Archive for the ‘High Fidelity’ Category

Pharrell Williams – G I R L

March 14th, 2014
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Happy G I R L

Some artists cringe when their music is described as “pop.” The genre has become a place were once bold artists hide to play it safe. For some, though, “pop” is not only appropriate, but a compliment. From Michael Jackson to Madonna there are numerous musicians who live in this niche and thrive there. On Pharrell Williams’ latest album, G I R L, he not only proves he can create some of the most danceable beats speakers have had the privilege of playing, he also proves that he has the ability to craft brilliant pop gems. Read more…

By William Hannan Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

The Notwist – Close to the Glass

March 5th, 2014
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As Clear as Glass

There’s some temptation to make this entire review just one giant, written out, slow clap. I won’t, but dammit, it sort of deserves it.

The Notwist isn’t exactly a household name, but this is far from their first rodeo. The band formed in 1989, and has made something of a career off of reinvention. They’ve gone from grungier carbon copies to indie rockers to electronica inventors. Recent albums have shown some unity between all those different backgrounds, but it’s with Close to the Glass that The Notwist really finds their formula. Read more…

By Alec Cole Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

Morgan Visconti – Ride

March 4th, 2014
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Legacy Road Trip

It can seem unfair to attach legacy expectations to breakout artists, but it’s often impossible– and in Morgan Visconti’s case, it’s not even inappropriate. Ride is an album that lives up to its reckoning in all possible ways. The son of legendary producer Tony Visconti and singer Mary Hopkin has gargantuan shoes to fill, and he proves with aplomb that he is not only up to the task, but it seems practically effortless for him. Read more…

By Sean Taras Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

St. Vincent – St. Vincent

March 4th, 2014
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Be Yourself

There is no other artist in the digital age that can make binary sound downright sinister, and if that’s not a ringing endorsement of St. Vincent’s eponymous fourth album, read on for further praise because there’s not a single track that falters. Each warble of Annie Clark’s vocals, bent synth pitch and crackling thump of percussion takes the artist to new heights. The LP’s two singles, “Birth in Reverse” and “Digital Witness” meld into the album effortlessly. No song stands out as an immediate single. They’re all simply impressive in their own right. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Twin Forks – Twin Forks

March 2nd, 2014
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A New Generation

As the promise of spring seems, finally, just on the horizon, you may be looking for a soundtrack to the melting snow and blooming plants, and Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba may have produced just that with the first full-length, self-titled release from his folk rock super group, Twin Forks. Soft, sweet and catchy, Twin Forks has joined the ranks of the newly reunited Nickel Creek and their more rocking cousins The Decemberists as musicians who might be able to keep folk music alive as its earlier legends begin to pass on. Bringing together a number of indie rock musicians, Twin Forks is a perfect blend of their individual styles, forming a unique and enticing take on folk music. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Beck – Morning Phase

March 1st, 2014
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Every Day Should Be Like Sunday

There’s something comforting about the ebb and flow of Beck Hanson. Since 1996’s groundbreaking Odelay, he has ventured among and across various genres, creating a pattern that makes the next album predictable, yet not. After 2008’s beat-heavy Modern Guilt, which followed 2006’s dance-pop The Information, the assumption would be that the next release would be subdued, perhaps traveling back to the Sea Change era. In 2012, Beck threw fans a curve, putting out Song Reader, a collection only available on sheet music. Finally, this year, with Morning Phase, he delivers what fans were hoping for: a reminder of the exceptional troubadour that resides in the heart of the jester. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

February 18th, 2014
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Folk with a Razor Edge

Missouri singer-songwriter Angel Olsen first appeared on the scene in 2011 with her EP Strange Cacti, around the time when she was working as a backing singer for Bonnie Prince Billy. Her vintage, soulful folk received a further outlet on her first LP, Half Way Home, in 2012, before catching the attention of the label Jagjaguwar. Burn Your Fire For No Witness is Olsen’s first full-band release, recorded in the Appalachian city of Asheville, NC with drummer Josh Jaeger and bassist Stewart Bronaugh. And while Olsen may be just beginning her career, this album has the wisdom, complexity and maturity of a veteran artist. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Skindred – Kill the Power

February 18th, 2014
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skindred-kill-the-powerKill it! It makes me DO things!!

Right now, there is a conversation happening between two music snobs smoking gooseneck pipes:

“Hip hop, reggae, metal and dubstep, you say?”
“A muddled mess of sound, I assume.”
“Very interesting… So you say this is a good combination?”
“You wouldn’t necessarily think so, but, yea. Its pretty bitchin’.”

These two music aficionados are speaking about Skindred and their unique and amazing ability to blend what has escaped the capacity of most music promoters– bringing the rival elements of four counterproductive music together. It’s true that dubstep has been blended with reggae, hip hop and metal, that metal has been blended with elements of hip hop and, of course, hip hop messes nicely with some reggae. But all together? How did this ever happen? Read more…

By Birdie Garcia Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Tinariwen – Emmaar

February 16th, 2014
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Determined Blues and Groove

Emanating from a continent with such a history of strife, Mali’s Tinariwen do have a sound that feels a little world weary, and yet their groove on Emmaar is so determined throughout that one almost feels a divine influence at play. At its core, Tinariwen feels to be a bluesy guitar based band with its slippery lead riffs and soulful vocals, and yet with the persistent  counter-rhythms and percussive underbelly that no doubt derives from the musics of its native land, Tinariwen’s hybrid is irresistibly draws you in. Read more…

By Patrick W. DeLaney Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,

Fanfarlo – Let’s Go Extinct

February 14th, 2014
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Ethereal Perspective

It’s rare to know your place in the world, even rarer through the lengthy lens of the universe. In a recent interview with mxdwn, Fanfarlo’s Cathy Lucas succinctly summed up their approach to music and general ethos as “an interest in anthropology and how culture is meaningful to people and how that fits in with biology and the ways in which we started out as amoebas and become human beings.” That attitude permeates their latest offering, Let’s Go Extinct, by far the band’s airiest album since debut LP Reservoir. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews ,