Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Agalloch The Serpent & The Sphere

By Michael Nelson / April 7, 2014 - 11:11 am

The fifth full-length album from Portland, OR-based black-ish metal band Agalloch, The Serpent & The Sphere, opens with a 10-and-a-half-minute track called “Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation,” and it is a mindfuck. The song spends some three and a half minutes laboriously building from near-total silence, and upon finally hitting its groove,… More »

Premature Evaluation: The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams

By Tom Breihan / March 17, 2014 - 11:29 am

There are two different ways to experience a Hold Steady album for the first time. There is, of course, the first time you throw the album on, the first time you let the riffs reverberate around in your ribcage for a couple of minutes and then blur into the background while you’re driving or doing… More »

Premature Evaluation: The War On Drugs Lost In The Dream

By Tom Breihan / March 10, 2014 - 9:28 am

One afternoon last week, your Stereogum staff put in serious work on an email thread, attempting to figure out which ’80s corporate-rock entity, exactly, the War On Drugs sound most like on their new album Lost In The Dream. Among the staff, various theories include Don Henley, Sting, Dire Straits, Born In The U.S.A.-era Springsteen,… More »

Premature Evaluation: Real Estate Atlas

By Chris DeVille / March 3, 2014 - 4:44 pm

It snowed yet again yesterday in Ohio, so I spent the entire day inside with my wife taking it easy and enjoying each other’s company. We laid around in bed for a while, fixed up a late breakfast, worked ahead on some projects, watched a few episodes of Gilmore Girls on DVD, spent some time… More »

Premature Evaluation: Rick Ross Mastermind

By Tom Breihan / March 3, 2014 - 1:59 pm

It feels like it’s been a lifetime since word leaked out that the actual backstory of William Leonard Roberts II, since we learned that his real prison-guard past couldn’t be further removed from the drug kingpin he likes to portray on record. His ability to sell that over-the-top and avowedly fake persona has been a… More »

Premature Evaluation: Pharrell Williams G I R L

By Tom Breihan / February 27, 2014 - 1:09 pm

There was a time, back when Pharrell Williams was the single nerdiest human being whose face appeared regularly on Rap City, when Pharrell’s strangulated cat-screech of a falsetto was maybe the most charming thing about him. Back then, Pharrell and Chad Hugo, the Neptunes, were crafting brittle, wriggly, punishing rap beats that sounded like the… More »

Premature Evaluation: Beck Morning Phase

By Tom Breihan / February 17, 2014 - 9:55 am

Beck hasn’t made an album under his own name in six years, but he’s done plenty of thinking about albums — about how they work, about what they can do. He’s taken to producing albums for other people, and one of those, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM, is the strongest Beck-associated LP since Sea Change (or, at… More »

Premature Evaluation: Beyoncé BEYONCÉ

By Tom Breihan / December 16, 2013 - 2:25 pm

There’s some chance that Beyoncé’s new self-titled album is the best album that anyone has released in 2013. I don’t want to overstate things here; it’s not perfect. Jay Z’s verse on “Drunk In Love” is pretty bad, and it’s pretty inconsiderate that he couldn’t show up when Beyoncé was nice enough to record a… More »

Premature Evaluation: M.I.A. Matangi

By Tom Breihan / November 4, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Talking to Pitchfork last month, M.I.A. called “Paper Planes” “an accident”: “It wasn’t a song we made for the masses. It took two years to get popular, and there were many fights about censoring the gunshot sounds.” And she’s right; the track took a weird and circuitous route to pop ubiquity; it famously had to… More »

Premature Evaluation: Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2

By Tom Breihan / November 1, 2013 - 12:32 pm

Pity the noise music underground. Think of it: An entire global scene taking root and flowering over the course of decades, finding strongholds in unlikely urban centers, developing its own crusty-warehouse touring circuit. And now it’s an entire network of bands, labels, record stores, venues, festivals — all dedicated to the pursuit of creating the… More »

Premature Evaluation: Arcade Fire Reflektor

By Tom Breihan / October 25, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Arcade Fire have spent the better part of a decade growing into their own majesty. Funeral, for all its estimable sweep, existed very much in the context of early-’00s indie, with all the scraggly yelping and old-timey pianos that were so in vogue in that Modest Mouse/Bright Eyes era. The ambition and enthusiasm were very… More »

Premature Evaluation: Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt

By Ryan Leas / October 8, 2013 - 11:37 am

Titles say a lot in Pearl Jam’s discography. Not in the sense that they do with any artist — you know, cluing you into what they’re writing about — but in the sense that the structure of their titles hints at what version of Pearl Jam you’re about to get. For the longest time, they… More »

Premature Evaluation: The Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley

By Chris DeVille / October 7, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Until now, the Dismemberment Plan’s discography has been a near-perfect chronicle of the arc from smartass youthful exuberance to quarter-life crisis to grown-up stability, culminating in the well-adjusted grace of 2001’s Change. And what follows such strides into adulthood but marriage, kids, day jobs, and a retreat from the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle (after some… More »

Premature Evaluation: Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience – 2 Of 2

By Tom Breihan / September 25, 2013 - 2:42 pm

When Justin Timberlake released “Take Back The Night,” the first single from the second volume of his The 20/20 Experience album, there was some confusion on the internet: How in the hell did Timberlake think it was OK to give his slick disco-revival single the same name as an anti-rape institution that’s been around for… More »

Premature Evaluation: Drake Nothing Was The Same

By Tom Breihan / September 17, 2013 - 1:56 pm

Drake changed rap. He reshaped the landscape and forever altered the things that we expect from big rap stars. Before Drake, sensitive souls like Andre 3000 and Kanye West made a point of showing what rap stardom could look like if you dropped all the tough-guy stuff, but none of them came across quite so… More »

Premature Evaluation: MGMT MGMT

By Chris DeVille / September 11, 2013 - 4:10 pm

MGMT could have ruled the world. There was a time when Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser had a vise grip on pop culture, when smash singles “Kids” and “Electric Feel” and “Time To Pretend” had reached such a saturation point that all the world’s radio playlists, TV ads, and music festival playbills seemed to have… More »

Premature Evaluation: Nine Inch Nails Hesitation Marks

By Tom Breihan / August 27, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Looking back now on Nine Inch Nails’ ’90s heyday it’s apparent that we didn’t know what we had. Back then, the knock on Reznor was that he was taking the sputtering, clanking industrial music of Chicago’s Wax Trax scene and dumbing it down, making it fit for pop consumption. And even those of us who… More »

Premature Evaluation: Earl Sweatshirt Doris

By Tom Breihan / August 19, 2013 - 12:24 pm

I’d been waiting for this moment for literally years: Earl Sweatshirt’s triumphant return to the stage after being shut away in a Samoan reform school during his Odd Future crew’s entire rise to fame and infamy. But there was nothing triumphant about the Earl I saw at the Fader Fort during this past March’s SXSW. More »

Premature Evaluation: Carcass Surgical Steel

By Michael Nelson / August 2, 2013 - 6:28 pm

The opening song on Surgical Steel — the first album of new music in 17 years from English death metal band Carcass — is an intro track called “1985.” It’s not an especially oblique reference: 1985 was the year Carcass (or a nascent version thereof) was formed, in Liverpool, by guitarist Bill Steer and drummer… More »

Premature Evaluation: Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail

By Claire Lobenfeld / July 5, 2013 - 10:00 am

Jay-Z has compared himself to a lot of people in his decades-long career: Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson on “Niggas In Paris,” before that “Biggie in his prime” on the disturbingly prescient “The City Is Mine.” But on Magna Carta Holy Grail, he knights himself the Jean-Michel Basquiat of hip-hop and oddly also self-anoint… More »

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