Anderson .Paak – Malibu

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Anderson .Paak. Yes, my punctuation is correct. He put that dot in front of the “P” to remind himself of attention to detail. As it turns out, he paid very close attention to detail when crafting Malibu, his second album under the name Anderson .Paak and his first directly under the spotlight. Paak grew up in a Black/Korean family in Oxnard, Ca. and his decade-long pursuit of a music career… continue reading


mewithoutYou- Pale Horses

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mewithoutYou has returned to their religious roots, only to make their most vast, different album to date. The band formed 15 years ago as a Christian rock group, writing music similar to La Dispute in that the lyrics and music are entirely separate entities which only come together later. This allows singer Aaron Weiss’ poetry to shine through, even on past releases in which the singing and/or music has been criticized. Pale Horses shifts… continue reading


The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness

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Following The Weeknd’s ascent into full pop stardom has been interesting. Abel Tesfaye began his career by quietly dropping “Loft Music,” “The Morning” and “What You Need” on YouTube in late 2010, where prospectors were fascinated by his chilled-out elevator music over ghostly vocals. He released three free mixtapes that were soon fused into a compilation, Trilogy, released by Universal Republic in 2012 that garnered positive acclaim and even sparked… continue reading


Beach House – Depression Cherry

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Going into my first listen of /Depression Cherry/, I had the lone goal of figuring out what exactly the title meant, because the words “depression” and “cherry” are words that I never expected to be used side-by-side in any context. I could not give you an answer to that after however many times I listened to it. But I did notice something unusual for a Beach House album. /Depression Cherry/… continue reading


Miguel – Wildheart

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A quick glance at the cover art of Miguel’s Wildheart is all it takes to get a good idea of what’s to come on the album. It’s cosmic, colorful and Miguel’s shirtless figure towering over a bowed, naked woman is a less-than-subtle way of telling us that there will be no lack of sexuality. While in some ways this image is the perfect flyer for Miguel’s music, it doesn’t do… continue reading


Holly Herndon – Platform

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Holly Herndon’s Platform, a creatural awakening sandwiched between thumping techno and intricate electronic glitch, maximizes the potential of human voice by contrasting it with a future dominated by technology. Herndon has always been interested in this computerized vision of the future; her previous two albums, Car and Movement, somehow communicated both the fear and beauty of a technologic tomorrowland. Platform is an imagination of contemporary life in a completely mechanical-dominated… continue reading


Hop Along – Painted Shut

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When Hop Along dropped the “Queen Ansleis” part of their name in 2012, it was as if a window of cynicism had slammed shut onto the fingers of the listening public.  Gone was the beady-eyed optimism that inspired the band’s name in the first place, back when a college-age Frances Quinlan told listeners to “sing your song” despite what your guidance counselor may tell you.  The acoustic guitar and playfully… continue reading

in colour

Jamie xx – In Colour

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Compare, visually, Jamie xx’s better-known gig to his new album In Colour and you’ll learn all you need to about how the projects differ. The xx operate with a stark minimalism of a piece with their monochromatic album covers, finding grooves and beauty in intimate places. In Colour, like its album art, is prismatic. On his long-awaited debut Jamie xx embraces the panoramic gorgeousness he first flirted with on the xx’s second (and… continue reading


Big Data – 2.0

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    No your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that’s actually the album cover for 2.0, the debut album from Brooklyn-based electronic music project Big Data, helmed by American producer Alan Wilkis. So quit worrying, the file isn’t lost and your computer doesn’t have a virus. In all seriousness, as debut electronic albums go it’s rare to find one that sounds like it was made by so experienced a producer and… continue reading

just kids

Mat Kearney – Just Friends

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  The past several years have seen Mat Kearney’s music evolve from his initial intimate coffee shop acoustic sound into a more pop-based sound laced with hints of hip hop. But despite this, he has maintained the same genuine lyrics and ear-catching hooks that draws listeners in, and continues to do so with the release of his fifth full-length album in late February Just Kids. Featuring several catchy, summery songs… continue reading

Horse Comanche

Chadwick Stokes – The Horse Comanche

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  It’s easy to dismiss a musician’s stab at a solo career when it follows a successful run in a better-known act. Many artists’ solo projects, or second and third projects in general, go unnoticed, and often new endeavors become flops that are not worth a second listen. But others represent a new stage of musical brilliance. Sometimes, with experience gained from performing for decades, and the freedom of working… continue reading