Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

frank-ocean-channel-orange2In a year that has seen the best of music so far, one of the most anticipated albums has been Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. In very little time Frank has grown into one of the more prolific singer/songwriters for not only himself but others in the music industry. Originally a member of the Los Angeles collective rap group Odd Future, Frank Ocean is perhaps not only the most appealing but also the most talented.

Frank first caught the attention of many in 2011 after the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra. Since then, the anticipation for his major label debut has been widely expected by plenty. Perhaps the most interesting part about Frank Ocean’s overall sound is the new wave of experimental R&B that he has crafted. Only really mastered by a few such as Frank Ocean and Canadian artist The Weeknd, Channel Orange brings forth the next evolution of R&B.

From the very start of the album that includes ambient sounds and a PlayStation start up, Channel Orange begins both mysteriously and unexpectedly. “Thinkin Bout You”, the second track and lead single, Frank’s euphoric voice accompanies a synth layer cycle with deep drum hits that make for a proclamation of romance. Other notable tracks include “Super Rich Kids” that has a feature from fellow OF member Earl Sweatshirt, the epic 10 minute stripper track “Pyramids”, the heavy organ oriented and heartfelt “Bad Religion”, and my favorite track from the album, “Pink Matter” which features a ridiculous verse from former Outkast member Andre 3000.

All in all, Channel Orange examines themes of lost love, drug abuse, and open sexuality but in a way that leaves the listener in a nirvana. Frank Ocean has possibly reached the closest thing to soul we’ve heard since Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder but with the futuristic production of today’s age. This just happens to sound perfectly. 4.5/5.

Recommended Tracks: “Pink Matter“, “Thinkin Bout You“, “Bad Religion.”

By: KRUA Music Manager Felipe Godoy


Christopher Smith – Earning Keep

earning_keep_coverEarning Keep, Smith’s full-length sophomore album, is set to release August 28th via Boompa Records. The album consists of an amalgamation of diverse, yet simple instrumentals eloquently mixed to create an ambiance, which is further fostered by Smith’s uncanny ability to project whispering vocals.

As my curiosity sent me down the rabbit hole, I discovered that prior to Smith’s musical endeavors, he spent most of his time working in the visual arts. This background enabled Smith the opportunity for his directorial debut with the album’s first music video ‘Pillars and Prye’. You can check out the video here.

Now if that sparked your fancy, then continue on with me down the rabbit hole. My next discovery sealed the deal. Check out this collaboration with fellow Vancouver musician and visual artist, Andy Dixon. You can listen to the ‘Pillars and Prye; remix here.

Christopher Smith’s talents seem unending and his ability to find range is personified on Earning Keep. The quickest way to see this, listen to the first track on the album ‘Settling Pitch’ then check out the last track ‘No Light Could Pass Through Me So I Have a Shadow’. All and all, an up and coming artist that is off to a great start and one I know I’ll keep on my radar. 4/5

Recommended tracks: ‘Settling Pitch’, ‘Pillars and Prye’, ‘Samson’, ‘No Light Could Pass Through Me So I Have a Shadow’ and although not on Earning Keep, if you haven’t already, I recommend you check out the Andy Dixon remix of ‘Pillars and Prye’.

By: Tracy Stewart


Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack White - BlunderbussSo how many of you listened to the White Stripes in high school? Yeah, I know they’ve never had a bassist and a lot of people aren’t big fans but don’t lie; you probably have caught yourself mumbling the bass line to Seven Nation Army a couple times in your young life.

Personally, I believe Jack White to be one of the most influential guitarists of our generation. I know that’s a bold statement but take a second and think about it, Jack White, John Mayer, and Dan Auerbach. That’s a pretty solid trio if you ask me.

Recently, Jack White released his first solo debut album titled Blunderbuss and it isn’t exactly your 9th grade White Stripes pop rock.

Recorded in Nashville Tennessee, there are influences of loud rock, country folk, R&B soul, gospel blues, and even some rapping on the album. While the lead single “Sixteen Saltines” is a fast paced pugnacious song with its aggressive distorted melody, the video is one of my favorites yet most disturbing things I’ve ever watched; you’ll have to check it out for yourself here.

As for the rest of the album there are other songs such as the much slower “Love Interruption” that features a duet with Ruby Amanfu and “Freedom at 21” which I’m almost certain White raps at one point but it actually works into the song quite well. Overall, you might have your opinions about Jack White and his music in the past, but those assumptions may soon come to an end with Blunderbuss. But then again you still might be confused at exactly which one of two was the guy in the White Stripes. 3/5.

Recommended Tracks: “Sixteen Saltines,” “Love Interruption,” “Freedom at 21.”


Papa – A Good Woman is Hard To Find

papa-a-good-woman-is-hard-to-findWelcome to another fun filled edition of the world’s most wonderful album reviews in all the land. All jokes aside, this week we’re reviewing Papa and their brand spankin’ new EP, A Good Woman is Hard to Find.

Right away there are two things that need to be said about this record. First, it’s amazing and second, it’s amazing. Although it’s only a minimal five tracks, they are truly five solid songs.

Papa is an alternative-indie band from Los Angeles consisting of apparently only Darren Weiss and Daniel Presant. While Weiss plays the drums and is also surprisingly the lead vocal (don’t see that combo very often), Presant manages the bass and background vocals. The rest of the band is made up by guest guitarist in each of their songs.

Right away influences of punk, blues, and even some late 60’s Mo-town feel are present in Papa’s sound making the album very distinct from other indie bands. The EP starts off with the lead single “Ain’t It So” which brings forth nothing but good summer vibes, catchy guitar riffs, and consisting head bobbing.

The rest of the album continues with “I’m The Lion King,” “Let’s Make You Pregnant,” and “Collector” which if had to be described would in essence be more vibes, riffs, and head bobbing. No joke. The last song on this EP and my personal favorite, “A Song for Mike Gigliotti” progresses the album to a very strong finish with the buildup of a powerful chorus. Although I have no idea who Mike is (I even tried Googling him) it can be immediately sensed that dedication towards him in this song is both heartfelt and emotional. Summer just started and if you’re looking for an awesome summer soundtrack you might of have just found your match, this record is honestly that good. 5/5.

Recommended Tracks: “A Song for Mike Gigliotti,” “Ain’t It So,” “I’m The Lion King.”


Beach House – Bloom

Beach House - BloomDuring my time at KRUA as Music Manager our staff has never been this ecstatic for the release of an album, so with great honor I bring forth Beach House’s Bloom. If you didn’t already know, Beach House is a Baltimore-based duo consisting of French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. In their short time together this twosomes of music genius have released an impressive catalog of what has been defined as their distinct sound of Dream Pop. While Scally arranges all the music and creates the illustrious vision of Beach House it is Legrand’s vocals (oh, her sweet vocals) that carries the listener through this astral journey. As the group has attracted and gained attention, Legrand’s voice has become almost iconic for her soft and sultry tone in her music that completely differs from so many in the music industry today. As for the album, Bloom starts right were their last album Teen Dream left off on an airy and atmospheric feel good music vibe beginning with the opening track “Myth.” As the album progresses a rather up-tempo sound is encountered such as in the songs “Wild” and “Lazuli.” By the end of the album one if left almost mesmerized by the soothing and ethereal melody especially with songs like “The Hours,” “Wishes,” and particularly the closing track “Irene.” If there had to be one criticism of the album itself, it would be the similarities between Bloom and their previous work. While there has no real evolution or bloom (no pun intended) in Beach House’s sound, some have gone as far as calling this Teen Dream 2. Meanwhile, I personally will continue to refer to this as Beach House 4 or by the album’s appropriate title, Bloom. 4/5

Recommended Tracks: “Myth,” “Lazuli,” “Irene.”


Mikal Cronin

Remember the first time you heard Mikal Cronin? Well, let me go back just a bit further. Remember the first time you heard Ty Segall and you were like “ooh, this is grungy, raw, and fun!”? Yeah man, well Mikal Cronin is right up the same alley. They’re best friends, after all. Earlier this year, he released his first full-length self-titled record, and of course it was excellent. Reminiscent of his bff Ty, the Beets and even Harlem, Mikal takes a sound that has been around for, literally, decades, and brings it back to current times, while also maintaining freshness. Take that, asparagus. All of this being said, Mikal’s Tide 7” is only 2 songs, but each one is quality. I mean, what kind of 7” would have more than 2 songs on it? Well, I guess it could, if the songs were short or if it were a large 7”, but then again, that would not even be a 7” at that point. All I’m trying to say is that on a scale of 1 to yeah-it’s-only-2-songs-but-7”s-are-fun, I give it a much deserved 8.

Recommended Tracks: “Tide” and “You Gotta Have Someone” (these are, literally, the only two tracks).


Yes Yes

yes yesUpon my first listen to Yes Yes, also known as Michael Ersing, I was instantly excited. Excited because he wasn’t putting out any dance music (and don’t get me wrong, I love love love me some dance music, but sometimes you just want to sit back in a hammock with a bowl of mango slices in your lap, basking in the sun, listening to sweet jams that would be appropriate for long road trips, campfire jams, and most activities that happen with 3 or more people in large, open fields. On his track, “beautiful&true”, I was instantly reminded of Chris Bathgate, yet more free. Ersing does not bind himself to any typical indie folk parameter; yet, he and what sounded like a pretty solid amount of friends of his sang, shouted, cooed and whistled to their hearts’ every desire! It’s inspiring! With a cadence and vocal tone similar to Conor Oberst, (minus the douchebagish vibe) Yes Yes (or Michael Ersing, if you would) takes a well known style of music, rejuvenates it, and makes you want to go out and have friends and be one with Mother Nature herself. Well done, man. On a scale of one to hot-damn-I-should-really-consider-wearing-more-hemp, I give this record an 8!

Recommended tracks: “beautiful&true”, “Shaking Wind”, “Ocean! Ocean!”


Ty Segall – Singles

For the past 4 years, Ty Segall has been doing what many artists with more time under their belts couldn’t: put out just about a thousand songs; each one being excellent.

Though he emerged to many with his 2011 record, “Goodbye Bread”, Segall’s been kicking around and kicking out jams since 2007. His signature lo-fi garage rock sensibility, Ty Segall’s Singles record perfectly showcases his best works over the years, despite leaving out songs from Ty Rex, his cover record of T. Rex songs. For those that are into Thee Oh Sees, Jacuzzi Boys, and Black Lips, Ty Segall is a must have to complete any decent garage discography.

Having always received great reviews from Pitchfork and other indie resources, his recent team-up with friend and musical cohort Mikal Cronin, has only solidified his sound, creating this odd super-duo of awesome (not to mention quite attractive) musicians.

On a scale of one to angst, I give Singles a solid 8, because it’s what Segall does best: he takes something simple and makes you dance/rage to it. What more could one ask for?

Recommended tracks: “It, “Son of Sam”, “Happy Creeps”, “Fuzzy Cat”


Eddy Current Suppression Ring – So Many Things

On the same order as the aforementioned Ty Segall, Eddy Current Suppression Ring (or ECSR for those who are too tied up with mouthfuls already) have released their fourth album, So Many Things; a compilation of their top songs off the other 3 albums. Having a more danceable garage rock feel to them, and also being lo-fi, they are not very comparable to Segall in many ways, but then again, who’s comparing? For those into Tyvek, the Intelligence, UV Race or Total Control (who actually feature Mikey of ECSR, and are touring with Thee Oh Sees, another complimentary band). Though they’re not very widely known, ECSR has been putting out the jams since 2003, but weren’t very substantial until about 2008. They skillfully brought back the raw emotion that this genre, which I would classify as old-school garage punk, has been missing for quite some time, and they do it very well. Interestingly enough, vocalist Brendan Suppression has this weird anxiety about performing, so he wears black gloves to counteract it. I don’t get it, but you know, I don’t question it.

On a scale of one to punch-you-in-the-breadbasket, I give this record a solid 7. It gets a little repetitive, but overall, it’s a fun record to jam to.

Recommended tracks: “You Don’t Care”, “It’s All Square”, “You Let Me Be Honest With You”, “It Ain’t Cheap”.

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Friends – I’m His Girl

Lately in music, there has been a weird flux in female artists with a lot of attitude (DOM, Twin Sister, Little Dragon, etc.) and Friends is no exception! Their debut, which is just a college sampler titled College Sampler is comprised of 4-songs, half of which are really good.

The first two, “I’m His Girl” and “Friend Crush” are fun, funky anthems of dating a guy, really being into him, but not really taking commitment too seriously. For example, on “I’m His Girl” – “So if you love someone, let them be free/I know I don’t want no one, suffocating me/Don’t settle for ownership, make a …/If you love someone, you should feel good to let them breathe”. Y’know, good ol’ fashioned fun relationships. Nothing wrong with that!

That’s basically what Friends is all about. Good times and fun beats. They’re very reminiscent of Cults on the first two tracks…however; things take an unfortunate turn on the last two. “My Boo” is a Ghostown DJs cover that Friends takes and transforms into a strange, out-of-tune, comfortable jam. I didn’t like it, but some may.

Finally, we have “Feelin’ Dank”, an odd song that is a lot of build-up and really no break down. It sounds kind of like a Best Coast song, just not as fun. It’s not that its bad. It’s just…not really complete, which could be because it is on a college sampler. It’s sort of like the spicy chicken strips on an appetizer platter. Someone’s going to like it; it’s just not for me. But overall this EP is solid. If you’re into Cults, Best Coast or DOM, you’ll really dig Friends.