Album Of The Week

Album Of The Week: AlunaGeorge Body Music

By Tom Breihan / July 30, 2013 - 1:38 pm

R&B is different in England. Some of it is that old, stereotypical British reserve, but a lot of other factors are at work, too. In the UK, the music doesn’t have nearly the church pedigree that it does over here, and it doesn’t have the same weight of historical importance; it’s not struggle music, exactly. More »

Album Of The Week: Fuck Buttons Slow Focus

By Tom Breihan / July 23, 2013 - 12:10 pm

Of all the moderately popular bands with the word “fuck” in their band name, Fucked Up is and will always be my favorite. But London’s Fuck Buttons, now three albums deep into a career that turns noise into planetarium music, do the most to earn their “fuck.” The “fuck” in Fuck Buttons’ name doesn’t remotely… More »

Album Of The Week: Ka The Night’s Gambit

By Tom Breihan / July 16, 2013 - 1:14 pm

A week and a half after Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail went out to a million Samsung users, another long-pedigreed Brooklyn rapper found an unconventional way to release an album. But this one was different: A few cardboard boxes of CDs and vinyl, carted out to a West Village street corner. Before the Brownsville rapper/producer… More »

Album Of The Week: Daughn Gibson Me Moan

By Tom Breihan / July 9, 2013 - 4:37 pm

Sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s, David Lynch and cartoonishly handsome honky-tonk revivalist Chris Isaak inexplicably became good buds. Lynch used Isaak songs in Blue Velvet and Wild At Heart and directed a lesser-seen video for Isaak’s immortal “Wicked Game” (the one without Helena Christensen in it). Then, Isaak played whatever passed for… More »

Album Of The Week: El-P & Killer Mike Run The Jewels

By Tom Breihan / July 2, 2013 - 4:05 pm

The parallel is both obvious and ludicrous, and I kind of hate myself for making it, but just bear with me for a minute. Two years ago, a ferocious veteran rapper and a boundary-smashing, synth-addicted rapper/producer, two guys who’d been friends and collaborators for a long time, got together, as a duo, to make a… More »

Album Of The Week: Smith Westerns Soft Will

By Tom Breihan / June 25, 2013 - 2:35 pm

In the mid-’60s, when garage rock was first starting to be a thing, bands weren’t trying to play garage rock. They were trying to be the Beatles, or (more often) the Rolling Stones. But their sloppy approximations had their own headlong charm, and years later, when Lenny Kaye assembled the first Nuggets compilation, they were… More »

Album Of The Week: Austra Olympia

By Tom Breihan / June 18, 2013 - 1:39 pm

Music critics make mistakes all the time, and I made one two years ago, when I reviewed Austra’s debut album Feel It Break for Pitchfork. I gave that album a positive review, but it was one of those wait-and-see positive reviews, like, “They’re onto something here! Let’s see what they can do next time around!”… More »

Album Of The Week: Boards Of Canada Tomorrow’s Harvest

By Tom Breihan / June 11, 2013 - 2:51 pm

It’s been the year of grand returns, of nerd-beloved touchstones coming back after long silences and cranking out the cohesive studio products that we’d learned to stop expecting from them long ago. Studio-rat geniuses who haven’t given us proper albums in seven or nine or 22 years, people who’d been occupying themselves with side project… More »

Album Of The Week: Disclosure Settle

By Tom Breihan / June 4, 2013 - 1:56 pm

Has there ever been a great single-artist UK garage album? Garage, the skittery dance subgenre that crossed over in Britain around the turn of the millennium, was mostly a singles-driven genre. Built on shiny R&B hooks and tricky, propulsive drum programming, it cranked out anthem after anthem between 1999 and 2001, before it gradually morphed… More »

Album Of The Week: Kylesa Ultraviolet

By Tom Breihan / May 28, 2013 - 2:26 pm

Thanks to the thundering two-drummer onslaught of their live shows and the basement-punk fury of their 2009 album Static Tensions, Savannah’s Kylesa were probably already my favorite active metal band by the time they released Spiral Shadow two and a half years ago. But that album only deepened my love of this band, since it… More »

Album Of The Week: Majical Cloudz Impersonator

By Tom Breihan / May 21, 2013 - 3:29 pm

You never, as a music dork, stop learning this lesson, but the truth behind it stands: It’s always, always a bad idea to dismiss an artist based on a terrible name. That rule is right up there with “horrendous rappers get better all the time, so stop believing it can’t happen,” and we break the… More »

Album Of The Week: Dungeonesse Dungeonesse

By Tom Breihan / May 14, 2013 - 3:36 pm

You haven’t always been able to hear it in the actual music that comes out of the city, but Baltimore’s DIY-heavy indie rock scene has always been a beautifully unsnobby and pop-happy sort of place. I haven’t lived there in nearly eight years, and haven’t spent nearly enough time there since I moved out, but… More »

Album Of The Week: Savages Silence Yourself

By Tom Breihan / May 7, 2013 - 4:21 pm

The music made by Savages, the four-piece London band who released their debut album Silence Yourself today, is a direct and linear thing. It’s easy to get the sense that the band plots out its arrangements on graph paper, figuring out the intricacies of guitar/bass interplay with mathematical precision, or that its reduced every element… More »

Album Of The Week: Coliseum Sister Faith

By Tom Breihan / April 30, 2013 - 3:54 pm

This used to be what indie rock sounded like. During the 1990s, Elephant 6 and Belle And Sebastian were outliers, and the genre (which really was more genre and less loose lifestyle appellation) hadn’t erased all traces of the get-in-the-van ’80s hardcore that helped birth it. As late as a decade ago, when the Louisville… More »

Album Of The Week: The So So Glos Blowout

By Tom Breihan / April 23, 2013 - 2:00 pm

If you know one thing about Brooklyn punk band the So So Glos, it’s that they’re good friends and frequent tourmates of Titus Andronicus, and if you know two things about them, it’s that they’re OGs in the Brooklyn DIY scene, having helped found venues like the Market Hotel and Shea Stadium. The Brooklyn DIY… More »

Album Of The Week: Charli XCX True Romance

By Tom Breihan / April 16, 2013 - 4:25 pm

The British singer Charli XCX emerged from the internet ether about a year and a half ago, around the same time most of us noticed Grimes, and she seemed cut from the same cloth. In her videos, she looked like a futuristic platform-booted goth-rave cyborg — a sort of living mall-pop signifier and a living… More »

Album Of The Week: Kurt Vile Wakin On A Pretty Daze

By Tom Breihan / April 9, 2013 - 3:34 pm

Three or four years ago, I saw Kurt Vile play one of the worst live sets of my life. He was the second act on a triple-bill at Chicago’s Empty Bottle, one that also featured Fucked Up and Zola Jesus, two strong and dynamic and ferocious live acts. Vile, by contrast, stood up there with… More »

Album Of The Week: Milk Music Cruise Your Illusion

By Tom Breihan / April 2, 2013 - 4:13 pm

When people describe Olympia, Washington, they usually talk about it as a deep-wooded, weeded-out hippie enclave, but I’m not sure they get across how much of a deep-wooded, weeded-out hippie enclave it really is. I spent a week there with friends nearly a decade ago, and by the time I flew back to Baltimore, I… More »

Album Of The Week: Kvelertak Meir

By Tom Breihan / March 26, 2013 - 4:51 pm

I love a lot of underground metal, but I’m a pretty bad underground metal fan. Underground metal, less a scene or even a single genre and more a vast interconnected web of global subcultures, doesn’t exist as a monolitic whole. But the people who are really into it, including our own Michael Nelson, often prize… More »

Album Of The Week: Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience

By Tom Breihan / March 19, 2013 - 1:05 pm

I was worried about this one, and I was mostly worried because “Suit & Tie” sounds less like a first single and more like a work of brand maintenance. Jay-Z’s indolent guest-verse was what really got the alarm bells ringing, mostly because it seemed to foretell Timberlake’s own version of Kingdom Come, Jay’s catastrophic attempt… More »

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