|Idioteque||Kid A|| |
|We Own The Sky||Saturdays = Youth|| |
|One More Time||Discovery|| |
|Clint Eastwood||Gorillaz|| |
|All My Friends||Sound Of Silver|| |
|The Chemical Brothers|
|The Heinrich Maneuver||Our Love To Admire|| |
|Trans Europe Express (2009 Digital Remaster)||Trans Europe Express|| |
|Boy From School||The Warning|| |
|Bitter Sweet Symphony||Urban Hymns|| |
N.W.A. bloodied their gangsta rap with menace: crack addiction, drive-bys, broken homes. Dr. Dre's G-funk cool (with its all day picnics, smoked BBQ and house parties) softened this image considerably. Then Snoop dropped Doggystyle. Darkness still lurks around most corners. "I'm on my way to Chino, rollin' on the grey goose, shackled from head to toe," the rapper croaks in "Murder Was the Case." But what really stands out is his Parliament-inspired knack for detailing the tragic comedies that come with ghetto life. Though he was a gangbanger in his youth, Snoop quickly became hip-hop's court jester.
Justin Farrar, Google Play
Welcome to the breath-robbing, heart-pounding Relationship of Command, an album many have been waiting for with red-faced anticipation since their last EP, the brilliant Vaya. On this 11-track masterpiece, so full of adrenaline and swarming moods, ATDI has created one of the most infecting and mind-blowing rock albums in a long time. While most of the tracks are of the more aggressive edge, this is undeniably the band's most focused and well put together and, therefore, best all-around album yet. "Quarantined" and "Sleepwalk Capsules" alone make this album worth purchasing: This music is seamless and inspiring. Electronic movements meshed into "Enfilade" stretch the texture of the album further, into the unique backup vocals of Iggy Pop on "Rolodex Propaganda." Amidst all the rock, there is the undeniably unique edge about ATDI's sound, something that has permeated through their music from the "Hell Paso" 7". Beautiful vocals bursting passion in quirky, abstract, and often thrilling lyrics, youthful energy, driving melodies, and a sense of beyond-the-moment urgency. Moving from Relentless to Grand Royal, as well as to the notorious and mostly infamous producer Ross Robinson, has not killed the band's spirit or sound, as many loyal fans feared it would in the pattern of Jawbreaker, Jawbox, among others. If anything, it has allowed the band to push themselves to new limits, to fulfill what they have been working for relentlessly for so long. This is not a band that could ever be insincere. You can see it in their eyes and feel it in their music and work ethic. ATDI is one of the saviors of true emotional straight-up rock!
Blake Butler, Rovi
Perhaps best likened to a marching band on an acid trip, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is another quixotic sonic parade; lo-fi yet lush, impenetrable yet wholly accessible, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is either the work of a genius or an utter crackpot, with the truth probably falling somewhere in between. Again teaming with producer Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum invests the material here with new maturity and clarity; while the songs run continuously together, as they did on the previous On Avery Island, there is a much clearer sense of shifting dynamics from track to track, with a greater emphasis on structure and texture. Mangum's vocals are far more emotive as well; whether caught in the rush of spiritual epiphany ("The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two and Three") or in the grip of sexual anxiety ("Two-Headed Boy"), he sings with a new fervor, composed in equal measure of ecstasy and anguish. However, as his musical concepts continue to come into sharper focus, one hopes his stream-of-consciousness lyrical ideas soon begin to do the same; while Mangum spins his words with the rapid-fire intensity of a young Dylan, the songs are far too cryptic and abstract to fully sink in -- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is undoubtedly a major statement, but just what it's saying is anyone's guess.
Jason Ankeny, Rovi
Thanks to the fluke hit "Fade Into You" -- one of the better beneficiaries of alt-rock's radio prominence in the early '90s, a gentle descent of a lead melody accompanied by piano, a steady beat, and above all else, Hope Sandoval's lovely lead vocal -- Mazzy Star's second album became something of a commercial success. All without changing much at all from where the band was before -- David Roback oversaw all the production, the core emphasis remained a nexus point between country, folk, psych, and classic rock all shrouded in mystery, and Sandoval's trademark drowsy drawl remained swathed in echo. But grand as She Hangs Brightly was, So Tonight That I Might See remains the group's undisputed high point, mixing in plenty of variety among its tracks without losing sight of what made the group so special to begin with. Though many songs work with full arrangements like "Fade Into You," a thick but never once overpowering combination, two heavily stripped-down songs demonstrate in different ways how Mazzy Star makes a virtue out of simplicity. "Mary of Silence" is an organ-led slow shuffle that easily ranks with the best of the Doors, strung-out and captivating all at once, Sandoval's singing and Roback's careful acid soloing perfect foils. "Wasted," meanwhile, revisits a classic blues riff slowed down to near-soporific levels, but the snarling crunch of Roback's guitar works wonders against Sandoval's vocals, a careful balance that holds. If there's a left-field standout, then unquestionably it's "Five String Serenade." A cover of an Arthur Lee song -- for once not a Love-era number, but a then-recent effort -- Roback's delicate acoustic guitar effortlessly brings out its simple beauty. Tambourine and violin add just enough to the arrangement here and there, and Sandoval's calm singing makes for the icing on the cake.
Ned Raggett, Rovi