Music Reviews

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs (Album Review)

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Photo: Warwick Baker

Most debut albums emerge without the weight of expectation on their shoulders. That sort of pressure is usually reserved for the second outing, after the first wins over a new fanbase with a few bangers and a bit of novelty. But after releasing two stellar EPs in recent years, all eyes are on Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and their first full length, ‘Hope Downs’. Did the burden get to them? Happily, no.

Snail Mail - Lush (Album Review)

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The artwork for Snail Mail’s debut album, ‘Lush’, depicts Lindsay Jordan, the driving force behind the band, staring blankly into space. In fact, all accompanying images of her in the press have the same countenance: hazy, bored, detached.

Lily Allen - No Shame (Album Review)

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Lily Allen has been writing provocative, socially conscious music throughout a career that now stretches beyond a decade. Her fourth album, ‘No Shame’, arrives four years after the misguided ‘Sheezus’ LP, taking a swerve away from her comfort zone.

Arthur Buck - Arthur Buck (Album Review)

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Photo: Dean Karr 

Pop stardom is a young person’s game.

LUMP - LUMP (Album Review)

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Photo: Mathew Parri & Esteban Diacono

“LUMP is a product,” Laura Marling monotonously narrates on the closing credits of the new project. It’s a product that, in its brief 27 minutes, encompasses a fluffy dancing yeti, angelic vocals, airy synth melodies, thrashing, but always intricate, percussion, and a constant underlying drone to sew it all together. Marling and Mike Lindsay (of psych-folk bands Tunng and Throws), whom she met by chance at a Neil Young gig, utilise mutual respect for each other’s creativity to harness LUMP, which they look upon parentally.

Flasher - Constant Image (Album Review)

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Photo: Jen Dessinger 

Flasher have a couple of things in common with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Firstly, the band don’t have a defined centre, with no traditional ‘leader’ and the trio sharing vocal duties. They’re also part of an inchoate wave of contrarians kicking hard against the entrenched political systems that define their home city, Washington, D.C..

Zeal & Ardor - Stranger Fruit (Album Review)

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“Double the length, twice the pleasure,” is a phrase usually reserved for your spam folder, but it’s being used here to describe a Satanic solo project that pits the blues against extreme metal. Yeah, it’s one of those days.

Boy Azooga - 1, 2 Kung Fu! (Album Review)

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Boy Azooga’s Davey Newington knows his stuff. Since grasping his first pair of drumsticks at age six, the Cardiff native has played in a bunch of orchestras and jazz bands, along with turning out as a member of Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon. All this background work has culminated in his band’s first LP, ‘1, 2, Kung Fu!’, which can only be described as a kind of fantastical, timewarped musical menagerie.

Pusha T - Daytona (Album Review)

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Pusha T has declared this season a surgical summer, waging war on Drake with a diss track for the ages immediately after making his comeback with ‘Daytona’.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Sparkle Hard (Album Review)

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Photo: James Rexroad

For people of a certain age, Stephen Malkmus will always be a rarefied genius. Along with Messrs Kannberg, Young, Ibold, West and Nastanovich he soundtracked the ‘90s with Pavement, and he has been trading in a pretty fine line of off-kilter slacker rock ever since.

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