The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: FFS – ‘FFS’ (Domino)

by Matthew Langham At first glance it is remarkably obvious how Franz Ferdinand have been inspired by ‘70s avant-garde pop group Sparks. Franz’s Alex Kapranos first mooted a hook-up with their quirky pop heroes more than a decade ago and, at long last, we get to hear what many of assumed only existed in his head. Needless to say, this collaborative effort FFS from both bands is immensely fun and humorous,

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REVIEW: PINS – ‘Wild Nights’ (Bella Union)

by Ed Biggs Manchester’s all-female quartet PINS made one of the better British guitar debuts of 2013 with Girls Like Us, a solid if unspectacular study in post-punk revivalism in which they demonstrated a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the genre. While it didn’t really add anything to the canon, it indicated great promise for the future. More impressive was their prodigious work ethic, relentless touring and the curation of

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REVIEW: Of Monsters And Men – ‘Beneath The Skin’ (Island)

by Matthew Langham Icelandic folk-rockers Of Monsters And Men got their breakthrough in 2010’s Reykjavik’s annual battle of the bands and the quintet have never looked back since. Their 2013 debut My Head Is An Animal sold a staggering two million copies on the back of their hit single ‘Little Talks’. It’s pretty clear to see why they have done so well in the UK, essentially hitting a marketing sweet spot

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REVIEW: Leftfield – ‘Alternative Light Source’ (Infectious)

by Ed Biggs Cult heroes Leftfield were one of the holy pentangle of British dance acts in the ‘90s, along with The Prodigy, Underworld, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers. Just like those heavy hitters, Neil Barnes and Paul Daley were able to win critical respect as well as do serious damage to the charts in the decade when big beat ruled supreme. 1995’s Leftism is one of the finest artefacts of

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REVIEW: Muse – ‘Drones’ (Warner Bros. / Helium 3)

by Ed Biggs Ever since the masterful Black Holes And Revelations in 2006 and the legendary shows at Wembley the following year, Muse’s chief concern has become the live arena rather than the studio. It’s something that happens to all truly massive bands – U2, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Coldplay to name a few – their albums become an excuse to tour, pack the arenas and coin it in. The audience, likewise,

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REVIEW: Major Lazer – ‘Peace Is The Mission’ (Mad Decent / Because Music)

by Matthew Langham The brainchild of US super producer Diplo, Major Lazer are probably most well-known for their hit track ‘Pon De Floor’, which featured on Beyonce’s hit ‘Run The World (Girls)’. Their blend of Jamaican dancehall made them an overnight success on their 2009 debut, Guns Don’t Kills People…Lazers Do and the trio have brought the dancehall style back to prominence. With an ever-changing line-up of guest stars Major

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REVIEW: Girlpool – ‘Before The World Was Big’ (Wichita)

by Ed Biggs L.A.-via-Philadelphia punk duo Girlpool made one of the most bracing mini-LPs of 2014, their self-titled effort which was re-released by the prestigious indie imprint Wichita by the end of the year. Now up to their first proper album release Cleo Tucker (guitar, vocals) and Harmony Tividad (bass, vocals) (there is no drummer) use Before The World Was Big as a blank canvas to convey a complete distillation of

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REVIEW: Slaves – ‘Are You Satisfied?’ (Virgin EMI)

by Matthew Langham Kentish punk duo Slaves, appropriately straight out of the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, the nerve centre of Tory England and the home of the habitual Daily Mail letter writer ‘Outraged’, should be brilliant. I’ve followed their career with interest, listening to their shards of vitriol on numerous occasions, they’re the sort of band I ought to love – but I’m not buying the hype. They’re a perfect

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REVIEW: Sun Kil Moon – ‘Universal Themes’ (Caldo Verde)

by Ed Biggs Mark Kozelek, the songwriting powerhouse behind Sun Kil Moon, finally accessed a wider audience last year with Benji, a deeply moving and highly autobiographical album detailing family, death, childhood memories and ageing set to stripped-down acoustic music. Long-term fans of Kozelek’s work – he’s been recording as Sun Kil Moon for over a decade, and before that was the leader of American slowcore legends Red House Painters in

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REVIEW: A$AP Rocky – ‘At.Long.Last.A$AP’ (A$AP Worldwide / Polo Grounds Music / RCA)

by Ed Biggs As the member of the A$AP Mob with the highest media exposure by far, A$AP Rocky has publicly stated that he wants his second album to signify “the return of the God MC” in wider rap music – presumably why the acronym for his new album At.Long.Last.A$AP sounds like ‘Allah’, rather handily. Real name Rakim Mayers, he’s presented himself as a jack-of-all-trades, dabbling in fashion, acting, directing and

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