Showing posts with label temples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temples. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

video review: 'hot motion' by temples

And here we go - a little disappointed with this one as a whole, but we'll see if maybe a few moments linger.

Next up, I'm feeling like some country, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

album review: 'hot motion' by temples

You know, this is the third time I've reviewed a Temples album and had the feeling that either everyone else is missing something in the experience... or it's just me and I'm maybe putting a band on a pedestal that doesn't belong there.

And that's a pretty rare thing for me - normally I'm confident when I praise an album I can point to exactly everything that works so damn well, and I'd like to say the same thing about Temples... but it feels a little less tangible with this band, especially as I've come down pretty heavily on blatant retro throwbacks with oblique lyrics before. Normally my answer has been, 'well, the compositions are so remarkably catchy and hook-driven to match a well-produced mix and underrated songwriting, that has to be it'... but outside of specific songs I don't tend to revisit Temples albums in the same way I do other acts I've praised to hell and back... until I put together end of the year lists and enjoy them back to front all over again! And while a bunch of musicians tend to agree with assessments of this band, a lot of critics don't - pretty consistently too, especially coming on their pop pivot with Volcano in 2017 that I loved just as much as their 2014 debut. So yes, I was setting myself up to adore this album and probably make many of the same defenses, even if this time it looked like critical reception was harsher than ever, but screw that: how was Hot Motion?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

the top 25 best albums of 2017 (VIDEO)

Well, nearly forgot about this one... but not to worry, it's still here. Enjoy!

Next up, the debut of The Trailing Edge - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2017

Of all the years I've put together year-end lists for albums, this might be the hardest it's been - and believe it or not, it's for the best possible reason: I covered an abundance of incredible music in 2017, arguably more than I ever have before! Even though I didn't give out any perfect scores, this year showed multiple genres giving us the goods, from a revitalized rock scene to several country gems to underground hip-hop making a major resurgence to pop putting forward its best showing in years - and that's not even getting to the genre-defying oddities that utterly blew my mind!

But what this also meant were cuts... in a year where I could put together a top 50 and still feel like I'm leaving stuff off, this was particularly brutal. Once again, I was very tempted to expand this list, but again, I'm highlighting the best of the best, and that means while these could have made it in a weaker year, for 2017 they didn't cut it. I won't deny that hip-hop got hit hard in this, as I really wanted to include records from Quelle Chris, Jay-Z, milo, Armand Hammer, Tyler the Creator, Rapsody, Yelawolf, and yes, Kendrick Lamar on this list and I can't. And queue the outrage by everyone that DAMN. is not making this list, but considering there are  five hip-hop records that beat him out to get here, there isn't room for complaining. And I don't want to hear anything from the indie set either than Father John Misty, Kirin J. Callinan, Spoon, The xx, St. Vincent, and Alvvays missed the cut too - all great records, to be sure, but not quite good or consistent enough. Honestly, the most painful cuts for me came in rock - where Creeper, Chelsea Wolfe, and Ayreon all missed it - and especially country, where Natalie Hemby, Angaleena Presley, Dori Freeman and Chris Stapleton all didn't make it - again, great albums, but limited slots. Finally, we have three records that would have sparked controversy had they landed on the list so there is a part of me they just missed the cut: Jhene Aiko, Brand New, and Niall Horan - although there is another part of me that would love to see everyone's expression if Niall made my year end list and Kendrick didn't.

But again, those are my Honourable Mentions... and now onto the list proper.

Friday, June 30, 2017

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2017 (VIDEO)

And there is THAT weight off my shoulder. Whew, ton of work to get that out... and yet it's not over, as I've got another special video dropping soon, so stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2017

There have been a lot of people who have said that 2017 has not been a good year for music, on the charts or otherwise... and from a certain point of view I can see it. Hip-hop in particular has had a really rough past few months, and between pop stars flopping, mainstream country continuing to spiral, and entirely too many records from established acts not living up to their potential, indie or mainstream, I can see why people are calling 2017 a disappointment.

I can also say that I don't buy it for a second, because for me, 2017 has been awesome. I already have plenty of songs to line my list of the best hits, and going into this point at the midyear, I have more records that I've scored 9/10 than ever before. Granted, it also seems like one of those years where the critical darlings aren't quite crossing over in the same way, and if you haven't heard of most of my favourites, that would be why - and that's not even counting the stuff I had to cut, and man, there were a few rough choices there. I think part of this comes from Patreon helping to shape my requests - once the scheduling got figured out as part of this experiment, things began to click and I started covering a lot of stuff I really loved. 

So you all know the drill by this point: twelve albums in order - an order that could shuffle by the end of 2017 - twenty-four songs in chronological order of my reviewing them (yes, I'm expanding the list, it's that kind of year), and keep in mind that if they don't make this list they've still got a real shot for the list at the end of the year, so let's get this started with...

Friday, March 10, 2017

video review: 'volcano' by temples

I'm not sure anyone should be surprised that I loved this, but there's a part of me that still kind of is. I mean, it's ridiculously fun and smart and nuanced, what's not to love?

Anyway, Little Big Town is up next, so stay tuned!

album review: 'volcano' by temples

You know, if I were to characterize nostalgia among most music critics, I'd say most that it's inconsistent. We appreciate acts that pay tribute to the past, but we don't them sounding too close to that sound or they just become imitators. We like winking references... to a point. We tend to love musical subversions and deconstructions of certain antiquated genres and styles, often at the expense of the song structures and sounds themselves, but if an act earnestly tempers or refines similar sounds and material, they're 'stuck in the past'... unless it happens to be a sound we like, and then we'll throw all the praise in the world at them.

And look, I'm not going to say I'm immune to these trends, but if you want to see a band that divides a lot of music critics on this line, it's the UK psychedelic band Temples. Their debut album Sun Structures was very plain in its worship of mid-to-late 60s psychedelic pop, and yet it divided a lot of critics, a significant chunk saying that they weren't really doing that much to differentiate themselves from their forebears. And of the surface, I'd mostly agree with that, if you're fond of that particular sound they're an easy sell - and yet it was the details in the writing and the thicker punch in their production that pushed that debut up several notches for me. Yeah, I could see the callbacks to T-Rex and The Byrds, but there was enough between the lines in the melodic composition and writing make them feel distinctive. You could make disparaging comparisons to Foxygen or Tame Impala all day, but Temples knew how to structure hooks and cohesive songs, and unlike Kevin Parker they could write lyrics that weren't utterly insufferable.

But now we have the follow-up three years later, and while a good retro interpretation can have a lot of mileage on a debut, following it up and keeping things unique and interesting is tougher - and yet with that in mind, I still had high expectations for Volcano, even despite critical reviews that were, once again, all over the map. But did Temples stick the landing?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

Holy shit, this video took hours. Really happy with it... except for some of the volume levels on the music, but that was such a pain in the ass to get right that I'm fine with where they are.

Next up, Mastodon. Stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

I've been debating with myself pretty consistently over the past few weeks whether or not to make this. It's a pretty common thing with critics to take stock of their favourites at this point of the year, and considering I've covered 108 albums thus far this year, in terms of sheer volume it'd make sense for me to go back and take stock of what I've heard and what deserves consideration going into the second half of the year. And while I'm leery about spoiling my year-end list, long-time fans will probably be able to figure that out anyways, so why not go the extra mile and draw a spotlight to some acts that are definitely worth the consideration. 

So without further ado:

Monday, February 10, 2014

video review: 'sun structures' by temples

Well, this was a welcome surprise. Man, this was a phenomenal album.

Next up will probably be Crosses... and then Eric Church. Strap in, folks, it's going to get interesting.

album review: 'sun structures' by temples

It's common practice in today's age of ubiquitous marketing that whenever there's a new movie coming out, the actors in that film pull double duty and appear on the talk show circuit to promote the film, whether it be great or terrible. And at this point, I'm honestly bewildered at why anyone would buy into that style of promotion - not only is it blatantly direct marketing, most of the actors involved seem to be exasperated to be doing it (see Bruce Willis' breakdown on live British TV regarding A Good Day To Die Hard - and having seen that POS, it's not hard to see why). I mean, the actors have a stake in the film, why the hell should anyone buy into their assertions that the movie is worth seeing instead of, say, the critical press?

But let's take this a step further: what happens when you get celebrity endorsements for acts where there's no connection between them whatsoever? Well, to place stock in that sort of endorsement, I'd argue that it'd come down to the expertise said celebrity brings to the table. For instance, I got a comment when I reviewed Young The Giant's Mind Over Matter that my opinion was somehow invalid because Morrissey liked that album - and on the face of it, it's a hard argument to beat. Morrissey is a critically-acclaimed musician with decades in the industry, so why shouldn't his opinion be held higher than mine?

Well, I could easily point out the long list of things Morrissey likes that are garbage and the even longer list of things Morrissey hates that aren't worth hating, but instead I'd like to take the high road and talk about a debut album endorsed by a member of The Smiths I can tolerate. This brings us to Sun Structures by the band Temples, a psychedelic rock act that has been acclaimed by Johnny Marr and Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher as one of the best new bands in England. Now that's high praise from two of the most influential names in English rock in the past thirty years, but even on that note I was skeptical. Celebrity endorsements might be indicators of quality on a roughly defined scale, but everyone has different tastes, and I'm not going to be a hypocrite and parrot the praise of legends without giving the band an evaluation myself and discovering why I might like or dislike the band outside of additional press. So, what did I think of Sun Structures by Temples?