On the Record

M.I.A.'s Matangi

M.I.A. has once again delivered an engrossing platter of ear candy with her latest effort Matangi. From the opening of “Karmageddon” through the closing track “Sexodus,” M.I.A. brings the listener along as she dominates the ...

It's Alive, by La Luz

Hailing from Seattle, all-girl surf-rock group La Luz conjures images of Washington fog with Dick Dale–era inspirations. The quartet’s debut, It’s Alive, shows off their ability to work the tricks of different eras into their ...

How My Heart Sings by Bill Evans

The bassist Scott LaFaro, whom Evans lost to a car crash prior to recording this, was staking out entirely striking counterpoint on his instrument, so anything without him was likely to seem a letdown. Evans ...

Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red

'Tis the season for pop stars to release Christmas music. Kelly Clarkson, the successful first-season American Idol, has given America a musical gift. Her album Wrapped in Red consists of 14 songs plus two deluxe ...

Bad Religion's Christmas Songs

If you want to put a little skip into Santa's step this holiday season, throw on Bad Religion's new album, Christmas Songs, to greet him as he slides down your chimney. You read correctly, Bad ...

Snow Globe, by Erasure

“Loving Man,” with its ecstatic gender-blurring one minute (“I’m A boy/I’m a girl/Who has everything”), bipolar furor at rejection the next, and frustrating refusal to climax musically, sounds dragged in from another project, matching the ...

Night Time, My Time, by Sky Ferreira

After several delays, starlet Sky Ferreira has released her debut. Ferreira gained popularity last year with her glossy single “Everything Is Embarrassing,” and the synth-pop singer/model/actress appears to have improved her songcraft with a new ...

Cage the Elephant's Melophobia

Many of my friends will give me grief for this review. Until the release of Melophobia, I loathed Cage the Elephant. Their previous songs were so unbearably cheesy to me that I dismissed this album ...

Julian Lennon's Everything Changes

Almost every rhyme, predictable. Almost every sentiment, common (hopefully). But I am behind this one, and you should be, too. For commonality and for predictability, actually. Because rock and roll has come around to the ...

Darkside's Psychic

I'm going to take a step that Darkside would appreciate and open this review with a recklessly bold statement: Psychic is a classic album. The 11-minute opening track, the Kubrickian level of detail, the efficient ...

Paul McCartney's New

“Will you still need me...when I'm 64?” Yeah, even at 71 we need you, when you can still make great original music. My favorite cut on Paul McCartney’s new record is “Early Days,” an acoustic ...

Black Sabbath's 13

They wouldn’t shell out for Bill Ward. That’s one obscenity. He’s the drummer for Sabbath, dunderheads, pull out the purse. Only excuse I can think of is Tony Iommi thought maybe he was down for ...

Lousy With Sylvianbriar, by of Montreal

Two decades and 12 albums later, of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes has decided to throw back to the band’s earliest sounds. Lousy With Sylvianbriar steps back from the synth-soaked songs of Paralytic Stalks and Hissing ...

Haim's Days Are Gone

Meet Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. The three sisters, along with drummer Dash Hutton, make up indie-pop band Haim (rhymes with “time”). Haim’s soft rock-meets-R&B sound got a nod to Fleetwood Mac by critics in ...

OMD's English Electric

Slow. Dissolve. As opposed to slow dazzle. Cinematic synth-pop owing at least as much to German Expressionism as the actually Krautrock Kraftwerk they salute through synth and textures. Impeccable ‘tis, in counterpoint and timbre, to ...