One Life Stand feels English in the best possible sense: it’s cosmopolitan, unassuming and ever-so-slightly eccentric.
Music tends to follow the general rule of thumb that if you can get three examples of something then it can be called a trend. Only in music it's called a genre, and it usually ends up slowly ruining the thing it's supposed to be defining. You get the feeling that as 'chillwave' slowly becomes shorthand for everything vaguely summery or a little bit hazy, that in amongst the shimmering keyboards and padded drums you can make out the death knell.
Weighing in at just 32 minutes, Treats can hardly be accused of outstaying its welcome. In fact, its brevity is its strength – too much aural pummelling could be too much. As it is, as soon as the album finishes, you’ll want to put it on again straight away.
It all adds up to Stern's most fully realised, most rounded album yet, and a huge step in her evolution as an artist.
This fourth album from Matthew Houck's Phosphorescent project originally came out in May but is being reissued so soon simply to tie in with Houck's early September UK tour. As its title might imply, it's not exactly the most radical or original of 2010 releases. However, its handling of various Americana and alt-country tropes is so assured and lush that it certainly deserves a second push.
For what it sets out to do, it's damn near perfect, and what higher praise is there than that?
Portland, Oregon trio Menomena take a lot of disjointed loops and tear them apart, spin them round and reconstruct them. It's a bit of musical puff-puff-pass, with each band member contributing something and feeding the data into a band-built looping computer program. Sounds alarmingly avant garde, right? And perhaps it is, in theory, but Menomena come across as surprisingly accessible and pop-oriented, even in the midst of all their computerised hyperactivity.
Have One On Me is winding, long-winded, densely poetic, and often challenging; but never tedious or self-indulgent.
There are some mis-steps – California English employs Auto-Tune about two years too late – but overall this is a fine follow-up to their successful debut.
While not perfect, The Fool is a very promising début that grows in stature on every listen. If you're willing to put the time in, this could easily live up to the hype.
Yeasayer’s wit and inventiveness always manages to avoid any kind of descent into cliché.
After a goofy intro on Dark Fantasy, ‘Ye takes it all back to his fantasies in Chicago, when he was producing beats and managing artists with a dream of making it big.
Halcyon Digest is a triumph of multilayered nuance, and repeated listens reveal its genius buried just beyond the obvious.
It’s an incredibly rewarding listen, even if the self-observing anxiety that’s writ large throughout means it doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights to which its creators have bravely aspired.
One can but marvel at the impressive range, ambition (realised) and detail of this deeply polished, professional yet utterly, brilliantly bonkers album. An album destined, surely, to take its place among the classics of its age.
Arcade Fire have never been a band shy of tackling big themes. Their momentous debut album Funeral addressed death, somehow making it seem invigorating and inspiring, as well as tragic, epic and heartrending, while 2007's Neon Bible melded religion and natural disasters (the tsunami, the New Orleans floods) in a portentous, unsettling blend of pomp and darkness.
If all of the band’s records had a loose thematic core running through to them, High Violet is the band’s most grown up record – mirroring the now late-30something group’s outlook on life.