Thursday, February 27, 2014

Music Review Roundup – January and February 2014

Kid Cudi – Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon
Review: Satellite Flight was originally intended to be an EP, building anticipation for Kid Cudi’s return to his successful Man on the Moon album series. It probably would have worked better if it had stayed an EP. As it is, the album basically just sounds like a typical Kid Cudi release, which was interesting and fresh when Cudi first came on the scene (in 2008), but now it just feels boring and stale. We have already heard these types of tracks from him before, and they were better too. Cudi is still an extremely talented artists and there are some fantastic moments (especially from his production soundscapes, which he shares with Dot Da Genius on three tracks), but all in all it is pretty disappointing. It might be time for Cudi to start working with new collaborating producers again to help grow his sound. 2/5 Available for download here

ScHoolboy Q – Oxymoron
Review: The black hippy MC, ScHoolboy Q, has dropped an early contender for hip hop album of the year. Lyrically, Q is very conflicted about his place in the world. He is a budding rap superstar, but still feels connected to the streets – which can be very much heard in the sound of the album – and he still wants to engage in the party lifestyle, but he is a father now. It is definitely worth checking out for hip hop fans. 4/5 Available for download here

Broken Bells – After the Disco
Review: James Mercer and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) are back with another collaboration (or as some might say, a new The Shins’ album but with Danger Mouse producing and co-writing). After the Disco is a very catchy pop rock album that almost feels too tight and clean (maybe a byproduct of Mercer and Burton being great musicians). There is not much raw energy, leaving it feeling a bit stagnant, but at the same time the songs are all pretty great and infectious. Fans of The Shins will definitely find something to like here with After the Disco. 3/5 Available for download here

Dum Dum Girls – Too True
Review: Too True is the third album from this LA band. While lead singer Dee Dee’s emotive singing is still utterly compelling, the songs on Too True suffer from rather bland production. They seem to drift into the background, not demanding for the listener’s full attention. There is nothing wrong with that style of passive music, but it feels like a letdown given the groups usual striking raw quality that begs for attention. 3/5 Available for download here

St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Review: Annie Clark is again in fantastic form on her fourth solo album, working with for the third time with producer John Congleton. St. Vincent (the album) feels almost like a concept album as it focuses on themes of what it means to be a person in the digital age, an age in which we create the role of ourselves (or who we hope we will be) and then promote that role to the world digitally. Musically, this set of songs is Clark’s most ambitious. They are funky and accessible, yet still have a definite fringe aesthetic. It is the best album so far this year. 4/5 Available for download here

Warpaint – Warpaint
Review: Warpaint also hails from Los Angeles. There self-titled second album is a haunting, brooding experience of beautifully harmonized vocals that feels all consuming, and maybe even devastating if you let yourself be completely taken away. It oozes with atmosphere that may not immediately grab you; but once it does, it pulls you in and devours you – sirens calling you into the rocks. 4/5 Available for download here

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