Category Archives: Album Reviews

2017 Albums of the Year: Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest

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The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.

The release day for Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Rest was one of the most exciting release days that I can remember. My friend and I were giddy on Messenger:

Me: Oh my god, the new Charlotte Gainsbourg…

Friend: Ahhhhhhh! I have been waiting for today. Just doing some grocery shopping and then will be cooking all day to it. Honestly, I believe it possible to be the best album of the year and I’ve only heard the one song.

Me: I’m only halfway through the album and I echo your sentiments completely.

Friend: Oh shit. I’m like 3 minutes from home.

**40 minutes later**

Friend: It’s a fucking masterpiece.

And it is. Gainsbourg’s breathy voice is magic on the opening ballad “Ring-a-Ring O’Roses”, but in no way seems out of place on more upbeat tracks like “Deadly Valentine” (above).

Like my friend said, it’s a fucking masterpiece.

-Michelle Farres

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2017 Albums of the Year: Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm

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The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.

We already reviewed this one back in August, and there’s little more that needs to be added. Several spins later, it’s still a dead ringer for The Weekend’s self-titled debut.

And we know for sure, now, that nothing could be more attractive in a song than another person’s relationship woes, either because of the kinship found in being able to relate, or the satisfaction of knowing you’re faring better (coupled with the comprehension that happiness is fleeting).

“Does it make you feel good to watch me stumbling in the dark?” It does, yes.

-Scott Bryson

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2017 Albums of the Year: Mura Masa – Mura Masa

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The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.

Mura Masa’s set was hands down the best thing at WayHome this year. Sure, there were also giant electronic artists like Flume, Justice, and Marshmello on what turned out to be the festival’s final line-up, but young Alex Crossan (he’s only 21) had the audience at the side stage of the Oro-Medonte grounds dancing like no one was watching. To be honest, it became next to impossible to bust out any of your best moves; it seemed like every attendee decided to cram into the smallest performance area of the festival to see what they were missing.

And what were they missing? An actual live performance, complete with Mura Masa on drums and live vocals. So rare in the electronic world!

Anyone who’s listened to the twice nominated 2017 release can tell you that it’s a strong contender for Best Dance/Electronic Album, and not just because it features artists such as A$AP Rocky, Charlie XCX, and Damon Albarn. From beginning to end, the beats are varied and the vocals diverse, but the consistency in quality is there. Not once is Mura Masa boring. Not once.

Still not sure if Mura Masa is for you? “But I haven’t heard anything from the album,” you may protest. Of course, you have; it’s hard to escape “Love$ick.” Have a listen. I promise it’ll sound familiar.

-Michelle Farres

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2017 Albums of the Year: Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure

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The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.

We already reviewed this one back in May, so we’ll keep this short.

Modern Pressure has aged well; it’s pretty clear now, that it’s Daniel Romano’s best work, though better will probably come. He just released two more albums, by the way [update: they were limited-time only releases and are now gone]. Dude is out of control, in a desirable fashion.

This one doesn’t let you rest. Tracks are bridged by mini songs and sitar jams. It’s the sound of Romano trying to bust himself and his music out of the Swedish cabin where it was recorded (“Roya,” above, was apparently named for an acquaintance there).

-Scott Bryson

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2017 Albums of the Year: Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions

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The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.

Canada has long been blessed with two of post rock’s finest acts: Toronto’s Do Make Say Think and Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Both outfits released wonderful records in 2017—GY!BE put out their 6th studio album, Luciferian Towers, and DMST released their 7th, Stubborn Persistent Illusions. Though both are great listens, Stubborn Persistent Illusions stood out.

In 2009, when DMST released Other Truths, those who follow them closely thought they might have reached the apex of their potential—perfection had been achieved. Following that, eight years of nothing from a band that released work every few years on average left fans wondering if they’d decided to leave on a high note.

Then came a new single in March: a powerhouse 12-minute-plus track titled “Bound and Boundless” (it was later split in two and placed dead centre on the new album). With this song in hand and a full-length set for May, many anticipated a heavier sound from the band. They were not disappointed.

Stubborn Persistent Illusions is packed with more punches than any other DMST record. The band went for shorter, beautiful and lusty songs that demand the listener not stray. The video for “d=3.57√h (As Far as the Eye Can See)” (above) is uncomplicated, and demonstrates how the mind can travel when truly absorbed by Do Make Say Think’s music, passing from narrative thought, to abstract imagery, to movement and space.

-Johnnysomebody

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Odonis Odonis – No Pop

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Yes, we brought up Daleks and Nine Inch Nails in our review of their last album, but there’s still no better way to describe the oppressive sonic framework that Odonis Odonis are currently operating within.

We’ll call this one the Dalek house party. Lyrical content is kept to a minimum—it’s meant to be felt as much as heard (your speakers will rattle and hum). It’s the kind of dance music Trent Reznor would be making today if he was still edgy and had a soft spot for Mr. Oizo. It’s reminiscent, as well, of certain portions of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR.

No Pop is sure to frighten small children and the elderly. The doom is palpable. Check out “Nasty Boy” below.

-Scott Bryson

 

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Echo of Pleasure

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The appeal of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s latest record—and of much of their last one too—is that every one of its songs sounds like the last song on an album: all the guitars, all the strings, all the keys, all the emotions, all thrown together in a looping, blissful climax.

How they can go all-in like that for nine songs straight (especially live) without exhausting themselves or listeners is anybody’s guess, but the appeal is tangible: it’s hard not to like these songs because they all appear so imbued with sentiment.

The only negative: the sometimes saccharine, always emotive vocals and lyrics may be a turnoff for those not used to them. Check out one of the disc’s less sugary tunes below.

-Scott Bryson

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