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Janelle Monae, ‘The Electric Lady’ – Album Review


The most striking thing about Janelle Monae’s newest double album, ‘The Electric Lady,’ is how similar it feels to its predecessor, 2010’s masterful ‘The ArchAndroid.’ That’s not to say the Kansas City-born singer is repeating herself, only that the consistency of vision on display is worth pause. There are shifts and tweaks to the album’s approach, and new musical ideas continue to flow from Janelle and her Wondaland collaborators, but as is befitting a sequel, ‘The Electric Lady’ picks up exactly where ‘The ArchAndroid’ left off.

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Category: Album Reviews, News

The Weeknd, ‘Kiss Land’ – Album Review


If you’ve been following the Weeknd closely, 2011 feels like a long, long time ago. Toronto-based singer Abel Tesfaye released three free mixtapes to the Internet, seemingly out of nowhere, between March and December of that year, remaining anonymous all the while -- a smoke-cloud ghost haunting the hedonistic nightmares outlined in his music. In hindsight, it still seems brilliant: letting the music speak for itself and the artist, and letting the legend grow organically without any PR intervention. But even by the time the third mixtape, ‘Echoes of Silence,’ dropped online in December, it was obvious the self-contained universe the Weekend had built wouldn’t last.

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Category: Album Reviews, News

Forest Swords, ‘Engravings’ – Album Review


Forest Swords, aka English producer Matthew Barnes, surprised a lot of people back in 2010 with his debut EP, ‘Dagger Paths.’ In the midst of a deluge of Burial-aping “post-dubstep” exports arriving out of the U.K. and a spike in druggy, slow-motion rave in North America known as witch-house, ‘Dagger Paths’ was achingly unique, even while acknowledging where electronic music was at the time.

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Category: Album Reviews, News

Porcelain Raft, ‘Permanent Signal’ – Album Review


Change is good, but transition can be hard. It’s a theme that clings to much of New York-via-London-via Italy musician Mauro Remiddi’s sophomore record as Porcelain Raft. Prior to the release of the new album, Remiddi admitted that moving around the globe had made him feel estranged from close friends, and he said he'd actually find himself having imaginary conversations with those old acquaintances.

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Category: Album Reviews, News

Washed Out, ‘Paracosm’ – Album Review


It’s unclear whether Washed Out and the man behind the project, Ernest Green, will ever shake the term “chillwave.” Green himself seems to take the descriptor in stride these days, even if the music he's making is a far cry from the day-glo, sample-based musings of his debut EP, ‘Life Of Leisure.’ Released in the summer of 2009, that collection all but defined the genre with its anthemic, blissed-out centerpiece ‘Feel It All Around.’

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Category: Album Reviews, News

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