Prince – Piano & A Microphone 1983

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

Prince singing while playing the piano

Moods

An intimate session with the purple one

Thoughts

An interesting artifact that I think all Prince fans should hear once. Here we have a sketchbook like view of Prince's songwriting process (Purple rain, for instance, is just a brief thought in this session. It would be fleshed out months later). Intimacy is immediately established given the stripped down nature of this recording: gone are the sequenced to perfection drum machines and synths that would obscure him at times. It's as if you're hearing him with his guard is down and the beauty of his songwriting takes center stage.

While Prince's multi instrumentation ability is common knowledge here we learn he's a fantastic piano player, effortlessly toying with melody.

I see, feel and understand his soulful approach to music better after listening to this. Not because of the final product but the heart that goes into it.

Essential listening and gem in his esteemed catalog.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Prince-Piano-A-Microphone-1983/release/12548164

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5-HEBGPzFM

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Prince – Piano & A Microphone 1983

Description: Album Review of Prince – Piano & A Microphone 1983


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Abra – Princess

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Indie modern r&b

Moods

Promiscuous r&b

Thoughts

I like this kind of r&b. Free, easy sorta guilty pleasure. Production works well and she's created a persona that works even if it's trying to attention grabbing in it's straightforwardness

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Abra-Princess/release/8804120

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsNzPAOQEnE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I-POWtEJ8U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvVJx7dcoqo

Spotify


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Abra – Princess

Description: Album Review of Abra – Princess


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Sylvan Esso – What Now

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

nu-school electro/synth alt-pop

Moods

Fun

Thoughts

Pretty good overall with some standouts like just dancing. Memorable pop songs with good production, good if you want something easy and danceable.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Sylvan-Esso-What-Now/release/10192239

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgPIW8AtdSE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=effZUjig794

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYeGMw21fgM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-_NNIX8cDA

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Sylvan Esso – What Now

Description: Album Review of Sylvan Esso – What Now


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Hippo Campus – Landmark

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

An indie band with pro production

Moods

Remember that godawful song 'holiday' by vampire weekend? These songs capture that memorable poppy summerness featuring lyrics that are comfortable yet inquisitive.

Thoughts

Hate to keep using other bands to describe hippo campus but this reminds me of early Phoenix with some production flair. Works well, there are some all out classics on that I think a lot of people would enjoy. ‘Vacation’ is probably the best example with it's anthem worthy hook and shimmering mellow vibe like a chillwave version of pavement for today's 20 somethings.

BJ Burton produced this. The more I hear his work I realize he's developing a track record of seriously good music.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Hippo-Campus-Landmark/release/10084727

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3TQKEUne5Q

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Hippo Campus – Landmark

Description: Album Review of Hippo Campus – Landmark


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Azealia Banks – Slay-Z

★☆☆☆☆ = Bad

Sounds like?

Rap edm

Moods

Night out, downtown Manhattan or how not to do a rap/electro crossover

Thoughts

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Azealia-Banks-Slay-Z/release/8469877

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXUfBxMbC3A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usDQB21uQ1A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH90-6sCIoc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJskdaNiz6U

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Azealia Banks – Slay-Z

Description: Album Review of Azealia Banks – Slay-Z


Rating: 1 out of 5

 

Abra – Rose

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Modern r&b with sparse synth / drumpad production

Moods

Feels like wearing a starter jacket in 2017

Thoughts

I like the style but she's kind of lacking lyrical substance. Things open up with a Spacey / subduded band vibe on tracks like rose. I liked a bunch off this.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Abra-Rose/release/7145364

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-qcz47h9zo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhe7CckB05w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI1g4dnDtao

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSZkeg4T2u4

Spotify


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Abra – Rose

Description: Album Review of Abra – Rose


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Mitski – Be The Cowboy

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

Lush singer-songwriter pop with a ‘big’ sound

Moods

A pitchfork 8.8 record

Thoughts

I don't get the hype on this one, mediocre in my opinion.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mitski-Be-The-Cowboy/release/12384951

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfylNmkR8dw

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Mitski – Be The Cowboy

Description: Album Review of Mitski – Be The Cowboy


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Eleanor Friedberger – Rebound

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

Adult contemporary

Moods

OK with how past relationships ended

Thoughts

She sings like ‘something about the girl’ which is a good thing. A variety of pop styles are covered, bubbly in some places. Only listened once but found it lacking memorableness.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Eleanor-Friedberger-Rebound/release/11989814

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmjcSz8aV1Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5jRnL4fHQA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7HeLwsAvM0

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Eleanor Friedberger – Rebound

Description: Album Review of Eleanor Friedberger – Rebound


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Kalabrese – Independent Dancer

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Groove based 'fun’ electro

Moods

A ode to the joy of being lost in life

Thoughts

Hard not to dig a kalabrese release, his tracks are all bursting with love of the craft. Above all else this album maintains a constant groove with lots of interesting production flourishes and bursts of instrumentation that keep these extended cuts engaging.

Lyrically he sings like a wanderlust euro, not the most articulate but he makes up for it in his genuineness. The addition of other vocalists is a welcome dimension. It's an album with moments of greatness but also suffers from an uneven side 2 that felt scattered.

Worth a listen for sure.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Kalabrese-Independent-Dancer/release/4420013

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnDgS8Hkni4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af01NV3mqjc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQNGYgQMEaE

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Kalabrese – Independent Dancer

Description: Album Review of Kalabrese – Independent Dancer


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?
Pop balanced with dramatic string arrangements. Production is very French and feels like a mature Justice meets Sebastian night driving.

Moods
Feeling like a French movie star in a cemetery on an overcast day.

Thoughts
There’s something distinctly French about this album. I really want to like this, and do enjoy the texture and overall vision she’s crafting. I think a lot of that is due to Sebastian’s production which has matured quite a bit since the days of Ed Banger. It’s as if someone watered down Air’s ‘cherry blossom girl’ and added pop focused songwriting.

There’s a few great tracks. ‘Sylvia says’ features big production and personal memorable lyrics. Love the instrumentation that closes the album on ‘les oxalis’, wish that could’ve been expanded upon.

Overall felt it a little dense and serious, stylistically great but the songwriting was lacking in memorableness.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Charlotte-Gainsbourg-Rest/release/11204819

Listen!

Youtube





Spotify

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Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest

Description: Album Review of Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest


Rating: 2 out of 5