CD Reviews

Music Review: What Are Our Thoughts On Mac Miller’s ‘GO:OD AM’?

9/21/2015 3:10pm EDT
Review: Mac Miller Steps Up His Game (And Swag) on ‘GO:OD AM’
“I killed the game like Jeffrey Dahmer did the 80s.” Phew – it takes some serious confidence, better yet swag to deliver a punch like that one. Of course, who has more swag or confidence than Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller? Throughout the course of his third full-length album GO:OD AM, Miller shows he’s got the swag locked down without question.

Following tone-setting intro “Doors,” “Brand Name,” produced by ID Labs features lush, soulful production, sampling Northern soul singer J.J. Barnes. Unapologetic, Mac Miller goes onto a lyrical tear early on with the usual crude punch lines: “W...

How Does Gary Clark, Jr.'s 'The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim' Stack Up?

9/16/2015 9:19am EDT
Review: Gary Clark, Jr. Shows His Versatility On ‘The Story Of S
Who’s one of the hottest guitarists of the new generation? Why that ladies and gents is none other than Gary Clark, Jr. Is Clark, Jr. a household name? Not quite, but early into his career, he’s already won a Grammy! One thing’s for sure is that Clark, Jr. is a magnificent musician, something that he shows throughout the course of his second major label album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Clark Jr. kicks off The Story of Sonny Boy Slim soundly with “The Healing.” Initiating with a traditional gospel song, soon “The Healing” erupts into a bluesy, soulful joint. Expectedly, Clark Jr. keeps...

How Does Brett Eldredge's New Album 'Illinois' Stack Up?

9/14/2015 11:03am EDT
Review: Brett Eldredge Delivers A Compelling Sophomore Album On
A musician’s debut album is an important ‘stepping stone’ within their career. That could be said of country musician Brett Eldredge, who first appeared on the scene in 2013 with debut effort Bring You Back. Still, it seems like the Illinois-bred Eldredge’s sophomore album titled after his home state may be a more substantial stepping stone. Is Illinois Eldredge’s breakthrough moment? Quite possibly as Eldredge proves he ‘has the goods’ on album number two.

“Fire” initiates Illinois ferociously, with Eldredge asserting himself from the jump. Captivating the listener’s attention, Eldr...

Review: Check Out Our Thoughts On Travi$ Scott’s 'Rodeo'

9/11/2015 9:21am EDT
Review: Travi$ Scott Takes Listeners On A Wasted Trip On 'Rodeo'
As the old saying goes, “not everything that glitters is gold.” The same can be applied to a new album – sometimes they’re exceptional while other times they are a mixed bag or abysmal to say the least. Rap newcomer Travi$ Scott’s new album Rodeo can be described as something of a mixed bag. There is plenty of potential, particularly considering Scott’s status as a Kanye West disciple, but Rodeo also has its fair share of flaws. Ultimately, it’s a “wasted trip” – no not the time it takes to listen, but rather the references to various substances.

When an album starts off with a song e...

Troye Sivan Is Back With 2nd Album 'Wild'

9/9/2015 11:15am EDT
Review: Troye Sivan Delivers A Captivating Sophomore EP On ‘Wild
He’s back! Who you ask? Oh, that “Youthful Alt-Pop Warrior” Troye Sivan. Sivan is a popular YouTube personality who’s also and actor and musician. After captivating the world once before with his debut EP TRYXE back in 2014, Sivan returns for EP number two, Wild. Is there any drop-off between efforts one and two? Nope – Sivan delivers a captivating sophomore EP by all means with no questions asked!

“Wild” is slickly produced, embracing a mix of alt- and urban-pop. While the jury may be out as to whether “Wild” is a hit or not, “Wild” possesses enough of a commercial sensibility to pote...

'Live In Cuba' Is A Tour De Force That Should Have All Jazz Fans Excited

9/2/2015 10:13am EDT
Review: Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra And Wynton Marsalis Shi
What better way to celebrate a new record label (Blue Engine Records) than to drop a hot new album? Why, there’s no better way of course! The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra has been a hot commodity for years and years for good reason – it’s an exceptional collective of truly prodigious musicians without question. The already ferocious jazz orchestra gets even fiercer with Wynton Marsalis joining for the musical party. Can you say epic?

“Epic” is certainly the best way to describe the orchestra’s live two-disc album, Live In Cuba, which was recorded in 2010. If there was some jazz defi...

Does The Weeknd's 'Beauty Behind The Madness' Live Up To The Hype?

8/31/2015 9:12am EDT
The Weeknd Steps Up His Game On 'Beauty Behind the Madness'
Talk about a dude with hella hype behind him in 2015! Many musicians would kill to be in the position that Canadian R&B singer Abel Tesfaye – better known as The Weeknd – finds himself in. With three top-five hits, including one chart topper on the Billboard Hit 100, it seemed pretty clear that there was no way that his highly anticipated album Beauty Behind The Madness could miss. Now the question is does the album live up to the gargantuan hype and meet expectations? Sometimes it does, while at others times it’s a smidgen less enthralling than the hype.

With a few notable exceptions, i...

Does Rob Thomas Deliver The Goods On His Third Album?

8/25/2015 12:15pm EDT
Review: Rob Thomas Delivers On Third Album ‘The Great Unknown’
It has been six years since the last Rob Thomas album – shocking right? In 2009, Thomas issued Cradlesong, his sophomore album following a successful first outing with Something To Be. Cradlesong couldn’t match the success of Thomas’ debut, no matter how good “Her Diamonds” was. Now a half-decade plus later, Thomas must find his niche in ever-changing pop circles. Somehow, Thomas manages to accomplish this feat on his third effort The Great Unknown, keeping things contemporary by pop standards in 2015. At the same time, Thomas doesn’t drift away from what makes him, well, Rob Thomas fo...

Review: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

8/24/2015 11:20am EDT
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Go Retro On Self-Titled De
Singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff is not new to the game – he’s dropped two albums ahead of 2015’s Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Even so, Rateliff isn’t exactly a household name. After listening to his third album and the debut by the collective as a whole, perhaps Rateliff’s stock will rise. The “sweat” is real on Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – the energy is crazy. It’s imperfect, but it’s definitely an album with some great moments.

“I Need Never Get Old” gets the LP off to a rollicking, fast start. A mix of retro-soul a la Motown (and Stax) with a dash of c...

Check Out Our Take On Bullet For My Valentine’s New Album 'Venom'

8/21/2015 11:20am EDT
Review: Bullet For My Valentine Rock Hard On 'Venom'
Sometimes, you just need to ‘rock hard.’ If there’s one band that can satisfy those hard-rocking needs, it’s Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine. Returning with their fifth studio Venom, Bullet For My Valentine definitely ‘amp up’ to say the least. Are you infatuated with guitar harmonies and screamed vocals? Then you definitely need a dosage of Venom STAT!

After setting the tone with instrumental intro “V,” “No Way Out” unleashes sans an ounce of subtlety. The verses are characterized by the screaming – passionate “that’s gotta hurt the voice” screaming. While much of it ...