Album review: Katy Perry, “Prism”
It's been three years since "Teenage Dream" hit the shelves and solidified Katy Perry as the reigning international superstar that starred in a lucrative film about herself.
Album review: The Avett Brothers, “Magpie and the Dandelion”
Hate him or love him, Rick Rubin may never leave the Avett Brothers. Rubin took hold after the band's strongest outing, the gritty "Emotionalism," and traded their raw energy for a perfectly mixed shimmer that had fans pawing for pitchforks.
Album review: Pusha T, “My Name is My Name”
There's a certain amount of respect that comes with naming your album after a quote from "The Wire" -- but it also creates a bar of entertainment and cultural value to live up to.
Album review: Four Tet, “Beautiful Rewind”
It's no revelation that your industry-standard DJ probably favors the attention deficit. To please a house full of diverse tastes, a DJ has to be as quick with a song change as he is handy with a crossfader.
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: Justin Timberlake, “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2″
By Gary Graff After nearly seven years without an album, Justin Timberlake is certainly making up for lost time — not just with two albums this year but with each weighing in at more than 70 minutes, and with even longer deluxe editions.
Album review: Drake, “Nothing Was The Same”
Drake is about as love/hate as it gets in hip-hop today. Hardcore hip-hop heads think he's too soft to be taken seriously, which thanks in part to blog Big Ghost, has become a stock criticism for those without an opinion.
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.
Album review: Earl Sweatshirt, “Doris”
Earl Sweatshirt doesn't make his entrance on "Doris" until more than half way through the first song. His opening verse comes after a little pop in the music about two minuets into "Pre." It's low-key, but memorable and long overdue, much like the buildup and release of "Doris," his first studio album.
Album review: King Krule, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon”
This weekend, King Krule, aka London's Archy Marshall, will drop his debut LP on his 19th birthday. That's impressive in itself, but what's really crazy is it'll mark Marshall's 11th year as a musician.
Album review: Superchunk, “I Hate Music”
Superchunk, "I Hate Music" (Merge) Indie rock stalwart Superchunk is not known for its stylistic right turns. While the Chapel Hill, N.C., quartet has grown in its signature mix of crunchy guitars, punk melodies and propulsive drumming over its 24 years and 10 studio albums, each new outing finds singer-guitarist Mac McCaughan and company settling deeper into that sound as opposed to tinkering with it.
Album review: John Mayer, “Paradise Valley”
By Gary Graff On last year's “Born and Raised,' John Mayer dipped himself into California, circa early '70s, especially the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene.
Album review: Washed Out, “Paracosm”
If you've never heard Ernest Greene's chill wave project Washed Out before—which means you've never seen Portlandia, probably—you can more or less glean the sound and feel from the name.
Album Review: AlunaGeorge, “Body Music”
The Brit electro-pop duo AlunaGeorge has released some incredibly catchy tracks in the months leading up to its debut album. "You Know You Like It," "Attracting Flies" and "Your Drums, Your Love" all had the free and easy feel of good club pop accented by a twinge of '90s R&B. It's a slick combo.
Album review: Mayer Hawthorne, “Where Does This Door Go?”
Mayer Hawthorne is on the verge of something big. The endorsements are there—from JC Penny commercials to the pages of GQ and even the menu of Umami Burger.
Album Review: AraabMuzik, “The Remixes, Vol. 1″
If Araab Muzik's "The Remixes, Vol. 1" is his first remix volume, what does that make his debut, "Electronic Dreams"? Fun as that album was, each of its tracks was, at its heart, a bit of an obscure dance song laid over with MPC-controlled beats from AraabMuzik's unfathomably quick hands.
“Magna Carta Holy Grail” review: Jay-Z’s money flows, not inspiration
“Magna Carta … Holy Grail” is a Jay-Z album brought to you by Tom Ford, Reebok, Cadillac and Roc Nation all through the vessel of Samsung Galaxy.
Album review: Mark Mulcahy, “Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You”
Mark Mulcahy "Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You" (Fire Records) Evoking the soul of Americana, folk, alt-country, indie rock, and other currently ubiquitously genres seems to be the Holy Grail of many freshly-minted bands, as if making a definitive musical statement somehow also involves sampling the full spectrum and pretending it adds up to something more than a cheap buffet.