ALBUM REVIEW: The Books, Department of Eagles, Sia, The-Dream



The Books

The Way Out

Street Date: 07.20.10

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The Books’ fifth record, The Way Out, is the New York duo’s first in five years. Constructed almost entirely of random, obscure samples, most of them from thrift store cassettes, cut up and pitch-shifted sometimes beyond recognition, with occasional, understated acoustic instrumentation, TheWay Out is probably like nothing you’ve ever heard. (Continue Reading)


Department of Eagles

Archives 2003-2006

Street Date: 07.20.10

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Five of the eleven songs on Department of Eagles’ third full-length release, Archives 2003-2006, are titled “Practice Room Sketch.” Each sketch is a variation on the same theme – a lo-fi meandering piano line or two, occasionally joined by lead singer Daniel Rossen’s voice. Taken on their own they are simplistic studies, diversions from the real task at hand. In the context of Archives 2003-2006, however, they make complete sense. This isn’t supposed to be a polished album; instead, it’s a collection of nearly formed ideas, raw and largely untouched by studio sheen. (Continue reading)



We Are Born

Street Date: 06.18.10

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Sia’s We Are Born is the Swedish Australian (we're still swooning over Robyn, oops!) singer’s poppiest yet, a point hammered home by the lyrics of lead track “The Fight”: “We made it through the darkness to the light. Uh huh, we fought, but still we won the fight.” Unfortunately, it seems that Sia has traded some of her heart for the superficial pop hooks strewn about the album – the book’s cover may look nice, but the story inside just isn’t as engaging. (Continue Reading)



Love King

Street Date: 06.29.10

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Giveaway: Love King Vinyl and CD

The producer and songwriter behind such impossibly huge smashes as “Umbrella” and “Single Ladies” is 29-year-old Terius Youngdell Nash, AKA The-Dream, who insists on one of his third record’s best tracks, “I’ll never be a pop star, I’m too broke.” His oeuvre (and wide array of production and songwriting credits) begs to differ – Nash has released three well-received records under his nom de R&B since 2007, all following a common theme: 2007’s LoveHate, 2009’s Love vs. Money, and now 2010’s Love King. It’s the album he calls his best: in fact, he tweeted in mid-February, around the release of the record’s almost impossibly flawless eponymous lead single, that Love King was “deeper than space.” That might be a bit of an overstatement, but Love King’s 12 songs are incredibly diverse in vibe. (Continue reading)