Review: This Is All Yours by alt-J

This Is All Yours by alt-J“Pastoral” is not an adjective I would use to describe an alt-J album, but that is the first thing that came to mind after first hearing This Is All Yours. The English band’s sophomore album still has – still is – subdued electronica and a hint of melody that makes things accessible. But the record feels more organic, more natural, and more playful, like the guys eased up on the tension (which is what An Awesome Wave felt like at times) and just got down and made music. The result is an interesting mix of typical alt-J (“Hunger of the Pine”) and warmer-than-usual alt-J (“Warm Foothills” and “Left Hand Free”) that manage to be more compelling than their previous work. No sophomore slump here. You might have assumed that the band could only do much to their sound, but then they outdo themselves. [NB] 4/5

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Swap week one, day five: Rainy takes on Paolo Nutini

“Iron Sky” by Paolo Nutini | Another stranger. “Scottish singer-songwriter, who began in your typical singer-songwriter style before going all-out R&B,” Niko told me. This was apparently from his album Caustic Love, which did nothing but remind of The Simpsons. Caustic. Bob. Kostic? The album is nothing like The Simpsons though. He’s always angry! Nutini’s bitter vocals in this track is perfect for when you’re getting drunk in a bar somewhere. Alone. Without any friends to talk to. Not even the bartender… [RM]

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Swap week one, day four: Rainy takes on Kishi Bashi

“Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!” by Kishi Bashi | “Ha! Oriental flavor!” It kinda helps that I’m eating instant ramen right now, as in right now, as I type this. I’ve never heard of Kishi Bashi. And now that I think of it, Swap Week isn’t a good idea after all. I feel stupid. Kinda. I shouldn’t, should I? Now I feel shallow. Kidding. I’m pretty glad we started it. I get to know about more artists (and feel stupid for real? noooo) that have been pretty much obscured from my ears for years. So this was originally composed for a mobile phone ad. I wonder why they didn’t push through? It would’ve been nice, I guess. [RM]

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Swap week one, day three: Rainy takes on Gin Wigmore

“Hey Ho” by Gin Wigmore | I have never heard of Gin Wigmore before, not until Swap Week. “Hey Ho” is very soundtrack-y for me, but not in a bad way. It reminds me of those movie montages where the protagonist finally decides to transform into some cooler version of themselves, complete with short funny scenes, sunglasses and funky dance move here and there. Okay, now that I think about it, it does seem a bit tacky, my montage. Ugh. I’m pretty sure decent filmmakers can give you a better picture. No pun intended. But hey where’s the pun in that? No pun intended. [RM]

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Swap week one, day two: Rainy takes on tUnE-yArDs

“Water Fountain” by tUnE-yArDs | First thought was, “heyyy this sounds so familiar!” I’m not quite sure but I believe I heard a hip-hop song from a black artist with a very similar tune in the chorus before. Enlighten me? It’s on the tip of my tongue but I caaan’t name the song. Or the singer! [RM]

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