1. Synth-Poppers Wet's Debut 'Don't You' Is Lovely -- But Forgettable: Album Review

    February 10, 2016 11:24 AM EST 0 0 0 In interviews leading up to Don’t You , their long-gestating debut, Brooklyn synth-pop minimalists Wet discussed the pressure of being on Columbia. Without blaming the label, singer Kelly Zutrau suggested the trio had overthought its sound and inclu ...

  2. Majid Jordan are Dancing Downers on Self-Titled Debut Album (Review)

    February 09, 2016 10:12 AM EST 0 0 0 Majid Jordan  masters the art of being weary on the dance floor with their self-titled debut album. Armed with a set of mid-tempo cuts, the producer-songwriter combo of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman trudge through a swamp of contemplative thoug ...

  3. Neo-Neo-Soul Duo Lion Babe's Bravado Is Refreshing on Debut 'Begin': Album Review

    February 08, 2016 5:10 PM EST 0 0 0 The debut album by New York City's neo-neo-soul duo Lion Babe has been gestating for more than three years. The buzz around producer Lucas Goodman and singer Jillian Hervey began in late 2012 when they released "Treat Me Like Fire," a ...

  4. Prince Cosigned R&B Trio King Showcases Its Crushed-Velvet Sound on Debut 'We Are King': Album Review

    February 08, 2016 4:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Over the past few years, the Los Angeles trio King teased its brand of blissfully hushed soul in bites, delivering a pint-size EP and one-off singles that invoke both Erykah Badu ’s incense-cloud coolness and Prince’ s neon funk (the latter artist m ...

  5. Future Hits His Songwriting Stride on Surprise Album 'EVOL': Review

    February 08, 2016 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 Atlanta rapper Future ’s supremely busy 2015 includes the release of three mixtapes and a studio album, and just a few weeks into the new year, he already seems destined to best it. In mid-January, he put out a serviceable new mixtape called Purple ...

  6. Wiz Khalifa Continues to Cater to the Laidback and Stoned on 'Khalifa': Album Review

    February 08, 2016 1:53 PM EST 0 0 0 During his recent tweet tirade against Wiz Khalifa , Kanye West tweeted that "no one I know has ever listened to one of your albums all the way through," which is as scathing as it is misleading. Wiz's albums -- including  Khalifa , h ...

  7. Janet Jackson's 'Control' at 30: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    February 06, 2016 2:30 PM EST 0 0 0 Before she could tackle the world’s problems and play utopian visionary on 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814 , Janet Jackson had to handle her own business. She did so with Control , the career-making declaration of independence she released 30 years ago, o ...

  8. Post-Punk Rockers Savages Get Edgy Revival With ‘Adore Life’: Album Review

    February 05, 2016 5:45 PM EST 0 0 0 If British rockers Savages tried to pass as contemporaries of Bauhaus and Siouxsie & The Banshees , no one would have doubted them: They too have bat-cave sonics, an eccentric but hard-pummeling rhythm section, a monomaniacally warbling ­vocalis ...

  9. Synth-Poppers St. Lucia Make Heartbreak Sound Huge on ‘Matter’: Album Review

    February 05, 2016 5:28 PM EST 0 0 0 The early-'80s movement known as new romanticism got its name in part because of its fixation on ­grandeur -- the electrified hooks sounded ­impossibly huge, but the heartbreak and yearning embedded within somehow loomed even larger. The Brookl ...

  10. Elton John’s ‘Wonderful Crazy Night’ Is Anything But Wild: Album Review

    February 05, 2016 4:53 PM EST 0 0 0 "What a wonderful crazy night that was," sings Elton John on the title track of his 33rd studio album -- a song that is neither crazy nor, to be frank about it, wonderful. It's a jaunty piece of piano-pop about a night of youthful aba ...

  11. Garage Rocker Ty Segall Challenges With Menacing Sound on ‘Emotional Mugger’: Album Review

    January 29, 2016 4:09 PM EST 0 0 0 Ty Segall hasn’t been himself lately: On 2013’s Sleeper the habitually noisy California garage rocker got unplugged and personal, while 2014’s Manipulator was a psychedelic odyssey. On both, however, pretty prevailed. Emotional Mugger is meaner and ...

  12. Alt-Pop Duo Charlift Enlivens Synthy Sound on ‘Moth’: Album Review

    January 29, 2016 4:06 PM EST 0 0 0 Chairlift formed back in the pre-streaming days of 2005, when artists still chased success with major-label deals and songs in iPod commercials. These highbrow Brooklyn synth-popsters did both -- they’re on Columbia, and 2008’s cutesy “Bruises” help ...

  13. Sia Struggles to Find Her Identity on ‘This Is Acting’: Album Review

    January 28, 2016 5:58 PM EST 0 0 0 The concept of Sia 's new album,  This Is Acting , feels like a watershed in the public's growing ­awareness of the way pop sausage gets made today: The idea is that every song (save one) was originally meant for another artist, who passed ...

  14. Arctic Monkeys' 'Everything People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not' at 10: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review

    January 23, 2016 9:00 AM EST 0 0 0 The best British rockers have always been more than mere singers and songwriters. They’re also sociologists, comedians, and local beat reporters. Give Ray Davies, Paul Weller , or Damon Albarn a few minutes, and he’ll tell a little story about a chi ...

  15. Alt-Folkies Daughter Colors Bright Sounds With Shades of Gray on ‘Not to Disappear’: Album Review

    January 15, 2016 3:18 PM EST 0 0 0 On  If You Leave , the gorgeously gloomy 2013 debut from U.K. indie-folk trio Daughter , frontwoman Elena Tonra sings, "I've been ­thinking I should see someone/Just to find out if I'm alright." Two years on, it seems the only ­p ...

  16. SoCal Rock Rookies Grizfolk Come Out Swinging on Debut 'Making of the Giants': Album Review

    January 15, 2016 3:15 PM EST 0 0 0 On its debut LP, the Los Angeles-based quintet Grizfolk comes out swinging, as if the fist-raised, festival-ready rock anthem was the last viable formula music had left. But the end result is a dozen tracks of unrelenting normalcy, a pastiche of wha ...

  17. Steve Angello Goes Solo With Autobiographical Concept Album 'Wild Youth': Album Review

    January 15, 2016 2:41 PM EST 0 0 0 Swedish House Mafia , the hugely popular Stockholm EDM trio that parted ways in 2013, was scorned by detractors as bombastic. It was an accurate description of the group's music, of course, but an odd criticism, since  SHM's  project was a ...

  18. Hank Williams Jr. Sends Mixed Messages on ‘It’s About Time’: Album Review

    January 15, 2016 12:50 PM EST 0 0 0 Half a century into his career, Hank Williams Jr. still can't make up his mind. On the title track of his new album,  It's About Time , billed as his 37th, he complains he has "had enough of this weird pop-country sound." But tha ...

  19. Bonnie Raitt Talks About 'Dig In Deep,' Life on the Road, Hijacked Elections and the 'Wrenching Awareness' of Wisdom With Age

    January 08, 2016 12:27 PM EST 5.46 k 0 1 “The kind of music I do is not for sissies,” quips Bonnie Raitt , the veteran multi-Grammy-winning singer, whose blues-rock slide guitar is as fiery as her red mane. “I mean, I love singing heartbreak ballads, and really intelligent singer-song ...

  20. David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ Is Filled With Songs About Death and Doom: Album Review

    January 07, 2016 4:31 PM EST 0 0 0 The new David Bowie release,  Blackstar , begins with an execution, and from there the tidings only get ­grimmer. His 25th studio album features just seven songs, but they serve up a veritable Grand Guignol of dread, death, even dismemberment. Black ...

  21. Pusha T, 'King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude,' Track-by-Track Review

    December 18, 2015 4:25 PM EST Pusha T has a lot to be thankful for. After being named the president of G.O.O.D. Music, he kickstarted the campaign for his forthcoming album King Push by rolling out the prelude titled King Push – Darkest Before Dawn . While news of King Push fir ...

  22. Chris Brown Falls Short of King on 'Royalty': Album Review

    December 18, 2015 10:28 AM EST 0 0 0 The 1982 music video for Marvin Gaye ’s “ Sexual Healing ” opens with two vixens gazing into the camera’s lens. “Get up, get up, get up, get up! / Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up,” they beg. Then Marvin enters the shot, tuxedoed and smoothly two- ...

  23. ‘Runaround Sue’ Rapper G-Eazy Takes Big Step Up With ‘When It’s Dark Out’: Album Review

    December 04, 2015 5:48 PM EST 0 0 0 "In just one year I went from ­overlooked to overbooked," G-Eazy raps on "Sad Boy," summarizing his ascent from Tumblr heartthrob who made a rap ­version of "Runaround Sue" to rising star with a Billboard 200 No. 3 debu ...

  24. Troye Sivan Shows Growth and Growing Pains on Debut ‘Blue Neighbourhood’: Album Review

    December 04, 2015 11:52 AM EST 0 0 0 He was born in South Africa and raised in Australia, but really, Troye Sivan comes from the Internet. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter/actor built his brand on YouTube -- where he outed himself as gay to millions of subscribers in 2013 -- and now m ...

  25. Coldplay Creeps Onto the Dancefloor With ‘A Head Full of Dreams’: Album Review

    December 04, 2015 11:10 AM EST 0 0 0 Sooner or later, every goliath of modern stadium rock hears the siren call of the discotheque. U2 , Radiohead , Arcade Fire -- all have striven to goose their ­sincerity with syncopation, to inject more fun, more funk, into their big, regal, high-mi ...

  26. The Velvet Underground Clean Out the Vault With 'Loaded' Box Set & Dazzling 'Matrix Tapes'

    November 20, 2015 7:00 PM EST At this point, 50 years after the Velvet Underground formed and 45 years since Lou Reed left the band, there’s not a lot to say about this endlessly influential group that hasn’t already been said -- and not a lot to hear that hasn’t already been ...

  27. Adele Powers Through a Lifetime of Regret & Weariness on '25': Album Review

    November 19, 2015 12:25 PM EST 0 0 0 Adele Adkins is still a young woman -- just 27, which is to say two years older than the number on the cover of her third album. But she’s determined to sound as old as the hills. The love-wracked ingénue of 21 has given way to a lioness-in-winter, ...

  28. CeeLo Green Tries to Atone for Past Sins on Comeback ‘Heart Blanche’: Album Review

    November 16, 2015 4:27 PM EST 0 0 0 CeeLo Green 's fifth solo LP ­probably should've been called My Bad instead of Heart Blanche . With songs like " CeeLo  Green Sings the Blues" and an intro promising "a look into my soul underneath my celebrity skin," i ...

  29. Brown Eyed Girls Further Refine Their Roles as K-Pop Provocateurs on 'Basic': Album Review

    November 11, 2015 8:11 PM EST 0 0 0 What does a pop act do when they've already pushed the envelope so many times? After a decade together, Brown Eyed Girls have broken cultural boundaries (2009's "Abracadabra" video and choreography showed a girl group could succe ...

  30. Grimes Maintains Outsider Ethos But Yields to Mainstream Pull on 'Art Angels': Album Review

    November 09, 2015 4:40 PM EST 0 0 0 You could write a fascinating alternate history of music by following the progressions of weirdos and outsiders who, after a few albums, yielded to the gravitational pull of mainstream music: the Velvet Underground , Yoko Ono , the Tubes , Genesis , ...

  31. Bob Dylan's Most Prolific Period Revisited (Again) in 'Bootleg Series Volume 12': Album Review

    November 06, 2015 7:30 PM EST With  Bob Dylan ’s longstanding bootleg series and its elongated  contextualization  of his universally lauded craft, the scholarly reconsideration of archival recordings has become something of a cottage industry for our most famous bard, as we ...

  32. Alessia Cara Balances Idealism and Cynicism on Debut ‘Know-It-All’: Album Review

    November 06, 2015 12:22 PM EST 0 0 0 At 19 years old, Alessia Cara has become a heroine for awkward outsiders. On her breakout single, "Here," the Drake -co-signed Canadian singer-songwriter embraces being the antisocial type who would rather hug the walls than follow typical ...

  33. One Direction Points the Way Forward on Swan Song (For Now) ‘Made in the A.M.’: Album Review

    November 06, 2015 11:52 AM EST 0 0 0 With the sudden departure of Zayn Malik  in March, One Direction , one of the ­biggest boy bands in history, officially became a foursome. This naturally bolstered the Beatles comparisons fans have been making since 2011, when these new-millennium l ...

  34. f(x) Doesn't Miss a Beat on '4 Walls': Album Review

    November 02, 2015 10:10 PM EST 0 0 0 Last summer, f(x)  hit a wall when original member Sulli  took a hiatus from the act leaving many speculating discord inside the underrated-yet-extremely-consistent quintet. She officially left the group in August this year just as f(x) was announce ...

  35. The Neighbourhood Veers From Alt-Rock to R&B With 'Wiped Out!': Album Review

    November 02, 2015 2:46 PM EST 0 0 0 On its 2013 debut,  I Love  You , The Neighbourhood  came off like a goth  Maroon 5 , ­making ­soulful alt-rock for the shady SoCal dream world occupied by Lana Del Rey (see the Alternative No. 1 "Sweater Weather"). The band got help from ...

  36. 'Ork Records: New York, New York' Box Set Reflects on Big Apple Punk Label's Storied (and Shady) Past: Album Review

    November 02, 2015 2:28 PM EST 0 0 0 The best bands that played CBGB in the mid-1970s -- the ones with ­pizzazz, songs, looks and ­ambition -- were ­corralled by major labels. Now that New York's Bowery is no longer a ­moonlit sewer, a few of those groups have been celebrated with ...

Pages