Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Daft Punk Random Access Memories

By Tom Breihan / May 15, 2013 - 4:10 pm

Daft Punk’s new album Random Access Memories is a lot of things: A masterful years-in-the-making publicity campaign set to music, a showcase of hellaciously expensive decades-old studio craftsmanship, a stunt-casted absurdist music event on the level of the Coachella Tupac hologram, a fascinating example of what happens when pop-star robots go to disco fantasy camp,… More »

Premature Evaluation: The National Trouble Will Find Me

By Tom Breihan / May 10, 2013 - 2:45 pm

At this point, six albums in, the National are practically a genre unto themselves. On Alligator, the first album that many of us noticed, they had a dark and driving intensity that didn’t seem too far removed from, say, Interpol. As little as two albums ago, they seemed to share a lot of musical idea… More »

Premature Evaluation: Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires Of The City

By Tom Breihan / May 8, 2013 - 3:03 pm

The title of Modern Vampires Of The City, the third album from Vampire Weekend, seems like it riffs on the band’s name and on its members’ status as sharp and witty New York men-about-town, guys who play punny word-games on their Twitter accounts and make cameo appearances on Girls and maintain none-too-serious Soundcloud side projects. More »

Premature Evaluation: Deerhunter Monomania

By Michael Nelson / April 24, 2013 - 10:19 am

Since the release of their triumphant sophomore album, 2007’s Cryptograms, Atlanta’s Deerhunter have produced a pretty vast catalog that’s been both unpredictable and consistently great to an almost shocking degree. Expand the scope of that catalog to include the three LPs from Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s solo-ish side project Atlas Sound, and you’re looking at… More »

Premature Evaluation: Phoenix Bankrupt!

By Michael Nelson / April 15, 2013 - 10:11 am

In his beautiful eulogy for My Chemical Romance, Grantland’s Andy Greenwald made much of that band’s outsize ambition, and lamented the general dissolution of such ambition among other rock bands of recent vintage. “My Chemical Romance always aimed for the top, but the top no longer exists; all that remains is a vast, niche-y middle,”… More »

Premature Evaluation: The Knife Shaking The Habitual

By Tom Breihan / April 4, 2013 - 1:37 pm

On “Raging Lung,” a little more than halfway through the Knife’s gargantuan new album Shaking The Habitual, a few familiar words show up: “What a difference, what a difference a little difference would make.” Those words are familiar because Guy Picciotto groaned them on Fugazi’s “Blueprint,” a track from Repeater, my favorite album ever. With… More »

Premature Evaluation: Yeah Yeah Yeahs Mosquito

By Tom Breihan / April 3, 2013 - 1:07 pm

The first time the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played Baltimore, they played first on a four-band Ottobar bill, one headlined by skronk-punk out-of-towners Milemarker and Arab On Radar. The only locals on the bill were League of Death, the mutant hardcore band whose two-man core went onto become the two-man core of Double Dagger. A year… More »

Premature Evaluation: Tyler, The Creator Wolf

By Tom Breihan / March 28, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Is Tyler, The Creator really all that famous? I’m not sure that he is. He’s internet-famous, certainly, and underground-popular, but he’s not Jennifer Aniston. To hear Tyler himself tell it on Wolf, though, he can’t walk through an amusement park or a Target without being mobbed by fans who want to take pictures with him. More »

Premature Evaluation: The Strokes Comedown Machine

By Michael Nelson / March 20, 2013 - 11:20 am

At SXSW, they give you all these bracelets everywhere you go — indicating you’ve got clearance to enter different venues or VIP sections or whatever — and you can’t really take any of them off till the festival is over, so that by Saturday afternoon, everyone there has a half-sleeve of neon ribbons running u… More »

Premature Evaluation: David Bowie The Next Day

By Tom Breihan / March 4, 2013 - 4:08 pm

Four and a half years ago, I was working at a startup music website that never ended up launching; the parent company decided that it wasn’t worth the investment and laid all of us off. But for months, we went into work in a gleaming midtown office every day, concocting possible recurring features and tinkering… More »

Premature Evaluation: Atoms For Peace AMOK

By Tom Breihan / February 19, 2013 - 4:40 pm

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Thom Yorke as a musical version of Steven Soderbergh: An insanely gifted popular entertainer who’s come to think of himself as a trickster auteur type, someone who will concoct dizzily difficult artistic scenarios for himself and then solve his own puzzles with breathtaking ease. The thing about Soderbergh is that… More »

Premature Evaluation: Local Natives Hummingbird

By Brad Shoup / January 21, 2013 - 10:56 am

Perhaps the most ambitious amateur music-archiving project on the internet is Jeff Glenn’s Lost Jukebox series. Glenn, a musician and collector who died in 2009, put together 240 CD-Rs containing forgotten ’60s pop tracks. Some of the names are familiar or semi-familiar (the Association, Bobby Sherman, the American Breed); the vast remainder is composed of… More »

Premature Evaluation: Christopher Owens Lysandre

By Tom Breihan / January 8, 2013 - 12:30 pm

There’s a moment on his song “Love Is In The Ear Of The Listener” where Christopher Owens, the former Girls frontman, expresses doubt in the plainest way possible: “What if I’m just a bad songwriter, and everything I say has been said before?” Then, not entirely convincingly, he reassures himself: “Well, everything to say ha… More »

Premature Evaluation: Yo La Tengo Fade

By Tom Breihan / January 7, 2013 - 4:13 pm

Yo La Tengo have accomplished a whole lot in the past three decades or so, but their greatest achievement might be this: They’ve figured out how to incorporate a lot of weird things into their music (modal Glenn Branca guitar freakouts, layered metronomic krautrock rhythms, ancestral-mystic British folk close harmonies) and made them all sound… More »

Premature Evaluation: A$AP Rocky Long.Live.A$AP

By Tom Breihan / December 20, 2012 - 12:24 pm

There’s plenty to discuss on Long.Live.A$AP, A$AP Rocky’s official label-sanctioned debut album, but the first thing that jumps out at me is this: The power dymanic in the rapper/dance music producer collaboration has utterly flipped polarities in the last 15 years or so. Once upon a time, say, Redman would, out of nowhere, start rapping… More »

Premature Evaluation: Beck Song Reader

By James Jackson Toth / December 7, 2012 - 12:13 pm

This is a first. I’m reviewing an album having only actually heard about a third of it. Of this third, the songs I’ve actually listened to are not performances by the artist whose name graces the album cover. In fact, I’m not sure he’s even heard any of these performances. I know for a factMore »

Premature Evaluation: Crystal Castles (III)

By Tom Breihan / November 8, 2012 - 4:20 pm

Crystal Castles’ great historical distinction, as I see it, is this: They’re the only group, as far as I can tell, that’s ascended to dance-music festival-headliner status by relying on distance, obfuscation, and mystery. (You could make a case for Aphex Twin and his peers there, but they were operating in a different time, a… More »

Premature Evaluation: Bat For Lashes The Haunted Man

By Tom Breihan / October 16, 2012 - 12:54 pm

Here’s a weird and indefensible but completely genuine reaction that much-anticipated new albums sometimes provoke: I wish it was better. It’s one thing if a band you like suddenly shits the bed on a new album; God knows, that happens enough. But when someone follows up a record that hit a chord deep within you… More »

Premature Evaluation: Titus Andronicus Local Business

By Tom Breihan / October 9, 2012 - 12:58 pm

Titus Andronicus could really give a fuck about degree of difficulty. Here’s how we know that Titus are one of our finest working bands: They can record an album of jaunty singalong beer-punk anthems about the vast indifference of the cold world. They can open things up with this line: “OK, by now I think… More »

Premature Evaluation: Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer

By Corban Goble / September 14, 2012 - 2:28 pm

Much like last summer’s Watch The Throne, G.O.O.D. Music’s posse record Cruel Summer is a Kanye West record, at least musically speaking. Like Watch The Throne, Cruel Summer is lined with the maximalist, detail-fixated production that basically comes synonymous with Kanye’s discography, and the record employs work from celebrated, critically beloved hitmakers like Hit-Boy, Noah… More »

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