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.

Muse-Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 42%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 72%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map of the Problematique
  5. Soldier’s Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights of Cydonia

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready for a space odyssey.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Awesome, fits the songs super well.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I can’t believe I don’t yet.

Final Thoughts:

Black Holes and Revelations is an album that is very dear to me. It’s one of the first albums I purchased that was not “Christian”. I was blown away, Muse absolutely melted my face and added sugar to my earholes. I blasted this thing almost daily from my absolute shit speaker on my flip phone and thought I was the coolest kid in town (luckily, I was). It’s really big sounding, as if you’re taking part in an epic of the cosmos variety. The songs are diverse, ambitious, and take you to planets far far away. I love how instantly classic the album sounded, right away I knew that this album would truly stand the test of time. 11 years have passed and I’m still melting over this album, and I can’t wait to force my nephews and nieces to listen to it (they’d better like it). Shocked by the critical reception but C’Est la Vie.

Beastie Boys-Licensed To Ill (1986)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 78%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 89%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rhymin & Stealin
  2. The New Style
  3. She’s Crafty
  4. Posse In Effect
  5. Slow Ride
  6. Girls
  7. Fight For Your Right
  8. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
  9. Paul Revere
  10. Hold It Now, Hit It
  11. Brass Monkey
  12. Slow And Low
  13. Time To Get Ill

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to get Ill (Party)

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Iconic, it’s awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes sir.

Final Thoughts:

Good lord ’86? I couldn’t believe that year when I looked it up for this article, this must’ve been absolutely revolutionary to come out that early. I mean I was raised with damn near every track. We all know these songs, much like Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, you don’t know how well you knew the album until you actually sit down to re-listen to the whole thing. This was THE party album, it never once got old to me. Beastie Boys always meant a lot of beers, a lot of girls, and a lot of cursin’ (The New Style) and I’m just blown away that this was made so early. Hilarious lyrics, bad ass beats, catchy songs. It’s iconic. It’s owed some damn respect and you’d better give it up (you listening you pitchfork A holes?)!

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!

John Reuben-Word Of Mouth (2007)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Sing It Like You Mean It
  2. Trying Too Hard
  3. Make Money Money
  4. Focus
  5. Word Of Mouth
  6. Miserable Exaggeration
  7. Universal
  8. Curiosity
  9. Cool The Underdog
  10. Good Evening

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for easy listening Hip Hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love it, it’s original, I especially like the font.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but I don’t think I’ll ever found it.

Final Thoughts:

John Reuben has been tragically underappreciated, his albums have always been really diverse and entertaining. Word Of Mouth, a ten track carnival, is a great example of the artists abilities to mash multiple genres and themes into one coherent listen. He can go from party/funny tracks like Trying Too Hard, to thought provoking tracks like Cool The Underdog. The famous line at the ending of the album where he chants “Bob Dylan’s Microphone” repeatedly is also a really quirky little story (that you should totally look up) and adds to the overall mystery of this mystifyingly impressive and aloof emcee.

Blind Pilot-We Are The Tide (2011)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Half Moon
  2. Always
  3. Keep You Right
  4. We Are The Tide
  5. The Colored Night
  6. I Know
  7. White Apple
  8. Just One
  9. Get It Out
  10. New York

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing to feel happy instantly.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really beautiful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Ugh yeeeeeeeeessss.

Final Thoughts:

Blind Pilot is really close to my heart, there music is so happy and fun to me. We Are The Tide is a great place to start to hear what they’re all about. Their music can be perfect at the beach, winding down, or driving on the highway. There is something about their music that I find really human and healing. It’s very easy to introduce people to and it’s really feel good. Every damn song on this album is a hit to me. So picking a favourite song is never really accurate, just my favourite at the time of listening to it. Put them in your library and become a mega fan like me.

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.

Run The Jewels-RTJ3 (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 88%

Average Rating: 91%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Down (feat. Joi)
  2. Talk To Me
  3. Legend Has It
  4. Call Ticketron
  5. Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown)
  6. Stay Gold
  7. Don’t Get Captured
  8. Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)
  9. 2100 (feat. BOOTS)
  10. Panther Like A Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina)
  11. Everybody Stay Calm
  12. Oh Mama
  13. Thursday In The Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington)
  14. A Report To The Shareholders : Kill Your Masters

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to be reassured that Hip-Hop is still in good hands.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Alone, it doesn’t do a lot for me. But as the rest of the albums together, I like the concept they’re going for.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, almost bought it the other day!

Final Thoughts:

In Aesop Rock’s Impossible Kid review I stated that he is my favourite rapper still making music, and although I’ll stick to my guns on that statement (cry me a river Lamra-ites) Run The Jewels is my favourite rap group currently making tunes. It’s a great blend of old school break beats that got me into hip-hop in the first place, mixed with more contemporary synth and industrial sounds. Killer Mike and EL-P make an awesome duo with amazing beats, politically charged lyrics, and over the top brags that sometimes don’t really make sense (ex. “I do pushups nude on the edge of cliffs” “I’m the living swipe right I’m Mike I’m a slut.” “I’m fuckin’ magic, in fact I’m a warlock of talk I got a unicorn horn for a STOP.”) They are making showstopping tracks that keep me stoked on Hip-Hop, I’m glad that these old school dudes are making it big, they deserve every bit of acclaim they are receiving. RTJ3 is a great mix of fun, serious, and impressive tracks to keep fans stoked while garnering new followers.

Arcade Fire-Funeral (2004)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 97%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 90%

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
  2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
  3. Une Année Sans Lumiere
  4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
  5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
  6. Crown Of Love
  7. Wake Up
  8. Haiti
  9. Rebellion (Lies)
  10. In The Backseat

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for something epic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s an okay cover, not my favourite of theirs but it’s not bad or anything.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellllllllllllllllll yeah!

Final Thoughts:

Arcade Fire is, in short, incredible. Their music has been used in so many ways and they are one of the few household name groups that truly deserve their acclaim. I mean damn, this is their first album, and they are already this accomplished? It’s mystifying, considering other artists I love take an album or two to find themselves. Funeral is epic and simple, high energy and mellow. It’s an album that demands to be listened to multiple times. It’s an album many other artists have been trying to replicate for years but can’t get the mix right. It’s painful how good it is for a first release and it makes me mad that they can be this talented…bastards.

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