La Dispute-Panorama

Nothingness and empty can swell in a way that we soundtrack our own existence.  As “Fulton Street I” builds on La Dispute’s Panorama, Jordan Dreyer’s screaming voice sounds like his soul is exiting his body with fear. The Michigan-based post-hardcore band’s most subdued record yet is also their most intense. Continue reading

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Eminem-Kamikaze

            Remember on Recovery when Eminem straight up said, “Them last two albums didn’t count/Encore, I was on drugs. Relapse, I was flushin’ ‘em out?”  While Recovery may not be the definitive album in Marshall Mathers’ catalogue, it was really great to see Eminem own up to two albums that were really just subpar, and that album was followed by Eminem’s best album in 11 years.  Revival was a serious misstep for Eminem, and while there’s a certain excitement and viciousness in Kamikaze, it’s an even bigger one. Continue reading

Kanye West-ye

The nature of waiting on Kanye West’s ye has been conflicting.  In some sense, it was nerve-racking: Kanye West, already the most polarizing artist of the decade, had recently come out as a Trump supporter (suspected to be the product of a mental breakdown).  The first track released from this album cycle was the meme-birthing “Lift Yourself,” arguably Yeezy’s most cringe-worthy lyrical work to date.  This also comes as the world of mainstream rap is enthralled by a Drake and Pusha T beef that seems to only be growing.  With that being said, there’s still the excitement that comes with being a Kanye fan.  It’s not exactly at the same level of The Life of Pablo, with the Yeezy Season 3 showing at Madison Square Garden or surprise album drop on SNL.  Reading about the listening party in Wyoming and getting the album a few hours later, I felt the same exhilaration as hearing that Life of Pablo dropped on SNL, seeing the Yeezus artwork, and first hearing “Runaway.”  From the time Kanye announced this album until now, it’s been a period of wrestling with wanting the new album to be good from a fan’s perspective but also struggling to come to terms with Kanye’s politics.  Surprisingly, there was little to be worried about on either front. Continue reading

The Problem With Greta Van Fleet

In 2008, AC/DC went on a North American tour in support of their Black Ice album.  Opening this tour was Northern Irish hard-rockers The Answer, a band that upon a Google search was hailed as “The Irish Led Zeppelin.”  I downloaded some of their songs, most notably “Highwater or Hell” from their Never Too Late EP.  They definitely did have a bunch of Zeppelin-isms, chunky guitar riffs, a yelping lead singer, and a powerhouse rhythm section.  For someone who’d yet to get jaded from almost all opening bands, The Answer seemed like a godsend.  Of the three big arena concerts I’d been to, The Answer was easily the best opening act I’d ever seen.  I listened for The Answer for about a year after that show, because why wouldn’t I?  Led Zeppelin was my favorite band, and there was little sign they were ever reuniting.  Here I had a near perfect sound-alike that I also enjoyed.  A few artists manage to stir up similar feelings: young bands like Wolfmother, Jet, Alter Bridge, as do some newer supergroups formed by older rockers: Black Country Communion, Adrenaline Mob, or Hellyeah.  Artists that pay tribute to older music are nothing new, and some are actually somewhat innovative in their modern classic rock (see: The Darkness, Steel Panther), but now we have Greta Van Fleet: a breakout sensation that sounds a little too much like Led Zeppelin. Continue reading

The Wombats-Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

I’m standing in the Subway station waiting for the uptown train and racing to connect to the free WiFi before my train comes so I can download the first single off of the new Wombats album. It downloads as the train is pulling in and I find my seat. I always take a moment right before listening to new music from a favorite band or artist; I want to remember where I first heard a particular song or album in case it becomes of great importance to my life. I take in the blue seats and the fairly empty train car and press play. Continue reading

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction-Barack Obama

David Letterman takes the stage of the Amsterdam Campus of the City College of New York in My Next Guest Needs No Introduction looking more biblical than his CBS days.  Letterman comfortably sits opposite President Barack Obama. In a format more intimate than Late Night, Letterman seems at ease in this new role. Still, some things feel familiar from his light comedic tone to bringing on Paul Shaffer as the composer of this series. Continue reading

Hanif Abdurraqib-They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

Hanif Abdurraqib is one of the most unique voices in modern journalism and poetry.  His 2016 poetry collection The Crown Ain’t Worth Much was a standout last year, and his often calm delivery of poetry is hypnotic.  Like Crown, this essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a beautiful meditation on pop culture, race, personal history, and the places where those conversations meet.   Abdurraqib sculpts his prose in a conversationally engaging but also comforting tone. Continue reading

Slaughter Beach, Dog-Birdie

It’s not really shocking to find that Jake Ewald is a massive fan of the Mountain Goats and The Weakerthans.  His Modern Baseball songs were always incredibly descriptive and made mundane events seem much more fascinating with his lyrics.  It’s unsurprising that his second album from his Slaughter Beach, Dog outfit bares a strong resemblance to The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson’s recent solo effort.  Birdie is also much more of a jangle-pop effort than even last year’s WelcomeBirdie seems to be truer to Ewald’s life than the first Slaughter Beach, Dog album in a too sweet for its own good way. Continue reading