On the Record

Talk of claws, casseroles, confinement, and alcohol

Barrence Whitfield's back Under the Savage Sky

Won’t say the guy’s name, but he was a drug dealer with a name fitting that occupation. He held down an all-nighter DJ slot at the campus station, and I sat up with him once ...

Kyle's Smyle shines

Next-gen hip-hopper hits on his debut

There’s a new school in hip-hop — one heavy with live instrumentation and musical experimentation, containing the energy of gospel choirs and a glimmer of positivity unheard since the days of the Native Tongues posse. ...

Eagles of Death Metal and the seven-year itch

Hughes and Homme go Zipper Down

The Eagles of Death Metal has never been a band that cares much about being labeled irreverent. With tongues firmly wedged into their cheeks, Jesse Hughes (on vocals and guitar) and Queens of the Stone ...

Little change in the Dead Weather

Supergroup's latest still sounds like a Jack White project

The Dead Weather open up their third LP with "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles).” It’s a robotic but robust mixture of screeching vocals from Alison Mosshart (The Kills), and the repetitive rhythm from Jack ...

They invented punk rock

This Is the Sonics

Something burning this white hot, might out-vie language itself. For those joining us late, the Sonics started out in Tacoma, Washington, as teenagers. They invented punk rock — and anyone who doesn’t believe that can ...

How far is FKA Twigs willing to go?

If the British singer's latest, M3LL155X, is any indication, quite far

There’s good reason FKA Twigs commands a captive audience. The young British singer, songwriter, and dancer has been winning accolades since her debut, LP1. Her eye-popping music videos are often overtly sexual, without revealing anything, ...

Summer of Love — the gospel

Vanilla Fudge's Spirit of '67 injects new life into some classics

The rap is short! That’s a sop to you “rap-is-crap”-ers out there (God, so tedious). The rap is also funny and over after the first cut, so it’s out of the way quick. More urgent ...

Foals deliver London thunder on their latest

Oxford alt-rock act masters the slow build on What Went Down

Foals have long departed the skeletal, math-rock sound that filled their 2008 debut Antidotes. On their latest release, the Oxford natives show maturity and growth, as What Went Down displays their current state; an abundance ...

Miguel's provocative Wildheart might make you blush

The Grammy-winning R&B artist takes the stage at the Observatory on Tuesday, September 1

Warning: listening to Miguel’s Wildheart in mixed company might make you blush. On his third album, the R&B raconteur advances from 2012’s sultry, Grammy-winning “Adorn” to “the valley,” a triple-X homage to SoCal’s porn capital. ...

Dr. Dre is still in the game

Is Compton the comeback record of the year?

You may wonder, What does a 50-year-old millionaire have to write and rap about? On his first album in 16 years, Compton, Dr. Dre realizes youth is behind him and doesn’t try to portray himself ...

Bingo Ringo, by Half Japanese

Jad Fair's back with more of the lo-fi irreverence he's famous for

When noise-punk band Half Japanese formed in a Maryland bedroom in 1975, Kurt Cobain was just a kid. But by Nirvana’s In Utero tour in 1993, Cobain had sought Half Japanese as openers. Since its ...

Kate Pierson's Guitars and Microphones

B-52s singer's new solo record revolves around positive activism

“Mister Sister,” hymn to a cross-dressing or possibly transgendered “you” who escapes to “everyone’s party wish list,” makes even more sense in the wake of the Surpreme Court decision in June, which applied specifically to ...

Another One by Mac DeMarco

Indie hit's mini-LP burbles with drowning keys

Short and sweet is Mac Demarco’s Another One. Recorded in his New York apartment, you feel at home with melodic songwriting and romantic forget-me-nots. The eight-song “mini-LP” owns the typical joyful quirkiness of its predecessors, ...

Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves

Country singer follows up her Grammy winning debut with wit and wisdom

Despite her sweet melodies, Kacey Musgraves wrote about one bleak way of life on her 2013 record Same Trailer, Different Park. The record brought her Grammy awards and with them the pressure to be the ...

Tame Impala's new Currents

Australian psych-rockers squeeze fresh juice from synths

Back with John Lennon-esque vocals and dreamy, psychedelic overtones, Tame Impala returns with their third LP, Currents. The Australian natives have a knack for creating music that is both retro and remarkably modern and relevant. ...

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