Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter IV Album Review

Lil’ Wayne‘s been at it since the late 90’s when he was 15 and in the rap group The Hot Boys. He a classic example of a musical workaholic, he needs the spotlight like Lindsay needs a fifth. It comes as no surprise that his latest Tha Carter IV was announced for release out of nowhere, when fans had not been expecting it for months.

The album was meant to come out at midnight, tonight after the MTV Video Music Awards, but was leaked onto various torrent websites a few days ago. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Weezy is no stranger to leaks, he’s been a favorite target for internet pirates since Tha Carter III, and everything in between…

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Game – The R.E.D. Album Review

Notable West Coast-revival rapper Game (formerly The Game) is the proud father of a fourth CD, his first since 2008’s LAX. With his tattoo-body advertising (Converse, Hurricane Shoes, Dodgers) multiple arrests and Grammy nominations, Game is looking to regain the spotlight, though perhaps it is a spotlight he never really had.

While he may have been certified platinum for his well-respected debut The Documentary, his level of recognition has not spiked since. He looks to do just that with The R.E.D Album, his first album to be released when he himself is not surrounded by controversy – whether it be assault charges, lawsuits or beefs with other artists. The question is, does he have “the game,” to be successful without all the non-musical hype?

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Hard-Fi – Killer Sounds Album Review

British rockers Hard-Fi are hardly known for originality, but then again neither are Kaiser Chiefs or The Bravery. It only means that they are easy to listen to, the word “fun” comes to mind. UK house parties, lager, whatever. Hard-Fi stepped foot onto the indie scene modestly with their 2005 debut Stars Of CCTV. (after the popular English news source)

They held attention spans firmly with songs like “Cash Machine” and “Living For The Weekend.” Lack of funds and everyday-man woes became a popular lyrical theme in their cymbal-happy post-punk revival. They’re now back with a versatile third album, Killer Sounds, which dropped in their native hierarchical land on August 19, 2011.

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The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn Album Review

Subscribers of Rolling Stone magazine may have noticed an overwhelming amount of promos for their “choose the cover” contest that went on for several months. Out of 16 unsigned bands, The Sheepdogs, with their long hair and soulful guitar driven-folk came out on top. Over one and a half million votes were cast online and this Canuck foursome landed not only the cover of RS issue number 1137 on August 5th, but an even more significant prize, a contract with Atlantic Records.

Before their good fortune and talent won them this amazing opportunity, Sheepdogs were typical struggling artists. Lead singer Ewan Currie told Rolling Stone in their recent interview simply that, “Shit was bleak.” Fortunately their demo was submitted in consideration for the contest, and voila, here there are. The Saskatoon natives have already achieved what many bands could only dream of, appearing on late night shows like Jimmy Fallon and performing at Bonnaroo music festival.

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Kaiser Chiefs – The Future Is Medieval Album Review

Kaiser Chiefs burst onto the scene around the same time as heavyweights like The Killers, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Their hit single “I Predict A Riot” infiltrated alternative stations nationwide, they were one of the major bands that brought us that super popular punk-influenced-drunken-indie-party-music. Loud and immersive yet simple. Their next CD after their 2005 debut Employment, 2007’s Yours Truly, Angry Mob was equally excellent and less recognized by the masses. In fact, by the time their third effort, the slightly inferior Off With Their Heads dropped, people had practically forgotten about these UK natives with their sharp-wit, and steady passive-aggression.

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Liam Finn – FOMO Album Review

Liam Finn hasn’t quite achieved the respect or fame that he might deserve, though something tells me that might not bother him as much as other artists. He is the son of one of the best pop singers of all time (Neil Finn of Crowded House) but more importantly, he is a sturdy songwriter and studio perfectionist. Finn hails from New Zealand, has toured internationally for his first solo album, I’ll Be Lightning, and has just unleashed upon us his second shiny LP entitled FOMO.

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Cults – Cults Album Review

Remember these two names, firstly, Madeline Follin, second, Brian Oblivion. These are the sole members of a shy NY group called Cults, a group with a “cult” following sure to grow into a full-fledged mania of devout hipsters in no time. You can hardly throw a discarded walkman into the music world without hitting some new band who are adorably capable of recreating sensory 60′s euphoria. Among them are notables such as She & Him, Best Coast and The Raveonettes.

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The Japanese Popstars – Controlling Your Allegiance Album Review

Want to hear Robert Smith lending his vocals to a flawless electronic haze? Do you want an opening track that leaves an impression that is not only a memory but a physical dent in your brain? Do you want to forget about your mortgage, your kids, your sweaty overweight girlfriend, your college loans, your every vice and obstruction and lack of motivation? Fret not, sweet things, The Japanese Popstars have a cure for you.

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Cut Off Your Hands – Hollow Album Review

Auckland, New Zealand, City of Sails, home of the Sky Tower, various volcanoes and rugby. Not to mention the band Cut Off Your Hands, which I used to confuse with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and in turn Does it Offend You, Yeah? Both great indie bands in their own right, though out of the three, Cut Off Your Hands is the most relatable.

Singer Nick Johnston has more than just brooding good looks on his side, he’s got the versatile vocals to match. The soothing side of Robert Smith and the lighter side of Ian McCulloch, with that familiar but never tiring indie kick to it. Cut Off Your Hands are now on their second album, and first since 2008′s You and I. The sophomoric effort from this kiwi quartet, Hollow, is a step down in pace from You and I, though never a step down in quality.

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The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Album Review

Brand new onto the indie rock scene, The Vaccines, a four-piece hailing from London, debuted their very first album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? on March 14th. A 33 minute long musical tapestry sure to land them on many prestigious top band lists of 2011. The Vaccines might be this year’s Phoenix, but they possess a less tightly wound style and it’s not hard to tell that their CD was recorded in only two weeks.

What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Has a rough-around-the-edges punk quality, as if there was a large hole in the recording studio wall and a small fraction of the music drifted outside. Of course you can be sure this is not the case, sounds like this are largely intentional and wonderful.

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SBTRKT – SBTRKT Album Review

Aaron Jerome’s second full-length album, and first under the name “SBTRKT” (pronounced “subtract”) is an explosive contribution to the loosely-defined dubstep genre. Part Massive Attack, part Tricky part something you’ve never experienced, Jerome worked previously as a producer, remixing for friends and underground artists around the world such as Zap Mama, Nicole Willis and Bugz In The Attic. On this self-titled work, the UK-based DJ teams up with a variety of singers with Sampha representing the male aspect and Jessie Ware, Roses Gabor and Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon representing the female side.

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