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Albums of the month: April 2016


Albums of the month: April 2016

Jack Gillespie

Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits

We are now in a post-To Pimp a Butterfly music world, and it’s definitely been a fun ride. This is 

especially true with the stream of albums from Kendrick Lamar’s collaborators on his 2015 

record. Terrace Martin’s Velvet Portraits is one of the best of these collaborator records, and the 

one that mostly correlates with To Pimp a Butterfly, with reimaginings of various Butterfly 

instrumentals, such as the extravagant “Mortal Man,” which actually exceeds the original. But 

when he’s not putting his own twist on these already established pieces, we’re being treated to a 

wonderfully lush mix of jazz fusion, soul, and even some G-Funk. Whether you’re a huge fan of 

To Pimp a Butterfly or just want some rich-sounding music that embraces the sounds that 

inhabited on that record, Velvet Portraits is a release you won’t want to skimp on.

Recommended Tracks: Valdez off Crenshaw, Push, Turkey Taco, Patiently Waiting, Oakland, 

Think of you, Mortal Man

Weezer – Weezer (The White Album)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve gotten a Weezer album that could be considered excellent 

from front to back. Even 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which was hailed as a 

return to form, had one or two weak tracks. That’s not the case with their latest, their best record 

since their 1996 (20 years!) magnum-opus Pinkerton. However, while that record dwelled in 

personal sadness and angst, The White Album is an incredibly summer-ready album that takes 

quite a few pages out of The Beach Boys book melody-wise, especially on the irresistibly 

saccharine “(Girl We Got A) Good Thing.” Track after track, Weezer deliver pure pop rock gold 

that they’ve failed to provide throughout the majority of the 21st Century. There has been talk 

that the band is planning on releasing The Black Album really soon. If it’s as good as this one, I 

think it’d be safe to say that Weezer is back, baby. 

Recommended Tracks: California Kids, Thank God for Girls, (Girl We Got A) Good Thing, 

Do You Want To Get High?, L.A. Girlz, Jacked Up

Charles Bradley – Changes

What makes Changes so good is just how much Charles Bradley embraces his strengths. Not 

only are his vocals as powerful and as emotive as ever on here, but he comes across as very wise 

through age in the lyrics, especially in the tracks that follow through with the theme of change 

hinted at by the albums title. While it’s nothing to necessarily write home about, the old-school 

style of instrumentation that this album fully adopts just adds to the retro feel Changes brings. 

Charles Bradley has an old soul, and it really shows in the music he creates for the better.

Recommended Tracks: Ain’t Gonna Give It Up, Changes, Ain’t It A Sin, Things We Do For 

Love, Change For The World, Slow Love

Deakin – Sleep Cycle

While it did have its highpoints, Animal Collective’s latest record Painting With lacked the kind 

of sonic venturing that made so many of their best records so unique. Ironically, this quality is 

Sleep Cycle so mystifying. While it only clocks in at around 30 minutes, Animal Collective 

member Deakin makes nearly every second count. Tracks like “Just Am” and “Good House” call 

back to the bands psychedelic folk period, and the manic “Footy” goes back even further back to 

2003’s Here Comes the Indian, one of their most avant-garde releases to date. Sleep Cycle is a 

love letter to longtime Animal Collective fans, as well as proof that the once-considered weak 

link of the band had more in him than any of us thought. 

Recommended Tracks: Golden Chords, I Am, Footy, Good House

Gryff – Feel the Night

Many records try to say something incredibly meaningful through their lyrics and music. This is 

not one of them. Instead, Feel the Night is 100 percent focused on bringing good fun to its 

listeners. Thankfully, this aim for pure fun is achieved with a handful of incredibly fun, nostalgic 

pop tunes. “Dive/Argentina” especially captures the neon-lit joy of ‘80s pop culture while 

putting a modern twist on it with some incredibly tight production that perfects the tropical 

sounds that have slowly seeped into the Top 40. If you’re looking for a group of tracks that will 

fit snuggly into your summertime playlists, Feel the Night fills that spot wonderfully. 

Recommended Tracks: Halcyon, Dive/Argentina, History