REVIEWS ON THE FLY: Majical Cloudz, Mikal Cronin, Gatsby, and more

Mikal Cronin
Mikal Cronin

With the end of May fast approaching, here is a look at some of the notable releases of the month not yet highlighted. From house to rock to pop to a little bit of everything, the albums focused on here offer a full spectrum of the month that will soon be referred to in the past tense.

Hanging Gardens artwork
Hanging Gardens artwork

ARTIST Classixx

ALBUM Hanging Gardens

LABEL Innovative Leisure

RELEASE DATE 14.5.2013

8.3 | 10

Classixx album is sure to get many spins during these summer months, as everything here is primed for the dance floor. The best part of the album is how each song has a strong core, and the album works just as well heard piece-by-piece as it is in whole. For fans of Cut Copy’s effortlessly cool and composed music, Hanging Gardens is a treasure waiting to be unwrapped.

BEST TRACKS “All You’re Waiting For,” “Holding On,” “Dominoes,” “I’ll Get You,” “Borderline”

Impersonator artwork
Impersonator artwork

ARTIST Majical Cloudz

ALBUM Impersonator

LABEL Matador Records

RELEASE DATE 21.5.2013

8.2 | 10

On Majical Cloudz’ debut LP Devon Welsh puts his pain on full display. Backed by production from Matthew Otto, Welsh expresses his vulnerability for 10 heartbreaking tracks. “I Do Sing For You,” is carried by Otto’s haunting production, with it sounding like the first spark of sunlight of the new day. While nothing here is quite as fantastic as “What That Was,” released on his 2012 EP, the songs here hint at something even greater on the horizon.

BEST TRACKS “Childhood’s End,” “I Do Sing For You,” “Silver Rings,” “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

MCII artwork
MCII artwork

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 11.36.33 AM

ARTIST Mikal Cronin

ALBUM MCII

LABEL Merge Records

RELEASE DATE 7.5.2013

8.7 | 10

Working with Ty Segall would most likely wear anyone out. The man is unstoppable, releasing three albums in 2012 alone, with at least one more to follow later this year. Collaborator Mikal Cronin steps out of his large shadow on the fantastic MCII, which pound-for-pound is just as thrilling as Segall’s own Slaughterhouse (2012). The ten songs on display are packed with catchy hooks, stadium-sized choruses, and guitars turned up all the way to 11. Cronin sounds as if he’s having the time of his life, and it’s a joy to share the moment with him.

BEST TRACKS “Weight,” “See It My Way,” “Peace Of Mind,” “Change,” “Piano Mantra”

Secondhand Rapture artwork
Secondhand Rapture artwork

ARTIST MS MR

ALBUM Secondhand Rapture

LABEL Creep City Records

RELEASE DATE 14.5.2013

7.0 | 10

MS MR’s debut LP is a bit too front-loaded, with the best moments coming in like a wave. The back-half is filled with filler, as nothing is as memorable as songs such as “Hurricane” and “My Head Is Not a Home.” Still, there is enough in the front half to make Secondhand Rapture a worthwhile listen for anyone looking for some sugar-coated pop music.

BEST TRACKS “Hurricane,” “My Head Is Not a Home,” “Salty Sweet”

The Great Gatsby artwork
The Great Gatsby artwork

ARTIST Various Artists

ALBUM The Great Gatsby

LABEL Water Tower Music/Interscope

RELEASE DATE 7.5.2013

5.9 | 10

The Jay-Z-curated soundtrack to the motion picture of the same name spreads itself a little thin in places, disappointing considering the star power on display. Altogether, the album plays out similarly to the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers season, with no artist (sans Fergie and GoonRock) performing in the right role. Beyoncé and André 3000 are muted on their cover of the late Amy Winehouse track “Back To Black,” while Emeli Sandé is no match for one of the best pop singles of this century, “Crazy In Love.” Florence + The Machine and will.i.am do exactly what you’d expect them to do, and Gotye shows us just how long he’s been working on mastering “Somebody That I Used To Know.” When one half of LMFAO and Fergie are the best parts of your soundtrack, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

BEST TRACKS “Young and Beautiful,” Lana Del Rey; “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” Fergie, GoonRock, Q-Tip; “Together,” The xx

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