Album Of The Week: Empress Of Us

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Empress-Of-UsNear the end of “Everything To Me,” the first song on the new Empress Of album Us, we hear the featherlight voice of Devonté Hynes, doing that Prince-style deeply intoned spoken-word thing that he sometimes does. When Hynes shows up, it’s a genuine surprise. Of course, Us is an album that straddles the line between … More »

Album Of The Week: Matthew Dear Bunny

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Matthew-Dear-Bunny“Sounds like a drunk college kid imitating Tom Waits.” That was what my wife heard when she heard Matthew Dear’s voice. And it’s pretty much true, except during the moments where Dear sounds like a drunk college kid imitating Berlin Trilogy-era David Bowie. It’s part of the man’s charm. Dear never intended to become a … More »

Album Of The Week: Fucked Up Dose Your Dreams

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Dose Your DreamsWhat, exactly, is so fucked up about Fucked Up? Is it the band name? Sure, if you’re trying to write a piece on the band for NPR and you can’t even use their f***ing name. Is it Damian Abraham’s voice? Maybe, if the phrase “titanic, earth-shattering roar” fills you with dread. Is it … More »

Album Of The Week: Gouge Away Burnt Sugar

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Gouge-Away-Burnt-SugarHere’s something I really like doing: Clicking around Bandcamp and hitting “subscribe” on the pages of every halfway-competent hardcore band I can find. I check the internet for show fliers or hardcore-festival bills, and then I just subscribe to the pages of every band I’m not already subscribed to. That way, every time any one … More »

Album Of The Week: Advance Base Animal Companionship

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Advance-Base-Animal-CompanionshipCertain days, my favorite Mountain Goats song is “Woke Up New,” the one where John Darnielle imagines himself as someone who is, for reasons unexplained, newly alone. He sings about his feelings but he also sings about the minute little details of his physical experience: “The first time I made coffee for just myself, I … More »

Album Of The Week: Low Double Negative

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Low-Double-NegativeThese days, there is a constant and seemingly endless supply of new music at our fingertips. If you work as music journalist, you get thousands of emails a day alerting you to impending releases or sending you dozens of albums months away from entering the world. You can never sift through it all, but you … More »

Album Of The Week: Spiritualized And Nothing Hurt

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Spiritualized-And-Nothing-HurtThere’s a particular sort of mental gymnastic routine that music critics must bust out when we’re considering new works from old idols: Is it really that good? Or do I just want it to be that good? We, as a profession, have heaped so much praise on so many late-period Bob Dylan albums, and some … More »

Album Of The Week: Troye Sivan Bloom

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Troye-Sivan-BloomTroye Sivan’s rise to something resembling pop stardom — to pop-almost-stardom — has been pretty conventional. Sivan, born in South Africa and raised in Perth, got his start as a 12-year-old on the Australian version of Star Search. From there, he became a child actor. At 13, he played the younger version of Wolverine in … More »

Album Of The Week: Jesus Piece Only Self

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Jesus-Piece-Only-SelfHardcore, as originally conceived, was a singles genre. Bands wrote songs short enough that they could fit six or eight of them on one 7″, compressing their ideas into tiny and potent bursts of rage. Black Flag and Minor Threat were underground legends by the time they both released full-length albums. Black Flag managed to … More »

Album Of The Week: Tomberlin At Weddings

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Tomberlin-At-WeddingsFunny things happen when you’re forced to spend vast chunks of your childhood in church. People react to it in different ways. I couldn’t stand it. The polished grain of the pews, the endless ritual of sitting and standing at different parts of mass, the holding hands during the Our Father, the way my parents … More »