Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: The Smashing Pumpkins Monuments To An Elegy

By Michael Nelson / December 2, 2014 - 11:54 am
78

The Smashing Pumpkins defy easy narratives, but it seems safe to say the band’s “classic era” ended as soon as its “classic lineup” fractured. The Pumpkins’ immortal first three albums — 1991’s Gish, ’93’s Siamese Dream, and ’95’s Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness — were at least superficially created by the quartet of Billy… More »


Premature Evaluation: TV On The Radio Seeds

By Tom Breihan / November 13, 2014 - 10:06 am
34

2014 has been an interesting year for the creative forces behind the early-’00s New York rock renaissance. Julian Casablancas went into messily experimental prog-pop overdrive on Tyranny, while Karen O turned toward lo-fi insularity on Crush Songs. One album had too many ideas; the other had not enough. Interpol, meanwhile, continued to do Interpol thing… More »


Premature Evaluation: Foo Fighters Sonic Highways

By Tom Breihan / November 10, 2014 - 9:33 am
50

There’s a moment on the third episode of Sonic Highways, Dave Grohl’s new HBO show, where Grohl warns his bandmates not to let their environment affect them too much. They’re in Nashville, recording the third song of the Sonic Highways album at Grohl’s country-music buddy Zac Brown’s studio. Grohl is worried that the song i… More »


Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989

By Tom Breihan / October 27, 2014 - 4:29 pm
167

“Respect motherfucking craft when you hear it.” Writing for Brooklyn’s L Magazine six years ago, that was how I ended my review of Taylor Swift’s triumphant sophomore album Fearless. (The review isn’t online anymore, but the Village Voice was nice enough to reprint some highlights.) Back when I wrote that, Swift was ostensibly making country… More »


Premature Evaluation: Flying Lotus You’re Dead!

By Patric Fallon / October 3, 2014 - 4:59 pm
21

Full disclosure: I am not exactly well-versed in the deep, labyrinthine history of jazz music. Sure, I know my Mingus from my Monk, my Coltrane from my Coleman, but I can’t speak on the lineage of Blue Note Records or tell you which tiny, smoke-filled New York clubs were “the place to be” for jazz… More »


Premature Evaluation: Weezer Everything Will Be Alright In The End

By Michael Nelson / September 30, 2014 - 9:35 am
110

The first single from Weezer’s new album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, opens with an apology. That song, of course, is “Back To The Shack,” and that apology is contrite: “Sorry guys, I didn’t realize that I needed you so much/ I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks/… More »


Premature Evaluation: Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

By Chris DeVille / September 26, 2014 - 4:20 pm
59

Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes deserves to be taken on its own terms — and on those terms, it’s a marvelous piece of work. This is a Thom Yorke album, though, so it’s impossible not to experience the music in the context of his long, legendary career. Furthermore, the album arrives during somewhat of a cold spell… More »


Premature Evaluation: Aphex Twin SYRO

By Tom Breihan / September 18, 2014 - 1:47 pm
24

Here’s how fucking weird 2014 is: Aphex Twin returned from a decade-long exile with a new album, and the thing sounds comforting. If you’re old enough, you probably remember hearing a new Aphex track for the first time and having the old “Wh-wh-what the fuck is happening here?!?” reaction. He made music that sounded impossible,… More »


Premature Evaluation: Alt-J This Is All Yours

By Chris DeVille / September 16, 2014 - 3:09 pm
16

With An Awesome Wave, their Mercury Prize-winning 2012 debut album, Alt-J went from 0 to 100 real quick, transforming from anonymous schlubs into world-famous rock stars. They did so by forging a strikingly unique brand of prog-rock, approachable in its familiarity yet unapologetic in its weirdness. The band was formed at the University of Leed… More »


Premature Evaluation: U2 Songs Of Innocence

By Tom Breihan / September 11, 2014 - 11:04 am
144

On Tuesday afternoon, you could do a Twitter search for the phrase “who is U2″ and come away with some serious food for thought. Not everyone, it turned out, was watching Apple’s big unveiling of its iPhone 6. Not everyone saw the news reports that the world’s biggest band had beamed a brand-new album into… More »


Premature Evaluation: Death From Above 1979 The Physical World

By Tom Breihan / September 3, 2014 - 9:50 am
19

A decade ago, when Death From Above 1979 first stalked the earth, it was hard to know what to do with them. They weren’t dance-punk, and they weren’t noise-rock, though if you squinted hard enough, they were both. They had the same personnel setup as Lightning Bolt, and they played loud riffs like Lightning Bolt,… More »


Premature Evaluation: Interpol El Pintor

By Chris DeVille / August 28, 2014 - 10:05 am
143

Does the world need another Interpol album? I ask because El Pintor is best described as “another Interpol album.” This is objectively true in the sense that it is an album, and it is by Interpol, and there were others before it. It also feels subjectively true because El Pintor’s predecessors were already becoming difficult… More »


Premature Evaluation: Spoon They Want My Soul

By Tom Breihan / July 28, 2014 - 3:09 pm
100

There’s a moment on Spoon’s new song “Outlier” where Britt Daniel sneaks a sharp splinter of film criticism into one of the tough, terse, personal songs that Spoon is so known for: “I remember when you walked out of Garden State / You had taste, you had taste / You had no time to waste.”… More »


Premature Evaluation: Morrissey World Peace Is None Of Your Business

By Timothy Bracy And Elizabeth Bracy / July 7, 2014 - 9:59 am
16

Long one of rock and roll’s most cantankerous headline makers, the past eighteen months have seen Morrissey refining his troublemaking tactics in new and unforeseen ways. There was the generally well-received but appropriately polemical memoir (issued with winking pomposity on the Penguin Classics imprint, usually reserved for authors of canonical importance), the Jimmy Kimmel/Duck DynastyMore »


Premature Evaluation: Aphex Twin Caustic Window

By Patric Fallon / June 17, 2014 - 12:59 pm
9

There aren’t many reasons why a finished album would never be released to the public. Most available explanations might involve irreconcilable differences between an artist and his record label, or, even more likely, bureaucratic forces beyond the artist’s control. But none of that explains the story of Caustic Window, the so-called “lost album” produced by… More »


Premature Evaluation: Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence

By Tom Breihan / June 13, 2014 - 10:22 am
45

There were plenty of good reasons not to like Born To Die, Lana Del Rey’s first album, and there were plenty of bad reasons, too. I hated the album, for reasons both good and bad. Good reasons: It was thin and underwritten and brittle and overproduced, its album tracks lacking the grand fucked-out majesty of… More »


Premature Evaluation: Jack White Lazaretto

By Tom Breihan / June 2, 2014 - 5:23 pm
41

Jack White seems to be in a weird life-place right now. As someone who regularly writes news stories about White, writing news stories about White isn’t much fun. If you’re inclined to build an image of someone’s inner life out of the scraps of information that go public, it’s easy to envision White as a… More »


Premature Evaluation: Fucked Up Glass Boys

By Chris DeVille / May 30, 2014 - 12:55 pm
15

According to legend, punk rock began as a reaction against classic-rock excess. But every revolution calcifies into tradition eventually, and every rebellious kid has to grapple with growing up. On top of that inexorable life cycle, we’re living in an era of synthesis and quasi-universalism, when most of the taboos that helped keep music scene… More »


Premature Evaluation: Coldplay Ghost Stories

By Chris DeVille / May 13, 2014 - 11:29 am
90

Ghost Stories is a breakup album, but it’s also a Coldplay album. “Call it magic/ Cut me into two,” Chris Martin sings amidst the iridescent churn of lead single “Magic,” presumably referencing the excruciating pain that accompanied his much-publicized “conscious uncoupling.” But before the song is even over, he’s declaring, “Still believe in magic/ Ye… More »


Premature Evaluation: Swans To Be Kind

By Tom Breihan / May 5, 2014 - 9:27 am
45

Have you ever heard voices? The sound of people echoing around in your head, unsettling you deeply, even when you know they’re not real? I have. Only a couple of times. Didn’t last long. I was at the library near my house one day once, maybe nine years old, spending hours paging through old movie… More »


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