Premature Evaluation

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 »

Premature Evaluation: Rick Ross God Forgives, I Don’t

By Tom Breihan / July 27, 2012 - 1:50 pm

When “Rich Forever,” the title track from Rick Ross’s great early-2012 mixtape, shows up as a bonus track on his new God Forgives, I Don’t, one line immediately jumps out: “Your shit pushed back cuz it ain’t buzzin’.” Ross has never shied away from pot/kettle/black moments, and the world has gotten used to hearing a… More »

Premature Evaluation: Frank Ocean Channel Orange

By Tom Breihan / July 10, 2012 - 12:35 pm

Let’s get this out of the way first: Last week, when Frank Ocean wrote plainly and beautifully about a past relationship, one with someone who shared his gender, it was an act of absolute bravery and inspiration, and a watershed moment for a rap universe that has, in this respect at least, inched toward enlightenment… More »

Premature Evaluation: Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

By Amrit Singh / July 2, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan is officially released next week, though the band’s streaming the record in its entirety, right now, over at NYTimes. This is great news. Open a tab, press play, let’s discuss. For those who’ve been following along, this is one of the year’s most anticipated records. For those new to the… More »

Premature Evaluation: The Smashing Pumpkins Oceania

By Michael Nelson / June 13, 2012 - 2:50 pm

It’s easy to rag on Billy Corgan for being a hypersensitive narcissist who says ridiculous things, but he’s been doing that for two decades now. (The first time I cringed at a Corgan comment? In 1994, when he reportedly said to Kim Thyail, after an uncomfortable interaction with the Soundgarden guitarist, “You hurt me deeply. More »

Premature Evaluation: Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel…

By Tom Breihan / June 12, 2012 - 11:38 am

Fiona Apple is 34 years old now. For 17 of those years, almost exactly half of her time on this planet, she’s been a public figure, one with the sort of devoted mass-cult following whose devotions can just cripple a creative brain. And she’s lived that entire spotlight time — or, at least, the part… More »

Premature Evaluation: Japandroids Celebration Rock

By Corban Goble / April 30, 2012 - 2:00 pm

A couple of months ago, someone I follow on Twitter posted a video of some kids goofing around in their basement/rec room area to the soundtrack of Japandroids’ “Younger Us.” Even though the footage was randomly cobbled together, and there isn’t really a narrative to speak of, and at least one of the kids i… More »

Premature Evaluation: Best Coast The Only Place

By Tom Breihan / April 27, 2012 - 2:56 pm

Bethany Cosentino isn’t stupid. In picking a collaborator for her second album, the Best Coast leader has realized that the words “produced by Jon Brion” are pretty much pure sophomore-LP gold. Brion isn’t a flashy or even a fussy musician, but he’s ascended to music-dork deity status largely because his crystalline ear and his talent… More »

Premature Evaluation: Santigold Master Of My Make-Believe

By Tom Breihan / April 23, 2012 - 2:59 pm

When you spend your first few listens to a new album trying to decide whether you’re disappointed or not, that’s not exactly a good sign. On Master Of My Make-Believe, Santigold has one big thing working to her disadvantage: When it takes someone a long time to record a sophomore album, people expect big thing… More »

Premature Evaluation: Sigur Rós Valtari

By Corban Goble / April 18, 2012 - 1:07 pm

The first single for Sigur Rós’ Valtari, “Ekki Múkk,” arrived with the fanfare and warm reception expected of that dramatic moment — after all, it was the first new recording under the Sigur Rós banner since 2008’s Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust. “Ekki Múkk,” though, isn’t much like the Icelandic group’s best know… More »

Premature Evaluation: Jack White Blunderbuss

By Tom Breihan / April 17, 2012 - 11:50 am

Jack White has always been an artist who thrived, in large part, because of all the constraints he imposed on his own work, like the analog-recording purism or the two-color design schemes. The White Stripes, his greatest musical project by some absurd margin, were almost a study in constraint. Jack himself might’ve been some lab-created… More »

Premature Evaluation: Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

By Corban Goble / March 29, 2012 - 3:19 pm

In the 2000s, a trend arose where a few big-name rappers released double albums that flaunted different sides of the artist’s personality. This structure, which was thankfully short-lived, was best executed on Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/TheLove Below, most clumsily executed on Nelly’s Sweatsuit, with Ludacris’ Release Therapy somewhere in the middle (but definitely on the Nelly side… More »

Premature Evaluation: Beach House Bloom

By Corban Goble / March 21, 2012 - 3:09 pm

On 2010’s Chris Coady-produced Teen Dream, Baltimore’s favorite dream pop duo brought the reverb-laden sound they had favored on their debut Beach House and break-through follow-up Devotion out of the fog a little, creating the band’s most accessible (and most popular) album to date. It was, by no mistake, also the band’s most structured (read:… More »

Premature Evaluation: Odd Future The O.F. Tape Vol. 2

By Tom Breihan / March 19, 2012 - 10:49 am

The original Odd Future Tape — posted on the group’s Tumblr back in April 2010, supposedly first posted online as early as 2008 — is the first long-form document of the young rap crew who would become such a big, divisive, equally exciting and frustrating story not too much later. That original Tape isn’t very… More »

Premature Evaluation: The Shins Port Of Morrow

By Tom Breihan / March 14, 2012 - 2:38 pm

A Virginia airport at 5 in the morning on the day SXSW starts, listening to an iTunes stream on crappy airport wi-fi and letting that stream rebuffer a few times on every song: These are not the ideal circumstances in which to hear a much-anticipated album for the first time. Some things, however, are out… More »

Premature Evaluation: Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball

By Tom Breihan / February 20, 2012 - 1:24 pm

Being Bruce Springsteen can’t be easy. As one of the last quasi-relevant survivors of a stadium-rock infrastructure that doesn’t exist anymore, he’s spent decades being held up as a paragon of real American-ness, whatever that might possibly mean. And new Springsteen albums don’t have the luxury of just being Springsteen albums; they have to become… More »

Premature Evaluation: Sleigh Bells Reign Of Terror

By Corban Goble / February 14, 2012 - 2:20 pm

There’s not a band in recent memory that nailed the landing quite like Sleigh Bells did in 2010 with Treats, its M.I.A.-cosigned debut. They were CMJ darlings back when being a CMJ darling was still sort of a thing, a Band To Watch, a band with so much expectation placed on them from the moment… More »

Premature Evaluation: Lana Del Rey Born To Die

By Tom Breihan / January 25, 2012 - 9:58 am

To put all the waves upon waves of Lana Del Rey backlashes and frontlashes into proper perspective, let’s all try a thought experiment: Imagine what might’ve happened if Fiona Apple, the closest cultural antecedent for LDR’s first few singles, had emerged in the blanket-coverage internet age. Superficially, they’re ridiculously similar. Both of them land a… More »

Premature Evaluation: Atlas Sound Parallax

By Corban Goble / October 28, 2011 - 11:16 am

The latest solo record from one-man four-track recorder Bradford Cox is probably his most accessible release under the moniker, striking a pretty even balance between the hazier Atlas Sound material as well and Cox’s work in his more widely-known outfit Deerhunter. The songs on the record, for one, seem structurally tighter; songs like “Angel I… More »

Premature Evaluation: Florence + The Machine Ceremonials

By Tom Breihan / October 20, 2011 - 12:22 pm

Lungs, Florence & The Machine’s debut album, was a bit of a slow-burner; I don’t think I quite realized how much I liked it until it had been out for nine months or so. By that time, of course, Florence Welch had achieved some sort of stealthy cultural omnipresence. She performed on SNL and at… More »

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