Album Reviews

Album review: Ryanhood, “Start Somewhere”

Today's plaintive acoustic singer-songwriter is faced with a difficult task: How do you make songs about love and longing fresh? Every minor chord and clever progression has been plundered since the days of the lutist and sonnet, every conceptual angle approached and re-recorded.

Album review: Warpaint, “Warpaint”

If we've learned anything about Warpaint in the last ten years, it's that they take their time. Since forming in 2004, Warpaint  has only released one EP and one LP, 2010's "The Fool," an enigmatic debut that merited countless melancholic music fans to set Google alerts for the band.

Album review: R. Kelly, “Black Panties”

R. Kelly could never release another album for the rest of his days and his legacy would be secure. Not only does he have a plethora of certified hits—most essentially "Ignition Remix," "Bump And Grind," "I'm A Flirt" and "I Believe I Can Fly"—but his obscurer works have made him a favorite for irony aficionados.

Album review: Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP”

No one expected "ARTPOP" to be anything more than another Lady Gaga album, did they? The artist had made claims that her new album would try and pull off a reverse Warhol: using a mass-produced medium—pop music—to distribute art, instead of art as a means to examine the mass-produced.

Album review: M.I.A., “Matangi”

It's been six long years since M.I.A.'s massive hit "Paper Planes" reared its head on the rapper's sophomore LP, "Kala." The second-to-last song on the album and third single, it was as unassuming of smash hit could be.

Album review: Dr. Dog, “B-Room”

Fan or not, no one is confusing Philadelphia's indie-folk outfit Dr. Dog as an adventurous band. They saddled into their sound early on with their "Takers and Leavers" EP, a 5-song collection of dusty little indie pop gems that'd serve as the sonic template for their breakout LP, "We All Belong"—and each album after.

Album review: MGMT, “MGMT”

MGMT's post-"Oracular Spectacular" career has in many ways been like watching a melodrama unfold. First there was the Spin article that featured frontman Andrew VanWyngaarden getting 86'd from a homeless shelter; then the alleged piss bottle hurled at them during their set at Glastonbury.

Album review: The Weeknd, “Kiss Land”

In 2011, the Weeknd was born in a name drop. Drake tweeted a lyric from "Wicked Games" and voila, he had arrived. Two weeks later, he'd drop his debut "House of Balloons," an intoxicating nine-track narco haze of a mixtape, to widespread acclaim.

Album review: Arctic Monkeys, “AM”

On Arctic Monkeys’ last four albums, they’ve wandered through personas and sounds in a way that recalls the identity crisis they battled with in the title of their debut “Whatever People Say I am, That’s what I’m not.” With “AM” the band has filled in some of those gaps of character.

Album review: Delorean, “Apar”

Basque club-rockers Delorean have made a name for themselves as dealers of a good times sound. You could fire up a random track from either of their best-known works, the 2009 EP "Aryton Senna" or 2010's "Subiza" on your headphones in any Podunk locale and be whisked far away, suddenly sipping kalimotxos at some Ibizan beach party.

Album review: Volcano Choir, “Repave”

"Wake up," intones Justin Vernon at the start of "Repave." Not in a yell—he's no Jim Morrison—but that gentle falsetto-whisper of his. It's comforting: the sound of indie rock's boyfriend come to tell you he's home again, and just the way he was.