Music

#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

PJ Harvey | To Bring You My Love

February 10, 2019
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PJ Harvey had already infiltrated the mainstream by 1995, thanks to two of her early singles (“Sheela Na Gig” and “50ft Queenie”) earning medium rotation on radio stations. Her clanging punk-rock trio were just accessible enough to appease fans of Pearl Jam, but just weird enough to etch out a niche of their own. Harvey’s first two albums, Dry and Rid of Me, rock in a fairly traditional way — Rid of Me even features a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” as…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Music

Lost in Translation | The Foreign Music We Missed in 2018

February 8, 2019
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As we expressed in our other major 2018 catch-up feature, it’s a fool’s errand to try and cover every worthy release from a particular genre in a given calendar year. It’s even more absurd to try something similar for releases from every country — especially considering the wealth of rich musical traditions to be found all over the globe. But because world music artists have become ever more accessible, with the advent of streaming services, and received further attention from Western critics, we can’t help but bring attention to some of our own…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Madonna | Madonna

February 4, 2019
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A few months after the release of her self-titled debut, a then fresh-faced Madonna went on American Bandstand to perform one of her album’s biggest hits: the six-minute-long, infectiously breezy, post-disco odyssey “Holiday.” Dressed in all black and surrounded by an adoring audience, the “Detroit” native (she’s actually from Rochester Hills, which is located about 20 miles north of the city) gave an energetic performance that marked the first time many Americans got a glimpse of the soon-to-be megastar. In an…

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#ObscureObject by Will Rivitz Music

Kid Koala | Music to Draw To: Io

January 29, 2019
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Music to Draw To: Io is an hour-plus of carefully wrought, beat-light technical wizardry; it’s an album devoted to childlike wonder, so much so that it practically tells you as much in its title: “music to draw to.” As opposed to the more mature connotations of phrases like ‘making art,’ or even ‘to sketch,’ for these compositions, Koala wants you to know that he’s less concerned about rigid construction than he is interested in being exploratory.…

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#PopRocks by M.G. Mailloux Music

Future | Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd

January 28, 2019
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As far as contemporary pop stars go, Future was always somehow simultaneously the surest, and the least sure, bet: In the context of current rap, his success makes perfect sense, fitting right alongside Drake’s and Kanye West’s, two artist’s who’ve nimbly adapted to the shifting aesthetic trends in their genre. But Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn’s persona is different, and odd to evaluate — marked, on the one hand, by a sedated anti-charisma, and on the other, by a commitment to documenting his own life in such a way as…

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#ObscureObject by Michael Doub Music

James Blake | Assume Form

January 28, 2019
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James Blake sings the quiet parts loud; now a decade into his career, his arc is best charted through the evolution, and presentation, of his own introversion. Blake’s early EPs operated as soundtracks for solo clubbing, while his subsequent reinvention into a singer-producer captured conflicted internal monologues and ruminated on self-confessions.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Green Day | Dookie

January 27, 2019
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Before the eye paint, the brain-dead political anthems, and their embrace of radio-friendly sensibilities, Green Day was a raggedy assembled trio of stoner misfits with rockstar ambitions, similar to Hüsker Dü, and a sound in line with the Replacements. (Though lead vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong is more willing to credit Operation Ivy for their inspiration, a decidedly punk move if there ever was one.) Originally named Sweet Children, the group eventually known as Green Day formed when Armstrong and bassist…

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#ObscureObject by Tanner Stechnij Music

The Delines | The Imperial

January 25, 2019
The Delines in their rehearsal studio, Sept 2018. Photo by Jason Quigley

A rundown old car in a parking lot and two apartment complexes — one white, one a pale pink — are backdropped by an overcast sky. A rickety-looking telephone pole stands between them. This is the image used as the cover photo for retro-soul country outfit the Delines’ sophomore album, The Imperial, and it evokes the kind of melancholic nostalgia that the band summon here, conjuring images associated with eras passed but engaging in storytelling that’s refreshingly contemporary. The lyrics for this set come from…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Pavement | Slanted and Enchanted

January 20, 2019

Pavement’s debut album, a sui generis cornucopia of fuzz-box riffs and unwonted lyrics, opens with the best song the band ever recorded, maybe the best debut single of the decade: a three-minute, lo-fi emission of buzzsaw guitar and Dadaist lyrics (“My eyes stick to all those shiny robes / You wear on the protein delta strip”), a bold and…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Lust for Life | Iggy Pop

January 13, 2019
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The first of the two albums that Iggy Pop and David Bowie recorded during 1977, The Idiot is, in a sense, a David Bowie album, just one with Pop providing lyrics and vocals: Bowie dominated the production, sort of using the sessions as practice, honing the aesthetic that would later define his Berlin Trilogy. The Idiot almost feels like a proto-Low; each song is impregnated with Bowie’s embryonic, Krautrock-inspired style; the precise, almost mechanical instrumentation; the lacerating, laconic guitars; and the same sordid, insalubrious energy.…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Music

What Meek Didn’t Do. | The Rap Releases We Missed in 2018

January 13, 2019
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Trying to cover every rap album, mixtape, EP, collaborative project, and “selective playlist” released over the past year seems like a fool’s errand; in 2018 alone, between our monthly feature roundup of new rap releases, What Would Meek Do?; year-end listicles; and mid-year catch-up, we barely even scratched the surface. So, to play catch-up once more, your usual SoundCloud junkies Paul Attard and Joe Biglin are here joined by the rest of InRO’s staff to cover releases that Meek was never able…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Music Year in Review

Top Ten Songs and Albums of 2018

January 9, 2019
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The albums that defined the past year were projects that subverted typical genre norms and traditionalist views, making themselves hard to rigidly categorize in the process. With foreign influencers making waves across across a smattering of Billboard hit singles (more on one of the biggest from this year a little bit later) and the dominance of the ever-growing “playlist” mentality — cramming in as many wide-ranging music styles for maximum streams, i.e. Migos’ Culture II and Drake’s Scorpion — the push for the…

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