Splendor Squalor (out now on Kanine), the second full-length from Brooklyn-based Xray Eyeballs, finds the quartet in a much poppier place than they were on their first effort, Not Nothing. The raw, energetic sound backing O.J. San Felipe’s husky vocals is still present, along with the perfect blend of nostalgia for sounds of the past with a vision decidedly focused on the future. But if Not Nothing felt like a Velvet Undergound–hosted night of garage ... Read More
After an especially traumatic breakup, Islands frontman Nick Thorburn moved from New York to Los Angeles, looking to find solace in a new environment. On Valentine’s Day of last year, Thorburn sat down at a piano and began to play what would become A Sleep & A Forgetting (out now on Anti-), an album in which Thorburn exorcises the demons of his heartbreak, showing both despair and forward-looking optimism. Recorded in just two weeks, the album is less ... Read More
The solitary struggles and internal vacillation that helped Erika Wennerstrom build The Mountain have led her to a grounded place of reflection on the Heartless Bastards' new album Arrow (out now on Partisan). This 10-song LP is a travelogue from the open road that rambles through the rust-colored dirt and expansive landscape of the Southwest. “Marathon,” a meditative prologue, is the warm-up stretch that kicks the journey into gear, rolling into the ... Read More
Gotye’s highly-anticipated third release Making Mirrors (out now on Samples'n'Seconds/Fairfax/Universal Republic) is filled with percussion-driven songs in a wide range of compositional styles. Recorded in a barn down under in remote Australia, Belgian multi-instrumentalist Wouter "Wally" De Backer creates an intricate, expansive sound on what's sure to be a breakout album (FYI: Gotye is pronounced "Gauthier," from the French translation of Wouter). The ... Read More
Let January 31, 2012 be known as the day that it happened: the day that Born to Die (out now on Interscope) finally dropped. After months of furious Internet opining, illegal downloads of leaked tracks, tons of grainy live footage, and one questionable Saturday Night Live performance, we now have an entire record of moody, lilting pop songs with which to rightfully judge Lana Del Rey. So what is the verdict?
It is—wait for it—not that bad. Some ... Read More