It’s a bad religion

Last night’s Frank Ocean performance at the Grammys didn’t surprise: a clumsy song performed by an off-pitch singer. I’m with Ned: It took, say, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs until their third album for me to think they were more than a series of misassembled ideas and earnest tributes. (And I still think that about the… More It’s a bad religion

For the last time…

Pazz and Jop ballot sent. Herewith, my favorite albums of 2012: 1. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream 2. Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears 3. Jessie Ware – Devotion 4. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music 5. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t 6. Kellie Pickler – 100 Proof 7. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel… More For the last time…

2012 – #10-#12

10. Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne Not their best since 1993: Finisterre is a rival, as I learned replaying both last weekend. A modest summa, embellished with the sparkliest of modern dance filigrees. Forty year olds can still surrender to club sounds (“Tonight”). Forty year olds may even glean wisdom about… More 2012 – #10-#12

This much is true: Solange Knowles

My favorite track on Solange Knowles’ True EP registers as pure aural pleasure: spare drums and bass, synth squiggles worthy of Bernie Worrell, ominous piano chords, and the singer oh-oh-oh’ed as frog chorus. It’s called “Don’t Let Me Down,” and it doesn’t, especially when it threatens to turn into Amerie’s “Crazy Wonderful.” A release of… More This much is true: Solange Knowles

It’s November 2012

Barring sudden inclusions, this looks my top twenty. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream Jessie Ware – Devotion Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t Kellie Pickler – 100 Proof Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Angel Haze – Reservation Rick Ross – Rich Forever Saint… More It’s November 2012

“More likely to have super churches than supermarkets”

As good as Jeff Chang’s piece is, he hasn’t persuaded me to love “Backseat Freeystyle,” or MC Eiht’s bit in “”m.A.A.d city.” Still. His semi-autobiographical good kid, m.A.A.d. City is unrelentingly dark. (“m.A.A.d.,” Lamar has explained, means “my angry adolescence, divided.”) It is a coming-of-age story set in Compton, a city that would have stayed… More “More likely to have super churches than supermarkets”

Whatcha doin’ uptown: Sunken Condos

Everything Must Go deserved Two Against Nature‘s plaudits. Besides a credible anti-Bush (I think) song (“Godwhacker”), four or five of Walter Becker’s most elegant and acerbic solos, and indelible ones all over the place by saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, it even sports a title worthy of Steely Dan. Donald Fagen’s fourth solo album Sunken Condos boasts… More Whatcha doin’ uptown: Sunken Condos