Microreviews – 4.12.10

Bonobo – Black Sands

Grade: A

Best Tracks: “El Toro”; “Black Sands”; “Kiara”; “Animals”; “Kong”; “Eyesdown”; “1009”

Comments: An impeccable album of downtempo electronic music.  Simon Green (aka Bonobo) maintains a consistent mood while experimenting with style reminiscent of a huge range of artists: dubstep à la DJ /uproot; hip-hop beats à la RJD2 or jazzy ones à la Amon Tobin; atmospheric landscapes à la DJ Shadow.  Plus, he integrates a full orchestra’s repertoire of instruments, most which he plays himself.  Masterful.

Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing

Grade: B+

Best Tracks: “Free Energy”; “Hope Child”; “Dream City”; “Dark Trance”; “Wild Winds”

Comments:  Extremely well-crafted and likable power-pop.  The production, which sometimes sounds a bit flat, is the only thing holding this album back from an ‘A’ rating.  Catchy as all hell.

 

~

She & Him – Volume Two

Grade: B+

Best Tracks: “Thieves”; “Ridin’ in My Car”; “In the Sun”; “Home”; “Brand New Shoes”

Comments: Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward hone their golden-60’s-FM-nostalgic sound on their sophomore release.  Almost overly cute, but they pull it off splendidly.  A total pleasure to listen to.

 

~

These New Puritans – Hidden

Grade: C-

Best Tracks: “Attack Music”; “Drum Courts–Where Corals Lie”; “5”

Comments: Definitely not like anything I’ve ever heard before; dark, percussive, gothic-sounding experimental music with lots of shouted/chanted lyrics.  But I found the cheap harpsichord synths and tuneless vocals really grating on me after a while.

~

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim – Here Lies Love

Grade: D+

Best Tracks: “Seven Years (w/ Shara Worden)”; “Dancing Together (w/ Sharon Jones)”; “Here Lies Love (w/ Florence Welch)”; “Please Don’t (w/ Santigold)”

Comments:  Interesting, ambitious concept (a double-album of dance music telling the story of Imelda Marcos), but most of this bloated album is shitty retro-disco with a Hollywood sheen and muzak beats.  The second disc picks up the slack, but still…aggressively dull.

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~ by toren on April 12, 2010.

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