Another year of our favorites in Top Album Cover Artwork, and once again, we interview musicians and artists on the often-underappreciated work that goes into creating a product that not only tickles your ears, but speaks to your eyes and hearts. Album artwork, though often...

It's that time of year again: the time where I remind everyone just how rapidly consciousness has been evolving in such an amazingly short period of time. The good news there is that the entire point to technology is to serve art. We'll figure it...

Maybe it was the fact that CMJ Music Marathon 2015 took place a week earlier this year than last year, but the music industry marathon's 35th anniversary felt a bit more expansive than the 2014 edition -- as if it were a day longer, though...

Daft Punk Random Access Memories Columbia RecordsWant to know about the world's largest living organism? How about the man with the third highest Donkey Kong score? Need the formula for the area of a circle? All of these things and literally every other piece of knowledge can be had with the click of a button. It's now an age-old adage about the "information age," a time we seemingly take for granted. But what if you want to know more about Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk? In a time when privacy and anonymity are trivialized, Daft Punk continue to don their masks and create music devoid of desperately appearing as though it was culled from their personal influences. On Random Access Memories, Daft Punk's fourth studio album, the Parisian duo turn that formula on its head, trading in their time-tested computer programs for the collected human experience. But it's still not about their experience; it's about our experience. When they talk of giving life back to music, it isn't just about reaching into the past to create the future; it's about the communal aspects of music: the experience and heartbreak associated with the sounds and its people. Random Access Memories isn't the album Daft Punk should be making in 2013, and that's exactly why Daft Punk created it, and why it took eight long years to master. If the series of Creator's Project videos focusing squarely on the album's collaborators taught us anything, it's that the history of music can teach us more about our presence than anything being produced today.
 

If there’s one critical and emotional theme which resonates throughout the whole of Animal Collective’s work it would have to be the idea of ‘time.’ 2008’s masterful, breathtaking album Merriweather Post Pavillion was a record that captured the attention of media and fans alike just as communication on the internet, and eventually amongst ourselves, was changing. Though it certainly wasn’t intentional, the outpour of discourse on the record was unmatched, thanks to the growing presence of Twitter in daily lives. It was not until months after its release that people finally stopped talking incessantly about Merriweather Post Pavillion. All this is a small footnote in the greater scope of the album, but it's an important one nonetheless. The timing was too perfect; just as many people began to embrace a new, compact critical voice, the album of the decade fell into our laps. The massive outpouring of praise and anticipation for that record simply cannot be matched by today's more spastic attention span, and maybe that’s Centipede HZ’s immediate downfall; it simply isn’t Merriweather Post Pavilion and doesn't possess the same cultural or social significance. But what Centipede HZ does accomplish is just as important as Animal Collective's previous landmark effort, and it has solidified the group’s relationship with themselves.

 

SUMMARY: "Divisive as ever, Animal Collective return with a record that, while at times challenging and impregnable, is deeply rewarding. If nothing else, Centipede HZ feels like an exorcism of past demons, a beacon of light pushing their music forward." SEE FULL ALBUM REVIEW

 

Teengirl Fantasy Tracer True Panther Sounds / R&S Since the release of their debut album, conversations surrounding Teengirl Fantasy usually revolve around the group meeting in college and quickly fetishize the idea of the duo reviving house and techno records from decades gone by. And while 7AM certainly paid homage to others through its use of samples and unique editing, the group’s approach to their sophomore record has completely shifted their original outlook; it’s now less about the past and more about the future. And with the help of a few friends, the duo of Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi may have finally found their truest sound: a balance of gorgeous vocals and incredible synth work.
SUMMARY: Guest stars from artists like Panda Bear, Laurel Halo, and Romanthony and a more future-minded approach make this record.

 

Through the years, long-time collaborators and friends Lazerbeak and Minneapolis video artist Matt Scharenbroich have worked together to match their passions with one another's. In this feature below, we look back at their projects together, and Scharenbroich comments on his latest video for "Life Every Voice", which is a rippling animated delight that falls downwards through glitter and varying levels of psychedelic intensity.

 

INTERVIEW WITH MATT SCHARENBROICH CONTINUED BELOW
"The falling in the video could be paralleled with that of Alice falling down into the rabbit hole or the sensation of one's body falling into a dreamy hypnotic state. There is a certain freedom and release associated with this transformational and transcendent state. That release from the boredom and restraints of life can be incredibly uplifting." -- Matt Scharenbroich

 

Ambient bedroom pop pioneer Matt Mondanile, aka Ducktails, manages to break into untapped psych-pop territory on his new album, while appeasing those who long for his forgotten demo cassettes. And while Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics takes an impressive step towards the sound of his other...