This is a relatively new catalog that I started in late 2020 (with some backdating) as a bit of a forcing function to listen to more new music and not just constantly listen to a rotation of the same power pop 1 and lo-fi that I always do.
It is bare-bones (in terms of content & metadata) at the moment, but I hope to have some more interesting pieces in the next few months!
give carly rae jepsen a sword ↩
Beautiful spring/autumn music. Feels like a soundtrack to a movie I wish I was in.
Animal Collective meets the Beach Boys (meant as a compliment, but not as something I necessarily want to listen to.)
Yeah, file this one under "DALL-E-generated rock album",
This brings me back to two albums in particular: Camp Lo's Uptown Saturday Night ↗ and Kanye's The College Dropout ↗ — less in terms of sound and production (though the Kanye—9th Wonder connection is of course very obvious) and more in terms of just sheer entertainment value. This record has it all: a concept that makes the skits worth sitting through, comedy, pretty incredible verses, and just delightful production. It's so rare for me to listen to an album — even one that I really, really like — and then immediately listen to it five more times. Five!
More than anything, this record has a mise en place. It has an opinion and a worldview that it defines well and then you just get to live in it in a really delightful way for forty-five minutes. It's fun from start to finish. I don't know what else to say about it.
I was perhaps over-excited after listening to The Minstrel Show ↗ — a 10/10 album for me, and the first I've run into in a while — and had to start binging their discography. This was fine, and good, and Big Pooh continues to bang, but it just doesn't compare. I think I might come back to it in a few weeks so that I don't have the lingering tastes of their following album in my mouth; right now this just feels less fun than the successor.
Weird and fun without being more weird than fun, which I think is a tricky balance for a lot of the late-stage vaporware acts.
This might be more of a loungey record that rewards a listen when I'm sitting and reading or milling about as opposed to being in a bit more of a flow mode, but this felt...scattered? Disjointed? Incoherent? Certainly not unpleasant, but hard to pin down in a way that left me unsatisfied.
I liked-not-loved this. It was fun and a little bit vibe-y and would happily listen to it again, but I would be hard-pressed to recognize it out of a crowd.
When I listened to Potential ↗ six years ago I was absolutely blown away: in retrospect, it was my first house album, but it was a sort of album that felt simultaneously alien and warm, like something that I'd never really touched before.
This album felt like...more of the same, but not in a good way. I was worried that maybe this was a bit of nostalgia, so I relistened to the original album — nope! Potential was still that good. This album is fine, and not poorly crafted, but it does not do what that first debut did.
Silk Chiffon is so good a track it almost singlehandedly rescues what is a fairly flatline album (or perhaps a particularly flatline back half of an album). Nothing wrong with it, and I'll probably listen a few more times, but it never tops the high of the opener.
I feel like Lupe has done a pretty poor job balancing his lyricism and his scrutability; he does an incredible job of doing that here, and alongside what might be my favorite production of his of all time. Really, really solid album, and one that I'm looking forward to listening to again and again and again.
I am not sure what live jazz is supposed to be if not this.
The good news about this album — really a collection of sketches, as hinted by the album art — is that if you don't like one track you just have to wait a minute to hear a completely different one. The bad news is that if you don't like one track you're probably not going to like a lot of them.
It really feels sonically akin to a very helter-skelter OST for an indie game. But there's just...no there there. I did not have fun listening to it.
Spare, beautiful folk music.
This is very much an album about what it means to have spent twenty years making music that is almost entirely about being in your late twenties and feeling that the most important parts of life are happening and fleeting. It is soft and comforting and you can't help but feel that, outside of the impressiveness that you're listening to it at all (I remember seeing Stars in DC in, what, 2010, and being blown away!) it feels a bit hollow, a bit like a cove
The Lightning II is an absolute banger but this feels a bit like a cover band (or, a more modern version: a DALL-E rendition of an Arcade Fire album).
This, to me, is what jazz is, perfect and timeless.
My only memory of Mallrat was listening to For Real a few hundred times back in 2016, so this album was not really what I expected — wavier and dreamier. One terrible Azealia Banks verse aside, I liked it quite a bit: relaxing, sweet, and dreamlike without being gratuitous.
Shocked to discover that Pitchfork liked a pop EDM record more than I did. This wasn’t bad, but there are just way more entertaining takes on the pop crossover record than this.
I think the Pitchfork review was a little harsh and felt somehow like punching down, but...yeah, the album's not good. The production is fine but milquetoast and some of the punchline raps are the worst bars I've heard in years. There are no moments of exult.
Some fun beats but the thing felt discohesive and overlong to me. (AKA: it failed the "can I tell that the album is over and it shifted to random songs" test.)
I'll be honest — I forgot how fun Florence + The Machine is.
My "Sing About Me / Dying Of Thirst is the greatest passage of hip-hop in the 21st century" take is potentially being updated to "Auntie Diaries / Mr. Morale / Mother I Sober is the greatest passage of hip-hop in the 21st century".
He continues to have the bops!
"Like Brady, gets better with time / Didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, just a better design" sums up this album. It lacks the heater-heater brutality of Daytona ↗, but it just so damn good and fun even if it is not genre-defining (or even Pusha T-defining). And that Kanye track is the first good Kanye-related thing in my eyes in like...three
Pitchfork describes this album as "matter-of-factly masterful", and I think that's apt! This is need something that breaks out of its country-pop confines, but it's a very pleasant and mellifluous country-pop album that feels good for warm Sunday afternoons. It is sweet and well-produced and I smiled listening to it.
I didn't love everything in the album, but the opener is a banger and it feels sonically much more interesting than the median Young Thug-lineage album. There isn't the level of...malaise that I associate with a lot of these drops.
Nothing wrong with it, but simply...boring tonally, unexperimental, not doing anything for me at all.
Utterly delightful and maasterful.
Weird without being precious and esoteric without being unpleasant. This feels like an order of magnitude stranger (and in a good way!) than the XCX experimental stuff. L
Fun and light and probably my favorite pop maximalist album that I've listened to this year.
Nothing wrong with it, but incredibly underwhelming.
Sure is a Band of Horses album! Sure does remind me of commuting to a shitty internship in 2011! Sure kinda feels more like a facsimile than something new, but at least it's warm.
Rainy, ethereal breakbeats & post-rave. I wish this was twice or thrice as long; as soon as I feel like I'm getting into it the album is over.
The first album of the year that just did absolutely nothing for me.
Beautiful and sparse piano instrumentation. Very good for cold mornings with coffee & a crossword or focusing on writing.
I have absolutely no qualms with this album. The rhymes are great, the production is classic (if a bit overly nostalgic), and it doesn't outstay its welcome.
Reminds me a lot of, well, other Bonobo albums, but also Thrupence. I'll be giving it a couple more listens as it is perfectly reasonable and nice coding music, even if it has not changed my understanding of what Bonobo's ambitions are.
You know, the concept is really cool, and I think I might try a couple more times to see if it grows on me, but I simply could not give a shit about the production.
Okay, now we're talking. Less moody than The Other World ↗ and captures the same surreal verve as Charmed ↗. Definitely will be revisiting many many times this year, even if it feels its length a little more than the latter.
More academic than listenable, but undeniably beautiful.
A couple fun productions (Can't Sleep's hook is incredible!) but the verses feel a little dialed-in and I'm at the point of time where I am not particularly blown away by bedroom rap.
This is so much fun, and the fact that my fiance called it "muzak" is honestly grounds for divorce.
This is a nice album, and it is fun to listen to Anais suss out some of her work and get a glimpse into her maturation (Hades & Persephone made it all the way to Hadestown!) but the songwriting here is just weaker than Young Man In America, a perfect gem of a folk record. This feels sparser, muter, and less interesting, though still nice.
The production is too glitchy & clever to be pleasant or interesting, which in of itself is not a huge deal except that the lyrics & vocals are so featherweight that it's not worth the effort of digestion.
I don't think I was quite in the right headspace to listen to this, which was airy and minute without hinting at any sort of deeper beauty. Will probably try to give it another go!
It's not a masterpiece like the 2010 original, but — separated from its musical trappings — feels like something of a well-executed live action reboot. There are moments of repetition and subtext turned into text and those things aren't great, but it feels good to spend more time in this world, and to drink a bit more of it than usual. (And the execution is tremendous, too, even if I miss Anais and Justin's original vocals.)
106 is too many minutes for almost any album, let alone one as rambling & repetitive as this. There's a lot of nice moments, and at its height it feels like an all-night party (a cliche, I know, but the bevy of fun features and energy changes makes it a hard one to resist).
Adele has such a good voice!
Relatively upbeat and fun, but a little too — what's the word? Estoeric? Weird? — for me.
Nothing wrong with this, but it is interminably long and I do not think it is interesting enough to justify two fucking hours of runtime, except perhaps to superfans.
Yes, it's 70's cosplay, and it's a little sterile, but who cares? It's fun!
Nothing wrong with this album, but it just makes me feel old as shit.
It just doesn't hit the exultant highs of Charmed, and I just can't really see myself listening to this over again due to the length compared to Charmed.
Mostly a reminder that Anais Mitchell is perfect and I need to listen to her more often. Less glibly, I thought this was as good-not-great as a side project gets: it suffers from lack of gestalt (as evinced by the lackluster second half) but the songs are pleasant and good even if they don't quite cohere.
This is the worst Chvrches album, and it’s still compulsively listenable — but besides the commitment to a bit of a horror-movie aesthetic it doesn’t have any of the moments of sheer glee or revelation that every previous entry does, and the lyrics are at a nadir.
This is 'experimental' and not in a way that I find fun or rewarding.
It is firmly worse than anything that came after it, but still kind of catchy!
This failed the "can you tell when this album ends and Spotify transitions to Discover Weekly?" test three times in a row.
God help me — this is not good music, it is uninteresting, but I love it so much. It is tailor-made for me.
Feels a little too atonal & uninteresting for my tastes.
Opening track might be my favorite single track of the year, but the album is a bit too interlude-heavy and all over the place for me. Probably worth relistening to
The obvious and deserved comparison is with Evermore/Folklore — a stripped down, mellower version of the author's ouevre. While I think Taylor's latest outings are good-not-great, I thought this was closer to great; the songwriting is steadier and more interesting, and the pathos hits a little stronger.
This is the first time in my life I have thought about Third Eye Blind in a way that isn't just "Semi-Charmed Life" and..this album is pretty sonically fun? "The Dying Blood" will be stuck in my head for a while. It is not a revolutionary album, but it was short and sweet.
This is exactly the genre of music I have spent a long time being obsessed with, and I am almost wistful that I am finally listening to this album now that I've put most of my twee obsessions behind me.
Pleasant and defanged.
Too much angst, not enough sonic.
Quiet and unassuming but pleasant enough to want to listen to a second time
I'll be honest... I don't get it? I liked the DOOM verse! It didn't sound bad! But it was not particularly fun or interesting.
Very relaxing and pleasant and simple and great. Nothing revelatory but I see myself coming back to this over and over (and finally understand the Badu hype.)
Yes, it's clearly a record of its time — 2007 backpack rap through and through. But it's fun! And it's good! I am a sucker for all of the Seattle references, obviously, but the production is great and while the vocals are not exactly revelatory, the writing is solid (if not, again, an artifact of what it meant to be an alt-rapper in 2007). The thing holds up well.
I found it more consumable and interesting than anything post-Yeezus, but does it have to be so fucking long?
Hard to resist the Folklore / Evermore comparisons, and both of those album — while milquetoast — at least to invite enjoyable listening. This felt like it was an album filled with tracks that were meant to be played in late-era episodes of Felicity.
Funky feels like an apt word to use for a short, fun, weird EP that ends with a great Aesop Rock collab.
A bit too glitch-y for my tastes, but it's fun! Not gonna beat the VGM sunshine of his previous work.
I would forgive the simplicity of the bubblegum or the datedness of the production or the very short runtime if any of these songs were bops but...they weren't? It just wasn't a very fu album.
I don't mean this in a bad way, but boy is this a Bleachers album. I mean, maybe a little bit of a bad way.
Nice J-Pop, even though I was hoping for something more DJ Okawari-esque given that I discovered them via the Nujabes collab!
Just...straight up less boppy and interesting than Bae 5 (which I listened to yesterday). Good for Yung Bae as growing and improving as an artist!
Alexa, play "mi
No! I hate it! This is weird! No!
I mean, it certainly wasn't good, and some of the Looney Tunes references were truly awful, but I didn't hate listening to it!
This album slaps, and it's very fun to imagine a world in which I got obsessed with this singularly rather than From Under The Cork Tree. How different the last fifteen years might have been!
Same-y, boppy hiphop. Not consequential or memorable (besides the production tag) but fun!
Seems like a nice album! Sounded great! Just didn't care! (I know, this makes me a bad person.)
I gotta stop taking album advice from Pitchfork. This was fine but why am I listening to this?
This was a pleasant album to listen to that had absolutely no lasting effect whatsoever.
Felt...forgettable? I need to spend some more time with it.
Pitchfork described this artist as being one of the best to come out of a theoretical "rap battle" and boy did that set some wrong expectations for this very uneven album.
Hard not to resist the girl in red comparison and boy was that album more interesting, more fun, and more pleasant than this one!
Some legitimately great lines and production and also some of the corniest lines I have heard in years and it's hard to disentangle the two.
Music for Airports for the 21st century. Perfect music, gentle and lilting and quiet.
Incredible beats. What's not to love?
Very-good-bordering-on-great pop-punk bordering on the style of Charly Bliss. A little uneven but the highs are very high, and I see myself listening to this over and over again.
I am a sucker for all things Joseph Shabason at this point, and maybe it's fair to call this album a little too reminiscent of his prior work, but — who cares? It's sonically diverse and lush and delightful to listen to.
I feel bad not liking this album that much...? The first two tracks are iconic and the production is so fun but man it is just not that interesting to listen
The vocals were a bit too aggressive but overall the same pleasant, unmemorable-but-solid pop vibes that the rest of her albums entail. It's not live changing, but it is good!
I liked the singles more than the gestalt and I had already listened to all of the singles already :(
Wow they got generic quick!
Features aside, I just wasn't super engaged. Might try another few listens to see if it sticks.
I am not enough of a Craig Finn diehard to have enjoyed listen
This is the kind of album that you respect rather than you like.
I think I would have loved this album a lot more if I was 1) in high school (not a knock against the album!) 2) ignorant of all the other M83 albums that have succeeded it.
Inconsequential and pleasant!
This just doesn't do it for me! Too weird! Too atypical! I wanted nice glitchy jazz!
5 Wagon is an absolute banger, and the production is fun, but the back half feels a little lyrically vacuous.
This is too much for me!
I just don't really care about B-Sides albums. This is fine! The horns version of God in Chicago is great! But I don't care!
Very downbeat and forgettable house music. (Calling it House might be incorrect; it's ideologically and aesthetically more similar to something like Tycho.)
Just incredibly buttery, fun, exciting EDM. I love it!
That sure was a Hold Steady album! I don’t know; it doesn’t have the unpolished verve of early THS and it feels like what the band is trying to do now is more steadily and laudibly accomplished by Craig’s solo work. It’s not bad, but — why listen to this album?
It is an overstuffed record and there is a bit too much going on but man, he is just so so so good and there are too many classic tracks.
Leisurely, delightful, warm house music. Comically long run-time, but it's so familiar and yet expansive that I find myself listening to it over and over again.
Lo-fi sadboy forgettable hiphop.
There were some nice, chiptuney bops. I probably should have paid more attention, but it didn't seem to demand it of me!
Way too scattershot to legitimately enjoy.
Above average rote chill hop.
Every single Baths album has one line that absolutely murders me and apparently this one decided it should be Is it love / or is it focus?
Some isolated bops but extremely uneven and unfinished in terms of feel.
This is not my genre of music! But it was sweet and loamy and wistful in a way that I can appreciate, even if it's not a bottle I see myself reaching for often.
Gen Z Corinne Bailey Rae, which is not to say that it sounds bad but it is (to steal a great phrase from the Pitchfork review) a pleasant monotone. I will probably listen to it three more times and forget about it!
Honestly, get rid of a couple of the features and this would be an all-timer for me. I loved the verses and production.
I feel embarrassed to say I like Japandroid's later, more polished efforts, but its still solid and growly garage music that errs right on the side of listenability.
I remember listening to a couple Flux Pavilion remixes on Hype Machine and Spotify recommended me this album so I thought I would give it a shot. It is one of the most aggressively bad albums I have listened to in a while. I don't understand how you manage to be simultaneously boring and painful.
Immemorable but fun (and occassionally trippy) dancehall beats. Good coding music!
Lots of incredible bops (the opening six tracks are all fire emoji) with little cohesion and no sense of "oh, this album is over".
I didn't hate this (there are Charli XCX-esque peaks in here somewhere) but it feels like a bizarre and intentionally bad mixtape than something to actually 'enjoy' listening to. (Daisy is very fun as a track though!)
Dreamy and ethereal and just a whole bunch of good vibes. Not super memorable, but impactful (and good lord the opening track is so good.)
Pleasant, elegant, and utterly forgettable piano-driven lo-fi. (Discover Tokyo is an incredible track, though.)
Pleasant, sunny, genre-bending Japanese indie pop. Not a lot of cohesion but delightful to listen to throughout.
Some truly awful lyrics but the production and flow is just incredible. Such a fun listen.
I think I might just be a little spoiled because a couple fun puns and sunny production is no longer sufficient to get me into an album.
Chelsea Cutler belongs to what in my mind is a vanguard of interchangable, pleasant-but-never-transcendent soundcloud pop singers (EXES of course is my favorite in this group). This album is almost a lo-fi version of something like CRJ: it optimizes for legibility over anything resembling artistic merit. And it does it well!
I would probably have loved this album even more if:
It is glorious, though, and I'm probably gonna go down a Peter Gabriel rabbit hole now.
The instrumentals on this album are soft and nice and gorgeous and the lyrics are pleasant and introspective and I think I would love this album if the vocals weren't so cacophonous. I'll try and listen to it a few more times to see if he grows on me, but I'm skeptical.
Alchemist’s sensational beats (and very Madvillain-y sampling) make this fun but Boldy’s verses just do not do anything for me, in tenor or in substance.
I listened to this album twice and both times I forgot that I was listening to an album and not just a generic lo-fi playlist.
Mumblecore Liquid Swords, and I mean that in a very positive way.
I mean, it’s a Purity Ring album, and a polished one at that. Macabre lyrics, sleek production, pop hooks. It is not novel for them but it is very well executed, and I like it!
Limerence is a work of art and a couple other tracks are standouts, but it lacks a certain level of coherence that makes me want to listen to tracks, rather than the entire album through.
Joyous, joyous soul that feeds on the live crowd. I don’t think it’s possible to listen to this album without singing along to it.
The riffing is fun and I have to imagine that if I was there live for this set I would have dug it but man, it is a chore to listen to.
This is not the best Ben-Gibbard-related live album (that is the inimitable The John Byrd EP), and it feels strictly inferior to Give Up, but as far as live albums go it is warm and pleasantly produced and I listened to it three times straight which is a pretty good sign.
I absolutely abhored the opening title track but it heats up from there, with Street Shit and Champion being standout entries in the back half of the album.
There were some fun samples in here but I can't think of a worse sign for an album than not knowing that you had finished it and moved onto the next album.
Some pleasant, catchy bops!
Pretty fun, as far as forgettable electronica goes!
Every year, the Jose Gonzales Trio put on a live performance of the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack to raise funds for the Strawshop Theatre (a troupe of which I'm a fairly ardent supporter.) It is perhaps my favorite part of Christmas, and this is a recorded version of that music. And, I mean, I love these guys but there's no improving on the original.
Probably not a great sign that I thought “oh, I should listen to this, I didn’t realize Jay Elec had finally dropped an official album” and then remembered halfway through that I had listened to this six months prior, and that the clue that led to my recall of this fact was a terrible Jay-Z lyric.
The Jamie XX feature and Leon Bridges alone make this a classic but wow the entire thing is just beautiful from start to finish.
Felt like a softer, folkier version of Frightened Rabbit. Will revisit once it is colder out, because this is definitely an autumnal album.
I have a distinct impression that this is going to get panned, but you know what? This is the most interesting thing Drake has done in a long time, and I don't mind the simple-but-catchy dancehall beats.
This was a pleasant and samey album almost the entire way through, but the final four songs — starting with Ready For You — elevated it from "forgettably mellifluous" to "okay, I need to throw a bunch of these on a playlist."
This was dreamlike and nice, but I think I'm at the point where I simply cannot care about Animal Collective. I've tried for two decades and it's time to give up.
Absolutely nothing wrong with this record except that it is very boring and treads nothing new for an artist with a lovely voice,, solid lyrics, and unrealized ambition.
I'm not one to criticize Fat Jon instrumentals (they're great!) but I literally forgot what this album was a week after listening to it.