L.A. Symphony-Disappear Here (2005)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Finland [Intro]
  2. Timeless
  3. Put Up Or Shut Up
  4. Money Song
  5. Universal
  6. Dance Like
  7. Funky Music
  8. Hold On
  9. C’est La Vie
  10. Grand Piano
  11. Give
  12. Pops Song
  13. Less Than Zero
  14. Rise
  15. Don’t Call Me

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a hip-hop group with lots of different styles that is incredibly easy to vibe out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Yeah it’s okay, not terrible, not great.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, think it’ll be hard to find on vinyl though

Final Thoughts:

L.A. Symphony knows they’re aren’t heavy weight rhymers, but they don’t really care, they’re just chill guys having a fun time. Disappear Here is filled with lots of call and action rhymes, punchlines, and an array of styles and tracks. Anything from lighthearted songs like Put Up Or Shut Up, to more vulnerable tracks like Pops Song, and even the song poking fun at how no one knows who they are like on Don’t Call Me all make their way onto this diverse album. If you’re looking for stuff like Jurassic 5, Living Legends, or People Under The Stairs, L.A. Symphony is right up your alley. Easy to skate to, easier to relax with.

The Shins-Oh, Inverted World (2001)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Caring Is Creepy
  2. One By One All Day
  3. Weird Divide
  4. Know Your Onion!
  5. Girl Inform Me
  6. New Slang
  7. The Celibate Life
  8. Girl On The Wing
  9. Your Algebra
  10. Pressed In A Book
  11. The Past And Pending

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a really different/unique sounding alt album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super unique, I like.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this Shin’s release.

Final Thoughts:

The Shins were one of the first alt bands that I got into, I must’ve listened to Caring Is Creepy over 100 times now. This album has a nostalgic hold on me, the artwork will always remind me of my teen years, walking through the high school feeling like nobody understood me (the real me, y’know?) The album itself has a few highlights (New Slang being the other big standout for me) but is kind of boring overall. I don’t know if it was a pioneering album that didn’t age well or if it was just one of those albums I always assumed I loved until I listened from start to finish. At any rate, this is a well regarded album that is not lazy or grating by any sense, just not as wonderful as I remember it being.

Busdriver-Thumbs (2015)

My Rating: 63% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 63%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Hottentot Supercluster feat. Zeroh & Kaveh Rastegar
  2. Black Labor (as understood by Equiano)
  3. Hyperbolic 2
  4. MUCH
  5. Ministry of the Torture Couch feat. Hemlock Ernst
  6. Worlds to Run feat. milo & Anderson .Paak
  7. Skit
  8. Surrounded by Millionaires feat. Daveed Diggs
  9. Great Spooks of Enormous Strength
  10. Del’s Couch feat. Del the Funky Homosapien
  11. Shadows and Victories feat. Jeremiah Jae
  12. NY 03 LIVE feat. Caural
  13. Species of Property
  14. Two Feet in the Layered Cake feat. Kool A.D.
  15. Answering Machinist feat. Jeremiah Jae

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to dig deep into The Good Life emcees.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love this cover, it reminds me of some of the spirit characters on Miyazaki films.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

Busdriver is an impressive emcee, there’s no doubt about that, don’t believe/trust me? Listen to Me – Time and shut your face. The thing that separates Busdriver from other wordy rhymers, such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom, is his inability to make a solid album. He has a few tracks that are fun on each album, but he can’t make one that demands more than one listen. He’s a great artist that seems to be wandering a little aimlessly. This is the time where I think a concept album with a famous beat maker would really help Busdriver make an album of note. Let’s see a Danger Mouse and Busdriver collab, please!

Weezer-The Red Album (2008)

My Rating: 57% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 47%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 57%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Toublemaker
  2. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
  3. Pork And Beans
  4. Heart Songs
  5. Everybody Get Dangerous
  6. Dreamin’
  7. Thought I Knew
  8. Cold Dark World
  9. Automatic
  10. The Angel And The One
  11. Miss Sweeney
  12. Pig
  13. The Spider
  14. King

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

I don’t know feeling immature and self abusive.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty friggin’ awful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No…

Final Thoughts:

Weezer is notorious for being one of those bands that had a few great albums and then just pretty much flopping the rest of their career. They’ve been picked on enough so I won’t be cruel because at the end of the day I do like this band. But damn this album is just so incredibly bad. It’s as if they went to a frat house and just wrote lyrics with that audience in mind. It’s eye-rollingly corny, immature, and sometimes just plain stupid. Even a few of their slow songs really crap the bed, too. Miss Sweeney may be my all time most hated Weezer song ever created, like honestly what is that song? It’s fun for high school but does not age well at all.

Randy Newman-Good Old Boys (1974)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 94%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rednecks
  2. Birmingham
  3. Marie
  4. Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)
  5. Guilty
  6. Louisiana 1927
  7. Every Man A King
  8. Kingfish
  9. Naked Man
  10. A Wedding In Cherokee County
  11. Back On My Feet Again
  12. Rollin’
  13. Marie (Demo)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling a mix of nostalgia and bitterness.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty boring.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be wonderful on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Randy Newman is the musical voice of Disney, every time I hear his voice I picture the credits of A Bug’s Life or Monsters Inc. But with Good Old Boys we’re treated to the same voice, with a whole different kind of gravitas. It’s still upbeat and fun sounding at times, but a lot of the songs are about adult subjects like drinking, heartbreak, and rolling doobies. It’s truly an odd experience at first hearing this previously pure artists actual music, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s some sweet sweet self-deprecation tracks that fit really well with his sound. He sounds like a mix between Harry Nillson and Frank Sinatra, but that’s just me trying to rationalize him, to most people he’s Randy Newman, the influential artist, to me he’s the dude who rounded the Disney flicks out.

Ty Segall-Melted (2010)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 75%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 82%

Average Rating: 81%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Finger
  2. Caeser
  3. Girlfriend
  4. Sad Fuzz
  5. Melted
  6. Mike D’s Coke
  7. Imaginary Person
  8. My Sunshine
  9. Bees
  10. Mrs.
  11. Alone

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for noise rock to drown away your sad thoughts.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

All of his covers terrify me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one, I like him but not really desiring this one on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Ty Segall is one of those artists who has released a lot of albums in a short amount of time, and because of that I don’t know how consistently good he can make them. Melted is a good example of his genius being somewhat flawed (just somewhat, I mean it still received an 86%), true I like a lot of the songs on this record, but the overall flow is really not there. Where Emotional Mugger worked as an entire record, Melted seems disjointed and a little rushed. Some seem to have emotional ties to this record, to me this is one I picked the tracks off of that spoke to me and left the rest behind, I took what I wanted for shuffle but probably wouldn’t revisit this as an album again anytime soon.

Roots Manuva-Run Come Save Me (2001)

My Rating: 82% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 41%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 62%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. No Strings…
  2. Bashment Boogie
  3. Witness (1 Hope)
  4. Join The Dots
  5. Black Box Interlude
  6. Ital Visions
  7. Kicking The Cack
  8. Dub Styles
  9. Trim Body
  10. Artical
  11. Hol’ It Up
  12. Stone The Crows
  13. Sinny Sin Sins
  14. Evil Rabbit
  15. Swords In The Dirt
  16. Highest Grade
  17. Dreamy Days

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing a rap album to listen to while walking downtown at night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super original, love it! Fits the sounds so well!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Abso-friggin-lutely.

Final Thoughts:

Any Gorillaz fans will recognize the name Roots Manuva, he gave a spectacular performance on their song All Alone on their crown jewel Demon Days. He’s a big deal in the UK, but kinda unheard of up here in Canada. But he should be played a lot more! His sound can go from anything to fun alt hip hop: ex. Join The Dots to introspective sad rap much like the stuff coming out of Seattle (Grieves comes to mind) such as songs like Sinny Sin Sins where he talks about his Pentecostal upbringing. He can also do songs that capture hearts much like Method Man’s You’re All I Need, Roots has Dreamy Days a ballad like love song sure to be relatable to more than a few. Bring it all together with muddy, dark, and often overpowering beats and we get Run Come Save Me, a hip hop album not to be missed.

San Cisco-The Water (2017)

My Rating: 90%

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kids are Cool
  2. Sunrise
  3. That Boy
  4. The Distance
  5. Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?
  6. Waiting For The Weekend
  7. SloMo
  8. The Water
  9. Did You Get What You Came For
  10. Make Me Electrify

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a fun pop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually like the cover a lot, it’s really reminiscent of early electric music.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really one I think that would be that great as a record.

Final Thoughts:

San Cisco is fun music, really easy to put on and have anyone generally enjoy it. They’re good at what they do: making poppy bouncy music. The Water is really dance-able, consistently enjoyable, and not at all thought provoking, just the kind of tunes you need when throwing a summer pool party, or for those long days when you need something mindless to lift up your spirits. The music is really solid, not like a lot of the bands who are similar, and thank the sweet lord it’s not too repetitive. A fun summer listen.

Relient K-Mmhmm (2004)

My Rating: 82% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 82%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The One I’m Waiting For
  2. Be My Escape
  3. High Of 75
  4. I So Hate Consequences
  5. The Only Thing Worse Than Beating A Dead Horse Is Betting On One
  6. My Girl’s Ex-Boyfriend
  7. More Than Useless
  8. Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet?
  9. Let It Out
  10. Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been
  11. Maintain Consciousness
  12. This Week The Trend
  13. Life After Death And Taxes
  14. When I Go Down

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, really simple and original.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really the Relient K I’d buy if I ever were to get some of their vinyl/

Final Thoughts:

Perhaps I’m a little biased when it comes to this album, but I was raised with these songs, and being raised Christian, it would be impossible to go without hearing a handful of Relient K tracks. Luckily this album ages really well (much better than others of theirs I’m sure) it’s juvenile, it’s simple, it’s dripping with growing pains (both as a band and in the overall themes) and that makes it endearing, who’d a thunk it? If you weren’t raised in a Christian household than I’m sure you’ve never or rarely heard this band, but these songs were anthems at Bible Camp, and because of that they’ve kinda buried their way into my brain and have become a nostalgic trip for me.

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