Battles – Gloss Drop
In a sense, Battles is the double-aughts version of a progressive rock band, featuring virtuoso musicianship pretty much unheard of in indie rock circles. All that was missing were lyrics about gnomes and fairies and the ilk. Battles was a band that was looking backward as much as they were looking forward, and it all began to make a heck of a lot more sense to me under that reflective prism.
That brings us to the sophomore album and yes, I had to wonder where Battles would go from Mirrored. That record captured a particular style of post rock-cum-prog, and my fear was that there would be a temptation to repeat the formula and do the same thing twice. Happily, with Gloss Drop, this is not really the case, although the driving musicianship and some of the trademark whimsy of Mirrored shines through. Gloss Drop is not merely a sequel to Mirrored, it’s an album in its own right, one that incorporates world music on a somewhat prominent basis, and one that sees the band move more in a pop-oriented direction. Read the Full Review on Pop Matters
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See
[Suck It and See] takes as its starting point Humbug’s least representative track, Cornerstone, a sighing, richly melodic lament at odds with the lurching, Josh Homme-produced darkness evident elsewhere. The result is the first Arctic Monkeys album that tries to ensnare the listener with its tunes, rather than guitar riffs or Turner’s lyrics. Oddly, what its mid-tempo stew of thick basslines, feedback-laden guitar lines, churning chord progressions and thumping drums occasionally recalls – presumably unwittingly – is the ooh-look-at-the-cosh-boys Morrissey of the mid-90s, though anyone who feels their spirits understandably sinking at the mention of that particular juncture of Morrissey’s career should note that the contents of Suck It and See are noticeably tighter, lighter on their feet and infinitely more fun than anything on Southpaw Grammar. Read the full review on The Guardian UK
Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
There is no need to introduce this man at all. You should know his name, his crew, his height, his favourite food and, especially, the name of his enormously awaited sophomore album. He expects you to, because the first entry in his Goblin journal is detailed with a furiously direct account of the hurricane of Odd Future references that has consumed Twitter and every second webpage on the internet in the past few months. It’s as if Tyler is narrating his own career in a third-person perspective. At the forefront of an eerily hellish beat, he calls out his critics, attacks the nay-sayers and compiles all his angry tweets (they’re more like ticks really – he just says what he wants, when he wants) against ‘White America’ into the 6:49 he has assigned himself: “N****s getting offended/They don’t wanna fuck ‘cos I do not fuck with religion/Well see that’s my decision you fuckers don’t have to listen/Here, put this middle finger in your ear.” Read the track by track review on Hip Hop Isn’t Dead it’s just Sleeping.