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.

Doomtree-All Hands (2015)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 62%

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Final Boss
  2. My Own Nation
  3. .38 Airweight
  4. Gray Duck
  5. Heavy Rescue
  6. 80 On 80
  7. Mini Brute
  8. Cabin Killer
  9. Beastface
  10. The Bends
  11. Generator
  12. Off In The Deep
  13. Marathon
  14. High Water

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a hip hop album with lots going on at once.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a beautiful looking cover, I’d be stoked to have it in my collection.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need to own more Hip-Hop on vinyl (yes I want it).

Final Thoughts:

Doomtree is a hip-hop super-group (at least in my eyes), Sims, P.O.S., and Dessa are all artists with amazing solo work, so to have them all in the same group making music is kind of a big deal for me. Granted I got into Doomtree before their solo careers but now that I’ve researched more I almost forgot that these guys all worked together. They take things in a different direction on All Hands, keeping the lyrics abstract and the percussion raw, they get much more electronic than I’m used to hearing them, which was a good move because they now can appeal to a larger audience. Old fans may be a little let down with the new sound but I’m on board and excited to hear these guys push themselves as a group and as individual artists.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti-Mature Themes (2012)

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 74%

Average Rating: 75%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kinski Assassin
  2. Is This The Best Spot
  3. Mature Themes
  4. Only In My Dreams
  5. Driftwood
  6. Early Birds Of Babylon
  7. Schnitzel Boogie
  8. Symphony Of The Nymph
  9. Pink Slime
  10. Farewell American Primitive
  11. Live It Up
  12. Nostradamus & Me
  13. Baby

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mix of genres that stays generally mellow.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Cool colours and trippy!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is all of over the place when it comes to genre, at times it reminds me of Thee Oh Sees, other tracks make me think The Smiths or Ween, others Mac DeMarco. So putting your finger on this album is not an easy task. That being said it makes for an overall entertaining, but confusing listen. The first half seems a little more coherent as the B-Side gets more and more out of control and experimental. I can see the draw to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and I love a couple tracks (loved Only In My Dreams for years now), but I’m not quite on board yet. Perhaps another album listen would solidify my opinion.

The Game-1992 (2016)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Savage Lifestyle
  2. True Colors / It’s On
  3. Bompton
  4. Fuck Orange Juice
  5. The Juice
  6. Young Niggas
  7. The Soundtrack
  8. I Grew Up On Wu-Tang
  9. However Do You Want It
  10. Baby You
  11. What Your Life Like
  12. 92 Bars
  13. All Eyez (feat. Jeremih)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

At the beach and want some old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty ugly, but reminds me of the artwork on Doggystyle.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah, not this one.

Final Thoughts:

The Game seems to be highly underrated, I’ve been listening to his stuff since High School and am continually shocked how little attention he seems to get. He can sound so different from album to album, some being really jazzy, others being old school, and others being straight gangster. 1992 is a great reminder that The Game is still around, it’s not really an overly impressive album, but it’s a good prelude to something better. It feels very much like KRS-One’s The Mixtape, which was released to hold fans over until his next full length album came out. It’s a great mix of tracks showing   stylistic diversity, while not being overly well thought out or produced. It’s fun (especially on a summer day) but it’s not gonna be an album that sticks with me.

Del The Funkyhomosapien!-Iller Than Most (2014)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Leader
  2. Boogieman
  3. Delta Time
  4. Mental Fitness
  5. Bitin Ain’t Samplin
  6. Robust
  7. Militant
  8. Wreckin The Upside
  9. 10 Paces
  10. Grand Royal
  11. Land Of Immediate Rap Hits

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for renowned underground hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s super trippy, I don’t like how I can’t tell what’s going on, it scares me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah he has better stuff than this.

Final Thoughts:

Del The Funkyhomosapien! was my gateway drug to nerdy/alternative hip-hop, I remember listening to his album Eleventh Hour back in my high school skater days and half loving it and half being completely confused as to what was going on. He’s kinda one of those rappers that has done all he’s wanted stylistically and any other album he makes is just padding to his already impressive discography, I don’t see him making any albums that really catch me off guard (this one didn’t) but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the plan. Iller Than Most is a perfect definition for Del, it’s not showstopping hip hop, but it’s quality and it’s better than a lot of the stuff being made.

OutKast-Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 91%

Average Rating: 75%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Ghetto Musick
  3. Unhappy
  4. Bowtie Feat. Sleepy Brown And Jazze Pha
  5. The Way You Move Feat. Sleepy Brown
  6. The Rooster
  7. Bust Feat. Killer Mike
  8. War
  9. Church
  10. Bamboo (Interlude)
  11. Tomb of the Boom Feat. Ludacris, Konkrete, And Big Gipp
  12. E-Mac (Interlude)
  13. Knowing
  14. Flip Flop Rock Feat. Jay-Z And Killer Mike
  15. Interlude
  16. Reset Feat. Cee-Lo And Khujo Goodie
  17. D-Boi (Interlude)
  18. Last Call Feat. Slimm Calhoun, Mello, Lil Jon, Eastside Boyz
  19. Bowtie (Postlude)
  20. Hey Ya
  21. The Love Below (Intro)
  22. Love Hater
  23. Happy Valentine’s Day
  24. Spread

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for a funky fun hip-hop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s terrible, I hate it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ugh yes, but I hat the cover so much.

Final Thoughts:

OutKast’s Hey Ya gets every white person dancing immediately, and it doesn’t surprise me at all, it’s really catchy and funky, just like most of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. I love how this album really formed bridges for people who may have not checked out Hip-Hop otherwise, it’s one of those albums that’s usually highly regarded by all kinds of music reviewers. The problem lies in the pure amount of tracks on the damn thing, it’s usually a warning to me whenever an album passes 16 tracks, it’s often filled with filler/unnecessary interludes. Really this album could’ve stayed at 16 songs and been absolutely incredible, but we’re treated to a kid talking (which is on every damn rap album apparently), and random friends talking about weird things. Stick to the formula, no need for these useless minute long breaks that hurt the overall flow of the album. Overall though there are some incredibly influential tracks on here that are still great, just wish that they focused on making a great album instead of adding in random nonsense.

Father John Misty-Fear Fun (2012)

My Rating: 71% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: 73

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Funtimes in Babylon
  2. Nancy From Now On
  3. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
  4. I’m Writing a Novel
  5. O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me
  6. Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2
  7. Only Son of the Ladiesman
  8. This Is Sally Hatchet
  9. Well, You Can Do It Without Me
  10. Now I’m Learning to Love the War
  11. Tee Pees 1-12
  12. Everyman Needs a Companion

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a laid back album to turn your brain off to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s incredible, best part of this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Just want it for the cover, but no I won’t actually own it.

Final Thoughts:

Father John Misty’s been on a mental block for me for some time now. Mostly it’s one of those things where a ton of my friends wouldn’t shut up about it and I got weird and stubborn and just didn’t listen to him. I’d be lying if I didn’t find it a little over-hyped, I mean there are a few good tracks on this album, but was it something completely unique that caught me off guard? Not really. While he shines on a few tracks I can’t see myself going out of my way to listen to another one of his album (unless my friends get oddly aggressive and force me to).

Sonic Youth-Sister (1987)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. (I Got A) Catholic Block
  3. Beauty Lies in the Eye
  4. Stereo Sanctity
  5. Pipeline / Kill Time
  6. Tuff Gnarl
  7. Pacific Coast Highway
  8. Hot Wire My Heart
  9. Cotton Crown
  10. White Cross
  11. Master-Dik

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a noise rock band that can also be very melodic and also includes two great vocalists at the top of their game.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It fits their genre well, but I’m not writing home about it or anything.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be great on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Sister is one of those albums that suffers based on its number of tracks that are preludes to really great tracks, for example Pacific Coast Highway is not a bad song, but would be nothing if not followed up by Hot Wire My Heart. It’s a great noise album, one that I’m sure has influenced a lot of my favourite artists. But it’s just that: noise. It doesn’t always make for the best experience. A great album to have spinning on the record player, not an amazing one for driving to work.

clipping-CLPPNG (2014)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 56%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74.5%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Body and Blood
  3. Work Work
  4. Summertime
  5. Taking Off
  6. Tonight
  7. Dream
  8. Get Up
  9. Or Die
  10. Inside Out
  11. Story 2
  12. Dominoes
  13. Ends
  14. Williams Mix

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to try something a little more experimental.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I’ll borrow a line from a friend: “I will say this: very hot album cover art.” -Jacob Schellenberg

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah experimental stuff is almost always a yes for me on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Experimental Hip-Hop makes me squirm a little, it’s a dangerous game to mess with Hip-Hop too much, it can backfire really easily. But clipping seems to do it effortlessly, I mean holy crap I’ve never heard anything like this in my life. The electronic bed of weird sounds over the lead actor of Hamilton’s fast rapping is astonishing. This is one of the first times I’ve also liked a completely instrumental experimental electronic track (William’s Song), it may open the doors to some of the genre for me.

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