Premature Evaluation

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 u… 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 »

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 »

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