Album Review: Black Country, New Road – For the first time

By Jonah Krueger, News Editor
[Ninja Tune; 2021]
Rating: 9/10
Key tracks: “Athens, France”, “Science Fair”, “Sunglasses”, “Opus”
Black Country, New Road accomplished something incredible—they released an album that got noticed. After forming from the ashes of a promising band ruined by the actions of a single member, the seven-piece’s trajectory seemed pretty straightforward. Gain a quick cult following off the basis of live performances, work out new material, put out a single or two, sign to a label, release a debut album—all the while remaining mysterious and developing an idiosyncratic aesthetic.

Album Review: Xiu Xiu – OH NO

By Venus Rittenberg, Contributor
[Polyvinyl; 2021]
Rating: 8/10
Key tracks: “One Hundred Years”, “A Bottle of Rum”, “OH NO”
Xiu Xiu’s 15th album is an album of duets that sees them returning to the sounds that frequent their discography prior to 2019’s experimental Girl with Basket of Fruit. A perfect example of this return to the olden days of Xiu Xiu is the title track, which sounds like something from Xiu Xiu’s fifth album, The Air Force, but with a poppier hook.

Album Review: Gorillaz – Song Machine

Gorillaz returns with what is perhaps their most ambitious project to date, Song Machine. Instead of a traditional album release format, the album is essentially a collection of singles, as each song is accompanied by an “episode,” lyric video or both on YouTube.

Album Review: Sinai Vessel – Ground Aswim

By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
[Single Occupancy; 2020]
Rating: 8.5/10
Key tracks: “Where Did You Go?”, “All Days Just End”, “Antechamber”
The rise of maximalism in music is an arms race soon to come to a close, but being as blown out, loud and abrasive as possible can only go so far. It is a spectacle, but one with a firm ceiling until noise becomes a Merzbow-esque discordance of sound and static. All that to say this: understatement in music is almost unfashionable in the modern zeitgeist. The meteoric rise of the likes of 100 gecs might seem like a death knell for the stripped-back, contemplative sounds of Sinai Vessel, but this contrast works to the North Carolina indie rock outfit’s advantage; this true alternative manifests itself in their second studio album, Ground Aswim. It’s an understated and expressive piece of indie rock that’s full of bare-naked lyrics and poignant instrumentals to achieve a captivating, though quiet, forty-seven minutes.

Album Review: EP!

No one would have blamed JPEGMAFIA for having a misstep in 2020 after his track record of fantastic albums. The man is due for a flop at this point, but it seems like Peggy is incapable of slipping up. Over the past few months, Peggy has released a slew of singles back to back, and now, he’s stitched them all into a beautiful Frankenstein’s monster of a project. EP! proves that Peggy is a master of his craft. Who else could add a few flourishes to previously released tracks and have it stand as one of the most coherent, satisfying projects of the year?

Album Review: clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

By: Kwase Lane, Features Editor
[Sub Pop Records; 2020]
Rating: 5/10
Key Tracks: “’96 Neve Campbell”, “Looking Like Meat”, “Eaten Alive”
clipping.’s commitment to fictional perspectives could be really interesting if Daveed Diggs bothered to put any energy into his delivery. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is a testament to how flaccid an album can be if the artist sounds terribly bored by the concept of making music. Every featured artist rides the beat far better than Diggs ever allows himself to, much to the album’s detriment. This project’s production is as unique as ever, but I can’t help but find myself wishing anybody else was responsible for rapping over it.

Album Review: boy pablo – Wachito Rico

By Maddie James, Contributor
[777 Music; 2020]
Rating: 7/10
Key tracks: “honey”, “te vas // don’t go”, “mustache”
Wachito Rico sounds like either incredibly well-produced brain candy or sexy elevator music. The newest release from boy pablo, Wachito Rico is the debut album of the indie-pop project headed by Chilean-Norwegian artist Nicolas Muñoz.

Album Review: The Mountain Goats – Getting Into Knives

By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor[Merge; 2020]Rating: 6/10 Key Tracks: “The Last Place I Saw You Alive”, “Bell Swamp Connection”, “Getting Into Knives” What can be said about The Mountain Goats that hasn’t been? John Darnielle and company have created 13 studio albums and some of the biggest indie classics for the better part of three decades….

Album Review: Ariana Grande – Positions

By Lauren McCain, Columns Editor [Republic Records; 2020]Rating: 7.5/10  Key tracks: “positions”, “34+35”, “safety net (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)”, “pov”  After the whirlwind of her albums Sweetener and thank u, next less than five months apart in 2019, in 2020, Ariana Grande brings a more intimate, sultry R&B sound to the table with Positions. Positions makes…

Run The Jewels releases shirts with a purpose

By Lauren Patterson, Copy Editor Hip-hop duo Run The Jewels have announced a limited edition T-shirt collection, “Hold Our Hands,” with Charitees. The announcement came Monday via Twitter, urging voting and supporting organizations. All proceeds from the tees go to corresponding charities, Brooklyn Vegan reported. Read more: Japanese electronic group Black Boboi announce new album…

Album Review: Touché Amoré – Lament

By Jonah Krueger, News Editor[Epitaph; 2020]Rating: 8.5/10 Key tracks: “Come Heroine”, “Reminders”, “Limelight”, “Deflector” Touché Amoré has rightly become an emo A-lister, managing to vary its approach to songwriting while remaining remarkably consistent in quality with each release. Yet, the glamorous rise of the band was abruptly halted with the release of their fourth album. …

Album Review: Field Medic – Floral Prince

By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
[Run For Cover Records; 2020]
Rating: 7/10 Key tracks: “-h-o-u-s-e-k-e-y-z-”, “older now (it hurts)”, “before your body goes” 2020 is not a year for connection. Amidst the pandemic and months of isolation, it is sometimes hard to feel a true, heartfelt connection with others. During this time, though, music remains one of the main defenses against boredom for many people, and reminders of humanity and closeness still shines through in it. This is more than evident on Floral Prince, the new full-length project from lo-fi musician Field Medic, aka Kevin Patrick Sullivan.