Coming out of Massachusetts’ prolific fuzzy, noise pop scene, Speedy Ortiz’s previous releases were enjoyable, especially the cryptic lyrics of frontwoman Sadie Dupuis, but lacked the hooks to take the band to the next level. Foil Deer does not have that deficiency. Instead, there are hooks as far as the eye can see in addition to the great lyrics (“I was the best at being second place/But now I’m just the runner up” is a contender for best line of the year). Dupuis’ voice and the album’s guitar tones bring to mind 90s artists like Liz Phair and Veruca Salt, so the album is particularly recommended for fans of those artists, but really if you like guitar pop at all, Foil Deer (especially “Puffer” and lead single “Raising the Skate”) is for you.
Barter 6 (not Carter 6, don’t sue him Lil Wayne), is most definitely a Young Thug mixtape. It’s hooky, full of intricate flows and odd bars, and of course features Thugga’s distinctive voice. If you like what makes Young Thug unique, you’ll love Barter 6. The most interesting thing about the tape, however, is its potential to draw in those who have previously been turned off by Thug. The production on this tape (particularly the tracks by Wheezy but even on “Check” a piano driven beat by London on Da Track) is almost languid and Thug’s flow often slows down to ride in the pocket. In fact, things get turned down to the point that “Dream” could practically be a Drake track. It almost feels as if Young Thug is on the verge of merging Lil Wayne’s and Drake’s sounds to create some sort of super rap. Hopefully he succeeds.
With their s/t EP followed by debut LP Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes arrived on the scene a fully formed blues rock band. Brittany Howard’s Joplinesque vocals backed by the band’s southern soul/blues sound had them immediately signing with Rough Trade and ATO, collaborating with Jack White, playing places like the Ryman in Nashville, and rocketing up festival bills. Accordingly, it would be silly to go a different direction on their sophomore album, and Alabama Shakes are not silly. Sound & Color is more of the same fantastic blues rock (although maybe a touch mellower than its predecessor), and will continue to grow the band’s reputation and future.
Also new this week: Built to Spill – Untethered Moon, Passion Pit – Kindred, Death – N.E.W., and Shark? – Becky and Debbie EP.
An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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