Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman returns for his genre-conquering second album, encompassing baroque pop, Northern soul, and Swedish beach-party disco.
Drake's worked on his own technical abilities, too, and both his rapping and singing are better than ever here
Like plenty of other bands in the internet era, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem poised to attract an audience that will far outstrip that of their easily identifiable precedents-- in their case, groups like Rocketship or Shop Assi stants, each obscure these days even by Approved Indie Influence standards. A few other twee/noise-pop revivalists arguably pulled off that same trick last year, but Pains of Being Pure at Heart are likely to appeal to listeners beyond online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters.
In Ghost Colours earns its smiles with a combination of ingenuity and easiness that you don't often come by, and for that, even in April, it already feels like a triumph.
Santi White used to work in A&R, which gives her put-downs on debut single "Creator" a professional air: "Sit tight I know what you are/ Mad bright but you ain't no star." As Santogold, White is putting her knowledge of star quality into practical effect. At its best, her album's cross-genre confidence is dazzling, combining dub, new wave, and hip-hop to create some of the year's freshest pop. At its worst, it feels annoyingly overthought.
As I was finishing an interview with Gregg Gillis in July 2006, he casually mentioned his desire to see M. Night Shyamalan's just-released fantasy movie Lady in the Water. Given the film's wretched reviews-- a pitiful 24% on Rotten Tomatoes-- and the train-wreck hype surrounding it, I thought he was kidding. He wasn't; Gillis liked some of Shyamalan's other flicks, so he wanted to check this one out. Simple. And it's this omnivorous, pleasure-seeking attitude toward pop culture that defines his work as Girl Talk. (Luckily, his taste in music is superior to his taste in film.)
It's a record that can be enjoyable in select places and definitely shows signs of potential, yet falls victim to mediocrity when held against the work of truly developed musicians.
An album like this extends far beyond your speakers, guiding you through an impossibly rich, detailed world of sound while also giving you room to explore it yourself; you don't listen to Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, you inhabit it.
They'll never sound like just another rock band; some of their peculiarities are so engrained in their sound that they stick out even more here: the deceptively simple-sounding drum patterns, the combinations of succinct riffs that somehow miraculously fit together just so, and of course, Britt Daniel's voice, which if were up to me would be ranked as one of the classic voices in rock.
The Canadian nontet's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is a massive, achingly beautiful work, alternately elegiac and ferocious.
Bursting immediately at its seams with the serrated dual guitar blast of "Yellow Number Three" and "Built in Girls"' steam-engine roar, Secaucus welcomes with a warm immediacy rare in even the most revered pop treasures, and a density whose every layer hides another secret synth melody, jagged hook or vocal harmony. The depth of realization in this record is unparalleled: every angle is perfected.
The Young Liars EP was as fully realized as all the critics suggested, yet now, TV on the Radio sound like a work in progress. Still, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes shows more strengths than mistakes.
Bands like The Rapture have sent their message: The rock show was not meant to be a collegiate study. We have all stopped caring what snotty academics find acceptable, because now there is real, true, palpable fun, and it is the greatest liberation.
This feels like a family of songs, one whose complexion and course changes as a whole with every spin.
Where many concept albums run a high risk of being pompous, cryptic, and self-important, Monáe keeps things playful, lively, and accessible.
With Body Talk, Robyn ups the ante for pop stars across the radio dial and raises her own chances of appearing on yours.
Matsson is both a romantic and a realist, and on The Wild Hunt, he uses the barest of pop-folk settings to give mundane moments-- another break-up, another tour, another change of season, another Dylan comparison-- a grandeur so disproportional that it's difficult not to identify and sympathize with him.
An unrivaled classic, Supreme Clientele marked a seismic rupture with rap tradition. It’s Tony Starks, invulnerable and silvery, casting stream-of-consciousness hexes from a general who survived hell.
His maturity is apparent not only in his vastly more laid-back style but also in how he deals with the underlying sense of abandonment and rejection that ignites much of Odd Future's bloody, cuss-laden vengeance.
The best songs feel more like conversations rather than artworks to be hung on the wall and admired from several paces away. Newsom seems to sing from somewhere deep inside of them, and her earthy presence has a way of drawing you in, bringing you closer to her music than you've been before.
Don't listen to the bastards and their sour grapes. Mule Variations is a great album, and that's all there is to it.
The closest thing to a truism about Arular is that it's a taut, invigorating distillation of the world's most thrilling music; a celebration of contradictions and aural globalization that recasts the tag "world music" as the ultimate in communicative pop rather than a symbol of condescending piety.
Dense, beautiful, intricate, haunting, explosive, and dangerous, this is everything rock music aspires to be: intense, incredible songs arranged perfectly and performed with skill and passion. Source Tags and Codes will take you in, rip you to shreds, piece you together, lick your wounds clean, and send you back into the world with a concurrent sense of loss and hope. And you will never, ever be the same.
Given the fact that it does, eventually, manage to overcome the horrific-sounding concept of British hip-hop, it seems pretty reasonable to give it a recommendation. Bloody good show, I say.
Flying Club Cup would be a triumph even with those layers stripped away; that's not to say that the cultural patina obscures the "real" songs underneath, but its removal allows us to sidestep mind-numbing questions about authenticity and intention.
Ariel Pink's best songs are surprising, and there's a real sense of musical delight on Before Today; the sections sound logical but never predictable, and there are wild bridges and short bits that emerge seemingly randomly but wind up taking the song somewhere unexpected.
The Sophtware Slump manages to sound reasonably fresh, yields its share of unshakable melodies, and excels in production. This is quite possibly the last great entry in the atmospheric pop canon.
Three years after the landmark Silent Shout, the Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson returns as Fever Ray. Fans of the Knife will not be disappointed.
In 1998, David Berman approached perfection. Absorbed in metaphor, ennui, and isolation, the loping music of American Water didn’t seem like it was trying to be art. It just was.
There are some duds here. And Wilco have a long way to go from being musical geniuses, but they've sure got the melody thing down flat.
She refuses to be a locus of explanation or control, keeping her lyrics generally vague and frequently losing herself in bursts of incomprehensible excitement or fervor.
Baltimore is as musically diverse as anywhere else, but in 2008, indie rockers associate the city with colorful, energetic music, from the expatriated Animal Collective to Dan Deacon's Wham City crew. The music of Beach House, the Baltimore-based duo of multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally and vocalist/organist Victoria Legrand, is a shadow narrative running parallel to this trend: Their delicate, lovelorn pop comes in the form of deathly waltzes and dark pastoral dirge s on which Legrand sings about desire, loss, and dreams as if telling a ghost story, splitting the difference between lovely and creepy.
On Midnite Vultures, Beck's tunes are wrapped in fur, silk, lace, gold, sequins, cotton, leather, pearl, and diamond. And sonically, it's one of the busiest albums in recent history.