Linkin Park – One More Light: Why is everything so NOT HEAVY??!?!

2017_LinkinPark_OneMoreLightArtist: Linkin Park
Album: One More Light
Year: 2017
Grade: D+

In Brief: The problem with Linkin Park’s seventh album isn’t that it’s mellow and poppy. The problem is that it’s stubbornly, maddeningly generic, which is not something I could say about even the absolute worst songs on their previous albums.

Continue reading

KT Tunstall – KIN: Pull it apart and put it back together how you want it.

2016_kttunstall_kinArtist: KT Tunstall
Album: KIN
Year: 2016
Grade: B

In Brief: It’s not as bold and inventive in the production and songwriting department as Tiger Suit, but KT wanted to make another pop album after the stark, downbeat Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, and I’ve got to admit that this side of her is more my speed.

Continue reading

Future of Forestry – Awakened to the Sound: In my voice you will know the sound of home.

2016_futureofforestry_awakenedtothesoundArtist: Future of Forestry
Album: Awakened to the Sound
Year: 2016
Grade: B

In Brief: It’s a stretch these days to call Future of Forestry a “rock” band. This album is much more like a film score. Exciting, climactic percussion sounds abound on a few tracks, bringing back fond memories of the Travel series, but as a whole this record is something else, weaving Eastern-styled strings, drums and vocals into a much more classical-oriented take on the Future of Forestry sound.

Continue reading

Trails and Ways – Own It: Were you looking for me or just really for my estate?

2016_trailsandways_ownitArtist: Trails and Ways
Album: Own It
Year: 2016
Grade: B-

In Brief: The sunny, catchy indie pop vibe is still there, but the shared lead vocals, strong harmonies, and smatterings of Portuguese lyrics are pretty much a thing of the past. That makes it a lot harder for Trails and Ways to stand out among the crowd, when they once did so effortlessly.

Continue reading

Green Day – Revolution Radio: I put the “riot” in patriot.

2016_greenday_revolutionradioArtist: Green Day
Album: Revolution Radio
Year: 2016
Grade: B

In Brief: While it’s not as ambitious as American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown, I appreciate the return to writing songs in that vein, and the result is a far more listenable record than their 2012 trilogy. While the subject matter is a mixed bag, I’m finding most of the songs to be quite cathartic in the midst of a post-election malaise.

Continue reading

Switchfoot – Where the Light Shines Through: Turn it up so I can feel it!

2016_Switchfoot_WheretheLightShinesThroughArtist: Switchfoot
Album: Where the Light Shines Through
Year: 2016
Grade: B+

In Brief: A strong comeback from Switchfoot after a trilogy of mediocre to mildly good albums. It doesn’t radically revamp their sound, but the new things that they do try here do a lot to revitalize it. It just feels like they tried a lot harder with this one, and that’s all I need from a band that could easily just keep repeating itself at this stage in its career.

Continue reading

Sherwood – Some Things Never Leave You: Some bands leave you and then make excellent comebacks.

2016_Sherwood_SomeThingsNeverLeaveYouArtist: Sherwood
Album: Some Things Never Leave You
Year: 2016
Grade: A-

In Brief: The newly reformed Sherwood makes a stellar comeback on their first album in seven years. No wheels are reinvented here by any means, but by injecting some surprisingly aggressive rock moments into an otherwise “perfect pop album” mentality, they’ve improved on an already winning formula.

Continue reading