Allah-Las-Calico Review (2016)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 69%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Strange Heat
  2. Satisfied
  3. Could Be You
  4. High And Dry
  5. Mausoleum
  6. Roadside Memorial
  7. Autumn Dawn
  8. Famous Phone Figure
  9. 200 South La Brea
  10. Warmed Kippers
  11. Terra Ignota
  12. Place In The Sun

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving down a highway.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Does next to nothing for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Allah-Las is consistent, nothing ground breaking here, but consistent. Calico Review offers an album that is easy to listen to while doing mundane tasks or just staring at the roof and thinking things few, the biggest thing they’ve got going for them is just how unobtrusive their music is. It’s not something that demands the spotlight, nor does it really want it. It’s great music that you can put on at pretty much any get together without any objection. They are like the more laid back version of Woods. Calico Review is not going to be on the top of many lists, but I don’t think it’s a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a humble listen for humble moments in your life.

The Raconteurs-Consolers Of The Lonely (2008)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Consoler Of The Lonely
  2. Salute Your Solution
  3. You Don’t Understand Me
  4. Old Enough
  5. The Switch And The Spur
  6. Hold Up
  7. Top Yourself
  8. Many Shades Of Black Featuring Adele
  9. Five On The Five
  10. Attention
  11. Pull This Blanket Off
  12. Rich Kid Blues
  13. These Stones Will Shout
  14. Carolina Drama

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Out in the woods.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Creepy and classic, it’s rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh so friggin’ much.

Final Thoughts:

Controversial statement time: The Raconteurs is the best project Jack White has ever done (White Stripers calm yourselves). Consolers Of The Lonely is an album with so much going on for it: garage rock, ballad, hip hop like vocals, it’s a blender of genres and styles coming together to make one delicious listen. I love love love this album and I wish more people were into it because it’s so damn good. Jack White is complimented nicely by the backup band while still being able to showcase his amazing vocals. The lyrics are really solid and fable like at times. This album deserves your attention and Jack White fans should be ashamed if this isn’t in their library.

Death Cab For Cutie-Narrow Stairs (2008)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 60%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Bixby Canyon Bridge
  2. I Will Possess Your Heart
  3. No Sunlight
  4. Cath…
  5. Talking Bird
  6. You Can Do Better Than Me
  7. Grapevine Fires
  8. Your New Twin Sized Bed
  9. Long Division
  10. Pity And Fear
  11. The Ice Is Getting Thinner

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In the mood for an emotional roller coaster.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Lots of colour, I like it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

One of the first albums I bought on vinyl!

Final Thoughts:

So this is aging me a bit (more showing how young I am) but Narrow Stairs was the first Death Cab For Cutie album I listened to. My older brother was into The Postal Service and bought this album around the time I first started listening to them. I must’ve listened to this album 1,864 times (rough guesstimate), it’s one of the handful of albums that I can sing to word for word without missing a step. It’s a truly intimate and large sounding album that can hit a wide range of emotions for me. I will always have a soft spot for these tunes and even though many Death Cab fans think this is on their weaker side, it’s one of my favourite work of theirs.

Ty Segall-Emotional Mugger (2016)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 73%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Squealer
  2. Californian Hills
  3. Emotional Mugger/Leopard Priestess
  4. Breakfast Edge
  5. Diversion
  6. Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)
  7. Mandy Cream
  8. Candy Sam
  9. Squealer Two
  10. W.U.O.T.W.S.
  11. The Magazine

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Tripping ballz.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Scary as hell.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I own it on vinyl, listened to it 8 bazillion times.

Final Thoughts:

I was so excited when I discovered Ty Segall, mostly because it sounded like an artist that was heavily influenced by Thee Oh Sees; it was almost like finding another discography of Thee Oh Sees to work with. But Ty is more than just a Thee Oh Sees offshoot, in fact I’d say that most people would argue that between Segall and Dwyer, Segall is the better artist. I don’t know about all that but he does sound exactly like a spooky John Lennon (read on his wiki) and I love his music. I can’t wait to see him live in August, curious to see how his performance will vary from Dwyer’s.

Earl Sweatshirt-Doris (2013)

My Rating: 80% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 83%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 82%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Pre (feat. SK La’ Flare)
  2. Burgundy (feat. Vince Staples)
  3. 20 Wave Caps (feat. Domo Genesis)
  4. Sunday (feat. Frank Ocean)
  5. Hive (feat. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies)
  6. Chum
  7. Sasquatch (feat. Tyler, The Creator)
  8. Centurion (feat. Vince Staples)
  9. 523
  10. Uncle Al
  11. Guild (feat. Mac Miller)
  12. Molasses (feat. RZA)
  13. Whoa (feat. Tyler, The Creator)
  14. Hoarse
  15. Knight (feat. Domo Genesis)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Half asleep and want to mellow out to some dark sounding hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

The Odd Future crew always make the most simplistic awesome covers, this one’s no different.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really an album I want on vinyl, just good through my headphones.

Final Thoughts:

Earl Sweatshirt is my favourite artist in the Odd Future collective, he still seems to be an undiscovered gem (what with the popularity of Tyler, The Creator). Doris is a great addition to his other body of work, it keeps true to his sound and doesn’t dip in quality throughout the record, besides the horribly miscalculated Guild (feat. Mac Miller) (was I the only one who thought that track should’ve been so much better?) Doris will entertain you while you’re out of your mind washing dishes at your moms house, it’s a great example of alt hip-hop.

The Grates-Teeth Lost, Hearts Won (2008)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 77%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Burn Bridges
  2. Carve Your Name
  3. The Fun in Every Start
  4. Two Kinds Of Right
  5. Aw Yeah
  6. Milk Eyes
  7. The Sum of Every Part
  8. Storms and Fevers
  9. Earthquake
  10. Not Today
  11. When You’re Scared Of Dogs
  12. Let It Die
  13. The Biggest and Longest Adventure Ever

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some fun pop punk with a female lead.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely love this album cover, there’s so much going on, it’s really rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

The Grates caught my attention with their song Turn Me On back in 2011; I wanted to check out their older stuff so I added this album to my library. The thing with The Grates is that if everything is working as it should be, the music sounds absolutely amazing, but so often on this album they make a simple misstep and something just sounds off. Whether it be the vocals being a little strained, or a drum loop that just doesn’t get there, the album as a whole could’ve used a little more time in the studio. But the few songs that hit their mark are really fun!

Common-Black America Again (2016)

My Rating: 67% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 79%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 88%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Joy And Peace
  2. Home
  3. Word From Moe Luv Interlude
  4. Black America Again
  5. Love Star
  6. On A Whim Interlude
  7. Red Wine
  8. Pyramids
  9. A Moment In The Sun Interlude
  10. Unfamiliar
  11. A Bigger Picture Called Free
  12. The Day Women Took Over
  13. Rain
  14. Little Chicago Boy
  15. Letter To The Free

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Mad at the way things are going and want a positive voice to share your frustrations.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really great, really original.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Black America Again is an obviously politically charged album with a lot to offer to those of us fed up with the system, but it’s not as epic as one would hope. There are a few really great tracks to sink (Red Wine and Letter To The Free being standouts for me). But as far as albums that will have any lasting impression I don’t think this will be one of them. The album is filled with a lot of dead space which makes it difficult to find its theme, especially when you really want some biting lyrics from Common. He performs admirably and passionately as is to expected from him, but it’s more of the same, not an album that necessarily stands out as either his crown jewel or a major misstep, it’s just another addition to his discography that I’m happy to have, but not writing home about.

The Roots-Phrenology (2002)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 81%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 87%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Phrentrow
  2. Rock You
  3. Thirsty
  4. !!!!!!!
  5. Sacrifice
  6. Rolling With Heat
  7. WAOK (AY) Rollcall
  8. Though @ Work
  9. The Seed 2.0
  10. Break You Off
  11. Water
  12. Quills
  13. Complexity
  14. Something in the Way of Things (In Town)
  15. Rhymes And Ammo
  16. Thirsty

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mix of old school hip-hop and incredible jazz beats.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a really solid cover, big fan of it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

The Roots have always been a band I’ve really respected more than have listened to. The Seed 2.0 is the song of theirs I listen to the most, but past that I’m just not too familiar with their work. Sitting through this album was  a little tedious, amazing flows and beats were to be found, but somewhat buried in a mix of ambient tunes. The album as a whole is just incredibly uneven, I couldn’t sink my teeth into it and let it wash, it was more frustrating wishing that they would rap more and screw around a little less.

Moon Duo-Shadow of the Sun (2015)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 66%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 77%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Wilding
  2. Night Beat
  3. Free the Skull
  4. Zero
  5. In a Cloud
  6. Thieves
  7. Slow Down Low
  8. Ice
  9. Animal
  10. Cross the Way

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for some music that would be on a Nicolas Winding Refn film.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Trippy. I lovez it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yup!

Final Thoughts:

Moon Duo was a pleasant surprise for me. I never really know what I’m getting into when I allow someone on What’s In My Bag to tell me what to listen to, but this was a winner. Really fun/dark sounding music. It’d be a perfect album to walk downtown at night to. Very cinematic sounding at times, but just overall a really great album that’s worth your attention.

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