29/30 classic review compilation grime hip-hop

run the road vol. 1 – various artists (2005)

Brits, en générale, don’t tend to construct as many lyrical layers in their bars as The Americans. Run The Road is a fantastic exhibition of how that doesn’t have to matter: lines like “I’m famous like Lenny Henry” take on a self-aware directness when surrounded by grime production and massive beats. The compilation was siphoned […]

29/30 classic review electronic idm

the remote viewer – here i go again on my own (2002)

Passively seeing beauty in the green of the countryside is easy; seeking beauty in the city is another matter. The former involves letting nature wash over the eyes, while the latter forces a squint through the cracks of a seemingly seamless metallic sheen. On their second full-length album, The Remote Viewer scrunched up beats as […]

29/30 classic review hip-hop

freddie gibbs, madlib – piñata (2014)

On Piñata, Madlib created a sequence of musical mosaics. They helped to depict, via the robust Freddie Gibbs, scenes of gangster indiscretion (as well as an ode to Gibbs’ favourite fast food restaurant). On one of the best hip-hop records of the 2010s, MadGibbs transcended formula by distilling each of their idiosyncrasies and blaring them […]

29/30 classic review punk rock

the replacements – pleased to meet me (1987)

The sparkling bling of the corporate gentleman on the cover sits alongside 1960’s film poster font and across from a ragged artist. The creative world of The Replacements interacted with expectations of modern success and an almost perverse artistic flair. A certain silliness makes it difficult to know what the band wanted—hearing their fetish for […]

29/30 classic review rock singer-songwriter

smog – knock knock (1999)

“I feel light and strong,” Bill Callahan sings on ‘I Could Drive Forever’. His seventh LP under the ‘Smog’ moniker is, too, light and strong. So light and so strong that it remains one of the most intimate records of the 90s. Perhaps it is the smooth, road trip aesthetic, or the impression it gives […]

29/30 art pop classic review indie/alternative rock

they might be giants – lincoln (1988)

Bad comedians are dumb. Average comedians are smart. The best comedians play the dork while being one step ahead of everyone else. On their breakout record, TMBG performed under a goofy decorative layer and expounded a love for the theatrical. ‘Lincoln’ features some of the most arrestingly artful songwriting of the 80s (particularly the scarecrow […]

29/30 classic review experimental hip-hop jazz soul

portishead – dummy (1994)

Portishead’s DNA is copious and varied, braising individual obsessions in an after-hours cauldron. ‘Dummy’ is what happens when a hip-hop sample comes to life, like Pinocchio, growing jazzy breaks and a soul of its own. The record’s haunting, cinematic atmosphere is lavishly upheld by Beth Gibbons’ foggy vocals, as she whispers enough to remain both […]

29/30 classic review folk latin

caetano veloso – caetano veloso (1968)

Attached to many Western heroes is a manufactured sheen. In the 1960s, Caetano Veloso was no fan of Elvis and uninterested in Marilyn. Instead, he saw “the ridiculous aspirations of Americanophiles, the naive good intentions of the nationalists, traditional Brazilian “backwardness”, the Brazilian avant-garde” and aimed to redeem each with genuine creativity. Polemics ricocheted across […]

29/30 classic review jazz soul

nina simone – wild is the wind (1966)

Nina Simone possessed one of the most rounded voices in soul. Her distinctive contralto vocals visited the subtle, beautiful, brooding, and haunting within the shifting of an octave, or an inflection. ‘Wild is the Wind,’ though confusedly arranged, is an album dedicated to her range. The first track is a pleasant, swinging soul number; the […]