The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Best New Music

REVIEW: David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’ (RCA / ISO)

by Ed Biggs For nearly fifty years, David Bowie has made a career from leaving his past behind him and forging a path for the future, for music as well as himself, making some of the most forward-thinking and celebrated and varied pop in the history of the genre and inspiring countless hundreds of other innovative artists. Truly, his is one of the most totemic reputations in all of popular culture,

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REVIEW: Julia Holter – ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ (Domino)

by Matthew Langham Released way back in September, Julia Holter’s fourth studio album has been merited as one of the most significant albums of 2015. While the L.A. musician may not have received much commercial attention from her three previous records, Holter is an artist who is continually shapeshifting through different soundscapes. Have You In My Wilderness sees Holter take on a seasonal soundscape; highlighting the light and dark between autumn

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REVIEW: Arca – ‘Mutant’ (Mute)

by Ed Biggs Venezuelan-born production wizkid Alejandro Ghersi dropped Xen, his much-hyped studio album as Arca, at almost exactly this point last year, and it was obvious immediately why the likes of Kanye West, Björk and FKA twigs had approached him to harness the fluid, futuristic post-R&B sound that has become his trademark. Here was somebody painting a startling, imaginative way forward for electronic music at a prodigiously young age, able

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REVIEW: Grimes – ‘Art Angels’ (4AD / Roc Nation)

by John Tindale Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, has been going through a period of reflection over the three years since the release of last album Visions, a low-budget bedroom record of spectral synths that has had a seismic impact upon the sound of mainstream pop ever since. During this time, Boucher scrapped an album for being too “depressing”, but more importantly she wrote a song for Rihanna (‘Go’) that was subsequently

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REVIEW: Joanna Newsom – ‘Divers’ (Drag City)

by John Tindale It’s been five years since Joanna Newsom released the critically acclaimed epic Have One On Me, but don’t take that to mean that she has been resting on her success; Divers is the culmination of five years of effort and it is a truly magnificent record for it. Newsom has it all, lyrical excellence to sonic brilliance: this is never more apparent than in lead single ‘Sopakanikan’.

REVIEW: Beach House – ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ (Sub Pop / Bella Union)

by John Tindale Beach House have earned themselves a cult reputation over the last decade by releasing consistently brilliant dream pop. Commercial breakthrough album Bloom (2012) came 41st in our list of ‘The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade So Far’, whilst critically acclaimed 2010 album Teen Dream ranked 7th. Yet you’d be forgiven for questioning whether or not Beach House could achieve such greatness again with sixth LP Thank Your

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REVIEW: The Dead Weather – ‘Dodge And Burn’ (Third Man Records)

by Lauren James Five years is a long time – especially when you’re Jack White and have a dozen plates spinning from every knuckle and kneecap. Despite half a decade’s wait after 2010’s Sea Of Cowards, it came as a surprise to many that the prolific rocker had time to spare for his bluesy, moody supergroup The Dead Weather at all. In the two years since third album Dodge And Burn

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REVIEW: Majical Cloudz – ‘Are You Alone?’ (Matador)

by Ed Biggs Are You Alone? is the sixth album by the mainly studio-bound project Majical Cloudz, headed by the industrious Canadian songwriter Devon Welsh and his technological wizkid sidekick Matthew Otto. 2013’s excellent Impersonator, an unnervingly personal experience set to electronic minimalism, put them on the international indie radar, landing the duo a support slot on Lorde’s world tour, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize, making their new

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REVIEW: Deerhunter – ‘Fading Frontier’ (4AD)

by Ed Biggs American indie auteur Bradford Cox has recovered very quickly from a serious car crash in December 2014 to record and release his seventh album with Deerhunter. The accident gave him “perspective” and cause to ruminate on his own mortality, even more than he does so already (Cox suffers from Marfan syndrome, a condition where his mere physicality poses a threat to his life). Fading Frontier therefore has an

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REVIEW: Deafheaven – ‘New Bermuda’ (Anti-)

by Ed Biggs Nominally beginning life as a black metal band in San Francisco at the beginning of the decade, George Clarke’s Deafheaven very quickly transcended the limitations and codes of the genre to win fans from all across the independent music community with 2013’s spectacular Sunbather. With massive arcs of impenetrable narrative, seguing from one discipline to another sprawling over ten-minute long tracks, Sunbather’s sound was a broad church –

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