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The Menzingers, Rented World

2014 | Label: Epitaph

The first song on The Menzingers’ fourth LP Rented World boasts a title so declarative and on-the-nose that it threatens to render the actual song redundant. Fortunately, “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” lives up to its billing — a raucous, raw-throated anthem that testifies to the redemptive powers of rock for the kind of people who see themselves in the Scranton band’s music. Who are those people? Well, note that “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” is an apology, not a promise. When Greg Barnett yells “BABY,… more »

Kelis, Food

2014 | Label: Ninja Tune

A few years ago, I spoke at an event called “Wine Unplugged” that filled the darkened meeting room of a casino with a wine tasting (reds, whites and bubblys); a Grateful Dead cover band; and a couple of writers well versed in matters of food and music. I was charged with explaining the similarities between wine and music to the audience, and I remember stammering through adjectives used to describe both — “full-bodied,” “tart,” “flowery,” “foul” — while the musicians stared at me with just enough ire to let… more »

Future, Honest

2014 | Label: Epic

In an interview for Complex in early 2013 (when Honest was still going to be called Future Hendrix, and was still coming out that year), Future discussed “dumb[ing] down” his music. “You’ve got to dumb it down for your audience so they can get it, can understand it and comprehend,” he insisted. For Future, Atlanta hip-hop’s current biggest hitmaker and premier Auto-crooner, this meant a more melodic sound, based as much in R&B as trap music, and remote from the rapid-fire battle rhymes on which he (as either “Meathead”… more »

Fear of Men, Loom

2014 | Label: Kanine Records

“We were born to name the beauty in this/ in the hopelessness of always wishing for something else.” So goes the last line of “Alta,” the 50-second introduction to Fear of Men’s Loom. Delivered coolly and sweetly by singer Jessica Weiss, the couplet serves as a thesis statement of sorts for the album, which dreamily romanticizes a suffocating relationship shifting from eerily comfortable to totally miserable.

“Waterfall,” the song emerging from “Alta,” sets up the record’s main metaphor, using the recurring image of rushing water as a mirror for love:… more »

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