White Denim – “Fits”Downtown-due out Oct. 204 / 5 Crashing, thrashing rough punk prevails on White Denim’s second release. It’s thick, viscous music that gets stuck in your throat; the opening tracks are full, well-executed twisting streams of sound that glut and flow, replete with guitar and drums. Any band that sets themselves to it can craft songs of these quality, but what sets Denim apart is their ability to change over to a calmer, more melodic and controlled M. Ward versing starting on “Paint Yourself,” which goes acoustic against the Strokes-ish feel of “I Start to Run.” The unpolished edge they cut into theirRead More →

Yo La Tengo – “Popular Songs”Matador Records-due out Sept. 84.5 / 5 On their 16th album, Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo crack open with strings, layering as complex and listenable as Beck, and their own dreary/dreamy vocals in “Here to Fall,” the opener track. Download this track; it is as exciting and groovy as any you’re bound to find in the vein of Depeche Mode (and there’s strings, to boot). “Popular Songs” is chock-a-block with similarly poppy tracks, and for a moment, the album seems to have more focus and enjoyability than their typical spacious space jams. But even here they supply, as the lastRead More →

McCoy Tyner – “Solo; Live from San Fransicsco”Half Note Records-out today4.5 / 5 With a legendary career like pianist McCoy Tyner’s, there is always the nagging comparison between his latest release and his classic ’60s and ’70s albums. To clarify: yes, he is in his 70s, and yes, this album may not be as classic as “The Real McCoy.” But is it worthwhile? Yes. Here’s why: even in his advanced years, and even with a slightly lacking a bit of touch on his fingers, the solo work here is marvelous, deep, complex, intimate. It is as easy for a person inexperienced in jazz to getRead More →

Robert Glasper – “Double Booked”Blue Note Records– due out Aug 254 / 5 His third album on Blue Note Records has Glasper doubling his band; the first segment is his acoustic jazz trio, followed by his more electric and hip-hop group the Robert Glasper Experiment. Of the first six tracks, there is little wasted space, as the loping, upbeat strides of “I’m Country (And That’s Okay)” and the dense and melodic treatment of Monk’s “Think of One” proves themselves the highlights of the first half. A couple of phone calls segues Glasper for the second half, which, while not quite as exciting as the first,Read More →