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Album Reviews

alabamashakesannouncedetailsofsecondalbum
6 Score

The Rockometer: Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes

Is it still dad rock if the band is young and the lead singer, Brittany Howard is an African-American woman? I'm serious about this. For as much as I listen to Sound & Color, the second album by Alabama Shakes, I can't shake the feeling that the classic Wilco burn is appropriate here.
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MetzII
8 Score

The Rockometer: II by Metz

Now, listening to a Metz LP isn't the same as being at a Metz concert. The record doesn't come packaged with a vial of sweat from guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins. You don't get to see him transform from everyman to raging man. And, there's no threat of taking a boot to the head from the crowd surfer elevated center stage. For real, in the year 2015, people crowd surf at a Metz show. Maybe not at your fancy pants clubs in New York and LA, but here in Cleveland kids can still get a lift to the top of the throbbing masses. But, after the first three tracks by these Toronto punks on the simply titled, II, you can get pretty damn close to the experience of being there.
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SonicJesusNeitherVirtueNorAnger
7 Score

The Rockometer: Neither Virtue Nor Anger by Sonic Jesus

      Sonic Jesus Neither Virtue Nor Anger Fuzz Club The musical lineage of Italian psych rockers, Sonic Jesus, ...
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powers-that-b-front-1200
6 Score

The Rockometer: The Powers That B by Death Grips

Death Grips' double album, The Powers That B, features both the best and worst of these Sacramento noise-rap agitators. On the first album, subtitled, Niggas on the Moon, we get principals MC Ride and Zach Hill indulging their worst impulses. I'll be damned if there's a song here, but there's a lot of busted up beats and slobbering spit takes from MC Ride. Believe it or not, Icelandic national treasure, Bjork is on here, too. Unfortunately, her vocals and pitched, cut up and wrecked to the point where she's no more than another source of irritation, perhaps the primary irritation.
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CourtneyBarnettAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett

Much like the beloved American sitcom, Seinfeld, a show about nothing, Courtney Barnett's debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, managers to be highly entertaining while working with the most banal source material. Man plays hooky from work. Couple goes house hunting. Courtney swims. Courtney buys groceries. These are but a sampling of the seemingly ordinary scenes recreated over the course of eleven songs. There's even a track, "Small Poppies," where Barnett thinks about moving the lawn. She doesn't actually cut the grass, mind you, she just thinks about it.
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jsbxFreedomTower

Should You Buy the New Blues Explosion Album? Take the Quiz

'90s alt-rock innovators, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, have a new album out. Should you buy it? Take the quiz and find out.
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YoureBetterThanThis
8 Score

The Rockometer: You’re Better Than This by Pile

I can't say that I'd go as far as to say You're Better Than This, the new record by buzzy, Boston upstarts, Pile, is a difficult album, as Pitchfork's Paul Thompson claims in an otherwise complimentary review. Selections, like howling opener, "The World Is Your Motel," should sound familiar to anyone whose familiarity with the AmRep catalog stretches beyond knowing how to use AmRep as a shortcut for the nastier and heavier underground sounds of the '90s.
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BeechCreepsAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: S/T by Beech Creeps

It's March 4th, the streets of Cleveland are lined with black, nasty ice sculptures, remnants of three weeks where the temperature rarely rose above freezing and the snow kept piling, and I have found my summer jam. It's "Times Be Short," by the New York band, Beech Creeps.
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