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“I’m so accustomed to flames I couldn’t tell you it’s fire.” It’s a considerably ambitious line from Brockhampton’s opening track “NEW ORLEANS” for their fourth studio album, iridescence. The highly anticipated record serves as the boy band’s major label debut for RCA, after a whirlwind year following last year’s “SATURATION” trilogy. Released via Question Everything/RCA, the album spans fifteen tracks, recorded in a window of ten days at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The real question is: Does this body of work actually hold up aside from fan attention and praise? This record is one that puts you into the band’s mindset. You feel their high points and their low points, and even some non-categorizable points, like the transition from “NEW ORLEANS” to “THUG LIFE.” These two songs are practically fraternal twins in sound — the only thing holding them together is Brockhampton’s self-sample of Bearface’s “NEW ORLEANS” verse. The…

Post-Pop Depression, Iggy Pop’s latest record, is one of the aging enfant terrible’s most substantial albums in years. Now three decades older since the release of Raw Power and Lust for Life, Iggy has built an extensive – if spotty – catalogue since his 1969 debut with The Stooges. During the early stage of his career, he was an innovator and a furious leveler, reducing rock to its fundament with music of brutalizing power. 1970’s Fun House, a violent maelstrom of noisy punk jazz, was an early indication of his impish creator-destructor persona. The anemic depression of his 1977 solo debut, The Idiot, which was produced collaboratively with the late David Bowie, marked a sharp turn toward darkness of a different order. In keeping with its Dostoevsky-inspired title, The Idiot was a cavernous, electronic venture into existential despondency. Recorded in Europe around the same time as Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, the…

“Miley, what’s good?” jabbed a ferocious Nicki Minaj on stage at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards after recent comments Miley Cyrus made about Minaj to Vanity Fair. The answer is not Cyrus’ album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, which was surprise-released at the end of the awards ceremony on Aug. 30. In an attempt to out-Beyoncé Queen Bey herself, Cyrus joined the wave of artists (Drake, Skrillex, D’Angelo, U2) dropping their albums with no prior warning. In a surprising change of pace, however, the album was made available for free to everyone with access to the Internet via Cyrus’ own website. A surprising move on the part of Cyrus, considering she is signed to a major label, RCA Records, and is undoubtedly tangled in contracts controlling her musical output and ensuring a hefty profit. That is, until the listener presses play, and it becomes very clear why the…

Mac is Back, and this time he’s signed to a major label. In late 2014, rumors circulated that Mac Miller had signed a multimillion dollar deal to Warner Bros. Records. The deal was official and his long awaited album GO:OD AM will be officially released on September 18. Mac Miller announced he’d be hosting a five-day album release festival in his hometown of Pittsburgh, right before starting his 60+ show tour with stops in a long list of cities in between New York and Los Angeles, with detours to Belgium, the UK and Netherlands. Warner Bros. Records has a lot of faith in Mac Miller as a future star, so how does Mac Miller’s debut album with the record label measure up to the hype? GO:OD AM’s biggest strength could be its biggest weakness — it’s different than what Mac Miller fans are used to. The success of the album…

It’s been almost one year since Damon Albarn perceived today’s society as “everyday robots on [their] phones/looking like standing stones/out their on our own.” Albarn has been a keen observer on how new technology has alienated those around him, connecting the world online but isolating them in real life, as was the subject of his 2014 solo record Everyday Robots. Albarn has always mocked and mused on the world whether it was on his own, behind his cartoon rock band Gorillaz or with his original wrecking crew Blur. Albarn’s current theme of social distance via touch screen has apparently rekindled the fire between the quirky English quartet with the evidence being the band’s first album in 12 years (or 16 in guitarist Graham Coxon’s case, as he left the band during the sessions for 1999’s 13). Then again, it’s very hard to find Blur on The Magic Whip because Damon…

Lupe Fiasco spent some time being a misunderstood figure in the hip-hop community. While he was trying to portray himself as a pseudo-intellectual artist, tackling complex social issues, the genre was evolving, becoming what it is today. After his critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Cool, Lupe’s work failed to connect with the audience he was trying to reach, causing his limelight to dwindle for some time. LASERS was a project that did not match Lupe’s style of hip-hop while Food & Liquor 2 had an overwhelming number of Lupe-like ideas that failed to synchronize. However, Lupe’s latest release, Tetsuo & Youth, is an album that seems to have finally found balance between conscious hip-hop and a well-executed concept. The first track, titled Summer, is a minute and a half long instrumental.  The next track, Mural, starts with a light setup of vocals and a sample with jazz drums before Lupe…