Album Reviews (Quick Hitters) – Big KRIT, Paul Simon, Those Darlins, Childish Gambino

If ‘The Music Hoarder” was my baby someone surely would have called DCFS by now. It’s never too late to be a good parent, so here are some quick and dirty album reviews.

Return of 4eva by Big K.R.I.T.

KRIT is back with some killer album art and his sophomore release. And once again, it’s really solid. His laid back country ‘cool’ is something that few MC’s can match. True to his Southern form KRIT manages to keep ‘Return of 4eva’ from feeling rushed or overly busy, a remarkable feat for an a highly anticipated rap album. The whole thing has an ease and grace to it that is pretty refreshing during a time when a lot of rappers seem to just be forcing out single after single.

Listen to Sookie Now

Return of 4eva: 4 out of 5

Screws Get Loose by Those Darlins

If you haven’t heard Those Darlins yet, they are kind of like Best Coast if Best Coast was from rural Tennessee instead of Southern California. “Screws Get Loose” is a fun album that combines some of that rowdy and playful nature of garage rock bands like ‘Black Lips’ with a hint  of some of that rowdy and playful nature of  more ‘down home’ bands like ‘Old Crow Medicine Show’. In short, “Screws Get Loose” is a playfully sloppy homogeneous mix of a lot of what the American South has had to offer musically in the last 30 years or so. Line up the shots of Beam now.

Listen to ‘Be Your Bro’ here

Screws Get Loose: 4 out of 5

So Beautiful or So What by Pual Simon

Paul Simon is still making music, and apparently still captivated by a lot of those afro/world pop sounds that he made famous here in the US. Talent-wise, Simon has aged well. His voice is still as clear and soulful as ever and it’s comforting to hear. At times though ‘So Beautiful or So What’ seems a little tacky though. I’m not sure if the ability to write music like he used to is evading him or if it’s just that he’s writing music very much like…well, Paul Simon used to. Maybe this brand of folk can’t help but sound dated and sort of silly at times now when it’s presented to us as ‘new’. That being said he does pretty effectively play around with electronic folk elements in the opener “Getting Ready For Christmas Day”, and in a sense it’s probably better that Paul Simon is just being himself rather than trying to reinvent himself at this point in his career. While there are plenty of moments that just seem unbareably sweet on this one, at the end of the day any fan of Simon should be able to pull away at least a few tracks that put them in a good mood.

Listen to Getting Ready For Christmas Day

So Beautiful or So What: 2.5 out of 5

Freaks and Geeks EP by Childish Gambino

Easily the best release to date by the multi-talented Donald Glover. Never before has the sitcom star sounded this polished as a rapper. The ingenious lyricism and confidence was always there but the finished product always sounded just sort of like a goofy side project. “Freaks and Geeks” however, is  the full fruition of Glover’s skill-set as an MC. The samples now actually work to help embellish the verses, whereas before it often seemed like Gambino had to fight against the song he was using for a beat for control of the listeners ear. Like I said the lyricism hear is still top-notch, there is so much wit crammed into every verse it really keeps your brain on it’s toes while listening to it. Also there is a certain ferocity that Gambino spits with that really seperates himself from the other rappers of the ‘nerd-core’ alt hip-hop genre. Don’t let the voice and indie samples fool you, this shit is hard. If their is one minor complaint I have it’s that the subject matter has been just about the same on every album: ‘I’m multi-talented’, ‘I used to be a nerd’, ‘I bang a lot of hipster chix’ etc. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gambino branch out a bit in this department, but realistically if he keeps busting out quality tracks like the 5 on Freaks and Geeks, then I really can’t complain too much.

Listen to Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks: 4.5 out of 5

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