The Killers-Wonderful Wonderful (2017)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 63%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 71%

Average Rating: 73% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Wonderful Wonderful
  2. The Man
  3. Rut
  4. Life To Come
  5. Run For Cover
  6. Tyson vs Douglas
  7. Some Kind Of Love
  8. Out Of My Mind
  9. The Calling
  10. Have All The Songs Been Written?
  11. Money On Straight
  12. The Man (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)
  13. The Man (Duke Dumont Remix)

Label:

Island

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to party.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Doesn’t do a lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I’ve loved The Killers since high school, and despite all the heat they seem to catch from critics and friends, I love them. Sam’s Town was a great album that introduced me to these guys (fun fact I got it from Columbia House, different times), since then they’ve gone a whole lot more synthy and commercial, I suppose that’s one of the reasons they get a lot of hate. True, their music isn’t very experimental or innovative, but you know what? It’s really really catchy and fun! And sometimes that’s all you need. I’ll always stick up for The Killers, because they’ve always made fun music and haven’t tried to be someone they’re not. Wonderful Wonderful sticks to the plan of what you expect of them in later years, lots of candy glossed pop that’s easy to dance to.

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Death Cab For Cutie-Plans (2005)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 65%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 73% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Marching Bands Of Manhattan
  2. Soul Meets Body
  3. Summer Skin
  4. Different Names For The Same Thing
  5. I Will Follow You Into The Dark
  6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room
  7. Someday You Will Be Loved
  8. Crooked Teeth
  9. What Sarah Said
  10. Brothers On A Hotel Bed
  11. Stable Song

Label:

Atlantic, Barsuk

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, it’s okay.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need this one!

Final Thoughts:

Man, I love Death Cab For Cutie, they were such an influential band for me. One of the first bands I ever listened to that was alternative was Snow Patrol and they opened the doors for this album, an album that has hit after freaking hit. Seriously, every track on this album is as memorable to me as the last, it’s a perfect album that will always have a spot in my heart. There’s little wrong Death Cab can do in my mind, they were one of those bands that really opened my mind to other genres of music, so I’m pretty biased when it comes to their early work, but damn, Plans is just such a great album.

FIDLAR-Too (2015)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 58%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 76%

Average Rating: 74% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 40oz. On Repeat
  2. Punks
  3. West Coast
  4. Why Generation
  5. Sober
  6. Leave Me Alone
  7. Drone
  8. Overdose
  9. Hey Johnny
  10. Stupid Decisions
  11. Bad Medicine
  12. Bad Habits

Label:

Mom + Pop Music, Wichita Recordings, Dine Alone Records

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Having a hard time connection with your generation.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty ugly, but fits their style.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah.

Final Thoughts:

FIDLAR’s self titled album was friggin’ amazing. Here’s this new band singing about Cheap Beer and Cocaine and then they release a music video with Nick Offerman peeing on everything (fake penis and all). It was raw, weird, and it made you feel like you were on this trip with a bunch of crazy stoners. Then Too came out, and it was significantly watered down. If FIDLAR (album) was a bad trip, Too is a hissy fit, the lyricism takes a noticeable dive, but damn if it’s not still catchy as ever. FIDLAR’s Too wasn’t necessarily a misstep, but it went a little too accessible. I think this band will have a hard time finding itself upon its next release, do they want to be raw and unpredictable (please, please please) or do they want to be a band for high schoolers who are finding themselves? Only time will tell.

Mars Ill-ProPain (2004)

My Rating: 76% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Pro*Pain (Intro)
  2. Say So
  3. Sound Off
  4. Too Strong To Change Feat. Cappadonna
  5. Dog Eared Page
  6. More Feat. Ahmad Jones & Anthony David
  7. Jus The Two Of Us
  8. Stand Back And Watch
  9. Wicked Ways
  10. Saturday Night Special Feat. Ishues & D.R.E.S. The Beatnik
  11. Glam Rap Feat. Prince Po
  12. Higher
  13. Effortless Feat. X:144
  14. Write Of Passage Feat. Ben Hameen & J-Mil
  15. When Heaven Scrapes The Pavement
  16. I Is
  17. We Out (Outro)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some solid old school/industrial sounding beats.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s what actually first drew me into listening to this group, I absolutely love it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I own a couple singles of theirs on vinyl from this album and those are awesome, so I’ll probably just stick to that.

Final Thoughts:

Mars Ill is one of those groups that aged really well, some Christian groups or emcees I liked in high school didn’t grow with me, but Mars Ill definitely did. The two reasons these guys stand out are their beats and their lyrics. The beats on ProPain are incredibly unique, sounding like a mix of Yeezus and Be, really original. Manchild’s flow and lyrics have always been worthy of my  attention, other emcees I can put on and turn my brain off, but Manchild continues to have lyrics to dig into after all these years, it’s never more prevalent then on When Heaven Scrapes The Pavement which is one of my all-time favourite Christian Hip Hop songs. ProPain has showed it’s maturity with my own, it’s an album I’ve always respected and although it’s not one I’ll list among my favourites it’s one I will more than likely always speak highly of.

Thee Oh Sees-Orc (2017)

My Rating: 70% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 74% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Animated Violence
  2. Cadaver Dog
  3. Cooling Tower
  4. Drowned Beast
  5. Jettisoned
  6. Keys to the Castle
  7. Nite Expo
  8. Paranoise
  9. Raw Optics
  10. The Static God

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a darker version of Thee Oh Sees.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s super rad, big fan of this album cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Already do, as always Thee Oh Sees are good fun on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

I listen to Thee Oh Sees a lot…I’m not kidding, a lot. They’re definitely one of my go to bands for driving or waking up. I’ve seen them live three times now and plan on seeing them every time they make it out to Vancouver. Dwyer is one of my all time favourite musicians and I will listen to every damn thing he makes. Orc was a solid release that holds up, but it’s not their greatest. Unlike other Oh Sees albums, Orc doesn’t have that one track that makes my face melt (although The Static God is pretty damn close). There just wasn’t as much for me to go fanboy crazy about on Orc, and it’s not that it’s necessarily a bad album (it’s not) but it’s not a very memorable one either. I wish for a second Floating Coffin, but obviously bands move in different directions and I can’t fault them for that, I just wish it hit as hard as their previous work has.

Gift Of Gab-4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up (2004)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 59%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Ride Of Your Life
  2. Rat Race
  3. Way Of The Light
  4. Stardust
  5. Flashback
  6. Up
  7. The Writz
  8. To Know You
  9. Real MC’s
  10. Hold On
  11. In A Minute Doe
  12. Evolution
  13. Moonshine
  14. Ride On
  15. Just Because

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some positive hip hop that’ll blow your mind.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a super original awesome cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

Gift of Gab is one half of Blackalicious, but more than that, he is one of the most talented emcees that I’ve been able to see live. His flow is insane, his freestyle ability is ridiculous, and his albums are solid. 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up is one of the albums that really shaped my taste in hip hop, I’ve been listening to this one since high school (around the time it was released) and still love it when it comes on my shuffle. Gab has a diverse track-list on 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, from the catchy Rat Race, to the feel good Way of the Light to the nostalgic Flashback, there’s something here for all the hip hop heads. Gab will never get the dues I want him to, but I can still play his tracks loud on my headphones and respect the hard work that went into it.

Caribou-Our Love (2014)

My Rating: 55% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 84%

Average Rating: 74% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Can’t Do Without You
  2. Silver
  3. All I Ever Need
  4. Our Love
  5. Dive
  6. Second Chance
  7. Julia Brightly
  8. Mars
  9. Back Home
  10. Your Love Will Set You Free

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing to chill out to some electronic tunes.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Beautiful album cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

Caribou’s song Silver was getting tons of radio-play with similar artists such as Tame Impala and Future Islands. Rollingstone also put them in a list of greatest albums of the year so I took a chance with Our Love. Unfortunately it just didn’t impress me. The song Silver is great, there’s no doubt about that, but as far as Our Love is concerned I found it contained just as many misses as hits. As is the case with electronic music there can be a lot of dead tracks between the ones worth your time. Would I say I hate this album? No, I just found it really boring for the most part. Caribou has made some worthwhile tunes, but their album game needs some adjusting.

Jurassic 5-Quality Control (2000)

My Rating: 87% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 61%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 75% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. How We Get Along
  2. The Influence
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Quality Intro
  5. Quality Control
  6. Contact
  7. Lausd
  8. World of Entertainment (Woe Is Me)
  9. Monkey Bars
  10. Jurass Finish First
  11. Contribution
  12. Twelve
  13. The Game
  14. Improvise
  15. Swing Set

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Craving for some bouncy call and action old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s funny, not great, but makes me laugh.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

Jurassic 5 is the biggest group that came out of The Good Life Cafe, easily. Their music has made it so far that I heard it in a Bluenotes last year (that threw me off a bit). I’m sure that most my generation has at least heard the name, if not a couple of their tracks. Quality Control is business as usual, honestly, these guys are just so much fun. The most impressive thing on show on Quality Control is their ability to flow from one emcee to another, they work very well together and it’s a joy to listen to. Add that to Cut Chemist and Numark’s cuts and breaks and you have something to hold onto and never let go. Jurassic 5 always makes me happy, because they are keeping Hip Hop alive and maybe, just maybe, we can get a little more of their sound on the radio, probs not, but it’s a nice thought.

EMA-Exile In the Outer Ring (2017)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 7 Years
  2. Breathalyzer
  3. I Wanna Destroy
  4. Blood and Chalk
  5. Down and Out
  6. Fire Water Air LSD
  7. Aryan Nation
  8. 33 Nihilistic and Female
  9. Receive Love
  10. Always Bleeds
  11. Where the Darkness Began

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In a dark place of disillusionment.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I do, bought it at the live show.

Final Thoughts:

I have such mixed feelings both about this artist and this album. With EMA I have a little bit of a block on her now after seeing her live, not only were her openers absolute unlistenable garbage (looking at you The Blow, yes that’s not music) she was also kinda rude to the sound guys and that never sits right with me. She seemed to have this too cool for school air about her…there were maybe 30 people at her show…maybe. With Exile In the Outer Ring though, she continues to show that she does have some incredibly amazing musical talent. It’s no The Future’s Void, but it’s definitely a solid album. So, does she have the mad genius syndrome? Is she just a bit of a jerk? Or did I catch her on the wrong day? I guess I won’t know, but damn, this music is still really interesting, in a good way.

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