The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Posts by Ed Biggs

REVIEW: Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ (Aftermath / Interscope / Top Dawg)

by Ed Biggs Arguably the most anticipated, talked-about and hyped-up album of 2015, To Pimp A Butterfly has an awful lot to live up to. Following a well-received debut, 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city sold nearly 1.5 million copies in the US and set up Kendrick Lamar in a great lineage of rappers, the heir to Dr. Dre, 2Pac. As such, he’s now got the same weight of expectations on

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CLASSIC ’60s: Bob Dylan – ‘Bringing It All Back Home’

by Ed Biggs It may not seem like it sometimes, but there’s a good reason why some people go on, and on, and on about Bob Dylan: it is quite impossible to overstate the influence he had upon the sound and structure of popular music. He was arguably the first pop musician to use the album format as vehicle to make an artistic statement – before 1964, the album was

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REVIEW: Modest Mouse – ‘Strangers To Ourselves’ (Epic)

by Matthew Langham A 22 year career has seen Modest Mouse go from fuzzy indie rock in the early ‘00, through to a sea shanty influenced rock and now, yet again, a new blend of deranged pop. Johnny Marr’s contribution to the 2007 record We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank was firmly underestimated and it helped pull in a US number one record as well as over half

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CLASSIC ’90s: Depeche Mode – ‘Violator’

by Ed Biggs The narrative arc of Depeche Mode is one of the most intriguing evolutions in pop history. When they began their long career in 1980, they were at the lighter end of the post-punk backlash against guitars, often critically derided but achieving commercial success with simple, upbeat synth-pop hits like ‘New Life’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. But after one album they were left stranded by their original

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REVIEW: Matthew E White – ‘Fresh Blood’ (Domino)

by Matthew Langham Singer, songwriter and producer Matthew E White is back with his second record following on from his successful and critically acclaimed debut Big Inner. His big beard and long hair, as well as his distinctive soulful psychedelic melodies, have developed in Fresh Blood with a more playful style, unlike his debut which was heavier and less sensitive. ‘Rock and Roll Is Cold’ is a simplistic kick-back song,

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REVIEW: Twin Shadow – ‘Eclipse’ (Warner Bros.)

by Ed Biggs Twin Shadow is the recording name of Dominican-born American vocalist George Lewis Jr. For those unfamiliar with his music, Lewis’ voice is that of the DJ for the Grand Theft Auto V radio station ‘Radio Mirror Park’. His previous two albums Forget (2010) and Confess (2012) have steadily gained him plaudits and warm critical notices, landing him a support slot on Florence + The Machine’s U.S. tour

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REVIEW: Diagrams – ‘Chromatics’ (Full Time Hobby)

by Matthew Langham Formerly of English experimental group Tuung, Sam Genders’ latest release Chromatics is his second under the name of Diagrams. Having received a considerable amount of decent write-ups for his 2012 effort Black Light, his new record couples a similar synth-pop sound with a folkier tendency closer to his work with Tuung. The instrumental underpinnings are perfectly accompanied by Genders’ throughout the record, providing an experimental journey through

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LIVE: The War On Drugs – Leeds O2 Academy, 26.02.2015

by Matthew Langham and Ed Biggs The War On Drugs stopped off in Leeds on their victory lap of the UK, celebrating the slow-burning commercial success of last year’s Lost In The Dream, this publication’s runner-up for album of 2014. The band’s growth has been such that tonight’s gig had to be upgraded in venue size from the Brudenell Social Club to the O2 Academy, and the album’s reputation burgeoned

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REVIEW: Ghostpoet – ‘Shedding Skin’ (PIAS)

by Ed Biggs Shedding Skin is the third full-length album from former Mercury Music Prize nominee Ghostpoet, the recording name of Londoner Obaro Ejimiwe. His 2011 debut Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam was considered a dark horse at the awards ceremony, and though it was eventually beaten by PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, it set him up as one of the most promising artists of the new decade. A

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REVIEW: Purity Ring – ‘Another Eternity’ (4AD)

by Ed Biggs Three years after their exceptional debut album Shrines, the world has now just caught up with Purity Ring. The Edmonton duo’s quirky, sparse brand of electro-pop seemed to suggest a future that had not yet arrived but was just around the corner. Along with similar minimalist artists like Grimes, they’ve influenced the aesthetics of pop and hip-hop in the time they’ve been away. Despite triggering a frenzied

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