Articles by Alex Swhear
Animal Collective, “Tangerine Reef”
The intentions here are environmentally noble, but the songs collectively feel like a minor mood piece rather than the cohesive statement the band aspires to.
Nicki Minaj, “Queen”
In a summer where scores of hip-hop heavyweights failed to whittle their work into a concise artistic statement, the sins of “Queen” are hardly glaring or unforgivable.
Christina Aguilera, “Liberation”
“Liberation” resurrects Xtina’s considerable presence as a vocalist, though her attempts at navigating the modern pop landscape still verge on aimless.
Kids See Ghosts, “Kids See Ghosts”
While Kanye’s lyrical performances are a marked improvement over his slapdash “ye” verses, “Kids See Ghosts” works best when he allows room for Cudi to shine.
Chvrches, “Love Is Dead”
“Love Is Dead” is saddled with a familiarity that’s as limiting as it is endearing.
Beach House, “7”
“7” may be the most definitive—and enjoyable—break yet from the preconceptions of what a Beach House record should sound like.
Bonny Doon Are Who They’re Supposed to Be
For their second full-length (and debut on Woodsist), the Detroit folk-rock quartet stopped thinking too much and just went to the beach instead.
Who Says There’s No Leaving New York? A Report From The National’s Homecoming Festival
More a family reunion for the Cincinnati-bred band than an actual festival, Homecoming was a wild party with occasionally tender moments.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Sex & Food”
“Sex & Food” is at turns both understated and colorful, confident in what it wants to be but not afraid to wander into uncharted territory.
Car Seat Headrest, “Twin Fantasy”
“Twin Fantasy” showcases Will Toledo sharpening his vision and instincts, marrying the raw passion of his early work with the increasingly impressive sheen of his newest material.