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Album Reviews

Goo Goo Dolls Brighten It Up on “Magnetic” –Album Review

Warner Bros (2013)

There seems to be an undercurrent of expectation these days that rock bands need to strive to reinvent themselves or take quantum evolutionary leaps forward with each new album they create. However, after 25 years, 9 studio albums and gobs of success, it’s a bit unrealistic to place that kind of expectation on the Goo Goo Dolls. They have a sound that works for them, a sound their fans have […]

Aceyalone “Leanin’ On Slick” — Album Review

Decon Records (2013)

If TV One’s “Unsung” was adapted for hip-hop, Aceyalone and the Freestyle Fellowship would deserve to be the first artists to feature. Mainstream recognition never came to Acey and his cohorts – and not that they ever attempted to compromise their music. Still, his influence and the respect he commands from the L.A. underground hip-hop faithful is immense. Emerging from the Good Life Café/Project Blowed in south central Los Angeles’ […]

City and Colour “The Hurry and the Harm” – Album Review

City and Colour, Inc. (2013)

What began as a personal side project for songwriter/guitarist Dallas Green has become big enough to become his main gig. With post-hardcore band alexisonfire now wrapped up, Green’s solo indie-folk moniker City and Colour now takes center stage with his fourth release under that name, The Hurry and the Harm. Funny, though—this feels like old news. I don’t think anyone thought (least of all Green) City and Colour would gain […]

Disclosure “Settle” – Album Review

Island (2013)

Widely credited with giving the commercial dance scene the shot in the arm it needed after being dominated by brainless fun-in-the-club trash-pop and bombastic dubstep-by-numbers over the last few years, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, aka Disclosure, now face the challenge of maintaining their high standards over the entirety of a 14-track LP, Settle. Of course, the siblings’ have already released one of the most consistently strong series of singles […]

Camera Obscura “Desire Lines” –Album Review

4AD (2013)

Some bands we love because of they always surprise us, and some bands we love because they are consistent. Scottish indie-pop act Camera Obscura are definitely in the second group. Simply put, if you do something well and people like it—and if the expression is right for you—then you don’t change it; you just make it better. That’s exactly what Camera Obscura have done with their latest, Desire Lines. They […]

The White Mandingos “The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me” — Album Review

Fat Beats Records (2013)

Parody rap has a place in the marketplace (see: Lonely Island). On the surface, The White Mandingos would suggest it is a project in the same vein. Comprised of L.A. indie rap hero Murs, Bad Brains guitarist Daryl Jenifer and ego trip co-founder and writer Sacha Jenkins, the oxymoronic name the trio have chosen as their name suggests a lighthearted, off-the-wall approach. In some ways, it is that, but in […]

Jon Hopkins “Immunity” – Album Review

Domino (2013)

After a decade of toiling away on the London electronica scene to pretty much total apathy, multi-instrumentalist/producer Jon Hopkins then found himself co-producing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death To All His Friends, recording the soundtrack to Gareth Edwards’ critically-acclaimed sci-fi flick Monsters, and earning a Mercury Prize nomination for Diamond Mine, his collaborative LP with King Creosote, all within the space of three years. This whirlwind period undoubtedly appears […]

Queens Of the Stone Age “…Like Clockwork” –Album Review

Matador (2013)

Make no mistake about it: frontman Josh Homme wants to unnerve you. If we could describe the vibe on the latest release by Queens Of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork, in a single word, I think “unnerving” would be a good word choice. It starts with the album cover (‘nuff said), and intensifies with the leadoff track “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”, opening with the sound of shattering glass and following […]

Ben Fold Five Goes “Live”

Ben Folds/Sony Music (2013)

Anyone else as glad as me to hear these guys together again? Not that Ben Folds isn’t awesome on his own, because he is. But there’s just something about when Ben Folds Five come together with their synergy of pop, rock and jazz that sends me. That synergy doesn’t just come across in their records; it also makes for some amazing live performances. Happily for us, when BFF reunited and […]

The-Dream “IV Play” — Album Review

Def Jam Records (2013)

Not since R. Kelly has an R&B artist emerged with a complete package – a signature sound, voice and a mighty pen – the way that The-Dream has managed to do. Coming out of Atlanta as a songwriter for B2K and ex-wife Nivea, Terius Nash solidified his pop songwriting prowess when he penned the smash hit “Umbrella” for Rihanna. The brass at Def Jam subsequently allowed The-Dream to shine through […]

Eisley “Currents” – Album Review

Equal Vision (2013)

Life has been fairly busy for the five-piece indie-pop family act Eisley, not just in all the obvious hard work put into their latest release Currents, but in family life in general, as four of the band mates recently entered parenthood. This fact alone makes it fairly remarkable that Currents is quite possibly the band’s most mature and focused work to date. Recorded in their home studio, and unshackled from […]

Crystal Fighters “Cave Rave” – Album Review

Zirkulo (2013)

Renowned for their theatrical live shows, a heady mix of folktronica, rock-opera and tequila, Anglo-Spanish collective Crystal Fighters may have concerned some fans over their ramshackle spirit by naming their second studio album Cave Rave. Thankfully, the follow-up to 2010’s Star Of Love isn’t the wall-to-wall club bangers affair its title suggests. Indeed, there’s still plenty of Crystal Fighters’ favoured exotic instrumentation (e.g., the Basque txalaparta, the Bolivian charango) on […]

Alice In Chains “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” –Album Review

Capitol (2013)

Let’s start with an honest admission: Alice In Chains will never be quite the same band after the tragic death of frontman Layne Staley in 2002. And it wouldn’t feel right if they tried to be. Staley wasn’t just the voice of Alice In Chains; in many ways he was the heart, as well. But that doesn’t mean this metal-tinged grunge band (or grunge-tinged metal band, depending on how you […]

Mount Kimbie “Cold Spring Fault Less Youth” – Album Review

Warp (2013)

Largely responsible for putting the ‘post-dubstep’ term on the radar, London producers Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, aka Mount Kimbie, paved the way for the likes of James Blake with their 2010 debut album Crooks & Lovers. But after admitting that they find most of the music they have since inspired rather dull, the pair have made a conscious decision to distance themselves from the sub-genre with their follow-up, Cold […]

Laura Marling “Once I Was an Eagle” –Album Review

Ribbon Music (2013)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the cover art on Laura Marling’s latest effort Once I Was an Eagle is an epic poem in itself. A bare-backed Marling reaching for the sky as high as she can—it brilliantly tells the story of this record. Having already made such a name for herself by age 23 as a remarkably mature singer-songwriter, Marling could have just coasted with this album […]