Premature Evaluation

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 »


Premature Evaluation: The Killers Battle Born

By Brad Shoup / September 13, 2012 - 1:15 pm
So let's dispatch two facts real quick. First, contrary to earlier reports, there is no seven-and-a-half-minute rock epic titled "The Slot Tech." Second, yeah, it's been nearly one full Olympiad since the last Killers full-length. Not that the boys have been dormant: In the interim there was a live album, a Christmas EP, two solo… More »


Premature Evaluation: Bob Dylan Tempest

By James Jackson Toth / September 10, 2012 - 11:24 am
"I'm searching for phrases / To sing your praises," sings Bob Dylan on "Soon After Midnight" the second track on his latest album, Tempest. I can relate. While many of the phrases that come to mind after hearing Tempest do not exactly befit a legend, adding to a 50-year-old conversation about a man who i… More »


Premature Evaluation: The xx Coexist

By Corban Goble / August 28, 2012 - 2:46 pm
The music made by England trio the xx can be hard to contemplate at face value because, in a sense, there’s not much there. And, much like their not-trying-to-do-too-much-but-already-iconic-somehow logo, that's completely by design -– their self-titled debut, which was something of an unexpected sensation, was built around spare, delicately constructed hooks, melodies, and simmering… More »


Premature Evaluation: Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

By Alex Tatusian / August 22, 2012 - 3:12 pm
Following up a masterpiece like Merriweather Post Pavilion is a thankless task: There's almost no way you can create a better album, and even if you do, don't expect anyone listening to think so. And while Animal Collective could have retreated to previous successes to reduce that pressure, the band instead threw us for a… More »


Premature Evaluation: Cat Power Sun

By Tom Breihan / August 14, 2012 - 4:24 pm
If you're an indie rock fan of a certain vintage, then the phrase "Cat Power breakup record" might inspire a certain dread in your heart. You might have uncomfortable memories of watching Chan Marshall only barely gutting her way through solo performances, hiding behind her hair, sheepishly stuttering between songs, while the audience made encouraging… More »


Premature Evaluation: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Mature Themes

By Corban Goble / July 31, 2012 - 4:20 pm
Even though I've been aware of him since The Doldrums -- or at least since Paw Tracks reissued that release in 2004 -- I've never quite figured out what Ariel Pink's deal is. On one hand, he’s got a glaringly obvious acumen for sophisticated pop songcraft, something that’s becoming even more visible as he move… More »


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