Lee Hazlewood-Something Special (1968)

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 85% (B++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Shades
  2. This Town
  3. Child
  4. Stone Cold Blues
  5. Little War
  6. Them Girls
  7. Fort Worth
  8. Hands
  9. Mannford, Oklahoma
  10. Summer Night

Label:

Motown

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Cooking up some BBQ or playing poker.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Hilarious.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure.

Final Thoughts:

Lee Hazlewood has flown under the radar for me, I’ve never heard of the dude so I had no expectations going into Something Special. Well the album title holds true, Lee Hazlewood is something special, he’s much like Frank Sinatra but also has a little Harry Nillson in him. I loved hearing all of these classic songs in a fairly simple format. Lee Hazlewood is very much a crooner, and he would absolutely be in my top 5 crooner’s of all time (suck it Buble). Something Special is one of the older records that holds up, it’s still entertaining and catchy.

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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.

Lifesavas-Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack (2007)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 84% (B++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro: Welcome To Razorblade City
  2. Double Up
  3. Gutterfly
  4. No Surpise/[Scene I: Fly Paper]
  5. Shine Language
  6. Take Me Away
  7. A Serpent’s Love/[Scene II: Jimmy Slimwater’s New Orleans Funeral]
  8. Dead Ones/[Scene III:Revenge]
  9. The Warning
  10. Superburn/[Scene IV: Trouble]
  11. Night Out/[Scene V: Connects]
  12. The Squeeze
  13. Long Letter
  14. Freedom Walk/[Scene VI: Marvelous The Mouthpiece]
  15. Celebrate/[Finale]
  16. Hidden Scene: The Legend Of The Gutterfly
  17. Hidden Track: Tailormade Razorbladez

Favourite Song on Album:

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s friggin’ rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes! I’m sure it won’t be easy to find, though.

Final Thoughts:

Lifesavas have been slept on for far too long, and I’m here to wake a few of you up to their albums. They’ve done stuff with the likes of Blackalicious, Jurassic 5, and Lyrics Born, yet they’re forced to tour as hype men for Gift of Gab instead of doing their own thing. That’s not to diss Blackalicious, I have no doubt Lifesavas love working with them, what I’m getting at is that they deserve their own stage and it’s more than evident on their album Gutterfly. Pitchfork gave the album an 8, which is rare for any underground hip hop album (even Jurassic 5 has a hard time getting that kind of love from pitchfork). Gutterfly is consistently catchy, powerfully political, and incredibly original and I don’t know how it’s gone so long without getting the dues it deserves. Please do me (and yourself) a favor and spin this album.

La Dispute-Wildlife (2011)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 93% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. A Departure
  2. Harder Harmonies
  3. St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues
  4. Edit Your Hometown
  5. A Letter
  6. Safer In The Forest/Love Song For Poor Michigan
  7. The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit
  8. A Poem
  9. King Park
  10. Edward Benz, 27 Times
  11. I See Everything
  12. A Broken Jar
  13. All Our Bruised Bodies And The Whole Heart Shrinks
  14. You And I In Unison

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Hurt and angry.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright, don’t know if it really fits their sound, though.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Very badly, yes.

Final Thoughts:

I recently saw King Krule live, and one of the things the friend I went with said really stuck with me: “his performance looks like he’s in anguish.” I couldn’t agree more, and I think if King Krule is the performer who looks in pain, Jordan Dreyer is the singer who sounds like he’s in utter torment. And it works to his credit, where bands try to get across an ounce of emotion that La Dispute does, they can end up sounding whiny and pathetic. But somehow Dreyer and his crew get away with it. His narrative style isn’t so self-focused, songs like King Park (which seems all too relevant these days) really show that he’s actually just a really good songwriter. La Dispute is an impressive band, not just angry with emotion to let out, but musicians who are in pain who are trying to make sense of things.

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.

L.A. Symphony-Disappear Here (2005)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Finland [Intro]
  2. Timeless
  3. Put Up Or Shut Up
  4. Money Song
  5. Universal
  6. Dance Like
  7. Funky Music
  8. Hold On
  9. C’est La Vie
  10. Grand Piano
  11. Give
  12. Pops Song
  13. Less Than Zero
  14. Rise
  15. Don’t Call Me

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a hip-hop group with lots of different styles that is incredibly easy to vibe out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Yeah it’s okay, not terrible, not great.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, think it’ll be hard to find on vinyl though

Final Thoughts:

L.A. Symphony knows they’re aren’t heavy weight rhymers, but they don’t really care, they’re just chill guys having a fun time. Disappear Here is filled with lots of call and action rhymes, punchlines, and an array of styles and tracks. Anything from lighthearted songs like Put Up Or Shut Up, to more vulnerable tracks like Pops Song, and even the song poking fun at how no one knows who they are like on Don’t Call Me all make their way onto this diverse album. If you’re looking for stuff like Jurassic 5, Living Legends, or People Under The Stairs, L.A. Symphony is right up your alley. Easy to skate to, easier to relax with.

La Dispute-Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair (2008)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 96%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Such Small Hands
  2. Said The King To The River
  3. Damaged Goods
  4. New Storms For Older Lovers
  5. Fall Down, Never Get Back Up Again
  6. Bury Your Flame
  7. Last Blues For Bloody Knuckles
  8. The Castle Builders
  9. Andria
  10. Then Again, Maybe You Were Right
  11. Sad Prayers For Guilty Bodies
  12. The Last Lost Continent
  13. Nobody, Not Even The Rain

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Really angry at someone in particular.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Doesn’t do anything for me, kinda just bland.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yep, my roommates would kill me if I put it on, though.

Final Thoughts:

La Dispute by all accounts should annoy the hell out of me, loud sounding, angry, strained vocals, these all typically grate against me. But for some reason it just doesn’t, I find relatability in the anger. I found the voice well rounded and interesting. The backing band equally fighting for the spotlight. I would not hold it against you for hating this album, by all means go for it. But it’s the right mix of emotional uneasiness and musical chaos to strike the right chord for me, Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair (ugh shorter album name please) plays off like an angry but well communicated tantrum after a terrible breakup, take that as you will.

Leonard Cohen-Popular Problems (2014)

Record Review Recommended By: Trevor Loken

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 86%

Average Rating: 87.3%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Slow
  2. Almost Like The Blues
  3. Samson in New Orleans
  4. A Street
  5. Did I Ever Love You
  6. My Oh My
  7. Nevermind
  8. Born In Chains
  9. You Got Me Singing

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Drinking a whiskey and thinking about life.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not that great, kinda outdated in my opinion.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh, hell yes.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not one to automatically sing praises to albums/artists just because they are influential or critically acclaimed. I expected this album to be so-so, but I ended up loving every friggin’ song on this album. Cohen’s gravely voice is just so perfect throughout this entire album, I’m blown away.

Little Dragon-Nabuma Rubberband (2014)

Record Review Requested By: Jen Yip

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 68%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 77.7%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Mirror
  2. Klapp Klapp
  3. Pretty Girls
  4. Underbart
  5. Cat Rider
  6. Paris
  7. Lurad
  8. Nabuma Rubberband
  9. Only One
  10. Killing Me
  11. Pink Cloud
  12. Let Go

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Want some down-tempo funky electronic music with an FKA Twigs styled lead vocalist.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Perfectly suited for their vibe, cool looking cover, would be stoked to see it on vinyl.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No shit. (Yes I would like to)

Final Thoughts:

Little Dragon’s Ritual Union was one of my favourite jams back in College, and now they’ve added so much more for me to geek out over with Nabuma Rubberband. It’s a great album with just so many hits and very professionally done. Little Dragon has mastered their craft, bow down and be blessed by their sound.

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