Top 40 Albums of 2017

40. Every Valley by Public Service Broadcasting Post-rock with layered public radio announcements. Perfect for studying.   39. Wild Alee by the Talos Everyone is trying to rip off the Bon Iver thing this year. Of the imitators, I think Talos did it best.   38. Saint or Sinner by Sir the Baptist An absolutely infectious single and honest commentary on the lived experience of marginalized communities.   37. Colors by Beck After a critically acclaimed turn toward singer-songwriter introspection, party-Beck is back. 36. Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works by Max Richter Ever since Max Richter’s melodic touch scored The Leftovers’ theme, I’m now game for any of his compositions.   35. Drool by Nnamdi Ogbonnaya Drool provides a… Read More →

Top 40 Albums of 2016

40. Happiness Is not a Place by The Wind and the Wave Catchy and upbeat folk rock.   39. Stay Gold by the Butch Walker A reincarnation of the boss. Pure rock ‘n’ roll.   38. Max Jury by Max Jury Reserved and introspective. A solid voice, soft but powerful.   37. Therapy Session by NF Christian hip-hop from the dark side. 36. Ouroboros by Ray LaMontagne Ray LaMontagne continues his quest to be a classic-rock star.   35. Hymns by Bloc Party Bloc Party adds an organ to their sound and questions of faith to their lyrics.   34. A/B by Kaleo In the spirit of all Icelandic music, Kaleo plays music against beautiful backdrops. The band also has the blues.   33. The Ride by Catfish and the Bottlemen The 2016 nominee for Oasis impersonation…. Read More →

January Playlist 2014

In an effort to switch things up and keep better track of my listening habits, I have decided to shift music reviewing strategies. Instead of trying to unpack an album and try my best to make sense of its artistic milieu, I will instead track music in short snippets on a monthly basis. Hopefully this direction can help get me out of the writer’s block I often experience when it comes to music criticism. As a disclaimer, this list doesn’t necessarily mean music released in January 2014; it’s just a reflection of what I’ve been listening to. Neko Case — The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You An indie-rock veteran,… Read More →

Album Review: Post Tropical

Post Tropical by James Vincent McMorrow (Vagrant, 2014. 42 minutes) James Vincent McMorrow (b. 1983) is an Irish singer and songwriter. His debut album Early In The Morning was released in Ireland, February 2010, and in US/Europe in 2011 to widespread acclaim.  Suited for Winter Despite what the title may indicate, McMorrow’s sophomore release Post Tropical is an album perfectly suited for the winter months. Lucky for McMorrow, much of the country has been under blankets of snow and vortexes of polar doom. There is something of the stark calm of winter that McMorrow adheres to inherently, something which begs us naturally to move forward after a much needed season of calm. McMorrow, through his haunting falsetto voice, finds a way to communicate music in a way few… Read More →