The Drums-Abysmal Thoughts (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Mirror
  2. I’ll Fight for Your Life
  3. Blood Under My Belt
  4. Heart Basel
  5. Shoot The Sun Down
  6. Head of the Horse
  7. Under The Ice
  8. Are U Fucked
  9. Your Tenderness
  10. Rich Kids
  11. If All We Share (Means Nothing)
  12. Abysmal Thoughts

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a contemporary band that sounds like they could be straight out of a 90’s Spielberg flick.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super weird, I think I like it…I think.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Own it, they did a good job at making it really unique too! One side of the two records is just a glossy “Abysmal Thoughts”.

Final Thoughts:

The Drums have been playing on my mp3 players since late High School, they’re a band that’s seen me through a lot of growing pains. And I think they’ve gone through growing pains of their own. With the more experimental sound of Encyclopedia, their release before this one, a lot of fans weren’t on board for songs like Magic Mountain (my all time favourite by them). But with the release of Abysmal Thoughts both fans from Encyclopedia and old school fans from the days of Money and Let’s Go Surfing should find lots to drool over. There is something a lot more accomplished about this album, true it doesn’t stray too far from their sound, but it’s almost like a confidence is being exuded through the tracks. It sounds like an instant classic, like the evolution of The Smiths. Abysmal Thoughts continues the theme of incredibly sad lyrics over fun instrumentals, and we thank them for it.

Woods-City Sun Eater In The River Of Light (2016)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Can’t See at All
  2. Creature Comfort
  3. Hang It On Your Wall
  4. Hollow Home
  5. I See in the Dark
  6. Morning Light
  7. The Other Side
  8. Politics Of Free
  9. Sun City Creeps
  10. The Take

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an alt album to jive to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Fits their style but I’m not the biggest fan of it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Woods was a part of a large collective of groups that I discovered around the same time, there was an article with the best alt bands of the year I studied meticulously and came out with a few gems, other bands included in said list were: Grouplove, Gotye, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Arctic Monkeys. Woods stands out from the list by their unique sound, as if you’ve been transported to a dystopian New Mexico and have only the gun on your side and the clothes on your back. Woods shines in not sticking to the traditional sound, while not trying anything overly experimental either. City Sun Eater In The River Of Light flows nicely from track to track without begging for too much attention, it’s a chill album to listen to while trying to scrounge up food while keeping an eye out for our future robot overlords.

Danger Doom-The Mouse And The Mask (2005)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 78%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 81%

Average Rating: 86%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. El Chupa Nibre
  2. Sofa King
  3. The Mask Feat. Ghostface Killah
  4. Perfect Hair
  5. Benzi Box Feat. Cee-Lo
  6. Old School Rules Feat. Talib Kweli
  7. A.T.H.F. (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
  8. Basket Case
  9. No Names (Black Debbie)
  10. Crosshairs
  11. Mince Meat
  12. Vats Of Urine
  13. Space Hoes
  14. Bada Bing

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You:

Have a bowl of cereal in your lap and are ready to party, son.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Absolutely love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I’ve almost bought it multiple times but it’s like $50 and I’ve never been financially stable, soooooo yeah, one day!

Final Thoughts:

Ugh this album. What more does a weirdo like me need? Nothing, that’s what! MF Doom + Danger Mouse + [Adult Swim]= One of (if not my all time) favourite Hip-Hop records ever made! The beats are absolutely incredible (could you expect differently from Danger Mouse?) The lyrics are absurd and catchy (Could you expect differently from MF Doom?) and the interludes are funny, absurd and somewhat annoying (same thing but add [Adult Swim]). This is one of the most perfect albums I’ve ever heard, it’s as if they had me specifically in mind when they made it (maybe they did???). Get your hands on this and have a one of a kind experience ya dingus!

Thundercat-Drunk (2017)

Record Review Requested By: Samantha Matheson

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating:  83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rabbot Ho
  2. Captain Stupido
  3. Uh Uh
  4. Bus In These Streets
  5. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)
  6. Lava Lamp
  7. Jethro
  8. Day & Night
  9. Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins)
  10. Walk On By (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  11. Blakkk
  12. Tokyo
  13. Jameel’s Space Ride
  14. Friend Zone
  15. Them Changes
  16. Where I’m Going
  17. Drink Dat (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
  18. Inferno
  19. I Am Crazy
  20. 3AM
  21. Drunk
  22. The Turn Down (feat. Pharrell)
  23. DUI

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

You want something experimental and funky.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Friggin’ awesome and terrifying.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

I can safely say that I have never heard anything quite like Drunk, it’s a truly one of a kind experience. Ridiculous lyrics, crazy sounds, way too many tracks for one album, it’s as if you are listening to Tim and Eric as a funk album. It’s hard to take the album too seriously, but honestly it’s just really good/fun music. I don’t know if it came on on shuffle if those nearby could appreciate it for what it is, but I think as an album not knowing what you’re getting yourself into but open to new experiences it can be quite the space ride. For fans of techno, funk, and hip-hop you’ll find plenty to fawn over.

KRS-One-The World Is MIND (2017)

My Rating: 83% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Show Respect
  2. Same Shit
  3. Keep Clicking Ft. Shai
  4. Out For Fame
  5. My Dreams
  6. Fuck This Ft. K.O.D
  7. Don’t Ever Stop Ft. Janiece
  8. RAW B.E.A.T
  9. You Ain’t Got Time
  10. No Problems
  11. You Like Me
  12. Put Ya Ones Up
  13. Keep Flowin’
  14. Hip Hop Speaks From Heaven
  15. The World Is MIND

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Really missing old school hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love it, super psychedelic and weird.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yuuuuup.

Final Thoughts:

KRS-One is the man, if you don’t know that, you need to study your hip-hop history more. He’s one of those artists who is more respected than actually listened to, he doesn’t get much radio play. I’ll be honest, I’ve found some of his previous albums to be misses, but The World is MIND returns to his old school style and is just really really fun. I didn’t realize how much I missed having this sub-genre of Hip-Hop in my life until I sat through this album. I’m a big fan of inovation and experimentalization with music, but it’s a breath of fresh air to return to basics. Want a contemporary old school hip-hop album? The World is MIND is for you.

Elbow-Little Fictions (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Magnificent (She Says)
  2. Gentle Storm
  3. Trust the Sun
  4. All Disco
  5. Head for Supplies
  6. Firebrand & Angel
  7. K2
  8. Montparnasse
  9. Little Fictions
  10. Kindling

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for big sound out of a typically quiet indie band.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I REALLY LOVE THIS ALBUM COVER!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

There’s a scene on Peep Show, a famous UK comedy, where one of the main characters is failing at charades and thinks to himself something along the lines as “I don’t want to know these bands! I don’t want to listen to shitty bands like Elbow.” It’s a really funny quote, and at the risk of sounding like a typical millennial dirt bag, I love Elbow. I love how they offer such diversity with each album all while staying true to some familiar vibe (ugh I used the word vibe). With Little Fictions were given the big band treatment and it sounds so epic and beautiful. This is a serious contender for best album of the year.

Empire Of The Sun-Two Vines (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Before
  2. High and Low
  3. Two Vines
  4. Friends
  5. There’s No Need
  6. Way To Go
  7. Ride
  8. Digital Life
  9. First Crush
  10. ZZZ
  11. To Her Door
  12. Keystone
  13. Lend Me Some Light
  14. Welcome To My Life

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for poppy fun music to turn your brain off to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s trippy and weird and consistent with their other covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Empire of the Sun was one of the first dream pop bands that I got into, and I feel like I kind of owe them for helping me get into bands like Blonde Redhead and Beach House (Well, them and Richard Sandlin), this album is consistently entertaining brain candy. It’s nothing new, let’s get that straight, but it is really fun and really easy to turn your brain off to. It’s interesting to see the response to this band (mostly negative) after the release of their single Walking on a Dream, people are expecting them to reinvent the wheel, but these guys just wanna make funky music, and they’ve never failed at that.

The Growlers-Chinese Fountain (2014)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Big Toe
  2. Black Memories
  3. Chinese Fountain
  4. Dull Boy
  5. Good Advice
  6. Going Gets Tuff
  7. Magnificent Sadness
  8. Love Test
  9. Not the Man
  10. Rare Hearts
  11. Purgatory Drive

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mish mash of genres with an over all good feeling, especially hot for summer.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh. Doesn’t do a lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh hell ya!

Final Thoughts:

The Growler’s have toured with bands that I’m a big fan of, such as acts like Mac DeMarco, Thee Oh Sees, and FIDLAR to name a few, and it was only time for me to check em out. I was blown away with how consistent this album was. This is a great example of a short and sweet album, they don’t drag it out to the point where I get tired, they leave me wanting more instead. It’s a surfy sounding album, with a lot for people to like. Country, Psychadellic, Pop, and Rock fans will feel right at home here.

Blonde Redhead-23 (2007)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100%

Pitchfork Rating: 70%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 23
  2. Dr. Strangeluv
  3. The Dress
  4. SW
  5. Spring and by Summer Fall
  6. Silently
  7. Publisher
  8. Heroine
  9. Top Ranking
  10. My Impure Hair
  11. Signs Along the Path
  12. (We are a Real Team) Harry and I

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a happy poppy dream like album to fade out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really awesome, I’m a big fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Well my roommate already does but if/when he moves out I’ll want it.

Final Thoughts:

I can imagine that this was a highly influential band for some of my favourite pop bands (The Drums and Bombay Bicycle Club to name a couple). It’s a really chill album with a lot of cool soundscapes to keep everyone entertained. I like to think that this is what Bon Iver would sound like if they went pop, but maybe my brain’s way off the mark on that one, I don’t know that’s where it wandered to, sue me. Blonde Redhead’s 23 offers a lot of fun tracks, and a lot for newbies (like me) to sink their teeth into.

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