The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: Laura Marling – ‘Short Movie’ (Virgin)

by Ed Biggs Following her resplendent fourth album Once I Was An Eagle, which was our second highest-ranked album of 2013 and had critics drawing breathless (and justified) comparisons with the great Joni Mitchell, British alt-folk heroine Laura Marling was suffering from exhaustion. Dissatisfied with the initial batch of songs she wrote in the aftermath, she recharged her batteries in Los Angeles by travelling, meeting people and accumulating experiences and

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REVIEW: The Cribs – ‘For All My Sisters’ (Sony RED / Sonic Blew)

by Ed Biggs What is it about The Cribs that inspires such devotion? Every true-spirited indie fan knows the answer. The Wakefield trio’s wholehearted devotion to the independent music cause has always been genuine and diligent. Their emergence in 2004, alongside a whole host of lesser grotty British “indie” groups now consigned to the landfill of history, has always seen them unfairly labelled as ‘cocky’, ‘swaggering’ or ‘brash’. The truth

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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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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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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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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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REVIEW: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Chasing Yesterday’ (Sour Mash)

by Ed Biggs Ever since the disappointment of Oasis’ third album Be Here Now, the fall-out from which was enough to kill off an entire musical movement in one go, the genial Noel Gallagher’s career has been something of a paradox. His forthright, self-effacing interviews are invariably a lot more entertaining than the music he’s there to promote. This has been problematic for his development as an artist, since no

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