Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly
Two days after the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s Me Against the World, Kendrick Lamar surprise released his sophomore album a week ahead of schedule and if anyone ever doubted that the Compton rapper could be the second coming of Pac, all doubts are officially pushed aside. Beautiful, raw, honest, intense, To Pimp A Butterfly is a modern poet putting social commentary and storylines over beats provided by the likes of Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Pharrell, Dr. Dre, among others. Clocking in at 80 minutes, which is long for any record, especially by today’s standards, Lamar lets his feelings about celebrity, love, the hood, and black culture out with a vengeance. Combining hip-hop, funk, jazz, psychedelica, and rock, Lamar defies the sophomore slump and proves he will not be pigeonholed. With lyrics about Trayvon Martin to Michael Jackson to Nelson Mandela, as well as his “interview” with Tupac, this record is a lyrical document of our times by a one-man verbal wrecking ball.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying BirdsChasing Yesterday
Another sophomore album that refuses to be pigeonholed comes from the former Oasis axeman and songwriter, Noel Gallagher. Chasing Yesterday is Gallagher coming into his own and putting his past behind him, while the only yesterday he may be chasing is selling out massive stadiums around the world, he goes for that sound but on a different level. Chasing Yesterday is a bit more eccentric and intimate that his 2012 solo debut. Fusing jazz and rock, Gallagher goes for something new and it works.

Twin ShadowEclipse
For his third album, George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow goes from being the male version of Robyn to his own dance leader and new wave leader. Eclipse is a record about coming into your own and Shadow does that with enough tracks that will make you click repeat over and over again.

GhostpoetShedding Skin
Using late night tales and the sounds of the London underground scene, Ghostpoet returns even more mysterious and romantic on his third album, Shedding Skin. A surreal, beautiful and very modern British album from one of the UK’s best exports.

Sufjan StevensCarrie and Lowell
Sufjan Stevens has built a very successful career being a musical unicorn who clearly gives zero fucks about what you think of him and his style. He is a funky storyteller from Detroit that breaks all musical rules and boundaries while doing it all on his own. Carrie and Lowell is his love letter to his parents and after a five year wait for fans, he returns to his indie-folk roots to go back to basics.

IncubusTrust Fall EP
The mighty alternative rockers return with a new EP, which is actually the first part of their new record, the second part arrives later this year to make a complete record. After the epic disaster of their last album, 2011’s If Not Now, When? the Calabasas band go back to their boundary pushing roots and combine more electronic hooks and guitar than they have in recent past. This is a step for the future of the band that is headed in the right direction.

Flash Bastard WILD
This Canadian band describes themselves as glam punk and glitter rock, but Flash Bastard are so much more than that. They are probably the most fun you will have listening to any record released in 2015 thus far. WILD is their latest offering and the title lives up to the name. Now, if only this band can tour with The Darkness and Steel Panther, all would be alright in the world.

Lieutenant - If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going to Eat for a Week
Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel ventures into the solo world for the very first time under the name Lieutenant. Mendel is usually the quiet one in Foo’s but this time he busts out into his own. Bringing along former Sunny Day Real Estate bandmates for the ride, he shows off his hidden songwriting skills and shows why, aside from Dave Grohl, he has been the only constant member of Foo Fighters, which after hearing this record, could be because he is the backbone to any musical act he is apart of.

Cannibal OxThe Blade of the Ronin
14 years after their terrific debut, Cannibal Ox return with their sophomore album, The Blade of the Ronin. The Bronx duo stay along similar ideas from The Cold Vein but are missing out on the flawless El-P production that record had.

James Bay The Chaos and the Calm
After a series of solid EP’s, English singer / songwriter James Bay finally arrives in album form with The Chaos and the Calm. Combining the best tracks from his EP’s as well as new songs, the man with the tall hat shows why he is one the best young songwriters today with his tender and touching side.

Airborne Toxic EventDope Machines
Four records in and California’s Airborne Toxic Event are still making solid records. Dope Machines hears the band depart from the orchestral rock sound they were known for and hears them venture into more electronic stadium-style hooks and with enough power that will get any crowd chanting along. Just hear the single “Wrong,” and you will know we were right about this review.

Atari Teenage Riot Reset
The digital hardcore OG’s return with their fifth album and their second since their reunion and bring forth the filth, fury, and social commentary that only they can. Reset is the soundtrack to the internet lead by the Wikileaks generation.

ReptarLurid Glow
The fantastic Athens, Georgia, indie rockers take the spirit of the Athens bands before them – REM, B-52’s, Of Montreal, and bring their own blend of silly creativity on their sophomore album. Now that the weather is getting better, this is a record to play while hanging in a park or driving around with friends.

Hot Rod CircuitSorry About Tomorrow
The emo titans of the early 2000’s are back and pick up where they left off. Sorry About Tomorrow will surely please old fans who have been waiting for new music from this band since their hiatus in 2008.

Marika HackmanWe Slept At Last
Since 2012, we have been following the career of English singer / songwriter Marika Hackman and after three years of waiting, we get her beautiful debut. The young and talented songstress plays a minimal style that lets the listener focus on her lyrics rather than her voice or the production around her.

Modest Mouse Strangers to Ourselves
It has been eight years since Modest Mouse released a new album and in that time so much has happened. Some members left, including Johnny Marr, various ideas were tossed around like high profile producers and collaborations like Big Boi. But in the end, the band returned with a record that captures their disjointed eight years away perfectly. Strangers to Ourselves is far from the best work they have done but in many cases, also, is not the worst. It does feel a bit all over the place and chaotic in sonic style and feels more along the idea of “Hey, let’s just get this out and work on the next record.” While they have been away for so long, they weren’t forgotten and this could just be an appatizer to hold fans over for something else.

Ratking700 Fill
The New York City hip-hop collective stormed onto the scene last year with So It Goes, now, they follow their acclaimed debut with a surprise mixtape. 700 Fill still contains that raw, raucous, and rambunctious rap that we have loved about the group but with minimal production and just letting the lyrics do the talking.

Of Montreal Aureate Gloom
The freakishly fabulous Of Montreal return with their 15th album and the band keeps it as strange and as weird as ever.

Ringo Starr Postcards from Paradise
Ringo is back with album No. 18 and it is exactly what you guessed it would be and sound like.