This is going to be a new weekly feature on Live in Limbo, where we list some of the new releases of the week and offer a few mini-reviews of some the albums involved. Some weeks will be good, some weeks will be bad. That’s life sometimes. So, what happened this week? Below are a few of the albums that were released March 3, but let’s not forget that on March 2, Kanye West, the God of all that is good in the world, let us hear “All Day,” a track from his upcoming album So Help Me God. So help me, God, ‘cause this year, filled with new Kanye and new Drake before April even hits might just kill me.
Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste
FINALLY, a hard copy for Azealia. This album is superb, but a review is untimely, as the digital copy was released in November.
Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece
I didn’t like the lead single from this album, “Heartbeat Song.” I was like, chill out Kelly. I know you’re the only relevant winner of American Idol, but ever since Stronger, you’ve just been on some weird kick. Relax, girl. Have a glass of milk. Alas, my love for mediocre early-00’s pop music overthrows my disdain for early-00’s pop stars who cling desperately to relevancy, and I listened to the whole deluxe edition of the album. Honestly? It was a bit slow for me and I wasn’t feeling it. It did begin to grow on me towards the second half of the album, I’m probably going to only listen to it two more times and leave it at that.I think she’s trying to do something different with it, but still stay within the mindframe of Stronger, and it’s just.. it’s fine. Like I say about gluten-free pizza: It’s fine and really, that’s all it is.
Must-listen tracks:Run Run Run (ft. John Legend), Nostalgia.
Lady Lamb – After
Formerly Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, her second album is something special. I’ve seen Lady Lamb live once before, and though I never really fell into her music, the girl I’m seeing now LOVES her, so I thought I should give her a second chance. After is a lot more sultry and lush than her first release, Ripely Vine. It’s whimsical, pleasant, good enough. Her sophomore release shows maturity and growth in her sound, and her fun, folky use of instruments remains as unique as ever.
Must-listen tracks: Spat Out Spit, Penny Licks
Purity Ring – Another Eternity
Canadian electro sweethearts Purity Ring are at it again. Three years after the release of their debut, Another Eternity is another solid album. Admittedly, I never got that into Purity Ring the first time around. That being said, the cool vibes and sharp beats of Another Eternity are drawing me back in– a bit too late. The 10-song album is really quite wonderful. I always judge music based on two things: Can I fuck to this and can I drive to this? Perhaps the sex to this would be a little more intimate, but Another Eternity already makes a beautiful driving album, if you want to drive alone.
Must-listen tracks: Bodyache, Push Pull, Flood On The Floor.
of Montreal – Aureate Gloom
of Montreal have changed their sound pretty drastically throughout their existence. Aureate Gloom, their thirteenth work, is getting an official release March 3, although a digital download was made available on February 18. Man, oh, man, what is there to say about Aureate Gloom? The title kinda says it all– it’s somewhat gloomy and bleak lyrically, but definitely still stays within the realm of supernatural hunting music. Like many of Montreal releases, this one jumps from place to place, from upbeat beats to beachy rhythms without giving the listener so much as a second to understand the sudden shift. Ringmaster Kevin Barnes really has done it again, and you gotta love of Montreal for a) committing to the music and b) staying really goddamn weird. Must-listen tracks: Apollyon Of Blue Room, Estocadas.
Cannibal Ox – Blade of the Ronin
Underground hip hop duo Cannibal Ox haven’t released a full studio album together since 2001’s The Cold Vein, which blew away critics and thrust them into a spotlight not too far off from mainstream. Despite rumours that they were breaking up and solo albums, the duo decided that the “time was right” for them to bless hip hop lovers with a new Harlem-based LP. The 19-track Blade of the Ronin is dark and heavy, weighty but still reminiscent enough of their early-00s roots. Cannibal Ox know that The Cold Vein was the best they could do, so they didn’t try to do better with Blade of the Ronin. Both members have done solo stuff and some growing up in the 14 years they weren’t banding together, but the fact that Vast Aire and Vordul Mega came back together to try to do again what they did before is incredible in hip hop today, especially since 14 years is quite a long time to wait– and is accountable for many changes of sound in between.
Must-listen tracks: Blade (The Art of Ox)