The Kills-Ash & Ice (2016)

My Rating: 81% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 62%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 68%

Average Rating: 70% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Doing It to Death
  2. Heart of a Dog
  3. Hard Habit to Break
  4. Bitter Fruit
  5. Days of Why and How
  6. Let It Drop
  7. Hum for Your Buzz
  8. Siberian Nights
  9. That Love
  10. Impossible Tracks
  11. Black Tar
  12. Echo Home
  13. Whirling Eye

Label:

Domino

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Getting ready to go out for the night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Very cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely.

Final Thoughts:

I have no idea how I originally found The Kills, it must’ve been around the time that I was getting into bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, and Alabama Shakes. Ash & Ice continues suit, a really solid album that is really easy to put on to appeal to a large audience, but nothing too different or impressive that it stands out than more than a solid album. The Kills are great musicians and Ash & Ice is a really enjoyable album, but it’s not something that caught me off guard or that demanded a second listen. I’m hoping that their other work gives me a couple tracks to sink my teeth into more than Ash & Ice did.

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BJ the Chicago Kid-In My Mind (2016)

My Rating: 57% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 84%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro (Inside My Mind)
  2. Man Down (feat. Buddy & Constantine)
  3. Church (feat. Chance The Rapper & Buddy)
  4. Love Inside (feat. Isabella)
  5. The Resume (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)
  6. Shine
  7. Wait Til The Morning (feat. Isa)
  8. Heart Crush
  9. Jeremiah/World Needs More Love (feat. Eric Ingram)
  10. The New Cupid (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  11. Woman’s World
  12. Crazy
  13. Home
  14. Falling On My Face
  15. Turnin’ Me Up

Label:

Motown

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Falling asleep with someone you love.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Awesome album cover!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, I’ll be honest, I think this is more a me problem than an actual problem with the album. At the end of the day I just don’t really like R&B I find it incredibly boring and overly corny. Of course I see the contradiction with being such a hip hop head, because R&B and hip hop are really close friends, but I’ve tried multiple times and it just doesn’t work for me. But aside from that what really got to me on In My Mind was the crazy amount of repetition. There would be times where I’d be sold on a song only to have it repeat the same line like 50 times, just end the song or write more lyrics, don’t make me hang onto the same thing for an extra 3 minutes. BJ the Chicago Kid has an incredible voice, just needs better material.

Grieves-Together/Apart (2011)

My Rating: 94% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 52%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Light Speed
  2. Bloody Poetry
  3. Falling From You
  4. On The Rocks
  5. Sunny Side of Hell
  6. Tragic
  7. Boogie Man
  8. Pressure Cracks
  9. No Matter What
  10. Vice Grip
  11. Heartbreak Hotel
  12. Speak Easy
  13. Prize Fighter
  14. Wild Thing
  15. Growing Pains
  16. Against the Bottom

Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You:

Just went through a bad breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love love love this album cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

Grieves’ Together/Apart was the first album he released with Rhymesayers and it’s near perfect. Fans of Slug from Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Blueprint should feel at home with this painfully vulnerable album. Grieves holds nothing back, ex-girlfriends, addictions, mental illness among other topics are on full display here. We’ve gotten to a place where mainstream rap (Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Drake etc.) can all talk mental illness, addiction, and insecurity on their albums and not lose credibility, Grieves is an excellent example of how far hip hop has progressed, and how much further we’re actually open to take it.

Lecrae-All Things Work Together (2017)

My Rating: 71% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 71% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Always Knew
  2. Facts
  3. Broke
  4. Blessings (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
  5. Whatchu Mean (feat. Aha Gazelle)
  6. Hammer Time (feat. 1k Phew)
  7. Come and Get Me
  8. Lucked Up
  9. Wish You the Best (feat. Verse Simmonds)
  10. Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)
  11. I’ll Find You (feat. Tori Kelly)
  12. 8:28
  13. Cry For You (feat. Taylor Hill)
  14. Worth It (feat. Kierra Sheard & Jawan Harris)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing something more contemporary but need to clear your head from the explicit stuff.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I like it, it reminds me of something Pusha T would choose.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

I have such mixed feelings about Lecrae, on one hand he’s a really talented emcee who has really knocked down the walls of Christian hip hop and made the culture take it more seriously, but on the other hand he just seems to swim through lanes already made by popular emcees. Honestly, my biggest criticism of All Things Work Together is that Lecrae is really just going for the style that’s popular at the moment. It seems somewhat unauthentic when an artist follows, I wouldn’t say he’s biting, but he’s definitely changing for commercial appeal. I can’t fault an artist on trying to get sales or listens, but at the end of the day I love authenticity in my music and if you change every album to fit what’s good at the time it’s not authentic and has an expiration date, it won’t standout as THE album during any season, and that’s what stops me from loving Lecrae despite an overall pretty good album.

Jake Bugg-Hearts That Strain (2017)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. How Soon The Dawn
  2. Southern Rain
  3. In The Event Of My Demise
  4. This Time
  5. Waiting
  6. The Man On Stage
  7. Hearts That Strain
  8. Burn Alone
  9. Indigo Blue
  10. Bigger Lover
  11. Every Colour In The World

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving through the prairies.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Does little to nothing for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Jake Bugg is a newer voice that I’m always glad to hear, for some reason I’m stoked anytime I catch wind that he’s succeeding, maybe just because I feel like he is his music: mellow, humble, and vulnerable, and if that’s the truth all the power to him. Hearts That Strain was another solid release by him, not as strong as other work I’ve heard, but still a good album. I found the album to take a weird turn from the normal from his usual sound, and sometimes that works for him (How Soon The Dawn), and other times against him (Indigo Blue). I want him to really go full blues, something like a good breakup album would put him on the map, but regardless he’s doing his own thing and I can respect that.

Karen O-Crush Songs (2014)

My Rating: 87% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 58%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 65%

Average Rating: 70% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Ooo
  2. Rapt
  3. Visits
  4. Beast
  5. Comes The Night
  6. NYC Baby
  7. Other Side
  8. So Far
  9. Day Go By
  10. Body
  11. King
  12. Indian Summer
  13. Sunset Sun
  14. Native Korean Rock
  15. Singalong

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Have a low attention span and are going through a breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Absolutely love this cover!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

I don’t know how I found this album, honestly, more than likely I saw the album cover and was intrigued. I’ve been listening to Rapt religiously since I explored the album. Crush Songs is a weird album, most the songs are under 2 minutes long, but for some reason it worked for me. I guess I’ve always preferred shorter songs to really unnecessarily long ones, I loathe repetition so there’s not a lot of space for it within a couple minutes. Karen O experiments with minimalism in every sense on Crush Songs, and if that’s too simplistic for you this is not an album you’re going to enjoy.

Abstract Rude-Rejuvenation (2009)

My Rating: 71% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 71% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Hip Hop Ryde
  2. Rejuvenation
  3. Nuff Fire
  4. The Conch
  5. Thynk Eye Can (Haiku D’Etat Mix)
  6. TV Show
  7. Sadly Ever After
  8. Tomorry
  9. Diggin It?
  10. Aaron, Ab, Abbey
  11. Rsvp (Wanna Party)
  12. Man Down
  13. Is What It Is
  14. Parables

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to meditate with hip hop in the background.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I friggin’ love this album cover, something about it just works so well.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but it’ll probably cost an arm and a leg.

Final Thoughts:

Abstract Rude is one of my favourite emcees to come out of The Good Life Cafe, his flow is so chill and his lyrics are always interesting. I remember getting into his song All Day as well as being entranced by his work on Life Goes On with Pigeon John on the Is Dating Your Sister album. Abstract is unique (congrats if you get that joke), I honestly can’t say I’ve come across an emcee quite like him. Rejuvenation is one of his most consistent albums, even though it didn’t get a great rating from me there are some true gems on here. His album making skills are questionable at times, but I’m willing to dig through his discography to find the best one. Rejuvenation is a great start for Abstract Rude enquirers  but I bet there’s a better album to start with. Give me time and I’ll dig it up for you.

P.O.S.-We Don’t Even Live Here (2012)

My Rating: 82% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 57%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 76%

Average Rating: 72%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Bumper
  2. Fuck Your Stuff
  3. How We Land (ft. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver)
  4. Wanted/Wasted (ft. Astronautalis)
  5. They Can’t Come (ft. Sims)
  6. Lock-Picks, Knives, Bricks & Bats
  7. Fire In The Hole/Arrow To The Action
  8. Get Down (ft. Mitclan)
  9. All Of It
  10. Weird Friends (We Don’t Even Live Here)
  11. Piano Hits (ft. Isaac Gale of Marijuana Deathsquads)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Skateboarding at night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Simple is always good.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I own it, it’s one of the coolest looking vinyl I own.

Final Thoughts:

I bought a ticket to go see P.O.S. live when he visited Vancouver, but alas, I had one of the worst toothaches of my life, honestly it was just the worst, so I missed it. But I decided in return I’d dig through some of his albums and I’m stoked on what I’m discovering, or in this case rediscovering. I first heard P.O.S. through False Hopes by Doomtree, I later sunk my teeth into We Don’t Even Live Here and Never Better, finding We Don’t Even Live Here the better of the two. We Don’t Even Live Here is a really diverse album with a Bon Iver feature , lots of aggressive drumbeats, and lyrics that you want to study. P.O.S. is a very talented emcee, not one to make you laugh, but make you think, and any thought provoking emcee is a commodity nowadays.

Little Dragon-Season High (2017)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 56%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 67%

Average Rating: 71%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Celebrate (feat. Agge)
  2. High
  3. The Pop Life
  4. Sweet
  5. Butterflies
  6. Should I
  7. Don’t Cry
  8. Strobe Light
  9. Push
  10. Gravity

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an easy to dance to electronic/pop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty normal, kinda boring, not my favourite.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah absolutely.

Final Thoughts:

Little Dragon has been one of those bands that I love a few of their jams but often don’t give them the credit they deserve. This short album deserves your attention, mostly because it’s a lot of fun. They aren’t reinventing the wheel here, they’re just making good music, and I’m happy to have some more of their tunes back in my life. Season High makes me so excited to hear what else they have in store for us, it’s a nice little tasty album with lots of dance beats. I can’t wait to see where the band goes next, and if it’s anything like this impressive album we all should be taking notice.

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