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Alternative & Indie - Released November 18, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Pitchfork: Best New Music
After debuting his new project Blood Orange with a fairly straightforward chillwave/electro-pop album full of hooky, sexy songs that worked like a collection of great singles, Dev Hynes returned with a second album that was anything but straightforward. In fact, Cupid Deluxe is something of a hot mess. It's unfocused, sprawling, and so full of ideas that it never seems to settle in one place for very long, jumping from laid-back EDM pop to soft rock with sax balladry to '90s New Jack Swing to bleary hip-hop and back again. While it doesn't make for a smooth listen from beginning to end, Hynes and his expanded cast of collaborators (who include the ubiquitous Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, Friends' Samantha Urbani, Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth, and Clams Casino) hit enough highs to make the album worth trying to figure out. Even if one never does truly figure it all out, there is enough graceful melancholy and tuneful sadness on display to make the album a bracing, late-night listen with plenty of songs that will stick around in memory banks and on breakup mixes. The songs that work the best are the most focused, like "You're Not Good Enough," the jumping Afro-pop disco jam "Uncle ACE, and "Always Let You Down," where Hynes doesn't let the soft focus arrangements get in the way of the melodies. His oddball sonic choices, like huge-sounding gated drums, '90s TV theme keyboard settings, and Polachek's showy warbling also don't usually get in the way, though "Chosen" might give anyone who doesn't worship at the altar of Phil Collins some seriously queasy feelings. And "Time Will Tell" comes off like an unholy blend of Bruce Hornsby and mid-period Prince thanks to some stately piano and squirmy sexual come-ons. Some of his choices are fairly brilliant, too, like how "Clipped On" is a brilliant mashup of Naughty by Nature and PM Dawn, or how "On the Line" takes the electro-pop of the previous album, feeds it through cheap Casios and too many Seagram's Coolers, then ends up with the most emotionally powerful song on the record. It also features lovely vocals from Urbani, who proves to be the ideal duet partner for Hynes since her sweet croon matches his perfectly. In the end, the album's head-scratching moments are outweighed by the near-brilliant ones, those weird juxtapositions of styles and oddly emotional times that make everyone from Solange, Basement Jaxx, and Britney want to work with Dev Hynes. He's an artist with ideas and while they sometimes pile up and crash on Cupid Deluxe, it's always a spectacular crash, and that's something worth investigating. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 15, 2013 | Secretly Canadian

Booklet Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
After spending most of his career in music making gentle indie folk under his own name and slightly weird indie rock with his band Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple takes a total left-turn on his fourth album, Good Mood Fool. Recorded at a cabin in upstate New York with help from Mike Johnson on drums and Eliot Krimsky on synths, the album casts Temple as a crooner who hovers somewhere between Steely Dan and Billy Ocean on the smoothness vs. soul spectrum. The music the trio crafts is sophisticated and funky in a plastic, soft rock kind of way. On top of chunky beats, fat synth basslines, and shimmery keyboards, Temple's gliding falsetto swoops and stings as he leads the way through tales of love and late nights. It's a stunning reinvention and everything Temple tries here works out just right. He turns out to have a real knack for writing these kind of sophisticated and strange songs, and his voice is perfect for them, too. The album alternates between slowed-down ballads that let him stretch his vocals into the realm of quiet storm serenading, midtempo grooves that will get hips moving and temperatures rising, and uptempo tunes that have some really nice machine-made new wave bounce. The best of the bunch, like the gently bubbling, music-biz referencing "Those Kids," or the island-tinged ballad "Terrified Witness'," are both instantly familiar and just weird enough to sound inventive. In fact, that's a trick the whole album is able to manage as Temple proves to be expert at conjuring up the past, then twisting it to his own devices. Temple is very good at indie rock, and his indie folk was always pleasant, but he seems to have found his true niche on Good Mood Fool, and it's his first album to carve out territory that is unique and truly interesting. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 27, 2013 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Electronic - Released May 6, 2013 | Play It Again Sam

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
Even with a Mercury Prize nomination under his belt, London rapper Ghostpoet could walk through a crowd of music fans without notice and his albums don't land as much as emerge out of the mist. Maybe it's because his delivery is like Roots Manuva on sizzurp or that the lead single here is "MSI musmiD," which comes off as a Dali dream sequence directed by Man Ray, but deciphering Some Say I So I Say Light is certainly a joy for returning fans. Maybe the album's title references a desire to communicate something brighter or more "up," as the lyrics are more audible here than previously, or in the case of "Them Waters," it's the music that's luminous, as balloons of synthesizer sound pass before the sun as they rise toward the sky. "Plastic Bag Brain" is the ultimate example and towering highlight with its combo of indie guitar riffing, Radiohead keyboards, and crackable code (his brain wanders like a plastic bag blowin' in the wind), and here's hoping that "Dorsal Morsel" is Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" for the Wittgenstein set, because a mention of women's jeans, "popping like a Pringle pack," and "revel in the elegance" all seem to point toward it. At 12 tracks long, the album is right-sized and flows beautifully with guests Tony Allen, Woodpecker Wooliams, Gwilym Gold, and This Heat's Charles Hayward adding some new sounds for the rapper to flow over. With Richard Formby and the MC himself on production, Ghostpoet remains the most aptly named rapper in the game with his excellent sophomore effort. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 6, 2013 | 4AD

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 6, 2013 | Double Six Records

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
Anticipation built around the Child of Lov project when it was announced that the mysterious artist would be teaming with some of the hip-hop underground's finest, including iconic rapper MF DOOM, Flying Lotus bassist Thundercat, and Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz. In fact, by the time The Child of Lov was released, more was known about the guests' involvement than the artist pulling the strings. Fronted by previously unknown 25-year-old graphic design student Cole Williams, the songwriter's debut record proved to be more psychedelic than expected, even weirder than one would expect from the backing clientele. Stony, beat-heavy neo-soul is the main ingredient, with Williams' Andre 3000 falsetto twisting around fractured soundscapes built on stony studio experimentation. Gnarls Barkley's The Odd Couple and Gonjasufi's A Sufi and a Killer share a similar aesthetic, with oddly structured, detached compositions wrapped in slick production. Albarn's lush style and expansive arrangements bring to mind his work with Danger Mouse, and Williams' narcotic, bittersweet vibe -- paired with his fragmented way of piecing a song together -- makes for an outing that feels fashionable, but somewhat unsettling. The majority of the record is jam-packed with a trippy juxtaposition of horns, strings, guitars, and computerized hip-hop beats and basslines. So many competing sounds and ideas become a bit of a creative mess, and the dark mood of the slower songs "Call Me Up," "One Day," "Owl," and "Warrior" can feel oppressive at times. Luckily the final track, "Give It to the People" is a good-natured, "Crazy"-esque single that is upbeat enough to make the wade through the muck worth the effort. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 30, 2013 | Secretly Canadian

Booklet Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
Just when it seemed the wave of beachy bands that swept over indie rock in the late 2000s had finally crashed, along came Cayucas and their debut, Bigfoot. While Zach Yudin's deceptively innocent melodies and boyish vocals recall the likes of the Drums and Surfer Blood, his take on this sound is a little quirkier and more introspective; if those bands are frolicking in the sun and sand, then Yudin is lying on a towel reading a good book. Indeed, he took a fairly scholarly approach to writing and crafting Bigfoot's songs, culling samples from eclectic mid-20th century sources like the Animals and Harry Belafonte and piecing them together into collage-pop that was nostalgic for no time and place in particular, yet capable of evoking specific memories. With the help of producer Richard Swift -- whose own music shares a similar, vaguely retro but not too dusty feel -- Yudin replaced those samples on Bigfoot with original instrumentation that still has that vibe of rootless déjà vu (and at times, his fondness for catchy juxtapositions of nostalgic sounds and modern situations suggests a more laid-back, West Coast Vampire Weekend or a sunburned version of the Shins). Some of Bigfoot's previously released tracks remain standouts, particularly the calypso-meets-indie of "Cayucos," which Yudin was working on back when the project was still called Oregon Bike Trails; this homage to the kind of seaside resort town that comes alive for a few months and then exists as a memory for tourists is so evocative that it's easy to see why he changed his nom de musique to Cayucas. Likewise, "East Coast Girl" is another thoughtful vignette of vacations, expectations, and how they play out. However, Bigfoot has plenty of other charms over the course of its eight tracks: with its music box sweetness and old-school key changes, "A Summer Thing" could be the Beach Boys' version of "Sloop John B" played backwards; "High School Lover" feels like an update on the songs that bands played in the middle of '60s beach movies, but when Yudin tells a girl she should have been his back in high school, it shows that not all of Cayucas' nostalgia is sweet. Cheery in the moment but with a lingering poignancy, Bigfoot is a soundtrack to shared memories of summer, first love, and all the bittersweet things that can happen when those two meet. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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House - Released April 22, 2013 | Record Makers

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 8, 2013 | Matador

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 8, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic - Hi-Res Audio
After debuting in 2011 with the evocative If..., a largely orchestral, all-instrumental set inspired by author Italo Calvino's 1979 post-modernist novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones seemed poised to go the film score route, which he had shown interest in shortly after leaving his flagship band. Instead, he released the lovely A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart, an equally evocative, yet more traditional collection of songs that suggest what Nick Drake might have sounded like had he emerged in the early aughts instead of the late '60s. Measured, melancholy, and mysterious, Jones' debut as a singer/songwriter is as subtle as it is striking, skillfully marrying the sedate melancholy of Elliott Smith with the sly, darkly comic lyricism of the National. Recorded in his old childhood bedroom in his mother's house in Liverpool, A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart can feel a bit like an exorcism, and there's an extra shade of intimacy to stand-out cuts like the sad and sensual "Hanging Song," the wry, Luke Haines-inspired "You're Getting Like Your Sister," and the impossibly lonesome "There's a World Between Us," the latter of which is one of a few songs that threatens to break into Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" at any moment, but it never feels like a self-absorbed, autobiographical bore, as Jones' is an enigmatic enough narrator and a gifted enough arranger that what initially seems like ephemera turns out to be surprisingly affecting. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released March 22, 2013 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Rock - Released March 8, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 5 étoiles Rock and Folk - 5/6 de Magic - Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 5, 2013 | Tsunami Addiction

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Electronic - Released February 25, 2013 | XL Recordings

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 21, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic
A gentle giant with an unassuming voice and a knack for distilling New Orleans R&B, Tropicália, and '70s soft rock into a sweet and smoky, Southern-style indie pop confection, Richmond, Virginia-based singer/songwriter and arranger Matthew E. White's Hometapes' debut, Big Inner, is as frustrating as it is cosmically transcendent. Part Allen Toussaint, part Chico Buarque, and more than a little bit of Harry Nilsson, White's musicality (he moonlights as the leader of avant-garde jazz band Fight the Big Bull) is impressive to say the least, and stand-out cuts like "Steady Pace" and the nearly-ten-minute "Brazos" suggest a real musical awakening. The soulful, sultry opener "One of These Days" serves as a great litmus test for what follows, casting a languid spell over the listener with its measured, neo-soul build and lush ornamentations. In fact, White's arrangements (his string parts are pure, Sail Away-era Randy Newman) are so good, that it's tempting to write off the fact that his deadpan, pitchy delivery nearly sucks the life out of them. That said, fans of Arthur Russell, Fred Neil, Lambchop, and even the National may be more forgiving, as White's gift for sonic world building is on display throughout Big Inner's 40-minute run time, and while he may sound like a Donny Hathaway-obsessed, Palace-era Will Oldham, or an even less-interested M. Ward, his old-school affectations never feel like shtick. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2012 | Warp Records

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2012 | Secretly Canadian

Booklet Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
Luke Temple and company keep on their road with the band's third album, but Here We Go Magic just aren't quite living up to their name beyond familiar, ultimately less than inspiring moves. It's not that the bandmembers aren't trying -- more than once they almost suggest an inspired fusion of early Beta Band with Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead, if more straightforwardly rock-inclined than both. But when Temple's voice takes on more of a clear Thom Yorke quality as it goes -- "Alone But Moving" in particular is pretty much an overt tribute -- then sometimes the line between inspiration and tribute is effaced. The album does start promisingly: after a bit of moody murkiness in a brief piece appropriately and descriptively called "Intro," hearing them shift into a mood that sounds like Nick Drake getting quietly funky -- soft echoed vocals, bouncing bass, and a steady pulsing energy in the rhythms -- is a treat. Here We Go Magic move between more full-on hyperactivity in that vein from songs like "Make Up Your Mind" and "I Believe in Action" to the easier-going grooves of "Alone But Moving," but too often they don't do much with that. "How Do I Know" strikes one of the better balances between the band's two sides, driving and energetic while just a bit wistful, even as Temple's voice has a bit more of a clipped quality. Meanwhile, "Over the Ocean" isn't a Low cover but that might have been a fun curve ball, or at least a more distinct one. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 30, 2012 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 16, 2012 | Tricatel

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Album du mois Trax - 5/6 de Magic - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 9, 2012 | InFiné

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Hi-Res Audio