reviews 2018

Little Dark AgeLittle Dark Age available on iTunes

MGMT Little Dark Age

The pop electronic group MGMT just released their fourth album, Little Dark Age. Formed at Wesleyan University, the band found critical and commercial success almost immediately with their debut record Oracular Spectacular. Since then however, the band has failed to garner as much attention. Greg is a bit torn on this album. He thinks there are some horribly cliched and bad tracks like "She Works Out Too Much" and "TSLAMP," but he also argues that there are some pretty catchy and solid pop songs ("When You're Small," "James".) He gives Little Dark Age a Try It. Jim is far less enthused with the record. On paper, MGMT seems like a band Jim would love, but in reality, he's not the slightest bit smitten. He calls them“smug, derivative and pretentious”and says he would trash this album a million times over. Needless to say, he gives it a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 638
Man of the WoodsMan of the Woods available on iTunes

The Neptunes & Justin Timberlake Man of the Woods

After a five year recording hiatus, Justin Timberlake has returned with Man of the Woods. The album is a sonic departure from the soul-infused pop of his earlier releases such as Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds. According to Jim, Justin's goal with Man of the Woods was to make an album that was "Americana with 808s… old country with drum machines." Jim loved that concept; but believes that despite production from The Neptunes and Timbaland, the resulting album fell flat. Greg finds the working man character on tracks like "Livin' Off the Land" hard to swallow, and calls "Her," a spoken word interlude featuring Justin's wife, Jessica Biel, to be“embarrassing”and a“Hallmark commercial.”Ultimately, Jim questions whether the whole project is supposed to be taken seriously at all, or whether it's a "Portlandia-level joke." The hosts give Man of the Woods a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 637
RuinsRuins available on iTunes

First Aid Kit Ruins

The Swedish duo First Aid Kit is returning with their fourth studio album, Ruins. The band, made up of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, is known for their beautiful and intricate harmonies. While Jim loves these harmonies, he finds that Ruins relies on that strength a bit too much. He loves when the duo ups the production with a big backing band sound that pushes them out of their comfort zone. He thinks Ruins is half a great album and gives it a Try It. Greg really enjoys First Aid Kit, and loves when they show a different, rocking side to them. He loved when the band performed a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" when he saw them on tour in 2015. He also loved their single "You Are the Problem Here," a song that eviscerates men who abuse their power to harass women. Greg wishes he would have seen more of the duo's intense side, but he enjoys the harmonies and beautiful vocals the band supplies. He gives it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 636
I can feel you creep into my private lifeI Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life available on iTunes

tUnE-yArDs I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

Merrill Garbus is back with her fourth full-length tUnE-yArDs project, titled I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. Jim says that immediately before writing this album, Garbus was on a six-month meditation workshop to see what she could do "as a white person in the realm of social justice. That sounds like heady and heavy stuff…It's not though. This is a dance album, heavily influenced by '70s disco, and I think the classic sounds of Chicago house." Greg adds that the album“could easily be ponderous, but she's paring cultural appropriation, the end of the world… these are heavy subjects… with this incredibly liberating music, this body music.”Standout tracks include "{track: Heart Attack", "Colonizer" and "Home". Jim and Greg give it a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 635
POST-Post- available on iTunes

Jeff Rosenstock Post-

Punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock has been making music for about two decades, but according to Greg, Post- is his“best record yet.”Built around two epic, proggy, Yes-like jams ("USA" and "Let Them Win,") Greg notes there's an anthemic quality to the music, with lyrics that reflect the challenges that many of us face. Greg adds that he loves the fact that the album doesn't rely on just“that caffeinated energy that has always been a part of his shows.”Jim says Jeff has the energy of the prolific garage rocker Ty Segall and some of the earnestness of James Alex of Beach Slang. However, Jim adds that Jeff could have used a producer that edited him a bit more (a critique he believes also applies to Segall). Ultimately, both Jim and Greg give the record a Double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 633
NO ONE EVER REALLY DIESNo_One Ever Really Dies available on iTunes

N.E.R.D. No_One Ever Really Dies

After a seven year hiatus, N.E.R.D. (the Pharrell Williams/Neptunes side project) has returned with their fourth album No_One Ever Really Dies. As The Neptunes, Chad Hugo & Pharrell crafted synthy, quirky, poppy hip hop and R&B for the likes of Jay-Z and Kelis in the 1990s and early '00s. Then in 1999, they formed N.E.R.D. with Shay Haley. In the time since N.E.R.D.'s last album, 2010's Nothing, Pharrell Williams has made a name for himself as a solo artist. Most notably, he achieved mainstream success with the smash hit "Happy," all while maintaining his signature sense of quirk. Greg says it's that quirkiness, along with a knack for hooks that attracted him to their sound in the first place. He likes this effort for its“weird, buzzy tone”and its psychedelic energy. Greg gives it a Buy It. Jim calls N.E.R.D. an“experimental garage band.”He adds this project has an uneven success rate with its long list of collaborations, including tracks with Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and Ed Sheeran. Jim gives it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 632