Published: 09/05/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
Hall of Fame (G.O.O.D.) is Big Sean’s not brief tutorial on mediocre commercial rap. Evocative(ish) image of his recent acquisition of wealth (“every meal comes with asparagus”): check. Brief nods to the dying inner-city that bred him: check. Even briefer attempts at profundity devolving into stupidity (“we all start at the same starting point of a woman’s legs”): check. One sure-fire song to sink your teeth into (“First Chain”): check. Hall of Fame is no deeper than Diddy when it’s all said and done. Once poor, now getting richer all the time, don’t worry if Big Sean writes lame rhymes — he writes checks.
Archy Marshall has a voice that double-dog-dares you to like it: audaciously blunt, brashly accented, borderline tuneless. It might not raise an eyebrow if the 18-year-old Londoner — who sports the suitably garish sobriquet King Krule — were bleating alongside some squalling agit-punk outfit, but it’s another story hearing him dribble his prickly-sour urban outsider poetry atop the chilled-out, noir-ish coffeeshop jazz that fills his remarkable debut. Give it some time, though, and damn if that disjunct doesn’t just make 6 Feet Beneath The Moon (True Panther), in all its rough-edged beatnik spontaneity, all the more heartbreakingly poignant.
—K. Ross Hoffman
After a mightily productive first decade, Califone fell atypically silent for the last four years. So Stitches (Dead Oceans) needn’t add anything to their well-stocked trick-bag to be an especially welcome return. In this case, a rest is at least as good as a change. Even if it’s (debatably) the band’s most streamlined, song-oriented offering yet, the album’s crux remains their distinctive confluence of sounds: scrappy folk-blues and roughed-up digital artifacts, rusty slide-guitar scrapes, found-object percussion, lusty group harmonies and weird little noises. Sublimely curious business as usual for a group that still sound like no other.
—K. Ross Hoffman
It’s easy to get lost in the loveliness of Elizabeth Morris’ worldview. We felt it on Allo Darlin’s indie-pop travelogue Europe and we feel it again in Optimism, her new four-song, Bandcamp-only EP of hopesick ballads. “We sang Buddy Holly in the street all night,” she sings, wide-eyed, over a schoolhouse piano, recalling a poignant moment we may well have considered obnoxious from a distance. But that’s Morris for you: Those pretty words and that Britishized Australian accent can make even her most callow quirks — yay, another song about how young she is — play like tipsy moments of gravity.
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