: June 2017

Kelly Lee Owens-Kelly Lee Owens

“taps into ambient and drone traditions while also delivering a constant stream of danceable bass lines and bouncy synth arpeggiations.”

Full Review

Lorde-Melodrama

“Lorde took a while to come back, but the last four years have been all growth and her empire is just beginning.”

Full Review

SZA-Ctrl

“SZA pinpoints relatability while avoiding tired cliché”

Full Review

Clark-Death Peak

“a great deal of variety in the project and the logical march from light to mean makes it digestible and addicting”

Full Review

Vince Staples-Big Fish Theory

“Staples maintains his usual drawl speech and coy attitude as huge, biting electronic-influenced beats explode beneath him and hooks talk up his come up, moving from little pond problems to ‘countin’ up hundreds by the thousands.'”

Full Review

Kara-Lis Coverdale-GRAFTS

“‘Grafts’ is one of her more condensed projects and although works like “A-480” and “Aftertouches” certainly offer blissful sublimity from beginning to end, “Grafts” is certainly her most no-moment-wasted work to date.”

Full Review

 

On the Monthly: May 2017

I swear I’m catching up.

Jaimie Branch-Fly or Die

‘“Fly or Die” didn’t come together in a conventional manner and it owes a little bit to each of the traditions that Branch has experienced over the years.  The record seamlessly incorporates post-production guitar ramblings, live set interpolations, and dubbed over trumpet trios without losing the sense of a single paint stroke.’

Full Review

Jessica Moss-Pools of Light

“Moss doesn’t need much to craft beauty, but her many different songwriting approaches make her debut surprising at every turn.”

Full Review

Perfume Genius-No Shape

“Perfume Genius has been prolific throughout the current decade and never fallen short of staying true to their songwriting footing.  “No Shape,” their latest, isn’t earth shattering and doesn’t mark a dismissal from Hadreas’s glam-baroque pop (with a dash of heartfelt ballad) background, however, it’s a logical step forward and never falters in delivering entertaining, emotionally moving material.”

Full Review

Arca-Arca

“Arca’s video “Reverie” is a good marker for the overall effect of his self-titled work and a true must see of 2017.  Stilted up like a gazelle, Alejandro Ghersi painstakingly inches back and forth on screen, before an animalistic phallic shape emerges out of his groin and takes control of his body, leaving his face in even more pain.  From his rear, the viewer sees blood stains.  It’s confrontational, unsettling, and carries the scars of the queer experience.”

Full Review

Feist-Pleasure

‘“Baby Be Simple” finds breathtaking delicacy at the hook and “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” rides a cathartic lilt, but the title track finds a bit of punky bounciness and “Century” throws in a collage of punching vocals.  Tackling life’s general ups and downs, her lyrics don’t cut too deep on their own, but the intimate instrumentals make for an impactful emotional experience.’

Full Review

Blanck Mass-World Eater

‘“World Eater,” the latest from UK-based industrial/noise producer Blanck Mass, pummels and jolts.  After the quick, introductory track, “Rhesus Negative” fills itself to the brim with chaotic noise—tapping into some Aphex Twin influenced vocals and a bit of a hardcore punk bluntness in the percussive sounds—for a riveting nine minutes.’

Full Review

On the Monthly: April 2016

lol at this post, here’s 6 albums that I rated highly in somewhat of a linear fashion.

Valeda-Unearth

“On Unearth, she keeps her lyrics and sounds abstract and sparse, but also manages to offer an intimate, moving experience.”

Full Review

Jay Som-Everybody Works

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Matthew Shipp, Whit Dickey, Mat Maneri-Vessel in Orbit

“From beginning to end, the album pulses with life.  These musicians hold blues and swing in everything they do, but they sound ridiculously fresh, unique, and in the moment at all times.  Dickey is a painter at the drums.  He never lays down the rhythm too obviously, yet the allusions to swing can always be heard.  “Space Walk” reads as barren and contrasts the slightly more consistent rhythmic drive of the first track.  Dickey is all over his toms on the track, but he also taps at the ride cymbal with the swell of each miniature musical phrase.”

Full Review

Kendrick Lamar-DAMN.

“Damn isn’t a concept album, it isn’t a huge, sweeping narrative, and, truthfully, it isn’t packed with as much depth and nuance as To Pimp a Butterfly and Good Kid Maad City.  However, it features the best rapper of the current moment doing exactly what he needed to after an 80-minute cinematic ploy.  Damn features Kendrick contemplating his position and humility, it features his right-of-passage radio hit with Rihanna, and it features him plain old rapping his ass off.  It doesn’t feature the hyper-organization of To Pimp a Butterfly, nor does it feature the linear story telling of Good Kid, but what Kendrick has done is he’s just exploded all his usual forms and simply delivered song after song with incredible production, mind-blowing beat changes, and catchy hooks.”

Full Review

Slowdive-Slowdive

“All too often, comeback albums are a product of some combination of a popular middle-aged band needing retirement funds, labels at a loss for sales with young folks, and the human condition’s constant desperation for the past.  The formerly critically-shunned shoegazers missed all of that.”

Full Review

Mount Eerie-A Crow Looked at Me

A Crow Looked at Me is a glance at the stream of consciousness ramblings of Phil Elverum as he mourns the loss of his wife Genvieve Castree to cancer in July of 2016.  Besides the final song where Elverum makes eye contact with a crow, later hears his daughter talking about a crow in her dreams, and finally finds peace in the fact that the crow is the reincarnation of his wife, the album doesn’t dabble in a whole lot of symbolism or poetic devices, and the music consists of matching simplicity.  It’s a piece without answers or goals—it’s simply a man trying to find catharsis in speaking his day-to-day truth.”

Full Review