• Albums
  • June25th

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    Let’s get one thing out of the way: Gloss Drop shouldn’t really be compared to its predecessor, Mirrored. The sole Battles record to feature Tyondai Braxton’s digitally cartoonified vocals, Mirrored is now consigned to brilliant one-off status in the Battles catalog; Gloss Drop, created after Braxton left the group entirely, is more of a refinement and expansion of Battles’ early work. In a way, for fans, the loss of Braxton was the best thing that could have happened to Battles. It meant they couldn’t record a true follow up, which might then pale (or just come off as more of the same) next to one of the most distinctive and unexpected debut LPs of the 21st century. Battles could have recorded an all-instrumental album in the Mirrored mold, or they could have drafted in another singer to try and imitate Braxton’s crucial contribution. Instead, they forced themselves, having lost their most immediately striking and divisive element, to move in a new and potentially radical direction. So the important questions with Gloss Drop become, “Is this new direction interesting?” and “Have Battles made it thrilling?”

    - pitchfork.com

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  • May28th

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    Kurt Vile’s fourth full-length is also his best, as it distills classic American guitar music into one singular and sublime vision. Sonically and compositionally, Vile still cycles between strummers and fingerpicked mazework, but the battery of pedal effects is mostly gone. Rather than stitch loop to loop to loop, Vile’s given every marvelous, carefully placed layer all kinds of room to aerate. Every sonorous detail can now be heard in full, and Vile’s voice has taken on a new, mountainous presence in the center of each song. The conversation’s grown far more engaging.

    - pitchfork.com

    Click here to buy: Amazon

  • May28th

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    Erika M. Anderson emerges from the ashes of her former project Gowns with an unsettlingly beautiful collection of songs about pain and loss. There’s a lack of timidity in the way this music is expressed. It’s almost as though Anderson snoozed her way through the past decade and is picking up threads that have mostly lain dormant since the early-to-mid 1990s. The boldness in her language thematically pings back and forth between emotional and physical duress, and for the most part, it’s a white-knuckle ride. There’s no pretense or pose here. No pulling back from the brink to foster an air of cool detachment. Anderson’s music has the power to plummet to the depths and drag you right down there with her.

    - pitchfork.com

    Click here to buy: Amazon

  • May28th

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    tUnE-yArDs is the music project of Merrill Garbus, a songwriter, vocalist, percussionist, and ukulele player who has fused elements of acoustic folk, R&B, funk, Afro-pop, and rock into a bold, uncompromising hybrid all her own. As on her 2009 debut, BiRd-BrAiNs, Garbus layers sound to create a patchwork of contrasting textures. This time around, the greater clarity allows for more exaggerated dynamics. A lot of what makes w h o k i l l so compelling is the degree to which Garbus commits to her ideas and displays a total conviction in her personal, idiosyncratic, high-stakes music.

    - pitchfork.com

    Click here to buy: Amazon

  • May28th

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    Fleet Foxes’ unpretentious, crowd-pleasing directness was the key to their rapid rise. Their Sun Giant EP and self-titled debut LP, both released in 2008, brimmed with inviting melodies, evocative lyrics, and arms-open harmonizing that seemed designed to reach a wide variety of listeners. On the band’s follow-up, Helplessness Blues, the mood is darker and more uncertain, adding shade to their golden-hued sound. It’s comparatively deeper, more intricate, and more complex, a triumphant follow-up to a blockbuster debut.

    - pitchfork.com

    Click here to buy: Amazon