Review: Big Fish Theory Is a Half Measure For Vince Staples

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

With the current wave of mainstream Hip Hop, it can become easy for listeners to get a little jaded, especially if their primary means of music discovery comes from radio or curated playlists. Because like the Bling-era in the 2000s, contemporary Trap music is ruling the airwaves, and it’s reached the point where the sound has become a little sterile and drained of any previous complexities. Amidst this group of artists riding trends, you have others pushing boundaries, as well as others embracing throwbacks, and then you have someone like Vince Staples who, in the middle of 2017, dropped the quirky Big Fish Theory. Continue reading

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Review: Humanz Is the Gorillaz Album Most Lacking In Humanity

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

When Gorillaz began prepping the release of Humanz last year, there was an undeniable cause for celebration. After all, it had been seven years since Plastic Beach and The Fall were released, and after such a long hiatus, I think many were starting to wonder whether a new Gorillaz record would ever see the light of day. There were brief flashes that gave us hope, such as 2012’s “DoYaThang,” but there was never anything substantial, and it didn’t help there was reported tension between Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, which made the possibility of a future project seem even less likely. Continue reading

Review: Sadistik’s Altars Is a Dark Exploration of Blasphemy

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

As I began doing the prep-work for this review, I kept trying to hone-in on an adjective or theme I could use to summarize Altars, the latest record from Sadistik, and the more I thought about it, the more perplexed I became, because Altars, like the artist who created it, is complex. Like all good albums, this one is layered, it’s unpredictable, and at times, it can be abrasive or even shocking. Still, it never feels gratuitous, nor does Sadistik’s lyrical musings on religion feel like they’re meant to offend. Instead, without any condescension, Cody Foster is simply trying to untangle the web of societal norms until he comes to a conclusion that feels rational to him as a human being. Continue reading

Review: DAMN. Reveals the Inner Turmoil of Kendrick Lamar’s Psyche

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

“Is it wickedness? Is it weakness? You decide.” If there’s a set of lyrics that better explain DAMN. as an album, they allude me, because this opening statement, to me, does a perfect job of laying the foundation of what’s to come. As succinctly as possible, within the first 15 seconds of the opening track, Kendrick Lamar has already told his audience what DAMN. is about. It’s not a tale of youth, like good kid, m.A.A.d city, nor is it an analysis of one’s Blackness, like To Pimp a Butterfly. Instead, it is an examination of extremes, a theme presented early on, and one that is further explored throughout the album’s 54-minute run-time. Continue reading

Review: Remo Drive Deliver On the Boldly Titled Greatest Hits

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

It’s funny. A year ago, Remo Drive was little more than a local act, and now, following the surge in success they saw after the release of their debut album, the band is signed to Epitaph Records. For those who may be out of the loop, Remo Drive is an Emo trio hailing from Minnesota, and at the start of 2017, the band began prepping the release of Greatest Hits, which would be the group’s formal debut following a string of EPs and split releases. While they may have gone in expecting the usual fanfare, something changed when they released “Yer Killin’ Me,” the album’s lead single–the internet took notice. Continue reading

Review: Death by Pirates Struggle to Find Their Footing On Their Debut

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Back in 2013, Death By Pirates broke on the Alternative scene with their debut, self-released EP, which was subsequently followed by a second, self-titled EP a little over a year later. At this point in time, I was in love with the band’s sound and was eager for them to release their first full-length. Unfortunately, in 2015, the band announced they were closing up shop, so it appeared these two (demo) projects were all we were getting. While the group never revealed the details of the break-up, they eventually changed their minds and re-grouped to finish recording what we now know as their debut, We Only Have What We Remember. Continue reading

Review: Idles’ Brutalism Is a Cathartic Burst of Rage and Tension

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

As political tension continues to swell on a global scale, it can sometimes feel like everyone is slowly losing their minds, as if empathy and understanding are human emotions no longer felt by society at large. Above all, this feeling of helplessness can transform those most passionate into seething anarchists willing to do just about anything for change. This is where Idles comes in. This restlessness, this resentment, this frustration. These are the feelings and emotions the band thrives on. This is what oils the machine and drives the unit forward, and after all is said and done, this rage is what helped form the band’s debut, Brutalism. Continue reading