TYLER, THE CREATOR
To those who don’t follow underground hip hop, Tyler, The Creator (ringleader of the rap collective known as Odd Future) seemingly appeared fully formed in a dervish of hype and nasty tweets when, in fact, this laboriously titled group of hip hop deviants had been releasing crazy-ass mixtapes on their own for a couple of years. So now we arrive at Goblin. The album’s production came almost entirely from Tyler himself, along with contributions from fellow OFWGKTA member Left Brain. Without a doubt Goblin is meant to shock, but have no doubt that it’s the work of a mad genius. If you can separate yourself from the hype then it’s easy to see what all the uproar is about.
The Future Will Destroy You
There are a handful of things about Viva Voce that lend themselves to a just-the-facts presentation: This songwriting team —Kevin and Anita Robinson – met and married in rural Alabama over a decade ago and made their first four-track demo as Viva Voce in 1998. As for describing the music the Robinsons make—Says Anita, “Basically, with each record we’re just trying to find a way to create the music that’s been living in our heads since the last one.” Written, performed, produced and mixed entirely by the duo at their Portland home studio, The Future Will Destroy You unquestionably serves as a showcase for Anita’s post-psychedelic guitar heroics—check out “Analog Woodland Song” and “The Wondering Soul” for some of the finest quiet-loud eruptions since the Pixies’ heyday. But the disc also emphasizes the Robinsons’ sense of songcraft like never before: You might not hear a ballad this year lovelier (or spookier) than “No Ship Coming In,” in which Anita’s vocals glide over a pool of shimmering space-roots atmospherics. And the apocalyptic title track? Let’s just say nobody’s ever made the end of civilization sound like such an appealing prospect.
THE HORRIBLE CROWES
Most of us know Brian Fallon as the frontman for the Gaslight Anthem, an act who started out in Jersey basements and slowly built their way up to headlining New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Despite the success Fallon has had with his main band he’s always loved darker acts like the Afghan Whigs and Tom Waits. The Horrible Crowes — his new side-project alongside longtime friend Ian Perkins — is his tip of the hat to the acts who have shaped another side of his musical vision. Sonically Elsie sees Fallon stretching out musically in ways that might surprise longtime fans of his writing. Elsie is also the most personal release of Fallon’s career, and while the Gaslight Anthem’s music is loaded with characters and iconography, this album sees Fallon stripping back the metaphors to put it all on the line. “There’s only one character here and it’s about me.” While drug addictions, ex-girlfriends and religion all creep their way into these songs, Elsie isn’t a linear album as much as it is a catalog of experiences that are conveyed in a way that was equally as cathartic for Fallon to create as it will inevitably be for his listeners to hear.