Saturday, June 25, 2011


Black Up (Shabazz Palaces) (2011)

Remember The Diggable Planets? Think when CVM just came on air and the track Rebirth of Slick was played like every second…now you’re getting the picture. One-third of that band, Ishmael Butler, has turned up on Sub Pop as that label’s first rap act. To say the critics have fallen in love with this album would be an understatement. What is equally frightening about Black Up is how much it resembles what we all expect Dre3000’s upcoming album to sound like. Yeah You indeed could be mistaking for something out of Outkast, with its pre-programmed drums and electronic bleeps. The ideas running through Black Up feel revolutionary and the swag on display means that, just like the Fugees fifteen years ago, everyone will be forced to pay attention to this potential AOTY. 9/10

Wounded Rhymes (Lykke Li) (2011)

There is no shortage of brilliant Swedish female singers around and with her sophomore, Wounded Rhymes, Lykke Li now joins that pantheon which includes the likes of Robyn and Jenny Wilson with a great pop album. You know it’s great when the banging beats on the ender Jerome groove for days even after the umpteenth spin. If her promise was exposed in packets of brilliance on her debut then this album breaks out like a great adolescent discovery, akin to any John Hughes coming-of-age film. The imagery of girlish love, sex and rebellion courses freely throughout and it all coalesces into something fleshy and relevant. No review would be complete without mention of that now immortal line from Get Some (‘I’m your prostitute/ and you’re/ gonna get some’)…talk about dedication to a cause. 8/10

Earthly Powers (Pollyester) (2011)

The dance-pop genre continues its exciting breakout year with Pollyester’s new album, a synth-heavy driven effort that never lets up. Based in Germany but no doubt following the Kevin Barnes-led school of flamboyant excess, this duo floods our senses with a keen sense of timing. Tracks like 24h Party People and Voices propel the witch-house idealism that is all the rage in Europe currently. Old Shoe channels Jenny Wilson with a smart juxtaposition of beats and vocal delivery. Indian slows the tempo down and the result is gorgeous and sexy. Their name may not be house-hold yet but with Earthly Powers, Polina Lapkovskaja is destined to be off the obscure indie shelf much quicker than even she would’ve imagined. 8/10