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  • Julia Ryan

Biased Music Reviews

the record - boygenius Dr. Krug’s favorites: “Emily I’m Sorry,” “True Blue” In terms of women, boygenius (despite the name) has three. The indie supergroup delivers on its Grammy-nominated debut album because of the cohesion of its members: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Each woman has established herself as a pioneer in the alternative/indie rock genre (and plays guitar!). On the record, they manage to balance their lyricism and styles to create a sound that is entirely their own. The album is “sad-girl indie music” only in that it is melancholic in nature, made by women, and indie. It rejects this label, which can be used to dismiss music written by women about their emotions and inner life. The album allows itself to be carried by its raw emotion written in a confessional-like style.

Bottom line: Julien Baker.


SCARING THE HO** - JPEGMafia, Danny Brown

Best beat: “Garbage Pale Kids” The record, as its name cheekily implies, is not meant for mainstream appeal. Grimy, aggressive and straight out of a warehouse, the project doesn’t bend genre; it defies it all together. The anti-pop, if you will. Beneath the post-ironic, terminally-online references paired with warped gospel music, the artistic talents of a dynamic duo mesh. Mr. Mafia, who produced the album entirely on a hardware sampler, demonstrates impressive skill to balance the inherent incohesiveness of the billion niche samples he is pinning together. Mr. Brown, a technical and vocally distinctive rapper who debuted with the critically acclaimed Atrocity Exhibition, details time in rehab and current commitment to sobriety. Great for math homework. Not great for the aux.

Bottom line: Thoroughly spooked!


Weedkiller - Ashnikko Song I’d be least likely to show my parents: "You Make Me Sick!" During this album’s roll out, Ashnikko announced that she had departed from her record label, a delay to the album release date. Fortunately, it was worth it. The album “bops.” I love concept albums. The fantasy landscape of Weedkiller suits Ashnikko’s vivid imagery (both in her lyrics and the accompanying music videos) and accompanying comic book. It’s unapologetically Ashnikko, yet it marks a departure from her previous projects. As the fae protagonist of the album slowly becomes a machine in her quest to defeat the technology-destroying nature, Ashnikko has evolved into a fully realized musician. Saw her in concert and Audrey Nuna opened (I love Audrey Nuna).

Bottom line: Ethel Cain feature!


New Blue Sun - André 3000

Most Humorously-Aware Song Title: “I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time” You may know André 3000 as half of the prolific rap due Outkast (“Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson”) or as one third of the main cast of the critically acclaimed sports-comedy film Semi-Pro (along with Woody Harrelson and Will Ferrell). However, on his solo debut album after 32 years in the industry, Mr. 3000 performs alone, except for his company of his 40 or so flutes. The album delivers what it very clearly promises on the label: “No bars.” Just 1 hour 27 minutes of Mr. 3000 going crazy on his custom Mayan double flute. Bottom line: Flute album.


The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We - Mitski

Jumpscare chorus: “Bug Like an Angel” Laurel He**, Mitski’s prior album, supposed end of her music career, and contractual obligation, did not do it for me. Really, it was just the fourth track: “Everyone.” It sounds like a bad parody of a Mitski song. So, I put off listening to TLIIASAW (that and the weird font on the album cover). The allure of Mitski was broken. Too often, we expect infallibility from our idols. Why should we emulate imperfection? In TLIIASAW, Mitski makes her triumphant return to my heart. Her inhospitable land surrounds her and strands her like a cowtown in the Panhandle, the country twang apparent now more than on Be the Cowboy. The album is lonely and barren, recorded in a bomb shelter in Nashville, except for spurts of a haunting choir. The album centers on Mitski, and Mitski is lonely in the land she has created for herself. The album embraces imperfection, not just of a single person, like an isolated housewife (“Me and My Husband”) or a college girl at a party (“Townie”), but of us. Mitski evokes a sense of closeness between her and the listener, and in TLIIASAW, she opens the connection to all of the people down in the world below. Mitski is imperfect, I am imperfect, you are imperfect. Mitski embraces her imperfectness and finds humanity. Maybe we can, too. Anyway, the album “jazzes.”

Bottom line: Banger.


[Image via Spotify]



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