Tag Archives: Album of the Day

Album of the Day: Lust for Youth, “Lust For Youth”

Founded in 2009 as the solo project of Hannes Norrvide, Lust For Youth have evolved into adventurous practitioners of punchy techno, pulsating darkwave, and greyscale new wave. The Copenhagen duo’s latest self-titled effort is just as meticulous as previous releases. However, its arrangements are sprawling and luxurious, and the album’s inspirations are drawn largely from the twin sources of melodic ’80s dream-pop and melancholy synth-pop. “Adrift” nods to New Order’s brisk rhythmic thrums, but has the winsome vibe of the Go-Betweens’ 16 Lovers Lane; “Great Concerns” is dark, insistent electro that’s undercut with shadowy post-punk; and the shoegaze-y “Fifth Terrace,” which features guest vocals from Soho Rezanejad, is shrouded in a fog of sugary keyboards.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Christelle Bofale, “Swim Team”

Christelle Bofale has a superpowered voice that flows like water. Her debut album, Swim Team, is lush and inviting, a carefully crafted project that evinces a clear artistic vision. Part indie rock and part soul, it’s a stellar introduction to Bofale’s singular sound.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Azymuth, “Demos (1973​-​75) Volumes 1&2”

For almost half a century now, Brazilian group Azymuth have blazed their own style of cosmic, samba-tinted jazz-funk. Their discography is broad; their legacy beyond reproach. Demos (1973​-​75) Volumes 1&2, a set of recordings that ostensibly predate the release of their 1975 debut album, gives their story a true beginning. It offers the earliest showcase of the group’s serene musicality and forward-thinking spirit.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Psalm One, “FLIGHT OF THE WIG”

Back in the early 2000s, Psalm One pivoted from pursuing a career as a biochemist to paying dues on Chicago’s underground hip-hop scene, eventually signing to the Rhymesayers label after Eyedea caught wind of the dexterous MC’s music. Her latest release, FLIGHT OF THE WIG, is a thoroughly modern hip-hop outing that bristles with metallic rhythms and timely socio-political quips. Recorded in Minneapolis, where Psalm One relocated in search of creative change, the project’s beats are served up by a roster of producers including Optiks, who’s previously worked with Talib Kweli and Homeboy Sandman, and fellow Twin Cities representer Icetep. Collectively, they deliver bass-heavy backdrops that smartly veer towards the minimal, allowing Psalm One’s voice ample space.

On FLIGHT OF THE WIG, the rapper tackles identity politics—”I’m knowing some legends got penises / But I’m standing right here and I pee when I sit,” she raps on “WWIV”—and, on “Rock & Roll McDonaldz,” social media (“Ignorance is bliss and ain’t no fun being Twitter woke”). These big-picture takes contrast with nuanced tales of relationship woes. On “The Impossible Lover,” she laments a tryst that doesn’t allow her to be true to herself. Her rhymes flow in a swinging, scat-like fashion, as she declares: “I love you but I need to let it be / I gotta change, it’s really killing me.” FLIGHT OF THE WIG is a poignant, punchy hip-hop record, a sharp portrait of one of hip-hop’s most emotive and incisive voices.

-Philip Mlynar

Album of the Day: Plastic Mermaids, “Suddenly Everyone Explodes”

Psychedelia traditionally implies a break from reality, a means for artists to escape the humdrum nature of everyday existence and defy the laws of linear logic. But for Plastic Mermaids, real life is bewildering enough. On their debut full-length, Suddenly Everyone Explodes, the Isle of Wight band overwhelm with shapeshifting, sensory-overloading pop songs that siphon their restless irreverence from the masters of modern psychedelic rock: the confetti-blasting splendor of The Flaming Lips, the future-shocked freakery of the Super Furry Animals, the mischievous melodies of the weirder MGMT records. But amid the holiday-parade majesty of “1996” and motorik folk-rock of “I Still Like Kelis,” you’ll find tender treatises on the difficulties of finding and maintaining meaningful connections in the digital age.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Mavis Staples, “We Get By”

Mavis Staples has never shied away from making a statement, going all the way back to the raw vocal power and unshakeable commitment of The Staple Singers’ 1965 civil rights anthem “Freedom Highway.” The records she’s been making on ANTI for the last 15 years — the overt examples being We’ll Never Turn Back and If All I Was Was Black — have been increasingly oriented toward raising consciousness and, considering our country’s current state, we need Staples’ fiery forward momentum more than ever.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Helm, “Chemical Flowers”

In the music he makes as Helm, Luke Younger has always seemed dedicated to exploring the grotesque. There were moments on his 2012 high-water mark Impossible Symmetry that didn’t sound like music so much as Younger lowering a tiny microphone down his throat and into his stomach, and recording the ambient gurgling and bubbling. By that metric, Chemical Flowers represents something of a shift to the middle: opening track “Capital Crisis” may kick off with a shriek of Pendereckian strings, but it soon settles into a kind of placid ambience, with a warm bed of synths topped with what sounds like the lulling rhythms of a train. Like 2015’s Olympic Mess, Chemical Flowers is meant as a meditation on urban decay and late-stage capitalism, and as such, the songs feel more mechanized, factory-like, and robotic: the bug-zap crackle and speeding-car synths that occupy the foreground of the contemplative “Lizard in Fear,” the CB radio static that twists its way through “Body Rushes.” Younger remains one of the most gifted collagists in electronic music, but here, he puts that talent to work in songs that are more interested in subtly disquieting the listener than outright disgusting them.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Alex Lahey, “The Best of Luck Club”

“The Best of Luck Club,” the second record from Australian multi-instrumentalist Alex Lahey follows a similar m.o. as her debut “I Love You Like A Brother,” pairing an optimistic sound with decidedly less optimistic lyrics. Darkness is always close by in her songs, but Lahey tames her demons with buoyant melodies and thundering power chords.

The album’s explosive opener, “I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore,” is a boisterous look at the tension between fading youth and adult responsibility. “Has my fun gone out the door?” she glumly asks at one point. She answers her own question shortly thereafter, by way of the roaring power pop of “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself,” where she sings, “You haven’t had a day off in weeks / Your voice is shaking when you speak / It might not be my place to help / But don’t be so hard on yourself.” By maintaining this tender sense of conviction throughout, Lahey sends the album’s arc with a bit of hope. It’s an album about feeling the lowest of the lows, but also celebrating the highest of the highs. Songs like “Am I Doing It Right” and “Interior Demeanour” scan as letters Lahey has written to herself, offering both determination and reassurance. When life gets dark, it takes a certain kind of zeal to see through the fog—and zeal is something The Best of Luck Club has in spades.

-Jerry Cowgill