Album Reviews

Chvrches, “Every Open Eye” review

On "Never Ending Circles," the opening track of Chvrches' much-anticipated sophomore record, Lauren Mayberry makes a toast: "Here's to taking what you came for." That's just what she and her band are doing on "Every Open Eye." Chvrches' 2013 debut was exhilarating, and "Every Open Eye" manages to heighten the energy and emotion.

Synkro does his best Burial on “Changes” (review)

Like so many young musicians, electronic producer Synkro (Joe McBride to his fellow Brits) is nothing if not the sum of his influences. He’s said as much in the press, pointing out tributaries as far upstream and apart as Burial, Tangerine Dream and Boards of Canada in the way of inspiration for his gloomy strain of electro-ambience.

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.

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.

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.

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.