Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Beach House Bloom

By Corban Goble / March 21, 2012 - 3:09 pm
155

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
28

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
39

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
16

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
87

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
224

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
13

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
26

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 - 4:46 pm
4

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 - 12:58 pm
18

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 - 11:02 am
21

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 - 11:38 am
57

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 - 3:13 pm
40

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, yukked it upMore »


Premature Evaluation: St. Vincent Strange Mercy

By Corban Goble / September 2, 2011 - 12:10 pm
32

Apparently, the appeal of a girl that looks an American Doll who also happens to create manic, spastic riffs is not lost on the people. Annie Clark’s St. Vincent project has been universally admired and rhapsodized over ever since she sprung from Sufjan’s Stevens’ band (which also serves as some kind of songwriting academy). Her… More »


Premature Evaluation: M83 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

By Tom Breihan / August 31, 2011 - 2:19 pm
49

Anthony Gonzalez has spent the better part of three years working on the grand, expansive double LP Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and it shows. The new M83 album sounds incredible, and it sounds incredible in the sort of way that lets you know real work went into every single synth-plink in the album’s 1.2 hours. More »


Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV Premature Evaluation

By Tom Breihan / August 25, 2011 - 12:26 pm
37

For my money, Lil Wayne hit a crazy sustained peak in late 2005, when he released the great Tha Carter II, and he kept it going throughout 2006’s barrage of mixtapes and stray tracks. It felt like a privilege to witness what was happening there: A rapper working at the genre’s highest pop-cultural levels, finding… More »


The Rapture In The Grace Of Your Love Premature Evaluation

By Tom Breihan / August 23, 2011 - 2:55 pm
18

Five years is a long time. The Rapture’s last album, Pieces Of The People We Love, came out almost exactly five years ago, on the same day Justin Timberlake released FutureSex/LoveSounds. Pieces never found anything like the exalted reputation as Echoes, the band’s previous album, but I loved the thing. Especially heard back-to-back with Timberlake’… More »


Beirut The Rip Tide Premature Evaluation

By Stereogum / July 5, 2011 - 1:23 pm
12

On first listen, Beirut’s third full-length, the first since 2007’s The Flying Club Cup, glides by almost too easily. The more time you spend with it, though, the more it becomes clear The Rip Tide’s initial easy familiarity (and subsequent deepening) is a testament to Zach Condon’s continued growth as a songwriter. He’s able to… More »


Arctic Monkeys Suck It And See Premature Evaluation

By Stereogum / May 25, 2011 - 2:10 pm
22

Arctic Monkeys’ James Ford-produced fourth album is consistent. “Consistency” on the Josh Homme-helmed Humbug at times equaled same-same doldrums; on Suck It And See, the sustained “vibe” contributes to an ambiance and arc that remains interesting as it picks up steam. It’s not all that difficult figuring out why: In this case, less proves more. More »


Bon Iver Premature Evaluation

By stereogum / May 18, 2011 - 3:10 pm
33

From those three months alone in a Wisconsin cabin to sharing a stage with collaborator Kanye West, Justin Vernon’s traveled far on the back of his angelic falsetto. When he self-released For Emma, Forever Ago in 2007 he probably didn’t expect Peter Gabriel to cover “Flume” a couple years later. Or to have West sampling… More »


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