Serengeti, Sufjan Stevens and Son Lux first collaborated on the fine 2012 EP “Beak & Claw,” credited as s / s / s. They’ve since changed their name to Sisyphus and recently released their first LP. Gregg Gillis is a mashup artist who goes by the name Girl Talk. He has released several terrific albums, most recently 2010’s “All Day.” His latest release is a collaboration with rapper Freeway, where he steps back from the role of mashup creator and into the role of producer.
Comedian Patton Oswalt released his first two stand-up albums, “222” and “Feelin’ Kinda Patton,” to little exposure. However, released on popular indie label Sub Pop, his 2007 album “Werewolves and Lollipops” went to #1 on Billboard’s Top Comedy Albums, establishing him as one of the finest stand-up comedians currently performing.
Following the 2012 takeover of Northern Mali by Islamic fundamentalist groups – in which the attempts of implementing sharia resulted in popular music being banned – and the January 2013 French intervention, 2013 ended up being perhaps the finest year for Malian music. Now, with two fine albums released this year, one of which is a fantastic celebration of Malian music as a whole, 2014 is looking to be a great year for it as well.
Punk rock can be a monotonous genre when people are unwilling to grow up. Thankfully, some punk artists recognize the importance of change and use it to release better, more mature (or at least different) albums.
Here are two pop albums. Shakira’s self-titled album, which shows her dominating at ballads, and Kylie Minogue’s “Kiss Me Once,” a mostly dull dance-pop album.
After falling short in October, another attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the most Rosie the Riveters gathered in one location was held on Saturday. This time, the record was successfully broken.
It’s an indie-rock day. Tokyo Police Club generally produces a few gems per album, but they aren’t hugely consistent. Still, the gems they write hit harder than you would expect. Foster the People can write decent tunes when they feel like it, but their lyrics too often bring front man Mark Foster’s pretentions front and center.
Singer-songwriter Dan Willson (stage name Withered Hand) and The Hold Steady are similar in quite a few ways. Willson was raised a Jehovah’s Witness while The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn was raised Catholic and in both cases, spirituality and religion are recurring themes in their lyrics. They also write catchy tunes, complete with “oh”s and “la”s, to go along with their masterful lyricism.
As the Buzzcocks once sang, noise annoys. When it’s good, it annoys in a beautifully powerful way, one that you can latch onto regardless of whether you’re sad, angry or joyful. When it’s bad, noise just annoys. But it still gets an 8.6 from Pitchfork.
These two albums share a common theme: good rappers who have been disappointing me lately.