Petite Noir, “Life Is Beautiful” review
So often, globalization is framed as a sort of cultural wrecking ball. As McDonald’s restaurants spring up in 19th century Italian arcades and Filipino children whip and nae nae the day away, centuries-old flavors slip away, washed off in a tide of modernity.
The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness” review
If your only exposure to The Weeknd was via the VMAs earlier this week -- which included Kanye's much-publicized dancefloor get-down -- you might be surprised to hear the 25-year-old's new album, especially its symphonic production, dark and tragic rhythms, and addled lyrics.
FIDLAR’s “Too” reveals a band on the move (review)
"Forget It Dad, Life's All Right." That's one meaning of the abbreviation FIDLAR, the moniker of an L.A. punk outfit that's been screaming about -- and spraying -- beer over rowdy rock clubs for the last six years.
Willis Earl Beal, “Noctunes” review
Willis Earl Beal has settled on the fringe. He often performs sans instruments, accompanied by just a reel-to-reel tape player on stage that wheezes decaying loops.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, debut album review
Nathaniel Rateliff has never been afraid to bare his soul. Solo or with The Wheel, his music sounds as if it’s been yanked out from between the ribs, each song a painful, non-elective excision.
Gardens & Villa, “Music for Dogs” review
This is what happens when a band gets stuck. Last year, California indie-pop outfit Gardens & Villa released “Dunes,” its follow-up to a promising debut, and showed themselves to be capable of writing good pop melodies and worming steadily into your ears and heart.
Teen Daze, “Morning World” review
Though it has pursued Teen Daze from the outset, it’s almost unfair to critique his music through a lens as loaded as chillwave. Coined by satirical blog Hipster Runoff, the genre has the pedigree of Geico’s “Cavemen” TV series, or any joke that outlives its punchline.
Mac DeMarco, “Another One” review
Picture yourself sitting on a beach: The sun is out, the breeze is light and the waves gently lap at the shore, bringing in a dead fish and the iridescent shine of gasoline.
HEALTH, “DEATH MAGIC” review
HEALTH’S NEW ALBUM “DEATH FIST” IS LIKE A —HEY, CAN YOU HEAR ME? You can? Sorry. In the eight years since their self-titled maximalist noise (or is that a really melodic construction site?) debut, sheer volume has been a comforting constant for the L.A. quartet's fanbase.
Titus Andronicus, “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” review
Titus Andronicus, New Jersey’s most serious punk band, has outdone itself. And true to the band name and the title of this greatly anticipated album, they’ve done so with Shakespearean flair.
Wilco, “Star Wars” review
Surprise. Wilco, of all artists, has sprung an album on us. A free album. And while releasing a record without warning is hardly even a surprise anymore -- hell, this is at least the second group this year that isn’t charging a single cent, either -- this has the vibe of the most wholesome and traditional of surprises.
Ducktails, “St. Catherine” review
Let’s get one thing straight: Ducktails is not Real Estate. Though many will find them through internet radio algorithms, similar artist suggestions and press releases predicated on that nigh un-Googleable band, Ducktails’ only shared point of reference with Real Estate is their guitarist, Matthew Monadile.
Tame Impala, “Currents” review
Early on in Tame Impala’s third record, mastermind Kevin Parker sings, “They say people never change but that’s bullshit / They do.” Whether intentionally or inadvertently, it’s a disclaimer.
Lil Wayne, “Free Weezy Album” review
Lil Wayne is a complex soul and “Free Weezy Album” is his therapy project. We don’t know if “Tha Carter V” will ever materialize, but if it does we should expect it to be devoid of the gripes he covers on “FWA.” On this album, which he suddenly dropped as a Tidal exclusive on July 4, Wayne talks about a rough patch he's hit in his life: There's his time on Rikers Island, his nasty beef with Cash Money Records and a slew of past breakups.
Wavves x Cloud Nothings, “No Life For Me” review
Wavves’ Nathan Williams and Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi, it turns out, are a great match. When they announced that they were working on an album together last year, excitement was tempered by a sense that they were unlikely friends.
Vince Staples, “Summertime ’06” review
Vince Staples has a lot to say, and he’s going to make us listen. “I hope you understand / They never taught me how to be a man / Only how to be a shooter” could be the subtitle of “Summer ’06.” It’s an unflinching, hard and unsentimental look at Staples’ world, chronicling the harsh reality of life as a Crip in north Long Beach and the success that followed with a terminally unfeeling delivery.
Miguel, “Wildheart” review
Since emerging on his sophomore LP “Kaleidoscope Dreams,” Miguel has strove for R&B stardom untraditionally. In appearances and promos for that album, he presented himself as fashion rather than sex symbol, buttoned up in cherry suits, summertime leather jackets and a pompadour coiffed perfectly enough to make even Janelle Monae a little green.
Tyga, “The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty” review
These days it's hard to tell what is more intriguing: Tyga's music or his entanglement with the Kardashian clan. The title of his new album, "The Gold Album: The 18th Dynasty,” may or may not reference the 17-year-old Kylie Jenner, who turns 18 soon and is rumored to be dating the pint sized rapper.