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.)
The Canadian nontet's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is a massive, achingly beautiful work, alternately elegiac and ferocious.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not all music needs to be built to last, but Voodoo was designed and willed and technically optimized to be a testament for the ages; it captures empty space and heartbreak as well as it does rim shots and joy. The grooves deepen.
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.
That the Knife's 2006 breakthrough Silent Shout didn't set the dominoes on a series of similarly grotesque and unnatural sounding imitators is less an indictment on its impact than a comment on its inimitability. The current apex of ten years' collaboration between siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, it's one of a handful of albums from the past decade that one might argue sounded like nothing before it. In the three years since, the Dreijers have treaded lightly, touring and remixing in carefully managed bursts before quietly receding back into silence altogether.
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.
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.