Category Archives: Reviews

Pinegrove Return (And, Yes, You Should Care)

Fifteen minutes into their sold-out show at Cambridge, MA’s cozy venue the Sinclair (official capacity 525 but tonight inching closer to 600), it becomes apparent that Pinegrove are going to … Continue reading

December 11, 2018 · Leave a comment

“This Is America” – Childish Gambino

If you are someone who perceives pop music as a cultural barometer, you will never forget where you were the first time you saw Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” It’s not unlike … Continue reading

May 11, 2018 · Leave a comment

Sleep Well Beast – The National – album review

At some point in the last five years, the National became indie rock royalty. There was no formal ceremony per se, no keys to the executive washroom granted, but an … Continue reading

September 12, 2017 · Leave a comment

DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar – album review

Damn, indeed. Damn, if 2015 doesn’t seem like the good ol’ days. You know, when Kendrick Lamar’s last album, To Pimp a Butterfly, stood defiantly, arms crossed, neck deep in America’s murky, … Continue reading

May 1, 2017 · 3 Comments

Hot Thoughts – Spoon – album review

On “Finer Feelings” from 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon front man Britt Daniel postulated a remedy for all that ailed him: “Sometimes I think that I’ll find a … Continue reading

March 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

I See You – The xx – album review

A couple years ago Spotify divulged that “Intro” from the xx’s self-titled debut was the song most often found on user playlists whose titles contained the word “sex.” It came … Continue reading

January 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Blonde – Frank Ocean – album review

“Mind over matter is magic” confides Frank Ocean “I do magic.” It’s the sort of clever, hyperbolized turn of phrase employed by storytellers to heighten the tension within their tales. … Continue reading

August 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead – album review

We live in intolerable times. Radiohead’s songs have been telling us as much for decades: “Everything is broken.” “I’ll take a quiet life/ A handshake of carbon monoxide.” “Women and children … Continue reading

May 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Life of Pablo – Kanye West – album review

“Tell me, all/ Who here can relate?” asks Kanye West during a particularly outlandish, mildly inchoate freestyle rap on The Life of Pablo about personal liberation, trysts with models, and anal bleaching; the … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

Blackstar – David Bowie – album review

This wasn’t supposed to be a eulogy. But before I could finish the review of Blackstar, David Bowie, aged 69, passed away after an 18-month long battle with liver cancer, making this strange … Continue reading

January 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar – album review

To Pimp A Butterfly is a marvel of bi-polarity, a force field of simultaneous attraction and repulsion. It invites you to come in, grab a seat, and have a meaningful … Continue reading

April 7, 2015 · Leave a comment

Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett – album review

Courtney Barnett estimates she’s had twenty panic attacks since entering adulthood. It’s the sort of detail that’s acutely incongruous with her music, a wry, lazy blend of punk, folk, and … Continue reading

March 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

Viet Cong – Viet Cong – album review

It’s difficult when the expectations placed on one band are the unfulfilled promises of another. Calgary quartet Viet Cong will always be known as the group that arose from the … Continue reading

January 26, 2015 · Leave a comment

Best Music of 2014: #5-1

 10-6 | 5-1 5) Spoon “Do You” — They Want My Soul Lead single “Do You” from Spoon’s They Want My Soul is as shiny and polished as a newly-minted … Continue reading

January 4, 2015 · Leave a comment

Best Music of 2014: #10-6

Some years, music coalesces into a grander movement or reaches a watershed level of excellence, signifying general agreement that holy shit, this was a really great year. 2014 was not … Continue reading

January 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

Black Messiah – D’Angelo and the Vanguard – album review

Let’s start with the obvious, people — something about D’Angelo’s music makes clothes just fall off of folks. Although his long-awaited third album is about far more than sex, you’ve … Continue reading

December 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

They Want My Soul – Spoon – album review

“What’s a soul, daddy?” my daughter asked quite unexpectedly one evening. She’s six years old, so I considered my options carefully before answering. The invisible essence of a living entity? … Continue reading

August 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Ghost Stories – Coldplay – album review

It’s become impossible to underestimate Coldplay. That’s no longer hyperbole, just plain fact — and one that even the band themselves wishes weren’t true. They’ve released five consecutive multi-platinum albums, each … Continue reading

May 21, 2014 · 3 Comments

Here and Nowhere Else – Cloud Nothings – album review

Here and Nowhere Else is a swift, brutal act of emotional transference — thirty minutes of rampant aggression that imparts distress upon the listener as surely as it provided catharsis … Continue reading

April 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

Atlas – Real Estate – album review

Everything you need to know about Real Estate can be found in the first twelve minutes of Atlas, a three song sequence that reads like an ad in the personals: … Continue reading

March 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

St. Vincent – St. Vincent – album review

“Here’s my report from the edge” grits Annie Clark through blood red lips and perfect teeth, but as precarious as her announcement sounds, it’s an odd way to characterize the … Continue reading

February 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Beyoncé – BEYONCÉ – album review

“Let me sit this asssssssssssss on ya“ might be the moment it finally sinks in. Mrs. Knowles is all done with being the Good Girl, thank you very much. It’s … Continue reading

January 13, 2014 · 2 Comments

White Light/White Heat (45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – The Velvet Underground – album review

The Velvet Underground’s incendiary proto-punk seemed so outside the plane of music’s reality in 1968 that Lou Reed’s throwaway line “You don’t look like Martha and the Vandellas” from White … Continue reading

December 1, 2013 · Leave a comment

Reflektor – Arcade Fire – album review

There’s a moment when it almost all comes together — a guy sporting a ridiculously giant Win Butler mask is kicked off stage by the real McCoy just seconds before … Continue reading

November 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Uncanney Valley – The Dismemberment Plan – album review

One of the best reasons to attend a Dismemberment Plan show during the band’s 2011 reunion tour occurred seconds before the second chorus to “You Are Invited” — a delirious … Continue reading

October 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

EP2 – FKA twigs – album review

Buried on FKA twigs’ Tumblr page, a grainy, unassuming photo captures the twenty-five-year-old Brit deep in thought, flanked by a row of vibrato pedals, an iPad, a bottle of coconut … Continue reading

September 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Worse Things Get… – Neko Case – album review

“In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer” wrote author and absurdist philosopher Albert Camus in 1952. Paralyzed by existential indecision, … Continue reading

September 10, 2013 · 1 Comment

6 Feet Beneath The Moon – King Krule – album review

“How can someone so young sing words so sad?” Morrissey once wondered, but having lived it, he already knew the answer. It’s the same question often asked of nineteen-year-old Archy … Continue reading

August 31, 2013 · Leave a comment

Paracosm – Washed Out – album review

Some of the most memorable places aren’t even real. Ask any child; he’ll tell you all about Narnia, Middle-earth, or that galaxy far, far away. All are paracosms by definition … Continue reading

August 16, 2013 · Leave a comment

Magna Carta, Holy Grail – Jay Z – album review

Quality control has plagued Jay Z for a decade now, but rarely has the hype behind his product so vastly exceeded its actual worth. Hova’s twelfth and blandest album, Magna … Continue reading

August 5, 2013 · 2 Comments

Yeezus – Kanye West – album review

John Lennon touched a nerve when he famously claimed the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” but at least no one could accuse him of replacing his surname with “the … Continue reading

June 23, 2013 · 3 Comments

…Like Clockwork – Queens of the Stone Age – album review

Josh Homme has filled out. Two decades of Herculean-level imbibing, consuming, and partaking will do that to a rock star — even the most untameable, red-haired Lotharios eventually become bulkier, … Continue reading

June 3, 2013 · Leave a comment

Random Access Memories – Daft Punk – album review

Are machines imparted with the human characteristics of their creators, or are we destined to adopt theirs? People are prone to exchanging pleasantries with Siri, calling the Internet bad names … Continue reading

May 20, 2013 · 11 Comments

Silence Yourself – Savages – album review

All art has archetypes — those idealized forms to which all others must be compared. In the realm of post-punk bands, the definitive templates — Joy Division, Wire, PiL, and … Continue reading

May 5, 2013 · 1 Comment

Bankrupt! – Phoenix – album review

The first clue should have been the fruit. Thomas Mars and Laurent Brancowitz, one half of indie rock band Phoenix, chose Bankrupt!’s vibrant, oddly generic cover image after significant deliberation, admitting … Continue reading

April 22, 2013 · 8 Comments

Overgrown – James Blake – album review

James Blake is not unique in his predilection for bending, chopping, and fracturing melodies until all that remains is a sonic mosaic of meticulously arranged, stained-glass shards. He is also … Continue reading

April 15, 2013 · 1 Comment

Shaking The Habitual – The Knife – album review

During the Great Northern War pandemic of the early 18th century, the ghoulish, bird-like masks of Eastern European plague doctors became synonymous with death. Although appropriately macabre, their long, horned … Continue reading

April 7, 2013 · 1 Comment

Comedown Machine – The Strokes – album review

For all the don’t-give-a-fuck dishevelment and dingy basement brilliance of their early records, the Strokes have always possessed a certain air of suppressed refinement. All five members attended elite prep … Continue reading

March 24, 2013 · 3 Comments

The Next Day – David Bowie – album review

Happy birthday. 58! Isn’t it time you got a proper job? — Ricky Gervais, 42, comedian I have a proper job — David Bowie, rock god Word-for-word, that’s actual 2005 … Continue reading

March 10, 2013 · 2 Comments

Amok – Atoms For Peace – album review

Even the best of illusions can backfire. The song “Analyse” from Thom Yorke’s solo debut The Eraser (2006) played during the credits of The Prestige, Christopher Nolan’s underrated film featuring two rival … Continue reading

February 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

m b v – My Bloody Valentine – album review

Around 3:35 pm on Saturday, February 2nd, a lot of folks cancelled their evening plans.  My Bloody Valentine, the legendary shoegaze alt-rock giants who released 1991’s seminal work Loveless (an … Continue reading

February 5, 2013 · 4 Comments

Fade – Yo La Tengo – album review

Seven years ago, I bought a t-shirt with a Venn diagram on it — the left circle read “Music I Like,” the right circle read “Music You Like,” and the … Continue reading

January 23, 2013 · Leave a comment

Turn On The Bright Lights (10th Anniversary Edition) – Interpol – album review

Rarely has time’s passage been so unkind to an artist’s reputation. Depending on your philosophy about how art is perceived in its context, Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights is … Continue reading

December 4, 2012 · 3 Comments

good kid, m.A.A.d. city – Kendrick Lamar – album review

On its cover, good kid, m.A.A.d. city is actually subtitled “a short film by Kendrick Lamar.”  In many ways, it is. More than just writing a collection of great songs, … Continue reading

October 26, 2012 · Leave a comment

Shields – Grizzly Bear – album review

Plain and simple, critics adore Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn foursome draw from a bevy of treasured older influences (Beach Boys, Nick Drake, the Band, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash) and … Continue reading

September 24, 2012 · 3 Comments

Coexist – The xx – album review

Appreciating the xx can be as much an exercise in restraint as is their songwriting. Their 2009 self-titled debut won the U.K.’s Mercury Prize and topped several critics’ best of … Continue reading

September 18, 2012 · 3 Comments

Centipede Hz – Animal Collective – album review

Music has always been closely tied to the notion of transcendence. From Gregorian chanting to South African shamanistic trance dance to ecstasy-fueled Western rave culture, music from all over the … Continue reading

September 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

Mature Themes – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – album review

“You sunk my battleship!” To the typical American kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s, that phrase had special meaning; it’s the indelible tagline for the 1977 version of … Continue reading

August 26, 2012 · 2 Comments

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – Fiona Apple – album review

You only need two images of Fiona Apple to understand the tension behind her fourth, and most personal, album. One is the photo that accompanies the iTunes landing page that’s … Continue reading

June 25, 2012 · 1 Comment

Celebration Rock – Japandroids – album review

On “The Nights of Wine and Roses” Brian King asks “Don’t we have anything to live for? Well, of course we do/ But ’til they come true, we’re drinking.” So … Continue reading

June 17, 2012 · 5 Comments