Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Arctic MonkeysAM
We have watched Arctic Monkeys grow-up and evolve right in front of our very eyes, from their brilliant barnstorming debut, Whatever People Say I Am Is What I Am Not to their very latest, AM. They have been around for less than a decade and manage to maintain their rock and roll identity but explore different paths within it. On their latest, AM, the bands fifth, they mature as songwriters and musicians. They haven’t played their instruments at 100 mph since their first two LP’s but they have learned to make the same impact by doing less. AM is a record that does just that. It is not the stoner-rock joyride that Humbug was, nor is it the lyrical masterpiece that Suck It And See was, it is, older and wiser, in fact in many ways it is better than all of those things. AM holds the key to the Monkeys future and proves that Alex Turner’s clever songwriting is not someone trying to do all of these things, but just is. AM could be viewed as a lazy title, but in fact, it is the symbolic outlook of the bands music, doing so much with less, AM could be looked at as “am,” and the Monkeys could be telling us this is who they are. If that is the case, we are glad they are making music in this day and age. Plus, any band referencing Scorsese’s Mean Streets deserves high recognition.

Janelle Monae The Electric Lady
If Prince is playing on your album, you know you are doing something right. Def Jam’s best signing since Biggie Smalls returns with a ferocious and fantastic album that takes us through a dance apocalypse and makes us realize we can’t live without her love of music. Combining jazz, funk, rock, soul, doo-wop, neo-soul, R&B, indie rock, pop and elements of hip-hop, The Electric Lady is a fantastic musical voyage and has a great supporting cast from Solange, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Miguel and more.

The WeekndKissland
After his “Trilogy,” Abel Tesfaye comes back much more focused, straight forward and interesting than every before. Kissland is a romantic concept record about the world The Weeknd has created in his head and the world that frightens him. The album tells that the world around us and within us in frightening but is something we must overcome and embrace, basically, it is ok to make mistakes along the way like falling in love with the wrong person, it builds us as people and our character. A very smart, clever, and very well produced latest effort.

HaimDays Are Gone
The long awaited debut album from California’s favorite sisters is finally here and does not disappoint. After emerging as one of the most talked about new bands of 2013, Haim’s Days Are Gone is a slithering pop – rock record that combines fun-in-the-sun emotion, killer riffs, heavy beats, and catchy hooks that it will just make you want to play it over and over again. Much like The 1975’s debut, this is one of the best debuts of the year.

ChvrchesThe Bones Of What You Believe
 Scotland’s electro-pop buzz band Chvrches debut is a mysterious, erotic, and dark release that combines the sinister energy from Crystal Castles and mixes it with fellow Scot’s Glasvegas’ neo-cold-wave sound and flexes heavy emotion doing so.

The Naked and FamousIn Rolling Waves
Three years after their awesome debut, New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous return with In Rolling Waves which is a much heavier sounding and heavier feeling album. In Rolling Waves hears The Naked and Famous flexing serious muscle and proving that they are not just a one-trick pony and are willing to take chances to not fall into the dreaded sophomore slump.

A$AP FergTrap Lord
One of the A$AP Crew’s members goes solo for debut. The self proclaimed “Trap Lord,” Ferg shows why he is taking the sub-genre of trap style hip-hop by storm and one of the best to do it. With appearances from A$AP Rocky, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, French Montana, Trinidad James, Schoolboy Q, Waka Flocka Flame, B-Real and Onyx, he bridges the gap between old and new schools.

London Grammar If You Wait
The buzz around London Grammar has been large since the band hit the UK festival circuit this summer and now, their debut, If You Wait is finally out, they answer the call and prove they are the band people want to talk about. While the music of London Grammar is catchy, it is the voice of singer Hannah Reid that is the star of the show. She is a vocal powerhouse that take pop / rock singing to a whole new level.

King Khan and the Shrines Idle No More
Eight albums in with his career with The Shrines and King Khan shows no sign of stopping. While Idle No More displays nothing really new musically or anything unexpected, it is still a total blast to listen to.

THEblack&THEwhiteFutures EP
The debut EP from former As Tall As Lions bassist Julio Tavarez is filled with trippy loops, hypnotic hooks, ambient vibes and heart. Futures is an EP where you can hear that Tavarez has poured his soul into this project and is a nice launching pad as to what is to come.

Someone Still Loves You Boris YeltsinFly By Wire
For their sixth record, Missouri’s Someone Still Loves Your Boris Yeltsin, do it as a trio and rather a quartet thanks to the departure of singer / guitarist John Robert Cardwell earlier this year. Most bands would have imploded but SSLYBY soldier on and do it triumphantly where long time fans of the band will not be disappointed.

Icona PopThis Is…
After a summer of the infections and brilliant girl power pop anthem, “I Love It,” the Swedish duo of Icona Pop prove that the land they hail from is still the breeding ground of the best pop music on the globe. This Is.. is the second album from Icona Pop but it is also the biggest, in terms of production, popularity, and fun. This is an instant party starter.

Kings of LeonMechanical Bull
Hi Kings of Leon! How are you? Welcome back, we missed you!
While the above note is not intended for a chuckle, though, it is ok if you laugh at our corniness, the note is a meaningful gesture that we are glad to see Kings of Leon return to form. After the unlistenable Come Around Sundown, a few internal problems, battles with addiction, and a dreadful documentary, Kings of Leon cut the bullshit and return back to basics and return to form as a solid Southern rock and blues band and return to the roots of being the band that we treasured and missed for so long.

StingThe Last Ship
For his first album of brand new material in a decade, Sting fires back in a big way with The Last Ship, which is really the companion piece to the Broadway play of the same name that the record is based on that he is crafting. The Last Ship is a concept record about coming of age in a seaside town and wanting something more out of life, while this may sound like the plot of Fellini’s I Vitelloni, it is actually the first part of Sting’s life. The Last Ship is a semi-autobiographical journey of one man, Sting, telling the story of his youth but as an older man looking back on the life he left behind and why he did.

Big SeanHall of Fame
The sophomore album from Big Sean is just as strong as his debut but also does not feature the gift and the curse aka that verse from Kendrick Lamar on “Control” which did not make the album’s final cut because of a sampling issue. However, Big Sean enlisted Nas, Common, 2 Chainz, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Juicy J, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Miguel and Young Jeezy to support his style and sound.

Goodie Mob Age Against The Machine
Cee-Lo Green hooks up with his first group and crafts their first album in nine years. While Cee-Lo’s voice is still the star of the show, nothing new is crafted or made and after nine years and nine explosive years for Cee-Lo’s career, one would have hoped the rest of the group would have come out swinging to upstage the pop icon, yet, they all fail to do so and the album is left at a sub-par level.

At one point in the last decade bands emerged that wrote a few catchy and clever tunes and were poised to be the next coming of music. Yet, some of those bands failed to capitalize on anything beyond that and make anything listenable, however, still get attention as if they are going to do something great and grand and fail to. MGMT is one of those bands whose talent was like a firework in the sky, it bursted bright and shined but then faded into oblivion, however, some critics are still holding out for that firework to burst again because they know the band has potential. It would normally be encouraging to other artists, but MGMT realized they can release shit, and we mean it, shit, and know they will still make music headlines and have people foam at the mouth for what they are going to do. After the tragically terrible and unlistenable, Congratulations, MGMT return with a self-titled album that is not a bit more comforting to listen to but still misses the mark by a long shot.