Brett Dennen-Loverboy (2011)

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Surprise, Surprise
  2. Dancing at a Funeral
  3. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
  4. Frozen in Slow Motion
  5. Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
  6. Make You Fall In Love with me
  7. Only Rain
  8. Can’t Stop Thinking
  9. Must Be Losing My Mind
  10. Song For Leaving
  11. Queen of the Westside
  12. Little Cosmic Girl
  13. Walk Away, Watch Me Burn

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling blue, Brett Dennen has a natural way of lifting your spirits.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really really simple, and I like it that way, singer/songwriters usually have great album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, I’ve never seen it for sale though.

Final Thoughts:

Brett Dennen is my homeboy, he hasn’t always been (I’ve been a fan since this album released) but I’ve repeatedly found comfort in his tunes. Loverboy was the album that showed me his diversity as well as helping me through some lonely times when I was still trying to find my way in the world, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. He’s an excellent songwriter and a very warm soul, I got to see him live and I remember how soul soothing it was, just a man, his guitar, and a cup of tea (he was actually sipping tea during his performance). If you haven’t checked him out yet start with Loverboy, you won’t be disappointed.

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Kendrick Lamar-Good Kid M.A.A.D City (2012)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 95%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 91%

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Sherane A.K.A. Master Splinters Daughter
  2. Bitch, Dan’t Kill My Vibe
  3. Backstreet Freestyle
  4. The Art Of Peer Pressure
  5. Money Trees (Feat. Jay Rock)
  6. Poetic Justice (Feat. Drake)
  7. Good Kid
  8. M.A.A.D City (Feat. MC Eiht)
  9. Swimming Pools (Drank) (Extended Version)
  10. Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst
  11. Real (Feat. Anna Wise Of Sonnymoon)
  12. Compton (Feat. Dr. Dre)
  13. The Recipe (Feat. Dr Dre)
  14. Black Boy Fly
  15. Now Or Never (Feat. Mary J. Blige)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for innovative hip-hop with impressive beats and rhymes.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Boring, I really don’t like most of Kendrick’s album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure.

Final Thoughts:

This is the album that got Kendrick on my radar, I didn’t dig into it much until recently, but I’ve been listening to both The Recipe and Swimming Pools since their release and have been thoroughly impressed with both. I didn’t think that the rest of the album would hold up, but I was proven wrong after one listen through, Good Kid M.A.A.D City is an incredible album showcasing one of the most beloved artist making music today. Kendrick is the new Tupac or Biggie, screw Jay-Z, Lamar owns the mainstream rap scene, and the funny thing is I don’t think many people would disagree with me on that, even non-hip-hop heads.

Run The Jewels-Run The Jewels (2013)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Run The Jewels
  2. Banana Clipper (Feat. Big Boi)
  3. 36 Chain
  4. Ddfn
  5. Sea Legs
  6. Job Well Done (Feat. Until The Ribbon Breaks)
  7. No Come Down
  8. Get It
  9. Twin Hype Back (Feat. Prince Paul)
  10. A Christmas Fucking Miracle

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to get into Run The Jewels, start at part one and keep going through the next two albums, the evolution is fun to experience.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Classic, the next two albums follow the same theme, like the consistency.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Love to!

Final Thoughts:

Run The Jewels are doing something in hip hop that happens very rarely, they’re becoming popular practically based on their incredible flows alone. No doubt the production is amazing, beats are tasty, and marketing has been great too, but when it comes down to it Run The Jewels are successful because of the chemistry between El-P and Killer Mike and their ability to twist together incredible 16’s that are damn near impossible to rap along with, even though you may really feel tempted to. Their first album is not their best, but their worst is better than most rappers best efforts. It’s consistently political, hilarious, and jaw dropping. Run The Jewels are changing mainstream hip-hop, and I am so on board with them.

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.

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.

Broods-Evergreen (2014)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Mother & Father
  2. Everytime
  3. Killing You
  4. Bridges
  5. L.A.F.
  6. Never Gonna Change
  7. Sober
  8. Medicine
  9. Evergreen
  10. Four Walls
  11. Superstar

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking to branch out from your typical radio sounding music, but you’re not ready for anything too experimental.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really cool and sharp looking.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah I think it’d be a fun contemporary record to own on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Broods are a great way to try to get out of your comfort zone a bit, their music still sounds like mall/radio friendly tunes, but there’s something a little more going on here. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I like the style and I’m always up for something that makes me question what I think of a genre. Typically, this kinda junk does not appeal to me in the least, but Broods do it in a fresh/unique way that’s almost similar to FKA Twigs or Little Dragon. Finally an album that me and the typical white girl could probably agree on. It’s all about making white girls happy, amiright?

Run The Jewels-RTJ3 (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 88%

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Down (feat. Joi)
  2. Talk To Me
  3. Legend Has It
  4. Call Ticketron
  5. Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown)
  6. Stay Gold
  7. Don’t Get Captured
  8. Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)
  9. 2100 (feat. BOOTS)
  10. Panther Like A Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina)
  11. Everybody Stay Calm
  12. Oh Mama
  13. Thursday In The Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington)
  14. A Report To The Shareholders : Kill Your Masters

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to be reassured that Hip-Hop is still in good hands.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Alone, it doesn’t do a lot for me. But as the rest of the albums together, I like the concept they’re going for.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, almost bought it the other day!

Final Thoughts:

In Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid review I stated that he is my favourite rapper still making music, and although I’ll stick to my guns on that statement (cry me a river Lamra-ites) Run The Jewels is my favourite rap group currently making tunes. It’s a great blend of old school break beats that got me into hip-hop in the first place, mixed with more contemporary synth and industrial sounds. Killer Mike and EL-P make an awesome duo with amazing beats, politically charged lyrics, and over the top brags that sometimes don’t really make sense (ex. “I do pushups nude on the edge of cliffs” “I’m the living swipe right I’m Mike I’m a slut.” “I’m fuckin’ magic, in fact I’m a warlock of talk I got a unicorn horn for a STOP.”) They are making showstopping tracks that keep me stoked on Hip-Hop, I’m glad that these old school dudes are making it big, they deserve every bit of acclaim they are receiving. RTJ3 is a great mix of fun, serious, and impressive tracks to keep fans stoked while garnering new followers.

Arcade Fire-Funeral (2004)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 97%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 90%

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
  2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
  3. Une Année Sans Lumiere
  4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
  6. Crown Of Love
  7. Wake Up
  8. Haiti
  9. Rebellion (Lies)
  10. In The Backseat

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for something epic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s an okay cover, not my favourite of theirs but it’s not bad or anything.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellllllllllllllllll yeah!

Final Thoughts:

Arcade Fire is, in short, incredible. Their music has been used in so many ways and they are one of the few household name groups that truly deserve their acclaim. I mean damn, this is their first album, and they are already this accomplished? It’s mystifying, considering other artists I love take an album or two to find themselves. Funeral is epic and simple, high energy and mellow. It’s an album that demands to be listened to multiple times. It’s an album many other artists have been trying to replicate for years but can’t get the mix right. It’s painful how good it is for a first release and it makes me mad that they can be this talented…bastards.

Beach House-Teen Dream (2010)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 90%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 82%

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Zebra
  2. Silver Soul
  3. Norway
  4. Walk In The Park
  5. Used to Be
  6. Love Of Mine
  7. Better Times
  8. 10 Mile Stereo
  9. Real Love
  10. Take Care

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Half asleep under the shade of a palm tree.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s neat, but probably my least favourite thing about this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh hell friggin’ yes.

Final Thoughts:

Damn you Richard Sandlin and your undeniable eclectic consistently good music taste. This album blew my mind, I can’t believe it took me this long to get into these guys. I’m absolutely stoked to have the sleepy beachy pop on my shuffle and can’t wait to delve further into their music. I couldn’t imagine how much more rad I would have been if I was listening to this album back when it actually came out (my grad year), but I guess I’ve got plenty of time to catch up to the bandwagon and be somewhat rad again. It’s a beautiful album that’s perfect for summer. Listen to it now you dinguses!

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