Album Reviews

a compilation of album reviews written by our staff!
Remote by Wallows album cover art

“Remote”

by Wallows

Album Review by Grace Stoler

Wallows is an alternative/indie band composed of Dylan Minnette and Braedon Lemasters on vocals and guitar and Cole Preston on drums. Their brand new EP “Remote” was made available on all platforms on Oct. 23, 2020. Although Dylan Minnette has been Wallow’s main focus since the band formed in April 2017, shortly after his starring role in the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”, Remote manages to show off each member’s individuality and talent, while still maintaining their band’s soft pop / rock sound.

songs by Adrianne Lenker album cover art

“songs”
by Adrianne Lenker

Album Review by Carissa Marques

There’s something about a deep breath of mountain air that feels healing to one’s body and mind. Adrianne Lenker’s new album, “songs”, evokes that exact same feeling through music. The former Big Thief front woman released this solo piece on October 23, 2020 with an accompanying album “instrumentals” that’s a collection of her guitar playing and nature sounds. 

Moveys by Slow Pulp album cover art

“Moveys”

by Slow Pulp

Album Review by Carissa Marques

With all the chaos that has unfolded this year, music has acted as a soothing pastime  throughout the months. Chicago indie rock band, Slow Pulp, shares that calming sound in their recently released album.

The band is made up of four Wisconsin natives: singer and guitarist Emily Massey, bassist Alex Leeds, drummer Teddy Matthews, and guitarist Henry Stoehr.

“Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was” by Bright Eyes

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Indie-folk legends of the early 2000s, Bright Eyes, released their first album in almost a decade: Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, on August 21, 2020. Older millennials would recognize the lead singer, Conor Oberst, from not just Bright Eyes, but his punk band, Desaparecidos, as well. Younger people might be more familiar with his work with Phoebe Bridgers in Better Oblivion Community Center. This album evokes all kinds of nostalgia while also concentrating on heavy themes like loss, depression, and change.

“Chewing Cotton Wool”
by The Japanese House

Album Review by Carissa Marques

The Japanese House is an indie-pop band from England featuring musician and singer, Amber Mary Bain. They released a four-track EP called, “Chewing Cotton Wool” on August 13. Bain only has one full length album out, but their synth-pop sound can be heard in these latest tracks. If you’re a fan of The 1975, you’ll enjoy The Japanese House. In November of 2019, they actually played at a local venue, Jack Rabbits Live!

“Cody”
by Joyce Manor

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

Cody is the fourth studio album by punk band Joyce Manor, released in October of 2016. It’s a remarkable departure from their previous work — while past albums were more traditional to old-school punk music, Cody is sleeker, cleaner, and admittedly more reflective than its predecessors. Joyce Manor is still just as angsty as they were in 2011, but the angst is more mature and “adult” sounding than any of their past releases.

“What Could Possibly Go Wrong”
by Dominic Fike

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Dominic Fike, a Florida-native from Naples, released his first full length album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, Friday, July 31, 2020. The long-awaited album has been in the works over the last three years. In the past, Fike has worked with artists such as Kevin Abstract, Yeek, Omar Apollo, and Kenny Beats. This album was produced by Julian Cruz and The Roommates. It reflects on themes of the realities of fame, the importance of family, and all the other experiences with drugs and love in between.

“boygenius”
by boygenius

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

Boygenius is an alternative super-group consisting of musicians Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers. Their self-titled debut EP was released on October 26th, 2018. Though each member was already well-established in their individual careers at the time of the EP’s release, their talent truly shines when they come together. Each member brings their own stylistic flair to the table in order to create a dynamic, beautiful piece of alternative-folk music.

“Folklore”
by Taylor Swift

Album Review by Carissa Marques

An icon of the last two decades, Taylor Swift, announced the release of her eighth album, folklore, just a day before it came out. The country-turned-pop singer surprised fans with a more alternative-folk sounding album on July 24, 2020. She worked with producer Aaron Dessner from “The National” to write these songs over the last few months of quarantine. Jack Antonoff from “Bleachers” also helped with the instrumentals and production.

“Clarity”
by Jimmy Eat World

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

Clarity is the third studio album released by Jimmy Eat World — an album that resulted in the band being dropped by their record label in 1999, but is now considered to be one of the greatest emo records of all time. Though most know the band from their 2001 release Bleed American, the true scope of their talent is most prevalent in Clarity. With introspective lyricism and dynamic instruments, this album is a genre-defining, must-listen for any fans of emo, pop-punk, or alternative music.

“Lianne La Havas”
by Lianne La Havas

Album Review by Carissa Marques

British soul-singer, Lianne La Havas, released her self-titled album on July 17, 2020. Unlike most self-titled albums, this is not La Havas’ first. This third full-length studio album discusses themes of growth and change, specifically in relationships, and the entire cycle in between. The reason it took La Havas half a decade to release new music is because she felt the need to experience growth as well. It’s a lovely mixture of R&B and soul with soothing melodies and vocals.

“Jump Rope Gazers”
by The Beths

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Jump Rope Gazers is the second full length album by New Zealand indie-rock band, The Beths. It was released on Friday, July 10, 2020. The band consists of lead singer and guitarist, Elizabeth Stokes, Tristan Deck on the drums, Jonathan Pearce as a second guitarist, and bassist Benjamin Sinclair. This album will have you feeling like you’re in a turn-of-the-millennium teen or young adult movie (think 10 Things I Hate About You or even Hillary Duff’s A Cinderella Story). The album’s themes touch on love, communication, and the uncertainty of the current state of the world.

“Tim”
by The Replacements

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

For a band who were notorious for destructive live shows and wholehearted rejection toward achieving mainstream fame, creating an album that shaped the legacy and direction of alternative music is a pretty big feat. Released in the era when alternative music was primarily driven by post-punk bands, The Replacements defied all standards of what alternative music “should” be. They didn’t want to become the next Smiths or Cure — rather, they took inspiration from acts like Bob Dylan, Big Star, Tom Petty, and The Clash, and transformed these influences into their own brand of humbled (yet chaotic) alternative punk, as seen in 1985 release Tim.

“Modern Dread”
by Denai Moore

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Denai Moore’s third full length album, Modern Dread, was released Friday, July 3, 2020. The British-Jamaican singer has been making music since 2013 that’s quintessentially indie -in the sense that it does not seem to conform to a particular genre. Her inspirations range from Lauryn Hill to Bon Iver, and this intricate twist of sounds can be heard in her music. This album explores themes of introspection, breakups, and how one fits in with the rest of the world as the future seems to be “dreadful.” If you were a fan of the Moses Sumney album Spinnaker reviewed a couple weeks ago, you’ll enjoy Denai Moore. 

“Coastal Grooves”
by Blood Orange

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

In light of current events, and June being Pride Month, the staff at Spinnaker has decided to use our platform as an opportunity to highlight black and LGBTQ+ artists. This week, our selected review is of the 2011 album “Coastal Grooves” by Blood Orange. Known for his other solo project, Lightspeed Champion, Blood Orange is the funk/RNB solo project of musician Dev Hynes. Similar to his inspiration, Prince, Hynes explores themes of gender fluidity throughout his imagery and music, while not directly labeling himself as anything. 

“Roy Ayers JID002”
by Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed, Roy Ayers

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Roy Ayers JID002, JID being the acronym for “jazz is dead,” is the collaborative album released by jazz artists Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Roy Ayers on June 19, 2020. The release date was specifically chosen for Juneteenth to honor and celebrate Black musicians’ role in the history of jazz. Roy Ayers has been composing jazz, funk, and soul music since the 1970s. According to a bio on Bandcamp, “he was said to have more sampled hits by rappers than any other artist.” His work can be heard in Tyler the Creator’s song, “Pothole.”  Both Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad are younger composers in the jazz and soul world.

“Arizona Baby”
by Kevin Abstract

Album Review by Sydney Chatani

In light of current events, and June being Pride Month, the staff at Spinnaker has decided to use our platform as an opportunity to highlight black and LGBTQ+ artists. This week, our selected review is of the 2019 album “ARIZONA BABY” by Kevin Abstract. Known primarily from his work with rap collective BROCKHAMPTON, “ARIZONA BABY” is Abstract’s third solo studio album. After coming out as gay in 2016, Abstract has never shied away from discussing his sexuality in his music — notable, given that until recently, the rap and hip-hop world has never been particularly inclusive and accepting of LGBTQ+ artists.

“Punisher”
by Phoebe Bridgers

Album Review by Carissa Marques

Punisher is Phoebe Bridgers’ second independent full-length project released on June 18, 2020. The indie-folk-rock singer is a member of boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center -Both of which make an appearance in this album. The album explores themes of depression, relationships, and dreams, and how they all seem to intertwine throughout life. Fortunately, Bridgers has been very open with the production of this album, so there are concrete answers for what each of the songs mean. The album is softer in sound, much like Bridgers’ previous work, this time with more orchestral sounds sprinkled throughout the tracks.