EP Review – form/a – Half Waif

form/a is an EP from Half Waif – the production name for musician and producer Nandi Rose Plunkett. Every reviewer/critic seems to place Half Waif in a different genre – EDM, electro-pop, avant-pop – but every critic I’ve seen seems to agree with my assessment – this is a really good EP from a promising artist.

At 6 songs and ~20 minutes, form/a is a meditation on self-doubt and personal history. The music is heavy on synthesizers and drum machine beats that serve to buoy a plaintive, airy voice above them.

I find the whole album to be hypnotizing, though it opens and closes with its strongest tracks, “Severed Logic” and “Cerulean”, respectively.

 

Recommendation: Buy It

Songs I have a play list for: Severed Logic, Wave, Frost Burn, Cerulean

Songs I will Thumbs Down: None.

Album Review – Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now

Jesca Hoop is an American singer/songwriter. Memories Are Now is her fifth solo album. The album is comprised of 9 tracks and runs a little over 40 minutes.

This record is not stylistically cohesive, relying on a thematic examination of lost love to hang together. It took me an unusually long time to decide how I felt about the album.  On first listen, several tracks were more distracting than interesting and it took several listens to get past that.

Hoop has a reputation for being experimental, so her fans will likely not find anything on this album out of sorts, but those who are not familiar with her work should plan on taking quite a while to digest this album.

There were songs on this album I just couldn’t get past because of stylistic choices. Simon Says and Unsaid both lose me because I lose the vocal underneath very dirty instrumental design.

Recommendation: Stream it
Rating: 6.5 of 10

Songs I have a playlist for: Memories Are Now, The Lost Sky, Songs of Old, Pegasi
Song I would thumbs down: Simon Says, Unsaid

Album Review – Spirit – Amos Lee

Spirit is the sixth studio album by Amos Lee.

Spirit feels like two EPs put on a single disk to me. Half of the album has a very strong R&B/Gospel feel to it, while the other half is the bluesy folk rock he is so very well known for.

That said, this album is filled with a number of excellent songs, signalling that his songwriting is still strong, even as he stretches himself out of the comfortable groove that has had him headlining for the last 11 years.

Recommendation: Buy It

Songs I have a playlist for: One Lonely Light, Wait Up for Me, Walls, With You

Clunkers I will thumbs down:  Till You Come Back Through

Album Review: Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is the creation of Michelle Zauner, lead singer from the indie rock band Little Big League. When she left Little Big League to spend time with her mother in Oregon during a fight with cancer, she gathered work to create a kind of low-fi album that winds up being part dream pop, and part the Sundays.

Zauner’s voice carries you through Psycopomp as she sings about loss, pain, and dependence. Her voice keeps you grounded in the seriousness against even the sunniest music on the album, and lifts you above the turbulence in the darkest.

Recommendation: Buy It

Songs I have a Playlist for: In Heaven, Jane Cum, Triple 7

Clunkers I will Thumbs Down: There aren’t any.