ALBUM REVIEWS: YG, Mitski, the Hotelier and Fear of Men


YG Still Brazy

DEF JAM 15 June 2016

YG’s latest, his sophomore effort, has the sound of a senior at his craft directing his thesis in ways completely singular and triumphant, resulting in one of the year’s premiere rap albums. Still Brazy is an unapologetic, gravity-pulling effort, one that forces its listeners to see the world from its auteur’s view. YG’s voice is as personal as it is universal; he’s as relatable as he is intimidating. Still Brazy smartly examines why YG is as, in his words, brazy as he was on his debut LP. As much progress as we pretend we’ve made, YG makes sure we all are aware of the superficial promises we’ve made, and how the response is out of our control.     82

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Mitski Puberty 2

DEAD OCEANS 17 June 2016

Puberty 2 finds Mitski at her most anxious, unsure of whether life is one giant loop on repeat or part of some greater design. Whereas “Your Best American Girl” projected Mitski as an aggrieved, resilient warrior, Puberty 2 is a portrait of an artist attempting to bridge the gap between how she sees herself and how the world sees herself. Comparisons to St. Vincent abound – especially as Mistki expresses desire to “see the whole world” on “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” (btw, isn’t that the most St. Vincent not-St. Vincent song title ever?) – yet Mitski shows herself to be a formidable artist on her own terms, with the promise being delivered on tracks such as “Dan the Dancer” and “Thursday Girl.” “Please, tell me no,” sings Mitski on “Thursday Girl,” yet it’s damn near impossible to cut her short. At least in this case, she’ll have to learn on her own.     80


The Hotelier Goodness 

TINY ENGINES 27 May 2016

Goodness is the type of album that can make you re-believe in the world again. The album strikes with an irresistible vitality, and as the feeling bleeds through lead-singer Christian Holder’s vocals, you wish you could bleed the same. Click here to read Michael Tedder’s excellent cover-story on the band, from Stereogum.     80


Fear of Men Fall Forever

KANINE 3 June 2016

Fear of Men’s sophomore effort, Fall Forever, stands in as one of the strongest synth-pop albums of the year, lead by vocalist Jess Weiss’s emphatic, clear delivery. A few years ago, an album like Fall Forever would be viewed as groundbreaking. In 2016, it’s sounds can be traced back to other releases, other artists, yet the life behind the music is something only Weiss, guitarist Daniel Falvey and drummer Michael Miles could conjure.     77


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