A Crow Looked at Me, by Mount Eerie
There is nothing this review can add to the experience of listening to A Crow Looked At Me. Sure, there’ll be an incongruous Lou Bega reference at around the 600-word mark for some light relief (it doesn’t really work) and a Nabokov quote in the penultimate paragraph to pretend I’m well-read (I’m not) but they’re hardly worth sticking around for. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you won’t find any score attached. Even awarding this work the full ten-out-of-ten would feel too callous given the tragic circumstances of the record’s gestation and its heartbreaking subject matter.
Instead, you’d be strongly advised to stop reading this right now. Please, all I ask is that you just go away, sit down and listen to the music and the words contained on this LP with your complete and undivided attention.
You’re Not As __ As You Think, by Sorority Noise
[T]hat’s how the album functions: It’s intense and inward and questioning and personal and so, so sad. And it invites us into those feelings. It steers right into them.
World Eater, by Blanck Mass
Blanck Mass, we learn, is intended to represent “a previous year teeming with anger, violence, confusion and frustration”, and as the nine minutes of Rhesus Negative unfold hyperkinetically, a treated voice somewhere very deep in the mix conveying some nameless dread, it does feel as if one is being smacked repeatedly around the head with an analogue synth, albeit in a good way.
Humans Become Machines, by Aristophanes
[B]ass-heavy and dynamic; the language gap begins to register on the less rhythmically intense numbers. But Aristophanes’s vocal shifts in pace and tone, her performance of each song, give her music a different kind of intelligibility.
Got no clue what she’s rappin’ on about, but this album is spot the fuck on. Also highly recommend you listen to the new Dirty Projectors album. It’s a beauty.
Now That the Light is Fading, by Maggie Rogers
Rogers is still very young at 22, after all, and she takes several game attempts at subtlety throughout the EP—the pan flute, the guitar line rippling through “On + Off” like wind chimes, the featherlight harmonies. She has a platform. She’s got ideas. But like all discovery stories, the real reward lies in what comes next.
Life & Livin’ It, by Sinkane
When everything clicks right, it’s a breezy thrill. Consider “U’Huh,” the second song and first single. It starts out with a rippling breakbeat, then goes into a series of horn stabs, the sort of riff that can lodge itself in your brain for days at a time. There’s some delicate Isaac Hayes chicken-scratch guitar, and then there’s Gallab singing in a strained falsetto, his best Curtis Mayfield, and going into call-and-response with a whole chorus of backing vocals.
Microclimate, by Porcelain Raft
This isn’t an easy-listening album; as soft and breezy as it can get, Remiddi keeps a careful eye on incorporating both tension and release, both apprehension and bliss.