Tag » album review
Ellie Goulding’s debut Lights reached the U.S. in 2011, but it didn’t take off for over a year. Now, Goulding is new pop royalty, and Halcyon presents a stark contrast to her introduction. Where Lights possessed an almost naïve view of the world, Halcyon shows her to have matured. Songs like “My Blood” and “Dead in the Water” take hopelessness to new heights. Read More
Crystal Castles set the bar pretty high for their third release. After all, NME named their eponymous debut the 39th greatest album of the last decade, and their sophomore effort received widespread critical acclaim. Luckily,  Alice Glass and Ethan Kath show no signs of slacking off on (III). This time around, they’ve abandoned some of the thrashing punk of their self-titled 2008 release while retaining the abrasive energy of a noise band. The result? A little less Slayer, a little more Ladytron. Read More
Lightning strikes a fourth time with Matt and Kim’s newest album. If the Brooklyn duo seems familiar, perhaps it’s because you saw their bare-naked asses in the now-classic “Lessons Learned” video. Behind the keyboard, Matt Johnson’s deviant, almost Dookie-esque vocals combined with Kim Schifino’s gung-ho drumming make for an upbeat, heart attack-paced record with just a hint of disco. As the first of several party anthems on this track, “Let’s Go” is also the best, and perhaps the exact song you’d want playing while giving birth. Read More
Ever fancy yourself doing the hula on the sands of Hawaii? Singer-songwriter Victoria Bergsman’s musical outfit Taken by Trees can transport you there, metaphorically speaking, with her third album Other Worlds. During a visit to the idyllic paradise, Bergsman found herself amidst a creative swell, so much so that she fashioned the LP as an impressionist poem that sings the tropical locale’s praises. On “Only You,” Bergsman lulls, “All I ever wanted is in front of me. Read More
Oh Blues Explosion, where have you been? Who’s been playing that dripping-wet, gut-punching, sleaze-blues noise that you so reliably delivered? After the comparatively cleaner albums Plastic Fang and Damage, and a long hiatus, I thought JSBX were happily semi-retired. But lo! Not only are they back with a new record, but it’s also their dirtiest bit of business since 1998’s Acme. Read More
  In the three and a half years since Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) released Two Suns, her brand of vaguely goth chamber pop has taken off—just ask Florence + the Machine, Zola Jesus, or Grimes. Those ladies are wonderful, of course, but we’ve missed Bat for Lashes’ singularly weird beauty. On her third album, The Haunted Man, Khan’s talent is out in full force. Opener “Lilies” kicks things off with an operatic, string-laced bang that recalls Kate Bush, the O.G. chamber-pop icon. Read More
Jumping seamlessly from style to style and interweaving elements from garage rock, ’60s girl groups, and cabaret, the music of Austin-based duo Agent Ribbons is hard to classify. On Let Them Talk, the band takes a lighter turn than on its past two full-lengths and embraces the whimsical side of its twisted-fairytale style. Opener “Family Haircut” begins with ethereal “oohs” sung over ominous drums, but soon enough, the pace picks up while frontwoman Natalie Gordon sings, “A restless heart is like a satellite. Read More
  If you enjoyed the cacophonous hooks of Micachu and the Shapes’ 2009 debut Jewellery, you’ll be happy to hear much of the same on the band’s second studio album Never. The LP may seem languid upon first listen, but it packs a punch. Although she’s classically trained, frontwoman Mica Levi finds merriment in the use of nontraditional instruments and household objects on Never—therein lies its uniqueness. The first track “Easy” starts off with what sounds like a cowbell gone mad. Read More
  N.Y.C.’s MNDR serves up a rough-cut gem with its first full-length, Feed Me Diamonds. Comprised of duo Amanda Warner and Peter Wade, the band’s ’80s-inspired, electro sound doesn’t go down as easily as straight-up pop music because the beats and synths are unrefined, raw, and gritty. Werner often wavers between hitting and not hitting her notes, which adds tension to the already deliciously strained music. The single “#1 in Heaven” is the first track on the album, but it’s by no means the only draw. Read More
  With an emphatic nod to the ’80s, Omaha-based trio Icky Blossoms’ eponymous debut is a super danceable affair that’ll have you caking on the blue eye shadow and hiking up your acid-washed jeans. Extroverted songs dominate the album, with explosions of cosmic synthesizers and drum-machine claps (this band loves clapping) that recall a poppier New Order. “Sex to the Devil” showcases frontwoman Sarah Bohling’s hypnotic vocals, while “Babes” drips with sultry, girl-lovin’ lyrics. Read More