By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Just in case you'd been wondering how late-'80s New Order ripping off early-'90s My Bloody Valentine might sound, now you know: a gang of effects pedals jumping a wayward New Wave pop hook. Denim jacket not included!
Is it just me, or do the drums here actually resemble scissors being opened and closed? No matter, that's just another quirk this cute 'n' busy lil' indie single flaunts en route to taking over your iPod.
Though the boring, 24-karat opulence of Kingdom Come was without question a truer reflection of Shawn Carter's life these days, I'd much rather make time with the engaging "Blue Magic," wherein Hov holds forth on the finer points of crack preparation and actually sounds awake. The minimalist synth beat—courtesy of the Neptunes—sounds like something Clipse passed on, and is well-suited to "hard"-if-slumming assertions like "D.A. wanna indict me/'Cause fish scales in my veins like a Pisces."
I'm no proponent of "black sites," "indefinite renditions," or, you know, the alleged "techniques" used to elicit "confessions"—but if interrogators are bound and determined to use torture, why not simply bully detainees with a 24/7 loop of this abhorrent, so-called single? The mush-mouthed, brain-dead rhymes could do any sentient being in: "Watch me crank it!/Watch me roll!/Watch me crank dat soulja boy!"
Xasthur is the one-man black metal show of an unhappy guy who calls himself Malefic; he has a rare talent for turning his dark, stormy moods into harshly tuneful dirges. This one is typically overwhelming and well-orchestrated, piling doomy strings, keyboards, guitars, and Satan-only-knows-what-else atop deflating screams, suggesting a climactic demonic showdown at some haunted shrine or other.