Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Talent's Catch Up: The Overlooks

Here is the final catch up of 2014; The Overlooks, a list of albums I'd meant to listen to but never got around to, as well as some late 2014 releases. With the completion of this, the construction of the top 100 tracks and top 50 albums of the year lists will begin. See you all in 2015.

Swans - To Be Kind (May 12th):
One of the most powerful, nosiest, and longest
records of 2014. Swans create yet another solid
album with To Be Kind.

Lykke Li - I Never Learn (May 2nd):
Lykke's devastating lyrics and melancholy
sound bring I Never Learn to life. You can
hear the pain and vulnerability in her voice
and that allows the listener to connect to and
understand the music even better; something
you don't get a lot in music anymore.

Todd Terje - It's Album Time (April 8th):
The title says it all. The Norwegian dance
producer finally makes an album, and damn,
was it worth the wait!

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Dec. 9th):
A featureless and more "personal" album. Just
a year removed form his lackluster 2013 album
Born Sinner, J. Cole releases, probably, the most
boring rap record in recent years.

She & Him - Classics (Dec. 2nd):
An album I think we all knew would happen
eventually. Classics is a collection of covers of,
well, classics. Zooey and M. Ward put their soft
touch on some of our favorite songs and they do
it beautifully.

Christopher Owens - A New Testament (Sept. 30th):
The former Girls front man continues to struggle
to find his footing as a solo artist.

Panda Bear - Mr. Noah EP (Oct. 22nd):
Panda Bear of Animal Collective is back and better
than ever. The production on this EP is just outstanding,
some of the best work he's ever done, and the lyrics are
so whacky, I swear I was listening to an Animal Collective
record. If the Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper LP is
anything like this, I think I may already have my favorite
record of 2015.

SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land (Oct. 7th):
The 2nd record from British producer Aaron Foulds
contains several great tracks (the best one features my
boy Ezra Koenig), but its lack of cohesiveness proves
to be its biggest downfall.

The Ting Tings - Super Critical (Oct. 24th):
A very under the radar record that was quietly
released by the very popular British pop group
features one of the best dance tracks of the year
in the title track Super Critical.

From Indian Lakes - Absent Sounds (Oct. 4th):
The short but sweet record from the rockers out of
California is further proof that more people should
be talking about From Indian Lakes.

Mr Twin Sister - Mr Twin Sister (Sept. 23rd):
The second studio album (first under the name Mr
Twin Sister) from the New York band blends the funk
and melodic-electronic genre's nicely but seems to lose
focus just as the album starts to get interesting.

Charlie XCX - Sucker (Dec. 15th):
A record filled with hit-or-miss tracks that are mostly

Nicki Minaj - The Pink Print (Dec. 12th):
With the exception of a few tracks, almost all of the
songs start out extremely well, but just can't seem to
find their footing making the album one big missed

D'Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah (Dec. 15th):
Black Messiah comes out 14 years after D'Angelo's
triumphant 2000 album Voodoo, its cohesiveness and
self awareness really shows it. This is a product that was
payed close attention to over the entirety of its creation
and it certainly paid off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Talent's Catch Up: August-December 2014

With the end of the fall 2014 semester, and me somehow making it out alive, the Talent finally has some time to catch up on these albums that have been gettin' cranked out over this last half of this year (and even some I missed from earlier in the year). I've been trying to keep up over the last few months, listening and giving scores, but haven't had the time to post them and make the post itself look nice and pretty, but the time has come. So here is the August-December catch up.

Sharon Van Etten - Are We There (May 14th):
A heart breaking and breath taking record.
Sharon Van Etten's 4th studio album proves
to be her best effort, and easily, one of the best
albums of the year.

TV On The Radio - Seeds (Nov. 18th):
Their first record since the passing of
band member Gerard Smith; a valiant
effort, but just didn't have the cohesiveness
and finesse that we've heard on past albums
like Dear Science and Cookie Mountain.

Future Islands - Singles (March 24th):
Clearly the bands best record to date,
with several solid tracks, or, Singles,
if you will, Future Islands' fourth effort
is sure to catch your liking.

Spoon - They Want My Soul (Aug. 5th):
Led by the crunchy, rock 'n roll voice of
lead singer Britt Daniel, Spoon creates
yet another monumental record, helping
them continue to prove why they are one
of the best rock bands around.

Grouper - Ruins (Oct. 31st):
Low-fi piano tunes straight out of Portland?
Sign me up! Elizabeth Harris' latest record
Ruins is sure to leave its mark on your heart.

Walk The Moon - Talking Is Hard (Dec. 2nd):
Walk The Moon's third record (second on their
current contract with RCA) is a solid 12 track
album, with only a few stinkers, but is a bit of
a disappointment in comparison to their 2012
self titled LP.

Death Grips - Niggas On The Moon (June 8th):
Come on, Death Grips? How you gonna leave us
with this? The first part of the bands final, 2LP
album, The Powers That B, which features Bjork
on every track, is a great disappointment from one
of my favorite groups.

The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers (Aug. 26th):
The super groups sixth studio album is not their
best effort, but still succeeds in being one of the
best pop-rock records of the year.

Perfume Genius - Too Bright (Sept. 23rd):
One of the most pleasant surprises of the year,
Mike Hadreas' Perfume Genius project creates
one of the most beautiful and unique records of
the year.

Karen O - Crush Songs (Sept. 5th):
For what it is, it's pretty decent, but that isn't
really saying much.

Gerard Way - Hesitant Alien (Sept. 29th):
I went into this album with very low expectations.
As a fan of My Chemical Romance, perhaps I was
still slightly bitter about the break up, but after a
few tracks, I forgot all about it and found myself
enjoying Way's solo style and his branching away
from some of the familiar MCR sound.

Ariel Pink - Pom Pom (Nov. 17th):
Melancholy rock melodies, lo-fi vocals and superb
lyrics bring Ariel Pink's first album without his band,
the Haunted Graffiti, to life.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny (Sept 23rd):
What do you get when you mix the man behind,
arguably, the best rock band of the 2000's and an
extremely experimental rock group like the Voidz?
You get Tyranny, a fuzzy, disgusting, magical LP
with an almost 11 minute track called Human Sadness.
I mean... come on. That's fucking rad.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended With Gold
(Sept 30th):
The Toronto trio's third LP steps up its production
and even steps up its power jams with tracks like
45/33 and Our Love... The RAA adds yet another
wonderful record to their already outstanding

Ariana Grande - My Everything (August 22nd):
2014's biggest breakout star's second LP delivers
the perfect blend of pop and R&B hits. Several of
My Everything's tracks have climbed the charts
to number one, and for good reason.

Childish Gambino - STN MTN (Oct. 2nd):
I've always been a huge supporter and fan of
Donald Glover's music, but, here, for the first time
I felt like he wasn't being Bino, more as he was
"acting like a rapper and rapping like an actor" as
pitchfork writer Paul Thompson so elegantly put it
(referring to Bino's Lolla '14 performance).

Iceage - Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Oct. 7th):
Denmark's finest post-punk band, Iceage, plowed
(pun intended) back into our lives just a short year
after their decent 2013 LP, You're Nothing. Not being
incredibly impressed by that last record, I didn't have
the highest of expectations for this one, but, damn, I
should have believe the hype, cause this record is

Temples - Sun Structures (Feb. 5th):
An outstanding debut from the English psych-rockers.
Temples only flaw is that they're doing almost exactly what
Tame Impala is doing, just with less flash and a couple
years late, but they are certainly giving them a run for their

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters - Lullaby
and... The Ceaseless Roar (Sept. 8th):
Led Zeppelin who? Robert Plant, somehow, compiles yet
another masterful record full of that crazy Brit's insane
lyrics, magical riffs and melodies.

Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2 (Oct. 24th):
Where do I even start? Run The Jewels 2 just
absolutely knocked me on my ass. First of all,
Killer Mike starts the record off by screaming, "I'm
finna bang this bitch the fuck out" and that's exactly
what they do. El-P and Mike just don't hold back.
Every track is masterful and "fuckin' brutal."

Alt-J - This Is All Yours (Sept. 22nd):
Perhaps 2014's biggest disappointment, and with
this getting a solid 7.0, that's saying a lot. Alt-J's
2012 album An Awesome Wave set such a high bar
for the band. This Is All Yours really only had
about five tracks that were really worth listening to.
Let's hope they can pull it together and make a more
cohesive record for LP 3.

Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso (May 12th):
Electronic indie pop mixed with folk-rock? That's
a hell of a genre bend, but North Carolina duo
Sylvan Esso was able to pull it off (and pretty
fantastically so, if you ask me) with their debut LP.

Logic - Under Pressure (Oct. 21st):
Logic is someone I wouldn't usually go out of my
way to listen to, but after constant recommendations
of this record I finally gave it a chance and was
pleasantly surprised. His flow is almost paralleled to
that of Kendrick Lamar, and the album is very well
structured, almost to the likes of good kid, m.A.A.d city,
but not nearly as good.

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Oct. 27th):
Taylor has certainly come into her own as a pop artist
with 1989, but not forgetting the importance of the album.
1989 is carried on the shoulders of monster hits like Blank
Space and Shake It Off, while tracks like I Know Places and
Bad Blood seem to drift away from anyone's memory. But an
overall very enjoyable record

The Drums - Encyclopedia (Sept. 23rd):
With half the band now gone, Jonathan Pierce and
Jacob Graham have somehow come together to create
the groups best record yet. Encyclopedia takes a more
electronic rout to things this time around, but is still
accompanied by Pierce's ominous lyrics and Morrissey
-esque vocals.

FKA Twigs - LP1 (August 6th):
What can I say about FKA Twigs that hasn't already
been said? She truly came out of left field and won the
hearts of everyone. LP1 is a phenomenal debut from a
very unique and talented artists. I look ford to what the
young Tahliah Barnett has for us next.

Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait EP (Oct. 7th):
Vince Staples debut EP was just a few tracks away
from being one of the years best rap LP's, easy.
At just a mere six tracks, the Hell Can Wait EP manages
to do what very few rap albums have been able to do
this year; make a difference.