Posts Categorized: Music

Titus Andronicus: The Most Lamentable Tragedy

If Bruce Springsteen ever wrote an epic punk rock opera about his manic depression, this is exactly what it would sound like. And who but a manic depressive in a manic state would write a 29-track album? After hearing an interview with Stickles about the making of this album he exposed himself as a pretty…read more

Kool Keith / L’Orange: Time? Astonishing!

Even as I started this album I couldn’t remember if I was firing up an MF Doom or a Kool Keith joint. The first couple tracks did very little to remind me, as Doom could easily slip into these scratchy, sampled funhouse tunes without much effort. But this, when listening to the rhymes and their…read more

Albert Hammond, Jr.: Momentary Masters

Once the pinnacle of hipster, this former Stroke has slipped mercilessly into the background. But that mercy is not ours, it’s his. To get out from under the shadow it the “it” band in any guise, even 15 years later has to be a feat greater than most others. Like an aging supermodel who once…read more

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment: Surf

There wasn’t an underground rapper hotter than Chance the Rapper in the past couple of years. I mean, besides all these Drakes and Kendricks and whatnots that you might hear on the radio. In my indie world, he was the man. Acid Rap is a great album (even making my top albums of 2013 list) and…read more

Dr. Yen Lo: Days With Dr. Yen Lo

More spoken word than rap, this so-called doctor sounds like a sleepy Def Poetry Jam participant doing his thing over MF Doom flourishes. His flow is very samey-samey throughout, laid back and kind of stoney, mixing and matching words in what seems like random ways, saying stuff without saying anything in particular. But smartly so. His references…read more

Wilco: Star Wars

More than anything I just wanted the put this album cover on my site, as I don’t really have any affinity for Wilco beyond a little dalliance with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot back in the day. I’ve always found their music to be highly overrated and kind of the middling adult contemporary buzzy auteur stuff that middle-aged…read more

Bully: Feels Like

I suppose this is what Hole would have sounded like hadn’t Kurt written all of their songs. So like later Hole when Courtney had exhausted all of the Cobian originals and definitely put her own Cali swag on things. This may sound like a negative thing, but there are certainly worse things to aspire to…read more

Sweet John Bloom: Weird Prayer

I suppose I like my rock and roll bratty. Or just a little more on the brash, less serious side. That’s why I’ve always shied away from bands like Radiohead and the like, as there seems to be a self-seriousness there that I find off-putting. I like music that comes with almost a wink and…read more

Murs: Have a Nice Life

The humble brag isn’t a good look for a rapper. That’s how Murs starts off this album with an odd God-centric track that basically talks about his comfy life, his faithful wife and his willingness to create radio-friendly music. Look, I’m no cheerleader for the G-man, but when athletes basically say, “I’m not great, I’m…read more

Waxahatchee: Ivy Tripp

I want to like this. I do. The same way I wanted to like PJ Harvey and some of those woman-fronted college radio rock bands from back in the 90s. I just can’t get past the meandering melodies of the whole thing. The lack of hooks. The lack of anything to grasp other than a…read more

Built to Spill: Untethered Moon

Built to Spill sound like a band out of time. I mean people just don’t make music like this anymore. And that’s not a sentimental statement, but more so an indictment of the current state of indie rock. To be fair, though, very few bands made music like BTS even when slightly spacey guitar rock…read more

Gang of Youths: The Positions

Opening your album with a seven-and-a-half minute song is a pretty ballsy thing to do. It’s basically a band saying, “You’re gonna take us seriously, motherfucker!” And then to make that song a clear mashup to all of your heroes in U2 and Springsteen and some Tom Waits and perhaps something a little edgier version of The…read more

Earl Sweatshirt: I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

Earl, the reform school, bipolar rap prodigy from the hot-for-a-minute Odd Future, surprisingly seems to be the one that really broke out from under the yoke of insta-fame. Surprisingly because for a while there he looked to be the one who had the most to lose. Granted, I’m stuck in the white hipster echo chamber…read more

The Decemberists: What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

The Decemberists are a ways off from their sea shanty days. A long way from tales that meandered through World War I circuses and purveyors of arcane goods and livers of extinct lifestyles. There are less instruments that look like pepper grinders and fireplace bellows and a move toward more traditional, modern day instrumentation. And…read more

Action Bronson: Mr. Wonderful

The man is like the Chris Farley of rap. On second thought he’s more like the John Belushi of rap. And it’s not just because the man loves Italian sandwiches (lots and lots of them) but because there’s more to him, more under the surface, than just the fat, smirking guy. Sure he’s hard to look…read more

The Hotelier: It Never Goes Out

I feel like someone is going to pop out any second and knock my iPhone from my hand while listening to this album and scream, “What the fuck are you listening to, you fucking pussy and your emo shit!” And then I’ll be ashamed that I really dig these guys, but poo-poo those who came…read more

2014 Albums of the Year

Looking back, 2013 was a weak-ass year for me for music. I couldn’t even come up with more than eight albums to stick on my year-end list. This year — a much stronger entry, in my opinion — I have not ten, but eleven, entries! Now keep in mind that my canvas is pretty damn…read more

Shellac: Dude Incredible

I’m a fan of Steve Albini. I’ve written [not-so] extensively about my love of his engineering prowess — most specifically about how awesome he makes drums sound. Most producers these days (and most days) make drums sound like mushy peas. Not my Steve. That is very much on display on this excellent-sounding album. In fact…read more

Dads: I’ll Be the Tornado

Something about Jersey inspires emotion. Very seldom do you get bands from The Jerz that don’t either tug at those emo heartstrings — like the original screamo act, Thursday — or hit you with that sunny nostalgia, like Yo La Tengo. I mean if you really break it down, the original NJ rocker himself, B. Springsteen,…read more

Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 2

I have a love/hate relationship with modern rap. Mostly hate. With the whole mixtape thing, it feels like the market has been saturated with a bunch of assholes who have a laptop and absolutely nothing to say. How do I know you slang and shoot? You could be a kid in your basement in Sudbury,…read more