Album Review: Homeshake – Fresh Air

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Synderlin; 2017] Rating: 7.5/10 Key Tracks: “Khmlwugh”, “So She”, “Call Me Up” Mac DeMarco’s former touring guitarist, Peter Sagar, has been releasing jazzy slacker-rock under the alias Homeshake since 2013. In the past few years, Sager has made some impressively unique work. 2014’s In the Shower and 2015’s Midnight Snack situated him…

Album Review: Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Polyvinyl; 2017] Rating: 7.5/10 Key Tracks: “Near to the Wild Heart of Life”,”True Love and a Free Life of Free Will”, “No Known Drink or Drug” Japandroids have established themselves as one of the most universally loved alternative rock bands of the decade. Consisting of Brian King on guitar and vocals and David…

Album Review: The xx – I See You

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Young Turks; 2017] Rating: 8/10 Key Tracks: “Replica,” “Lips” Back in 2009, English trio The xx, consisting of Jamie xx, Romy Croft and Oliver Sim released a self-titled debut that became one of the most talked about indie releases of the decade. Their minimal, sultry, brooding sound was fresh and original, making xx a truly great…

Album Review: RiFF RaFF – Balloween

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Neon Nation; 2016] Rating: 6/10 Key Tracks: “Diamonds Jumping Off My Necklace,” “Fresh Pair of Robins” RiFF RAFF is unique to say the least. After his 2009 appearance on MTV’s From G’s to Gents and his rap group Three Loco with Simon Rex and Andy Milonokis, Houston-native RiFF RAFF caught the public’s attention. His…

Album Review: Phish – Big Boat

By Diana Powers, Contributor [JEMP; 2016] Rating: 6/10 Key Tracks: “Breath and Breathing,” “I Always Wanted It This Way” Since forming in 1983, Vermont-based band Phish has become one of the most well-known jam bands of all time. Consequently, they have garnered their fair share of fans and critics. Phish has a very cultish fan base; fans go…

Album Review: Usher – Hard II Love

By Diana Powers, Contributor [RCA; 2016] Rating: 6.5/10 Key Tracks: “Need U,” “No Limit,” “Bump” Usher was once the king of R&B, embodying late 90’s/early 2000’s R&B with his buttery smooth voice. His classic hits such as “My Boo” and “U Got It Bad” have even come to define a whole time period of popular music. However,…

Album Review: M.I.A. – AIM

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Interscope; 2016] Rating: 8/10 Key Tracks: “Borders,” “AMP (All My People),” “Ali r u ok?” M.I.A. is nothing short of a legend. Since her 2007 hit “Paper Planes” pushed her into the mainstream, M.I.A. has been one of the most outspoken forces in music. From flashing her middle finger during her 2012 Super…

Album Review: BJ The Chicago Kid – In My Mind

By Diana Powers, Contributor [Motown; 2016] Rating: 3.5/5 Key Tracks: “Church,” “Jeremiah / World Needs More Love,” “The New Cupid” Bryan James Sledge, aka BJ the Chicago Kid, has not released an album since 2012’s Pineapple Now-Laters. Since then, Sledge has become one of the most sought after collaborators in the industry, working with Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and other big names in…