FKA Twigs-M3LL155X (2015)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 89%

Average Rating: 88% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Figure 8
  2. I’m Your Doll
  3. In Time
  4. Glass & Patron
  5. Mothercreep

Label:

Young Turks

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a more experimental laid back electronic album with awesome vocals.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Friggin’ rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really, just five songs, not gonna pay through the teeth for that.

Final Thoughts:

FKA Twigs is one of those few artists that have rose to fame and deserved it. Her music is really unique and experimental. Her vocals are amazing and her albums are always mysterious and short. M3LL155X is not her best work, but it’s a good sample of what she’s like. Incredibly sexual, cool electronic sounds, laid back vibes. The whole thing is put together very well, and marketed to the right crowd. It’s like Little Dragon met Madonna. FKA Twigs will never be one of my favourite artists, but I always enjoyed the tracks that she’s made.

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Bon Iver-22, A Million (2016)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 90%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 87%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
  2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
  3. 715 – CRΣΣKS
  4. 33 “GOD”
  5. 29 #Strafford APTS
  6. 666 ʇ
  7. 21 M♢♢N WATER
  8. 8 (circle)
  9. ____45_____
  10. 00000 Million

Label:

Jagjaguwar

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving through a mountain pass.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Absolutely beautiful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah.

Final Thoughts:

So I’ll give you the truth, this is my least favourite Bon Iver so far, but it still scored 90%, showing that the band can do very little wrong in my mind. 22, A Million is an album that takes time to digest, it’s one of those albums that’s hard to fully comprehend the first few listens, and personally it still hasn’t quite grown on me yet. It’s an album that feels like homework, it demands your attention. From the baffling track names (666 ʇ) to the overly synthy vocody-ness where the vocals sometimes get fuzzy, 22, A Million is nothing if not innovative. This may not be Bon Iver’s greatest offering, but it’s a better album than most artists make in a whole life’s work.

Aesop Rock-Skelethon (2012)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 82%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Leisureforce
  2. ZZZ Top
  3. Cycles to Gehenna
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Fryerstarter
  6. Ruby ’81
  7. Crows 1
  8. Crows 2
  9. Racing Stripes
  10. 1,000 O’Clock
  11. Homemade Mummy
  12. Grace
  13. Saturn Missiles
  14. Tetra
  15. Gopher Guts
  16. Dokken Rules (feat. Rob Sonic)
  17. BMX (feat. Blueprint & Rob Sonic)

Favourite Song on Album:

Record Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Having an existential crises.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s rad, most of Aesop’s covers are awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Already do, I spin it all the time.

Final Thoughts:

2012’s Skelethon caught me off guard, more than even The Impossible Kid which I think is the better of the two and should be considered a masterpiece (I hope it will get that title over time). What Skelethon did for me is gave me the ability to understand Aesop, I mean as much as one can understand Aesop. This was the album that turned me from casual listener to geeky fan, honestly anyone who knows me knows I love this guys work. Skelethon showcases Aesop’s diversity all while mixing in a couple songs with Kimya Dawson (giving them the idea to form The Uncluded). The best part of Skelethon is how accessibly it is, maybe not as much as The Impossible Kid, but still very easy for casual listeners to get into. Skelethon was the calm before the storm, an amazing album that led to his best, it’s the album that I thought he couldn’t surpass, but then did 4 years later.

P.O.S.-Chill, Dummy (2017)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 82%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Born A Snake
  2. Bully
  3. Faded
  4. Get Ate
  5. Gravedigger
  6. Infinite Scroll
  7. Lanes
  8. Pieces-Ruins
  9. Roddy Piper
  10. Sleepdrone-Superposition
  11. Thieves-Kings
  12. Wearing A Bear

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling like a funky bad ass.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s incredible I love it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!!!

Final Thoughts:

P.O.S. continues to impress me, every album of his I dig into I’m reminded of how original and underrated he truly is. Chill, Dummy is an album that made me proud to have been with this guy for awhile, he’s growing as an artist and it’s awesome to see his growth with this album. He mixes in a little bit of his hard-core side on this album, where even the opener Born A Snake makes you wonder if you invested in an early Rage Against The Machine release. P.O.S. is an artist who will be respected in time, with all of the music coming out it’s easy to miss this release, but I think given a few years this will be as well respected as Aesop Rock’s The Impossible Kid.

The War On Drugs-A Deeper Understanding (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 87%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 81%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Up All Night
  2. Pain
  3. Holding On
  4. Strangest Thing
  5. Knocked Down
  6. Nothing To Find
  7. Thinking Of A Place
  8. In Chains
  9. Clean Living
  10. You Don’t Have To Go

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Waking up.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright, pretty classical looking.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I already have it, it’s beautiful.

Final Thoughts:

The War On Drugs are a study band, you have to listen to them a few times until they start to grow on you, I’ve liked them but it took A Deeper Understanding to love them. A Deeper Understanding is easily their best album, it’s going to be their Illmatic (hard to replicate or top). I can’t really pin down why this album is much more easier to approach than their previous work, their songs are still unusually long and drowned in instrumentals, but if I had to venture a guess it would be just the pure professional sound of the album. Honestly they put $$$ into making this album, it sounds so crisp and epic. The production is jaw-dropping and probably the most noticeable aspect of the album. A Deeper Understanding is not only the best album from a critically acclaimed group, it may be the best album of 2017.

Bell X1-Chop Chop (2013)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 76%

Average Rating: 88%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Starlings Over Brighton Pier
  2. A Thousand Little Downers
  3. Careful What You Wish For
  4. Diorama
  5. I Will Follow You
  6. Drive-By Summer
  7. Motorcades
  8. Feint Praise
  9. The End Is Nigh

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Want something with a little more energy than Damien Rice.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely love this cover!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So bad!

Final Thoughts:

Bell X1 flew under the radar for me for a very long time. I knew their song Flame and mostly just listened to the Flock album (with that track on it). I branched out a few years ago and came across Chop Chop, one of my all time favourite chill albums. Its got a big sound to it, but it still maintains a chill feel. Bell X1 worked brilliantly on Chop Chop, and props to them for not making more tracks than they needed to (9 songs on an album is almost unheard of nowadays). Any Death Cab, Snow Patrol, and/or Arcade Fire fans should feel at home at Chop Chop. Awesome album.

Playdough-Hotdoggin (2011)

My Rating: 87% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 87%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Nunya
  2. Rhymer Reason
  3. No Angel
  4. Elizabeth Shue
  5. The Business
  6. Say Sumn
  7. My Cadillac
  8. Franks & Beans feat. Gift Of Gab
  9. 1 Day
  10. Singleminded Female
  11. So What feat. Freddie Bruno
  12. I Got It Like
  13. Ya Heard feat. Mr. Dibbs vs The Black Keys
  14. Follow It
  15. Sunset

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some clean(ish) hip hop to be funky with.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Hilarious.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, I doubt it even exists though.

Final Thoughts:

The hardest part of Christian Hip-Hop is being able to be authentic, at least that’s what I see the struggle being. With strict rules to stick to through Christian labels, it’s near impossible to get in one word that may make someone somewhere wince. The freedom, then, with underground Christian hip-hop is what makes the underground scene much more attractive. When Emcees like Playdough put out their own stuff they can have featuring artists like Gift of Gab, a album cover that is very sexual looking at first glance, and an honesty about the life they actually live. Hotdoggin pushes some boundaries, but mostly it shows Playdough’s incredible rhyme scheme while having fun and keeping things weird but authentic.

People Under The Stairs-Fun DMC (2008)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 88%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Swan Fever
  2. Step Bacc
  3. Up Yo Spine (Fishbucket Pt. 3)
  4. The Fun
  5. The Grind
  6. Anotha’ (BBQ)
  7. The Ultimate 144
  8. Letter 2 c/o The Bronx
  9. Party Enemy No. 1
  10. Enjoy
  11. Gamin’ on Ya
  12. Critical Condition
  13. The Wiz
  14. People Riddum (Feat. Odell)
  15. California (Feat. Blvme)
  16. Love’s Theme
  17. A Baby
  18. Same Beat (The Wesley Rap)
  19. D
  20. The Mike & Chris Story

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to party or just vibe out to some laid back hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty funny, definitely on the better side of their album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ugh if only I could find it, but yes I want it very badly.

Final Thoughts:

If it’s not obvious that I’m a big fan of People Under The Stairs I don’t know when it will ever be, perhaps when I review all of their albums? Fun DMC is my favourite album of theirs so far, it’s just so much…fun. The title really gets to the heart of the mentality of the group, old school fun hip-hop. It’s like Jurassic 5, but with two emcees who love their craft and focus on their beats to a worrisome level. The lyrics are goofy, the flows are in the pocket, there is little else I need from a hip-hop album than what Fun DMC delivers. Now start re-releasing some vinyl so I can listen to it forever and ever.

Beastie Boys-Licensed To Ill (1986)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 78%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 89%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rhymin & Stealin
  2. The New Style
  3. She’s Crafty
  4. Posse In Effect
  5. Slow Ride
  6. Girls
  7. Fight For Your Right
  8. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
  9. Paul Revere
  10. Hold It Now, Hit It
  11. Brass Monkey
  12. Slow And Low
  13. Time To Get Ill

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to get Ill (Party)

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Iconic, it’s awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes sir.

Final Thoughts:

Good lord ’86? I couldn’t believe that year when I looked it up for this article, this must’ve been absolutely revolutionary to come out that early. I mean I was raised with damn near every track. We all know these songs, much like Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, you don’t know how well you knew the album until you actually sit down to re-listen to the whole thing. This was THE party album, it never once got old to me. Beastie Boys always meant a lot of beers, a lot of girls, and a lot of cursin’ (The New Style) and I’m just blown away that this was made so early. Hilarious lyrics, bad ass beats, catchy songs. It’s iconic. It’s owed some damn respect and you’d better give it up (you listening you pitchfork A holes?)!

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