Atmosphere: “a euphemism for cocooning oneself in production”

For all its beauty, formal strength, and allusive power, Let England Shake didn’t convert me. Tom Ewing does as good a job as anyone in explaining its impact: If I didn’t love the record, I’d be boiling with resentment now as critic after critic fell into line. But it’s my favourite album this year too,… More Atmosphere: “a euphemism for cocooning oneself in production”

Twenty Best Albums of 2011: #’s 7-9

9. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up The former leader of beloved nineties hip-hop trio Digable Planets shares the mic with fat-bottomed beats instead of confreres Doodlebug and Ladybug, and his intelligence and alliterative wordplay get the aural update he deserves. Here’s hoping he gets a commercial one soon. 8. Marsha Ambrosius – Late Nights and… More Twenty Best Albums of 2011: #’s 7-9

Do you hear what they’re saying: Holy Ghost!

Neither practioner of wimp-o-matic eighties electro recidivism produced a first-rate album this year, but having just gotten to Holy Ghost’s I prefer its articulation of incoherent angst, one guitar guitar squiggle at a time, over Junior Boys’. I doubt Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel figured out why they wanted Michael McDonald on the climactic “Some… More Do you hear what they’re saying: Holy Ghost!

Snowed in

Of course she loves concepts — she’s even pretty good at delineating them in song suites and such. She’s even better at coaxing all manner of aural wickedness and mystery from samplers — “Waking the Witch,” “There Goes a Tenner,” and “Get Out of My House” are miracles of Fairlight programming commensurate with imaginative daring.… More Snowed in

Lost one: Cole World – The Sideline Story

For months one of our students has proselytized on behalf of J. Cole — “the best rapper in the game,” he claims. Jermaine Lamarr Cole, whose name reminds me of a late nineteenth century, aggressively bearded Supreme Court justice’s, is observant and introspective when duty calls. On tracks like “Lost Ones,” he has the empathy… More Lost one: Cole World – The Sideline Story

I’ll try to drown out my heart: Miranda Lambert’s “Four The Record”

Ecumenicalism can look like “Song of Myself” or it can look like a list; in an irritable mood “Song of Myself” looks like a list. The ease and precision with which Miranda Lambert slings polysyllables in Four The Record’s “All Kinds of Kinds” shows how she continues to grow as a singer, but the gallery… More I’ll try to drown out my heart: Miranda Lambert’s “Four The Record”