Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel…

By Tom Breihan / June 12, 2012
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
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… More »

Premature Evaluation: Best Coast The Only Place

By Tom Breihan / April 27, 2012
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
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
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'… More »

Premature Evaluation: Jack White Blunderbuss

By Tom Breihan / April 17, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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… More »

Premature Evaluation: Lana Del Rey Born To Die

By Tom Breihan / January 25, 2012
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
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
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 »

Premature Evaluation: Justice Audio, Video, Disco

By Tom Breihan / October 14, 2011
First things first: There's no "D.A.N.C.E." on Justice's sophomore album. There's not really any "DVNO" either. Much of Justice's original popular appeal lay in their ability to craft these ridiculously catchy, instantly memorable fizzy dance tunes, and other than a vaguely sticky little vocal line on "Newlands," they've pretty much entirely left that behind now. More »

Premature Evaluation: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

By Tom Breihan / October 12, 2011
Noel Gallagher was the man who wrote virtually all the songs for Oasis, and sang a lot of the best ones. And even though the rest of the band took Liam's side during the contentious breakup, going off to form Beady Eye, Noel's solo debut has been the one that's caused the highest levels of… More »

Premature Evaluation: Björk Biophilia

By Tom Breihan / September 30, 2011
Every Björk album has some sort of overarching concept that also serves as an attention-grabbing hook -- the Feminist World Warrior album, the A Capella album, the Sexy Bedtime IDM album. For an artist who's been in the game a long time, that's a canny approach; it keeps Björk from repeating herself, and it tur… More »

Premature Evaluation: Feist Metals

By Tom Breihan / September 27, 2011
The Reminder, Feist's last album, blew the fuck up because it had a few good singles with great videos, because it showed up prominently in some commercials, and because it generally sounded just about perfect as a low-volume dinner-party soundtrack. That reads as extremely faint praise, but it's not; The Reminder was a perfectly charming… More »

Premature Evaluation: Das Racist Relax

By Corban Goble / September 9, 2011
To anyone on the Internet with even the slightest music nerd inclination, abstract Brooklyn rap group Das Racist has long been a giant, glowing orb to our mosquitolike existence; it was against our nature to avoid it. And, it's largely been a great experience -- they've released a pair of wicked mixtapes, yukkedMore »

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