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Capsule Reviews: Records Released on May 17, 2019

May 20, 2019 | by No Recess! Staff

Every Wednesday we're rounding up the NR! staff for a healthy handful of capsule record reviews released the previous Friday. Check out this installment with record releases from May 17, 2019.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Dedicated (Schoolboy/Interscope)

Grade: B-

Carly Rae Jepsen’s recent music feels genetically engineered to appeal to a certain brand of former young person — one who still lives in the city but in a chiller neighborhood and does about 90% of their dancing in an apartment. This, of course, is totally understandable because CRJ is 33. And as a fellow 33-year-old, I can confirm that the kitchen club is easier to get into, much closer to your bed, and gets popping way before 2am. And though Dedicated doesn’t match the consistent heights of 2015’s rapturous Emotion, it can still get there every once in a while ("No Drug Like Me," "Real Love"). And if that’s not a perfectly apt metaphor for your late 20s versus your early 30s, I’m not sure what is. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Too Much" below, and buy Dedicated here


Readjusting the Locks


Grade: B+

This Austin whatever-tet heaps a thick slurry of late-'70s Manchester onto the 29 minutes of their latest release, and we're all better off for it. Only one song clocks in at over three minutes because these guys know what they're doing, and, hey, they respect your time and mine. Vocals are mixed low to sit in with the drums, creating heavy ticking rhythms insistent enough to make your skin crawl and leaving room for chiming guitars to take the melodic lead throughout. Whether by design or default, the high-velocity BPMs that dominate the album really help to make the mid-tempo tunes stand out; "Shangri-La" in particular offers sweet relief enough to allow the listener to roll over and belch before gulping down more righteous riffage. Complete with insane lead-singer-penned rant as liner notes, this may be the album we all need right now. Or maybe it's just the album I need right now. I dunno; leave me alone, okay?! – Braden Towne

Watch the video for "Anxiety" below, and buy Readjusting the Locks here


A Fine Mess EP


Grade: C-

Interpol frontman Paul Banks outlines what this EP is all about in a recent NME interview: “This is about taking the party by the horns.” Of course, that’s a relative thing in terms of their pensive output. A Fine Mess is perhaps a less melancholy outing than former Interpol records, with tighter grooves and more propulsive drumming, and I guess it's a decent snack in between long players. But sullen people making party music still sounds pretty goddman sad. Somewhere in the far-off distance I swore I heard Andrew W.K. sigh. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "The Weekend" below, and buy A Fine Mess here

Josephine Wiggs

We Fall

(The Sound of Sinners)

Grade: B+

Forever etched in indie fame for her sliding baseline in “Cannonball,” Josephine Wiggs was working on this instrumental ambient album while on tour with The Breeders. No pop song structure or grungy fuzz here, We Fall is more Brian Eno and Alva Noto where piano meets electronic inflections. This album takes its time, creating a delicious downcast, nostalgic mood no doubt spirited by recording on her father’s piano who passed back in 2001. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "Time Does Not Bring Relief" below, and buy We Fall here

Megan Thee Stallion Fever


Grade: B+

The next in H-Town’s rich lineage of elite shit talkers, the 24-year-old rising star’s long-awaited studio debut cashes in on the massive promise of her early mixtapes. Fever is teaming with the kind of cleverly crafted, surgically delivered dirty rhymes that would make even the most legendary third coast legends tip their fitted. Blessed with the ultra-rare combination of a-list mic skills and genuine star power, Megan has the potential to have a career that outstrips any of her legendary predecessors, and Fever is a crucial next step should she make that journey. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Shake That" below and buy Fever here


Radiant Dawn

(Last Gang)

Grade: A

As a total sucker for anything vaguely post-apocalyptic, this new one by Operators had me from the first suggestion of total annihilation. Dan Boeckner's collection of precarious vignettes from an impending future hell — where denizens with "metal in [their] blood" sing of "days gone by" on a "beach at the end of a fallen Earth" while awaiting some ominous, ecstatic "radiant dawn" — is fertile ground for a sci-fi addled imagination. Jubilant synths and robotic voices from the beyond wrap his vision in neon shades of retro-futurist cool. Standout tracks: "Faithless," "Terminal Beach," and "Despair" (this last one highly recommended for fans of the band Suicide). – Andres Jauregui

Listen to "Faithless" below and buy Radiant Dawn here

Slowthai Nothing Great About Britain (Method)

Grade: A-

Original Pirate Material or Boy in the Corner for 00s babies, the Northampton mentalist’s fascinating full-length debut lays the ethos for a disaffected generation stuck swiping at home, while the planet bakes, the jobs dry up, and fact becomes fiction. Across 11 tracks, the 24 year-old slices into the shit that makes him who he is — the Nowhereshire hometown, the mixed race identity, the single parent, low-income upbringing — and smears it over the impossibly messy world that exists outside his door. And it’s all backed by an absolute cyclone of sounds that draw inspiration from everything to classic grime to raw, ripping punk. Slowthai’s uncensored, uncouth voice may not speak your language (especially if you’re a member of the Royal Family), but I promise you it speaks to a hell of a lot of kids. And that alone makes it worthy of your consideration. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch "Nothing Great About Britain" below and buy the album here


Not Somewhere


Grade: A-

"You’re gonna hate it, you’re gonna hate it…" Colin Huebert and Erik Arnesen taunt us with this lullaby phrase during the song "Untitled 32 (Living Off The Land)" making this fourth release by the Vancouver, BC duo not your usual sleepy acoustic fare sung by honest bearded gentlemen. Underneath the mainly acoustic songs are subtle droning backgrounds, unusual vocal arrangements, loops, feedback, and abstract lyrics. By "Dying Dying Dying / Wake Wake Wake" they slide, slide, slide into early Mercury Rev territory, which is always a good move. Every song involves a surprise turn making this a fascinating record, one which should build upon the slow acclaim these two have been collecting since 2010; time will tell if the world is ready for their avant-folk. I don’t hate it and you may not, either. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Stop Trying" below and buy the album here

The National

I Am Easy to Find


Grade: C+

Things on this album that this album's title could refer to:

  • String arrangements

  • Introspection

  • Women guest vocalists

  • Lyrical and structural meanders

  • Liberties taken with a Guided By Voices lyric

  • A taint of excess that is tiresome and disappointing

Although it has some beautiful moments, this album overall feels cluttered by layers of self-gratifying complexity. It is long and in need of an editor. The bright spots: "Quiet Light," "Where Is Her Head," "Light Years." Recommended for sad dads and diehard fans. – Andres Jauregui

Watch Mike Mills' short film, I Am Easy to Find, below and buy the album here

Tyler, The Creator

IGOR (Columbia)

Grade: B+

Though not everything on Tyler’s ambitious fifth LP quite works for me, I’ll always support huge stars taking huge swings with huge stakes. Delving further into the sonic and emotional spaces that 2017’s reflective Flower Boy mined, IGOR is short on bars and long on rich, soulful tapestries and heartfelt crooning. For about 40 minutes, Tyler tells the story of a doomed relationship — from early extra heartbeats to commitment struggles to rejection to obsession to, finally, acceptance. It may not sound particularly novel, but it’s elevated by Tyler’s unique perspective, especially when he explores the pains of pursuing a same-sex relationship with someone who isn’t sure whether they can leave their girlfriend for him. It’s the kind of story that hasn’t been told enough in hip-hop — or popular music, in general — and it’s exciting to hear someone so powerful tell it so honestly. – Daniel Alvarez

Stream IGOR in its entirety below and buy the album here

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