Album Reviews

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Tuesday 05/28/2019
IGOR Is No Flower Boy, But Still a Damn Good Listen
Updated: May 28, 2019 - 7:26 pm

Ladera Heights’ own, Tyler Okonma, A.K.A., Tyler, the Creator is back from a two-year hiatus and releases his sixth, full-length project. Unless you have been in hiding for the last decade, you know who Tyler, the Creator is. He is the co-founder of the group, Odd Future, which has produced talents such as Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, and Syd. Syd would later go on to form the soul band known as The Internet. In my opinion, Tyler’s career got off to a shaky start. I was not the biggest fan of Bastard (2009) or Goblin (2011), and neither project seemed to have any good aspects about them. The shock factor of the lyrics and the videos left a bad taste in my mouth and I just really was not entertained by what the future of Tyler’s sound would be, but boy was I ever wrong about that.

Monday 05/27/2019
Ari Lennox Sets the Bar High for R&B Artists with Her Debut Album, Shea Butter Baby
Updated: May 27, 2019 - 7:12 pm

Courtney Shanade Salter, professionally known as, Ari Lennox, is a singer and songwriter from Washington, D.C. Lennox began her career by releasing some independent music across the internet with her debut mixtape, Five Finger Discount back in 2012 and followed that mixtape with her debut EP, Ariography in 2013. While I am not familiar with any of those works, you can make the assumption that her music fit in the lo-fi, R&B, and soul categories as J. Cole would go on to discover Lennox and bring her on to his Dreamville Records music label in 2015. She would make her Dreamville debut as a feature on the label's first compilation album, Revenge of the Dreamers II later that year. Lennox broke into the mainstream and got her name on the map as a guest for the track "Changes" on J. Cole's 2016 project, 4 Your Eyez Only and was the opening act for Cole's 2017 tour. Her first solo work under the label, Pho was the first sign that we could be getting another great female R&B artist but nothing could have prepared for us for the eloquence of her debut album, Shea Butter Baby (2019).

Monday 04/29/2019
Artist Profile - Khruangbin
Updated: May 13, 2019 - 7:11 pm

The Texas-based trio Khruangbin is known for their distinct combination of 1960s and ‘70s Thai funk, psychedelic, surf, gospel, and countless other genres which create an atmospheric mist of tranquil and sedating harmonies that rap your body up in comforting bass lines and drum beats, yet twists your mind with sonic guitar bends and lightly serene chording and hammer-ons. The band’s name is a translation of the Thai word meaning “Flying Engine,” or more appropriately, “aeroplane,” which is fitting considering the bands complex instrumentation fronted by a simple ensemble and rather basic equipment, as well as sharing the ability to make those present soar through the air in comfort. Khruangbin’s debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, is considered to be Thai funk, a common interest shared by bassist Laura Lee and guitarist Mark Speer which led to the formation of the band. Critics slotted them under the genre of Thai funk, but Speer says, “We can’t claim that…that’s doing great disservice to the folks who actually make what we in the West call ‘Thai funk.’ Khun Narin, or Paradise Bangkok, check them out, those are actual Thai bands playing Thai funk,” according to Pitchfork. Speer was a guitarist in a gospel band with drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, who became the third member of Khruangbin starting in 2018 after the band’s brief absence,  bringing more rhythmic influences to the table, and plenty of great breakbeats. The band continues to defy musical labels and continues to put out original and creative music, combining influences both musical and non, pertaining to but not limited by many countries all over the world. Krhuangbin’s music is deeply personal and often pays tribute and homage to respected influences.

Thursday 04/25/2019
GREY Area - Album Review
Updated: May 13, 2019 - 7:12 pm

Little Simz is an English rapper and singer and GREY Area is the third full-length project from her. She has been flying under-the-radar for almost a full decade now as she has been active since 2010 when she was releasing mixtapes. Her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons had its moments, but the lyrics and the entire theme of the album was not fully thought through. However, on her sophomore album, Stillness in Wonderland, there was improvement and it felt fully realized, but it somehow came up a bit underwhelming in its delivery. After three years away from doing her own solo work, Little Simz returned with her latest album, GREY Area, and it is by far her best work yet. 

Wednesday 04/17/2019
Tame Impala - "Patience" Album Cover
Posted: April 17, 2019
"Patience" - A New Single From Tame Impala
Posted: April 17, 2019

On March 22, 2019, Tame Impala front man Kevin Parker released an image on Instagram with the caption, “New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones ready people.” One hour later the track “Patience” was available for streaming.

Tuesday 03/12/2019
Babe Rainbow Band
Updated: March 12, 2019 - 9:54 am
Babe Rainbow - Double Rainbow Review
Posted: March 12, 2019

The Babe Rainbow comes from the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, in a town notorious for its surfing and music called Golden Beach. This band’s sound draws influence from the mid 60’s boom of psychedelia, however their sound is entirely their own, incorporating their use of enchanting harmonics and tranquil melodies. Their enamored lyrics set them far from what we know as “psychedelic pop”, a title they were branded with early on.