People Under The Stairs-…Or Stay Tuned (2003)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 86%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Yield
  2. Plunken’ Em
  3. Roadbeaters
  4. Fly Love Song
  5. Drumbox
  6. OST Remix
  7. Yo
  8. LA Song (Sensitive Mix)
  9. SF Knights Remix
  10. Take The Fruit
  11. Outrun

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking to chill while cooking.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not their best, but not their worst either. Doesn’t have much of an impact on me at all.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly but these guys are hard to find.

Final Thoughts:

In a righteous world People Under The Stairs are considered as important to the hip-hop scene as Run The Jewels, but we don’t live in a righteous world, so mumble rap is a thing. Double K and Thes One have incredible chemistry, their rhyme schemes match up impeccably over the incredibly chill beats they make in some basement somewhere. …Or Stay Tuned is another fantastic album in an already impressive discography, these two know their craft, their audience, and their flow will never get old to me. People Under The Stairs should be on the radio, they should be referenced by other hip hop heads, but part of their charisma is knowing that they are making music for a small group of fans, and somehow you found yourself to be one of them.

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Murs-Captain California (2017)

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 82%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Lemon Juice (feat. Curtiss King)
  2. Shakespeare on the Low (feat. Rexx Life Raj)
  3. GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)
  4. Colossus
  5. Another Round (feat. Krizz Kaliko)
  6. Xmas and Thanksgiving
  7. Summer
  8. 1000 Suns
  9. One Uh Those Days (feat. Reverie)
  10. G Is for Gentrify
  11. Animals Damnit (feat. Beleaf)
  12. Ay Caramba
  13. Wanna Be High (feat. Big Too Big)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for some Good Life sounding rap, although not one of the Good Life emcees, Murs definitely would be at home with the vibe.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually really like this album cover, it’s one of those that I can stare at for awhile and just enjoy the pure art behind it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hell yes.

Final Thoughts:

Murs went weird there for a bit, his rhymes got really gangster and not as fun and clever as what I grew up with. Honestly he fell off my radar once he tried to reinvent himself, although I don’t fault him for trying to reach a wider audience, it wasn’t for me. Captain California is the compromise between his new fans and his old fans. I love hearing songs like God Bless Kanye West and Lemon Juice because I get my classic Murs fill, while songs like Colossus may not necessarily be my favourite tracks, they are in no way bad. Murs has found his sweet spot, a little more tweaking here and there and he may have found something to write home about.

Mac Demarco-2 (2012)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 82%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 81%

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Cooking Up Something Good
  2. Dreamin
  3. Freaking Out the Neighborhood
  4. Annie
  5. Ode to Viceroy
  6. Robson Girl
  7. The Stars Keep On Calling My Name
  8. My Kind of Woman
  9. Boe Zaah
  10. Sherrill
  11. Still Together

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready for a more under-polished Mac Demarco album, but still love his vibe as much as I do.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s funny, but not doing a whole lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh for sure.

Final Thoughts:

Mac Demarco has turned into one of those artists who I’ll pretty much love anything they release, his style is unique, chill, and groovy. He has this unique way of being kind of sad while still being uplifting. 2 is a surprisingly solid album for an earlier release in his career. Not as “clean” sounding as his later albums, but still really catchy, sexy, and so laid back. Demarco knows his audience, he’s found his niche and has slowly crept out of it with his album This Old Dog, which got a lot of radio play, but his heart will always be with the isolated and the weirdos. Somehow he can still cater to a wider audience like my parents, and customers that walk into the bookstore I work at.

Common-Be (2005)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Be (Intro)
  2. The Corner (Feat. Kanye West & The Last Poets)
  3. Go! (Feat. Kanye West & John Mayer)
  4. Faithful (Feat. Bilal & John Legend)
  5. Testify
  6. Love Is… (Feat. Luna E)
  7. Chi-City (Feat. Kanye West)
  8. The Food (Live) (Feat. Kanye West)
  9. Real People
  10. They Say (Feat. Kanye West & John Legend)
  11. It’s Your World (Feat. Bilal)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

A jazz fan that wants to get into hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s original and now kind of iconic, I’m a big fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

Common is no stranger to mainstream hip-hop heads, mostly because Kanye and him collaborate quite often. His albums are usually pretty solid choices, if not a little too predictable, but Be is a definite stand out in his discography. From the opening track the listener is reminded that Hip-Hop is only a bastard child of Jazz, and Common reminds us that the two genres can and should be meshed together. The album is consistently political, positive, and chill. Common is on top of his game, he has something to prove on this album, his voice must be considered whenever hip-hop is being discussed. Common stands out as a solo act, it’s awesome to see him take the reins on Be, I feel like this album was in very good hands, and I’m stoked to look into the rest of his discography to see what else he does with hip-hop.

People Under The Stairs-O.S.T. (2002)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 77%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 86%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Jappy Jap
  3. The Suite For Beaver Part 1
  4. The Suite For Beaver Part 2
  5. O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack) (Feat. Odell)
  6. Empty Bottles Of Water
  7. Jim Sr.
  8. The Outrage
  9. The Hang Loose
  10. The Double K Show
  11. Tales Of Kidd Drunkadelic
  12. Keepin It Live
  13. The Dig
  14. The Heat
  15. Montego Slay
  16. The L.A. Song
  17. 8 Is Enuff
  18. Acid Raindrops (Feat. Camel MC)
  19. The Joyride
  20. The Breakdown (Feat. Headnodic on Electric Bass)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for old school hip hop with awesome rapping and beats.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s super cool, I love it, reminds me of a photo you’d see in the insert of the album artwork, the laidbackness of it fits the album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but I’ll probably have to pay through the teeth for it.

Final Thoughts:

People Under The Stairs are a lot of fun, they really know who their audience is: hip-hop heads. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, they’re just two beat-makers who are at ease behind the mic. Nothing here is going to be very thought provoking or controversial, they’re just here for your chill party vibes. They’re like the natural evolution of the Beastie Boys, except much more laid back, but still can deliver on the hilarious one liners. Most of the lyrics focus on BBQing, drinking beer, and hitting on fly honies. Put this album on to impress your hip-hop fans, convert your jazz friends, and while you’re drinking a cold one in the backyard. Awesome stuff!

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.

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