The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Tag Ed Biggs

REVIEW: East India Youth – ‘Culture Of Volume’ (XL)

by Ed Biggs Last year, William Doyle aka East India Youth was plucked from the burgeoning and anonymous mass of Britain’s bedroom music makers and into the limelight when his debut album Total Strife Forever was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. It was a record praised for its evocative qualities, of urban loneliness and atomisation, much like The xx’s debut which also gave the illusion of space through its

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REVIEW: The Mountain Goats – ‘Beat The Champ’ (Merge)

by Ed Biggs Having been a proper ‘group’ for over a decade and a nom de plume for singer-songwriter John Darnielle for over two, The Mountain Goats are now on their fifteenth album. It’s a project that has long enjoyed a dedicated fanbase but has never really bothered the mainstream, and that’s unlikely to change with Beat The Champ. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind. For this album, Darnielle

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REVIEW: Waxahatchee – ‘Ivy Tripp’ (Wichita / Merge)

by Ed Biggs Since her 2012 debut American Weekend, Alabama-born New Yorker Katie Crutchfield has quietly become one of the most compelling solo performers of the new decade. The home-made acoustic qualities of that debut were electrified on the following year’s excellent Cerulean Salt, but until now Waxahatchee material has always been able to be performed with minimal help from others. Ivy Tripp is, by contrast, a lot less single-minded

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REVIEW: Drenge – ‘Undertow’ (Infectious)

by Ed Biggs Drenge’s self-titled 2013 debut absolutely dripped with aggression and ennui. The Loveless brothers’ directed their boredom at their formative teenage years spent stuck in grey rural Derbyshire. But as impressive as that racket was, it risked pegging them as a one trick pony, as many similar bands in the recent past who have relied so much on stripped-down volume have struggled to project in other directions and on other

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CULT ’90s: Guided By Voices – ‘Alien Lanes’

by Ed Biggs With their penchant for alcohol and short, sweet lo-fi songs, Dayton’s Guided By Voices are regarded as one of the defining underground bands of the ‘90s. Their unpretentious brand of hook-laden indie rock, compressed into minute-long song sketches, has captured the hearts of their small but utterly dedicated fanbase ever since their inception in the mid-‘80s. After nearly a decade of slogging, and having finally gained some

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REVIEW: Lower Dens – ‘Escape From Evil’ (Ribbon Music)

by Ed Biggs The third album by Baltimore’s Lower Dens promises to see Jana Hunter move them away from subjects like evolution, chemistry and science fiction towards affairs of the heart and soul. 2012’s Nootropics, while it took a while to penetrate, grew into one of the most rewarding albums released in the last five years to revisit, a mix of post-rock and pop that left plenty of space for

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REVIEW: Sufjan Stevens – ‘Carrie & Lowell’ (Asthmatic Kitty)

by Ed Biggs In a career spanning fifteen years, American auteur Sufjan Stevens has made six-disc Christmas albums, started and abandoned a series of albums about the 50 U.S. states, made experimental electronic records, collaborated with rappers, and even had a residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Yet for all this, we’ve never really gotten to know him very much. However, this might be about to change with his

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REVIEW: The Prodigy – ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ (Take Me To The Hospital / Cooking Vinyl)

by Ed Biggs When The Prodigy returned in 2009, they had been missing in action for so long that almost anything they put out would  have been well-received. A new generation of ravers had grown up in their shadow, in a world where their collision of punk, house and electro was the starting point for a number of up-and-coming acts in the noughties. Invaders Must Die, while not a match for anything

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REVIEW: Earl Sweatshirt – ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’ (Tan Cressida / Columbia)

by Ed Biggs The prodigiously young Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt was reportedly very unhappy with his record label for unleashing his second solo album a week earlier than expected. 2013’s Doris was a subtle slow-burner, which at only 44 minutes long played like a rock album in its progression, full of languid, drawling and resolutely un-commercial beat patterns. It received universal critical acclaim, the sound of a man forging

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REVIEW: Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Kintsugi’ (Atlantic)

by Ed Biggs Hang on, when exactly did Death Cab For Cutie become veterans? Throughout the noughties they became something of an institution, holding a reputation for eager, wide-eyed and emotional indie, cruelly typecast in some quarters as good for soundtracking slushy teen dramas like ‘The O.C.’. But perhaps we didn’t notice them growing older. Their eighth album finds them in a state of flux – one of their two ever-present

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