Welcome to reality: Pazz & Jop 2015

My Pazz and Jop ballot: Jazmine Sullivan · Reality Show 25 17 Vince Staples · Summertime ’06 10 70 Joanna Newsom · Divers 10 39 Dawn Richard · Blackheart 10 22 Speedy Ortiz · Foil Deer 10 9 The Chills · Silver Bullets 10 7 Maddie & Tae · Start Here 10 5 Carly RaeContinue reading “Welcome to reality: Pazz & Jop 2015”

Sweatin’: Jeremih and Kehlani

Jeremih – Late Nights: The Album No contemporary R&B singer has squandered his talents in the last eighteen months on useless guest appearances than this drummer by training, and if his record label woes are true I suppose he’s gotta remain in the public eye. After YG collaboration “Don’t Tell’Em” and “Planes” (“Here they go,Continue reading “Sweatin’: Jeremih and Kehlani”

Best albums of 2015 — the final chapter

4. The Chills – Silver Bullets Did you know this seminal New Zealander act released a new album this fall? And it’s good! Political skullduggery upsets Martin Phillipps. So does the rape of the oceans. In defiance, he tunes his guitar to sound aqueous; his chords have a turquoise sheen. He still thinks a goodContinue reading “Best albums of 2015 — the final chapter”

Best album of 2015 — part one

20. Alan Jackson – Angels and Alcohol An amiable craftsman of the here’s-another-table-I-built school for most of the nineties until crossing over pop with the most poignant of 9-11 songs — a feat that alluded Wilco, sure, but also Paul McCartney — Alan Jackson’s new head of steam dissipated after 2006’s exemplary Like Red onContinue reading “Best album of 2015 — part one”

Love streams: Adele’s ’25’

John Seabrook: If you are an Apple or a Spotify subscriber (I am both), you are faced with a quandary over what to do about “25.” In the old days, you would have just gone out and bought the album. But streaming complicates the picture. You don’t want to buy the record because that wouldContinue reading “Love streams: Adele’s ’25’”

Eric Church, Justin Bieber

Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood A strange thing about The Outsiders: “Talladega” and “Cold One” sounded fine on the radio. Maybe it’s a post-CD age album after all, refuting the sticky recollections in Mr. Misunderstood‘s title track, on which Eric Church the adolescent Elvis CAH-STELL-LOH fan scowled at top forty listeners, thus earning the rightContinue reading “Eric Church, Justin Bieber”

Rage, rage: Grimes, The Chills

Grimes – Art Angel After three albums and a New Yorker profile, Claire Boucher is ready for crossover. These self-made beats are so dense that the absence of Ryan Tedder, Esther Dean, and other “topline” composers in the credits will come as a surprise. The majority of the tracks boast program rhythms and an arpeggiatedContinue reading “Rage, rage: Grimes, The Chills”

Best albums of 2015 – third quarter report

I wanted to make it an even thirty but figure I still have eight weeks and I’m comfortable with these finalists. In chronological order. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show Dawn Richard – Blackheart Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer Sleater Kinney – No Cities to Love Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly Young Thug –Continue reading “Best albums of 2015 – third quarter report”

John Grant, Deerhunter, Tamar Braxton

John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure “Parataxis is the order of the way/I’ve never heard that world until tonight, I have to say,” the Pagliacci of modern electro-folk warbles expertly on the title track over synth strings and metronomic drumming. The Leonard Cohen of I’m Your Man is the model: courtly love songs overContinue reading “John Grant, Deerhunter, Tamar Braxton”

Don’t call them comebacks: New Order and Robert Forster

New Order – Music Complete Boredom and a lifetime’s worth of acrimony having forced the departure of their most crucial member, the trio plus two unassuming additions record a better bunch of songs than anyone, including the trio, had a right to expect. The song lengths look daunting, but not if you take Bernard Sumner’sContinue reading “Don’t call them comebacks: New Order and Robert Forster”

Doomed youth: Angel Haze and the Libertines

Angel Haze – Back to the Woods “Since ’91 I’ve been a menace.” “I don’t feel, I don’t feel, I don’t mean nuthin’.” “Been alone since the motherfuckin’ jump, man.” And that’s just one song, a confessional called “Exposed.” After a couple of mix tapes (including 2012’s remarkable Reservation) and a commercial release that delightedContinue reading “Doomed youth: Angel Haze and the Libertines”