Album Reviews

KUMD Album Review: Frank Ocean

Sep 28, 2016

Frank Ocean | Blonde

Four years, one month and ten days, that’s how long it took for Frank Ocean to ride back in on his melodic wave. The channel widened and the color orange gave way to the golden tresses that form Blonde, Frank Ocean’s long-awaited sophomore album.

Vivielle—Something That Isn't There

The transition from summer to fall is always hard to make.  The leaves fall off the trees, the sky gets permanently cloudy, and the students try to ease back into school.  Luckily, Vivielle is back to make the transition a little bit easier.  On their latest, Something That Isn’t There, the Duluth four-piece delivers ten tracks of autumn-ready melancholia— a perfect soundtrack for the fall season.

8/5 KUMD Album Review: Sticky Fingers

Aug 5, 2015

  ~There are heads all over the globe that are floating in a cloud of dub, reggae, ska, psychedelic tempos together and smiling~

7/29 KUMD Album Reviews: Tame Impala

Jul 29, 2015

Tame Impala-Currents

Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala have triumphantly returned to the limelight with their latest chart-topping release Currents, which has just secured the band’s first-ever spot in the UK top 10 charts. After their acclaimed Lonerism release, the band spent most of their time headlining festivals and rising to the top of indie and rock charts.

7/22 KUMD Album Review: Desaparecidos

Jul 22, 2015

Who would’ve thought Conor Oberst was in a punk band? His work with Bright Eyes is the portrait of a man who needs a hug. Listen to his work with Desaparecidos and you’ve got a man who will take you out for drinks to talk political views, all while plotting the next big riot. You don’t expect to head bang to the same voice who sang “Land Locked Blues.” It may sound strange, but it’s good.

Hearing Giant, the latest album from L’anarchiste, is like watching a party from start to finish.  A solo horn, banjo, or synth pulse starts each track before seamless layering brings an eclectic array of instrumentation into the mix, like seeing guests slowly arrive to the party.  Each track then ends with the same solo instrument, alone again, but well-rounded in result.

Ross Birchard, better known as stage name Hudson Mohawke, didn’t want to make a “traditional" album. Lantern, his latest, is an exercise in genre attention-deficit; Mohawke gleefully switches instruments and sounds up for maximum inconsistency.  However, once the lack of cohesion is acknowledged, it’s a very fun listen.

Nick Thorburn is probably from something you know. From fronting groups such as Islands, Mister Heavenly, and The Unicorns, to composing the soundtrack to the award-winning podcast Serial,  Thorburn stays prolific. His latest effort, City of Quartz, sees Thorburn going solo as “Nick Diamonds,” incorporating his past works—and some new ideas—in for maximum effect.

6/8 KUMD Album Review: The Vaccines

Jun 8, 2015

Rivers Cuomo is probably jealous of this album.  The Vaccines’ frontman, Justin Hayward-Young, is a huge fan of Pinkerton, the second album released by Weezer, so it makes sense that this album should be produced by Dave Fridmann, the man who produced Pinkerton.  In comparison to The Vaccines’ earlier work, English Graffiti is a lot tighter and less garage sounding, but still has the angst that Weezer gave us in 1996. 

6/1 KUMD Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Jun 1, 2015

Have you ever been in love? Have you ever been in love with two people at the same time? Have you ever heard a song written about love?  These questions and the further complexities of love are detailed on the latest album from New Zealand lo-fi indie rock outfit, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. With reckless abandon, frontman/creative mastermind Ruban Nielson reinvented the band with a higher quality sound in terms of not only instrumentation and production, but also lyrical subject matter on their new record Multi-Love.

5/4 KUMD Album Review: Hiatus Kaiyote

May 4, 2015

You’re having the worst day.  Scratch that.  The worst week.  Everything’s piling up quicker than you could have imagined and the end seems nowhere in sight.  You dwell on this stress as you’re walking to work, mopey in attitude and outlook.  Suddenly, you see something odd pass you by.  It’s a horse on a beach ball.  Not a toy, but a real live horse.  It’s standing upright and moving its hooves intricately over the beach ball—staying perfectly balanced.  The horse slows the roll of his hooves to angle himself right in front of you.  He then let’s out a mighty whinny.  

KUMD Album Review: Matt and Kim

Apr 20, 2015

YOLO has never sounded so good! Matt and Kim have been busy reworking their flow into a brand new dance anthem album, New Glow. As a follow up to 2012’s Lightning, this junior album is a dancy take on their already pop-glow music form.

Irony currently pervades the music scene. This can be attributed to many things such as blog hype or the age of the internet or even facial hair and hard rimmed glasses. Yet the one truth seems to be that the strangest and hardest music to listen to can tend to be some of the most monumental and innovative to the avid music lover. The community of new music followers—now having access to all and every type of music ever recorded— crave new and inventive sounds while shunning the homogenous and retro throwback bands of the day.

4/6 KUMD Album Review: Mitski

Apr 8, 2015

Getting old sucks.  To a high schooler, a desk job is far from glamorous.  To a desk jockey, high school nostalgia may be the only thing worth holding onto in life.  Mitski’s Bury Me at Make Out Creek embodies this mentality in its cover, which features an open window on the upper level of a nameless office—suggesting someone opted out.  The Simpsons-referencing title infers they made the jump with teenage whimsy in mind.

3/30 KUMD Album Review: Heems

Mar 30, 2015

In 2010, Queens-based hip hop group Das Racist popped up on many a radar with the comical, absurdist single “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”. Many heard the track and dismissed the group as facetious MCs who lacked in the way of artistry. However, critics have hailed the three projects they released together as highlights of the early 2010s. After their breakup in 2012, one member, Himanshu Suri (AKA Heems) released two solo mixtapes that carried on the soul of the group.

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