The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: The National Parks – ‘Until I Live’ (Groundloop)

by Ed Biggs Utah seven-piece band The National Parks found modest success with their 2013 debut album Young, with a certain compositional simplicity in tracks like ‘Helsinki’ and ‘Wind & Anchor’ that showed a natural knack for the intricacies of folk music. For their sophomore effort Until I Live, lead singer Brady Parks has said they’ve attempted to lean in a more populist direction without entirely abandoning the sound of their

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REVIEW: The Maccabees – ‘Marks To Prove It’ (Universal / Fiction)

by Lauren James For some reason, I’ve always associated The Maccabees with indie dance club hooliganism. After a gruelling recording process, they’ve dropped their fourth release – and it wasn’t an easy birth. Written and recorded solely in the band’s small London studio, Marks To Prove It may as well be named after the paranoid wall etchings of a mental patient holed up in a cell. “It’s tough because you’re not

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REVIEW: Lianne La Havas – ‘Blood’ (Warner Bros)

by Ed Biggs Following her well-received 2012 debut Is Your Love Big Enough?, an album of spritely, largely acoustic numbers, British-born singer Lianne La Havas has been plotting her next move carefully in order to find a different home for her versatile voice. Over the last three years, she’s been getting in touch with her Jamaican and Greek roots to produce Blood, an album seeking to channel that sense of mixed

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REVIEW: The Mynabirds – ‘Lovers Know’ (Saddle Creek)

by Ed Biggs When she was one half of the now-defunct indie duo Georgie James in the late noughties, and now under her new performance name of The Mynabirds, Washington D.C.-cum-Omaha native Laura Burhenn has built herself a reputation for passionate, literate and soulful music spanning many genres. Her 2012 album Generals was a spectacular piece of ’60s influenced chamber pop, infected with soul and feminist passion, casting its writer as

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REVIEW: Albert Hammond Jr – ‘Momentary Masters’ (Vagrant)

by Ed Biggs With the best part of fifteen years under his belt as guitarist with The Strokes, it’s hard to believe that Albert Hammond Jr. has only just made his third solo album. Given the infrequent nature of their work, it’s surprising that he’s not found time to do more, especially when his new effort Momentary Masters is such terrific fun. Where The Strokes have spent every one of their

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REVIEW: Titus Andronicus – ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ (Merge)

by Ed Biggs New Jersey punk rock four-piece Titus Andronicus made one of the most celebrated underground albums of the decade so far with their second effort, 2010’s The Monitor, an audacious concept album about the American Civil War that scraped the depths of the national psyche and came up with treasures aplenty. Their troubled lead singer, Patrick Stickles, won plenty of fans for his cuttingly incisive lyrics and his songs’

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REVIEW: Wilco – ‘Star Wars’ (dBPM / Anti)

by Ed Biggs Throughout their two-decade career, Wilco have been relatively unchanging in their musical disposition yet, strangely, have always been hard to pin down. For a time, they were arguably the best alternative rock act in the US, with some critics branding their kind-of-indie, kind-of-country, kind-of-rock sound and Jeff Tweedy’s subtle, highbrow lyrics and subject matter as ‘the American Radiohead’, comparing the two groups’ abilities to produce stylistically diverse albums

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REVIEW: Sleaford Mods – ‘Key Markets’ (Harbinger Sound)

by Ed Biggs One of the unlikeliest sensations of the decade so far has been Sleaford Mods, a duo consisting of instrumentalist Andrew Fearn and lyricist / polemicist Jason Williamson. Live, they’re one of the most talked-about British groups in years, with an entirely minimalist set-up. Take their recent Glastonbury performance: Fearn plays a pre-recorded track on his laptop and sips from a can of lager, while Williamson does all the

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REVIEW: Ducktails – ‘St. Catherine’ (Domino)

by Ed Biggs Ducktails is the side project that Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile operates in tandem with his duties in that group. Over the course of six years and four albums, it’s expanded from his solo recording outlet to a four-piece group signed to Domino, one of the most prestigious indies in the business. Just like the New Jersey three-piece that is fast becoming one of the most essential American

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REVIEW: Public Enemy – ‘Man Plans God Laughs’ (SPITdigital)

by Ed Biggs “We want to create a new standard for the over-50 rap acts” said Chuck D in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, speaking just after the surprise release of Public Enemy’s 13th album. As one of the most influential acts during the ‘golden age’ of hip-hop in the late ‘80s, Chuck, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff have been raging against the machine for much, much longer than they

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