47 items by Mike Powell

  • My Name Is My Name

    My Name Is My Name | ALBUM REVIEW

    After years of label purgatory with coke-rap menaces Clipse and a string of mixtapes for Kanye West's G.O.O.D. imprint, Pusha T finally gets his solo debut. He's still a witty, quietly vicious rapper, capable of tearing...

    October 4, 2013 12:31 PM ET
  • Slow Focus

    Slow Focus | ALBUM REVIEW

    Fuck Buttons’ third album – a synthesis of noise, hip-hop, drone and shoegaze – is basically avant-garde weightlifting music, forgoing heart and brains in hopes that brute force alone will elevate it to heaven. Occasionally, it does....

    October 1, 2013 3:20 PM ET
  • "Shot at the Night"

    "Shot at the Night" | SONG REVIEW

    The Killers continue into the fantasia of Eighties pop-rock soundtracks, dripping with hair spray, swaddled in the fog of dry ice. Produced by M83 for a greatest-hits package, "Night" sounds solid alone but will seem slight...

    September 24, 2013 4:10 PM ET
  • "Nosetalgia"

    "Nosetalgia" | SONG REVIEW

    After years of awkward reinventions, "Nosetalgia" finds Pusha T in something like classic form: mellow but menacing, tracing his coke-dealer creation myth from cold streets back to a baby's crib. After exploding on Big Sean's "Control,"...

    September 24, 2013 4:05 PM ET
  • Kiss Land

    Kiss Land | ALBUM REVIEW

    Abel Tesfaye specializes in spacey R&B songs where he sounds sad about things that would make most people happy (having sex, going to parties, hanging with friends). So you can imagine how bummed Tesfaye is now that...

    September 23, 2013 5:05 PM ET
  • Dream River

    Dream River | ALBUM REVIEW

    Twenty years in and the singer formerly known as Smog is making the best records of his career. His music is loose and rustic, his writing skirts the heart of the matter instead of bulldozing into it,...

    September 17, 2013 12:00 AM ET
  • Repave

    Repave | ALBUM REVIEW

    As Bon Iver, Justin Vernon mixes the solitary directness of folk songs with the grandeur of ambient and soundtrack music – a strategy that makes his best songs breast-beatingly transcendent and his worst a mush of...

    September 9, 2013 4:30 PM ET
  • "Comrade"

    "Comrade" | SONG REVIEW

    Like the peaks of Bon Iver's 2011 album, Justin Vernon's collaboration with fellow Wisconsinites Collections of Colonies of Bees sounds like an arty take on late-Eighties power ballads: both abstract and surprisingly muscular. As usual, Vernon's lyrics sound...

    August 28, 2013 11:55 AM ET
  • Trap Lord

    Trap Lord | ALBUM REVIEW

    This Harlem-bred MC is more an interior designer than a master carpenter, a rapper whose real gift isn't rapping but curating sound. No surprise coming from a member of the A$AP Mob crew, whose fashion choices get...

    August 26, 2013 4:20 PM ET
  • "The Wire"

    "The Wire" | SONG REVIEW

    The latest from this trio of L.A. sisters is a stomping, swerving piece of Fleetwood Mac-esque stadium pop – and the most triumphant breakup song since Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."...

    August 15, 2013 2:05 PM ET
  • "Get Like Me"

    "Get Like Me" | SONG REVIEW

    Despite the billing on the marquee, the fizzy, minimal second single from Nelly's forthcoming LP belongs to Nicki and Pharrell. You'd think a rapper known for her overheated quirk would flame out next to someone as systematically...

    August 15, 2013 1:50 PM ET
  • "Hold On We're Going Home"

    "Hold On We're Going Home" | SONG REVIEW

    A breezy mid-Eighties soft-pop song that's one part Billy Ocean and one part Frank Ocean, "Hold On" hits pause on Drake's bottom­less complaints about fame and wealth to offer a sweeter, simpler sentiment: "I want your hot...

    August 15, 2013 1:45 PM ET
  • Major Arcana

    Major Arcana | ALBUM REVIEW

    Speedy Ortiz make indie rock Nineties-style: crooked guitars, witty lyrics and songs assertive enough to draw listeners in but mysterious enough to elude them at the same time. Their debut is all sharp left turns: Punky exuberance...

    August 12, 2013 4:30 PM ET
  • Partygoing

    Partygoing | ALBUM REVIEW

    Stephin Merritt's songs still favor the simple structures and clever rhyme schemes of prewar American pop, which is what makes the best Magnetic Fields albums so impressive: Even in the context of routine, he manages to surprise. Lately, though, he...

    July 29, 2013 2:50 PM ET
  • Evil Friends

    Evil Friends | ALBUM REVIEW

    With each era since the Nixon administration come fresh attempts to reboot the rebellions of the 1960s and 70s. Enter Portugal. The Man, who on previous albums have recorded faithful impressions of T. Rex, Bowie...

    July 22, 2013 6:50 PM ET
  • Where Does This Door Go

    Where Does This Door Go | ALBUM REVIEW

    On his first two LPs, Mayer Hawthorne revived Detroit- and Philly-style soul with the fumbling charm of a nerd who finds himself in the spotlight. Here he attempts glittery club sounds, but soul remains his natural habitat....

    July 16, 2013 12:00 AM ET
  • The Weight of Your Love

    The Weight of Your Love | ALBUM REVIEW

    By now, Editors have tried their hand at post-punk, Depeche Mode-style synth ballads, goth-tinged arena-rock, and just about every other variety of 1980s English music in which anything short of total seriousness is seen as a...

    July 15, 2013 4:37 PM ET
  • Me Moan

    Me Moan | ALBUM REVIEW

    Gibson's 2012 debut blended country baritone, dusty drum loops and wry tales of lonely people—a fitting sound for someone who used to drive long-haul trucks and work at an adult bookstore. Improbably, Me Moan is even stranger,...

    July 9, 2013 12:00 AM ET
  • Planta

    Planta | ALBUM REVIEW

    Nobody expects bands as bratty as CSS – whose past titles include "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" and "Fuck Everything" – to mature. Their music is punky, clubby, intensely annoying and other qualities their fans will...

    July 8, 2013 10:50 AM ET
  • In a Warzone

    In a Warzone | ALBUM REVIEW

    Eight years after a second album whose forays into rap and techno barely masked how few decent songs it had, Transplants – Rancid's Tim Armstrong, blink-182's Travis Barker and an irritable ex-roadie they call Skinhead Rob –...

    June 25, 2013 12:10 AM ET