tlop

First Impressions Review: The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

The most important thing to remember when thinking about TLOP and the insane lead up to its release is the one thing that’s remained constant throughout the rapper’s whole career: Kanye West is full of contradictions. It might be infuriating, but it’s true: The moment you think you can generalize something about Kanye, he’ll swerve. How…

BH

Beach House Turn Up the Silence

Beach House are, mostly, well-understood by now.  We expect them to craft heavenly dream pop that’s less noisy than classic shoegaze but not as sparsely bleak as all-time mopers like Red House Painters.  As they’ve proved before on songs like ‘Myth’ and ‘Lazuli,’ they represent another in a long and distinguished line of bands who…

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First Impressions Album Review: 1989 – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift dropped her much-hyped fifth album, 1989, today, and as one of the millions who professes himself a fan of Tay-Tay, I’ve already made a few listen-throughs. I wanted to share my thoughts here. Let’s start by going back two years. Taylor’s fourth album, Red, put me off a bit when I first heard it. I had…

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Conor Oberst’s Return to Glory

Conor Oberst is 34?! No part of that makes sense, and I’m not even sure why.  Given that his first major album (as Bright Eyes) came out the same year as Michael Jordan’s last championship, you’d certainly be forgiven for assuming he’s old enough to run for president.  On the other hand, 34—with all the marriages…

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U2, Songs of Innocence, and the Loss of Mine

Nothing about U2’s new album Songs of Innocence makes any sense. Suddenly foisted on everyone this September, the album is the group’s 13th and first since 2009’s largely ignored No Line on the Horizon, which was the first since 2004’s largely terrible How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.  Despite working with a smorgasbord of producers for…

Artwork by Sabine de Ligny

Elessar – Sun we Rise (2012): To Touch the Bliss

Only lucky people encounter bands like Elessar.  You won’t hear them on the radio until orchestral indie folk music wins its fifteen minutes of widespread public appreciation.  You won’t be able to see them play live in the near future if you live more than a stone’s throw from northern France.  Still, consider yourself lucky:…