- Driver Friendly, Chase the White Whale and Bury a Dream
- Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
- The Lonely Island, Incredibad
- Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Mecca & The Soul Brother
- Schoolboy Q, Habits & Contradictions
- The Strokes, Comedown Machine1
- Rhye, Woman2
- Inc., real world3
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Specter at the Feast4
- FIDLAR, FIDLAR5
- Bonobo, Black Sands6
- Sean Price, Mic Tyson7
- J-Love, Pardon My Intrusion8
- Large Professor, Main Source9
- Main Source, Breaking Atoms10
- The Knife, Shaking the Habitual11
- Alt-J, An Awesome Wave12
- The Gap Band, 20th Century Master: Best of The Gap Band13
- Marcos Valle, Previsão Do Tempo14
- Atoms for Peace, AMOK15
- Charlie Wilson, Love, Charlie16
- David Bowie, The Next Day17
- How to Destroy Angels, Welcome oblivion18
- The Men, New Moon19
- The Replacements, Songs for Slim20
- Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up!21
- Autre Ne Veut, Anxiety22
- Youth Lagoon, Wondrous Bughouse23
- Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience24
- Big K.R.I.T., Big K.R.I.T. Wuz Here and King Remembered in Time25
- Tuxedo, Tuxedo EP26
- Kendrick Lamar, YHNIC27
- Jessie Ware, Devotion
- Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux and Save Rock and Roll28
- Eric Clapton, Old Sock29
- DJ Koze, Amygdala30
- Boz Scaggs, Memphis31
- Ghostface Killah, 12 Reasons to Die32
- Wiz Khalifa, “Never Been”
- Pharoahe Monch, “Simon Says”
- Nas, “Get Down”
- At the Drive-In, “One-Armed Scissor”
- Ludacris, “Grew up a Screw Up”
- The Roots, “The Fire”
- Saves the Day, “Nightingale”
- Thin Lizzy, “Dedication”
- Tom Vek, “Too Bad”
- Wu-Tang Clan vs. The Beatles, “Clientele Kidd”
Songs of the Weeks:
- The Lonely Island, “Lazy Sunday”
- Schoolboy Q, “Blessed” and “Light Years Ahead (Sky High)”
- David Banner, “Slow Down”
- Warren Zevon, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”
1. My girlfriend and I were listening and decided that this is two separate bands. It’s The Strokes form five years ago battling what The Strokes would sound like if they were actually a band in the eighties. It’s very weird to alternate between those two bands, though it’s clear both are talented. Perhaps the hardest thing to reconcile is that most everyone agrees they’d just be better of if they made more music like The Strokes from 12 years ago. But this is it, so get into it.
2. Absolutely blew my mind that this is a man singing. It’s a soft, beautiful album that has all the touches of a woman, despite the whole it’s-really-a-guy-singing thing.
3. I wasn’t into it. Too much whispery business. I gotta try it again because I listened to a lot of similar stuff that I loved, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks.
4. These guys. What a delight. I liked their previous album a little bit more because they were talking about Hades more, but this still had enough to get me headbanging. Or slow headbanging.
5. I’m fairly sure I already wrote the best review of these guys when I recommended a song or two to a friend with the endorsement: “This band is the tits.”
6. They’re kind of like a jazzier Roots without Black Thought. Of course, they’re a very different band, but they obviously share a lot of rap, jazz, and funk influences. A different, but excellent band.
7. There are all these stickers in New York that say “Sean Price can f*ckin rap.” That’s it. So I looked this album up. Honestly, though, I couldn’t really get past the beats to hear if he could really rap. I’ve heard him rap over good beats before, so I had a hint, but this was just painful.
8. No, sir, I do not. Here’s the thing: I found this guy because Rolling Stone seemed to be recommending a new Ghostface Killah song on Spotify. Trying to play that song resulted in playback featuring Ghostface, J-Love, and Theodore Unit. Which actually turned out really well: the beats were good and the song was interesting, so I figured he was just a producer like Statik Slektah and it wouldn’t hurt to look into some of his other stuff. So I queued up some stuff with guest rappers and liked the majority of it. So then I dived right in to this album. All of a sudden, production wasn’t as consistent and Mr. Love was rhyming.
9. Here’s what I’ve been looking for. I imagine this is what people lose their mind about when they drink old wines, except in reverse order. It’s a newer album with whiffs of the classics. I read up on this guy a little, because I was listening to “Get Down” and “The Chase Pt. II”–something sparked in the back of my mind reminded me that I’d heard he’d edited Nas’ Illmatic and the shout-out from Q-Tip was too important to ignore. So I looked him up. I mean, the guy’s a nineties-rap legend and it sucks that he’s had so many problems with labels. I can’t understand why, though. Dude knows what he’s doing.
10. It sounds just like a Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth album. It’s more of the above and just as enjoyable.
11. Hey, if you’re like me and you love their greatest hit, “Heartbeats,” you’ll hate this album because it sounds nothing like that.
12. My girlfriend almost didn’t recommend this to me because she thought I wouldn’t like it, maybe find it too folksy or something. Luckily for both of us, she was wrong. I personally feel like the title describes the songs’ pacing, moving from catchier indie to slower and often more heartfelt songs.
13. I looked this one up because Charlie Wilson had a new album, and was pleasantly surprised to find out just how funky The Gap Band was. But they were also surprisingly mellow and R&B heavy. Which obviously laid the groundwork for his new all-R&B album.
14. Rolling Stone described this as his seminal work, his funkiest album, but I have to admit it was kid of difficult to listen to. I assume it’s because of the Portuguese language barrier, but I also wasn’t entirely hooked on, well, the hooks. Maybe two songs really stuck out, but barely.
15. What a complete surprise in terms of content. Looking at all the puzzle pieces–Flea, Thom Yorke, etc.–some of the music kind of falls into place, but the sum is definitely something greater than the parts.
16. I can’t help but be suspicious–just a little–that all that vibrato is AutoTune. I mean, the dude’s had pipes for decades, but why so much vibrato all of a sudden? That’s really the only complaint I have for an otherwise consistent and consistently excellent album.
17. A friend and I were talking about how Bowie’s legacy is probably in his singles. Somehow every album feels like a classic, but you can still summarize every album with just two or three singles. So it’s a great album and great to have him back, but the strongest thing here is definitely his single.
18. I was pretty much convinced Trent Reznor wasn’t going to make music anymore. Parallels with NIN are mostly in lyrical content (lightly), pacing (sometimes), and atmospheric elements. It’s not as industrial, but it’s definitely engaging.
19. I don’t think I like anything about this. They were kind of sold as a folk band going punk, but they sounded…like I don’t want to listen to them.
20. I absolutely love “Radio Hook Word Hit,” but the rest of the EP didn’t grab me in the same way. I mean, new ‘Mats is better than no ‘Mats.
21. The title track is far and away the best song, but this one just churns along at an excellently steady, bluesy pace. Now I guess I have to dig into Musselwhite’s back catalog because, good gravy, that guy sure knows what’s up.
22. When I was living on the Lower East Side posters with this album cover were everywhere. Since I knew nothing about it, I walked past without caring–but oh my goodness, what a mistake. this guy’s made easily some of the better modern R&B out there right now.
23. So this is supposed to deal a lot with the inner psyche, but it sounded to me more like feeding Jimi Hendrix too much acid and forcing him to use a broken fuzz pedal stuck in the on position while a keyboardist jazz solos for an hour.
24. The easy reviews talk a lot about this being the missing piece between his first and third albums. Or that songs are long. Or that he’s fancier. But what I hear a lot of is dedication to his relationships and probably some songs in new of editing, both lyrically and musically. I keep thinking about the Large Professor stuff, like a lot could have been edited down to make room to expand on other ideas. Of course, love’s a frequent topic for him and he’s made nods to drugs before, but the album dives deeper on all fronts. It’s an almost paradoxical focus that’s healthy but perhaps winding or long-winded. That said, the kid’s still got it.
25. Something about naming a mixtape after what he spelled out in “The Vent” feels like a giveaway. And maybe it’s just my version, but the treble seems too high. It didn’t have the same feel of some of his better work, like instant classics. But maybe it just needs another run-through with higher bass settings.
26. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
27. This mixtape’s like seeing a young wizard way before his prime, using spells other people made. I couldn’t get into it because the songs reminded me too much of the originals.
28. They’ve been moving toward scream-free stadium rock awhile, but it feels like they forgot some of the other keys to their success. They don’t have the same amount of clever wordplay that made you want to sing along–even though they still want you to sing along.
29. I can’t believe it either, but the only song I really liked was “Gotta Get Over.” He has great guests (Chaka Kahn!), but the only thing that grabbed me were this song’s horn lines, guitar riffs, choruses, and excellent lyrics.
30. Pitchfork flipped their wigs for this one, but I really only might’ve liked a quarter of it. It’s borderline EDM, but it also walks the line of soulful dance music.
31. I was surprised by the depth of his soul, but I guess I didn’t need to be, considering his long-standing career as a respected blues musician.
32. All homeboy does is speak the illest alphabets like he tha Rosetta Stone of tha hospital, b.
The iPod sagas continued; not only did I lose my iPod but I also found it. It somehow dropped out of my jacket pocket at a Williamsburg dance hall without the headphones and someone picked it up, held on to it, and my friend went by a week later to pick it up. So there’s at least a little faith I regained that month.
But the goodness doesn’t stop there: I saw Schoolboy Q in concert. He scheduled two shows that night, showed up an hour after the second show was supposed to start, and forgot lyrics to the first three songs because he was too high. But the guy can still put on a show. He poked fun at TDE and crowd members, rapped charismatically despite admitting to being winded, and confessed that he couldn’t be happier that people like us have helped him finally have a career after decades of really dark shit. That’s when he leaned into “Blessed,” which put that song in a new light for me because hooboy, I don’t think I realized it until he rapped the second verse, but I guess I was in a pretty dark place at the time. You probably would have been too if you’d had to watch those three terrible, terrible acts. But that’s over and if you need anything, then I’m ridin’.