CMJ's Scores

  • Music
For 728 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 67% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 27% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 74
Highest review score: 90 Harmonicraft
Lowest review score: 30 IV Play
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 728
728 music reviews
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Blake and Childs have no need to prove why they're considered some of the U.K.'s best songwriters and musicians, but Jonny does just that.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Where For Emma, Forever Ago thrived on its sparseness, the new record's sound is richly and carefully layered.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Harmonicraft isn't just the best Torche release: It's a contender for one of the best loud rock releases of the year.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    You’ll be hard pressed to find another album that’s this much fun to crawl inside.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    By teaming up with the visionary mastermind Adrian Younge he’s created an inventive and thrilling album that will go down as one of his best.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Vampires Of The Modern City stands to become the group’s Paul’s Boutique, raising the bar from being a fun but safe band to breaking ground ahead of their peers.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Unbound by convention, Daft Punk seamlessly included whatever the hell they wanted on this record. Not just because they’re musically sublime robots from a future of hovercrafts and Judy Jetson discotheques, but because Daft Punk knows when to edit and when to fall free.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Everything feels full and complete, with each song taking a life of it’s own, while still contributing equally as much to the larger concept.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    They’ve clearly set out to be innovators not duplicators, and Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is yet another one of their projects that crosses electronic music boundaries and produces something extraordinary.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Nothing on Settle is left wanting. Disclosure’s debut full-length, after a series of tight and well-curated EPs, has high points as high as any record this year.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sunbather is every bit as explosive and engaging as any metal album you’re likely to hear all year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It will give you, near exactly, what you put into it. That’s what makes Nepenthe relevant: its masterfully complex compositions come across as simplistic; they’re accessibly intellectual.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With her experiences and experimentation, she has combined and refined her sound to make it something that is similar and yet totally separate from anything she’s done before. St. Vincent isn’t afraid of being different or taking risks, and thinks we shouldn’t be either.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Hauschka’s ingenuity to rework his instrument into a entire orchestra is astounding. But his ability to avoid the usual, overtly romantic notions of forgotten cities and instead replace it with a portrait of refined desolation is equally impressive.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Too Bright is a near immaculate work. It’s bold but vulnerable and finds Hadreas taking risks in structure, content and sound.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hurricane Dub is the original album chopped and screwed and recorded at the bottom of the sea, all murky bass, Jones' deep voice and rasta-twangy guitar.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The entirety of No Ghost is filled with poetic verses about the usual triumphs and failures of love, and taken together amounts to an emotionally mature piece of work with a healthy amount of upbeat, exciting tracks to go with it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Root For Ruin is the best synthesis of its pop and oddball sides yet, with flailing, manic surges serving as comfortable bedrocks for solid melodic hooks.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On False Priest, Brion drastically widens the canvas, giving the music a newfound clarity, symphonic sweep and thick low-end.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite reaching her eighth decade, Staples is making music that is strikingly modern, but the defining concept of the album is timeless: unadulterated hope.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Forever is a journey through the darker parts of the human mind. Death, love and a strange sense of optimism resonate through the reverb.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Eight satisfying songs of rhythm and groove later, Underworld pulls a fast one, yanking the cord with album finale "Louisiana," which features beautiful keys, languid vocals and a gentle, time-keeping beat that lulls listeners into the blissful ether.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album fights back against the tide of boring, quiet music, and nearly every song feels like a throat-rupturing protest against standing still.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the end, the album proves that it is the night that is the king of the dark.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    El Guincho dons his best Animal Collective costume on his third full-length, an album filled with Afrobeat and tropical rhythms. Yet it doesn't sound derivative in the least.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a complex listen that strays from the tropes of standard R&B.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With a sound that comes off as natural, Warpaint represents a much needed departure from the ubiquity of synth-pop, and The Fool is a welcome detour.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It seems that this band really is fresh and only, for it has music brimming with originality via masterful combinations of genres.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    By the time that the closing track has concluded its schizophrenic barrage of drumming, the album has exhausted and enthralled its listeners, who will be ready to press rewind and live through it again.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    By blending past and present (and future), Daft Punk has created an album that speaks not only to the movie it scores, but also to the evolution of music that has allowed them to create the album in the first place.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Deerhoof Vs. Evil is a stylishly composed work done from four gifted musicians who are more than happy to be sarcastically snarling at you the whole time.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Difficult to place in just one genre, Braids creates a colorful atmosphere around its songs that completely immerse the listener in its movement.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Much like the disordered thought patterns that come before sleep, dream-like backing vocals and twangy instrumentals transport us into another reality.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dye It Blonde blows away the fuzz and polishes the scratchy sounds off their last recordings, revealing a whole lot of something we didn't hear before.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Every detail of Ray's second full-length alongside Her Happy Hookers is imparted with vigor--be it her razor-edged howling, or the biting lyrics that comprise them.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sadly, Dan Bejar tuned down the distinctive cross-hatch in his vocals that has made skin crawl with delight, but, as has remained unchanged for over a decade, his continental blues are heard in his quick-witted lyrics; the lovely laments of Kaputt are full of tongue-in-cheek nuances.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Kweli blends a gritty outlook with a genuine interest in social issues to create an album that sounds refreshingly idealistic in a world still reeling from Kanye West's bombastic record.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Montonix's latest installment is just as spirited as its live shows, but doesn't include all the sweat and fear of burning to death.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    James Blake transcends dubstep, and perhaps artificiality as a whole.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A passive 12 song set that toes the line between nostalgic sadness and bright optimism with remarkable ease.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thank You has made an intentionally heavy album that provokes calls for more than a passive ear looking to fill silence. Listeners should expect to involve themselves in music in order to truly find what lies beneath the fuzz and distortion.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For Mogwai, it works; the sound's grandiloquent and goddamnit, loud.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In fact, a lot of the album may be confused for being from another time period. But nostalgia works in the band's favor on this first release--even though it wears its influences right on its sleeve.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Both aspects of the album exemplify great music played by great musicians and should be anything but a disappointment.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wondervisions, its lyric-less debut full length, does not fall short on its abilities to stir emotion.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sahel Folk is a steadily moving work of clean sound not typically found in live works.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An album that uses so much in so little time, Old Friends has everything to offer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though King Of Limbs may be the band's simplest and most inaccessible album to date, the tone and mood created by the chaotic start and smooth finish makes it an exciting work.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There is something refreshing about an artist that tries to create well written and well produced songs instead of ones that smack you in the face with the frying pan made of catchy hooks, beats and shout-along choruses.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The rest of the album holds up to the single's brilliance, as Bundick traverses quite a few genres-from his trademark chillwave, to acoustic dream-pop ("Before I'm Done") and severe piano-led ballads ("Good Hold").
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Arbouretum brings back that good old fashioned psychedelia to rock music with its fourth album The Gathering.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rounding out Bradley's raw emotion is his bombastic backing band: Daptone's funky Menahan Street Band. But however many names are dropped, Bradley's innate showmanship and voice--a mournful alto bellow--are all his own.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Upon first listen, it sounds like all of the rest-cutesy vocals, romantic lyrics, peppy poppy guitars. But on Departing, the guitars are massive, the lyrics are gorgeous and the vocals are astonishingly expressive.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Space Is Only Noise is a paradox. It's a dance album that can't be danced to, a lounge album that you actually want to listen to, but most importantly, it's an electronic album with emotion.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It has continued in the same direction and spirit in Songs From A Zulu Farm, reinvigorating the soul of its isicathamiya (a sort of Zulu a cappella) harmonies and style, while also reviving the songs that leader Joseph Shabalala grew up singing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whether sweet, creepy, epic or hilarious, all 13 tracks on the album represent Faust's ability to dismantle the structures inherently embedded in our musical expectations and free us into a world of unique and thoughtful organized layers of sound.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Under Streetlight Glow is a collection of intimate songs written by Spencer during film school when she aspired to place her music in her film projects.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album can simply be described as a great band supporting quality lyrics, served up as organically as possible.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While artists such as Dam-Funk, Onra and Krystal Klear resurrect this sound some 20 odd years later, Back To Reality establishes that Tony Cook was, and still is, the real thing.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite its homage to its predecessors, the album holds its own and shows signs of Ringo Deathstarr developing its own signature sound.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The group's stab at human emotion is a smashing success because it's coming from a real place: the death of former band member Beau Velasco.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rise Against have slowed their music, and in the process, have created a hell of a rock album.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, it's a solid, well-crafted effort from a well-loved indie-folk band.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This album is clearly not one you would want to put on in the background of your next party. In every aspect (its forms, melodies, instrumentation, etc.) it is a challenging and engaging hour of music.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite a new sense of freedom, Ebert carefully crafts the album to keep a good balance between a full sound layered with an array of instruments and vocals to simpler textures that showcase just one element of the music.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not necessarily a great narrative rapper, Monch's lyrical strength lies in his ability to flip phrases maniacally and tease out tangential theoretical connections through his staggered, pile-up rhyme schemes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tear The Fences Down is open and inviting, and it's hard not to be pulled in by its verve and genuine sincerity.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Telling The Truth is an hour of purely enjoyable songs that could have been, and are luckily not, lost gems.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's the motion of the album that compels you through it, leaving you with a need for some resolution in what the next track will bring.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the heartbreak overtones, Belong is not a depressing or down-tempo album. It remains upbeat and concludes in a manner that ties up the loose ends of the story, all while raiding your new-wave album collection for inspiration.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mind Bokeh signifies a union between sonic exploration-typically condemned to musical isolation by being defined as experimental -- and the consonances of modern pop music that are readily accepted by mass listeners.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her cold-blooded style meshes well with Hince's clanging guitars and the sleek world they have created inside of Blood Pressures.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On Low's ninth full-length album, the slowcore trio from Duluth creates its most inviting work to date.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is a beautifully poignant and cinematic album, a post-hardcore masterpiece.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's hard to tell if the seemingly random, incoherent screeching and shouting from Siegel is meant to be a gimmick, a cop out or a totally genuine mode of expression. Whatever it may be, it's working.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is very much her record-it's a fractured gorgeousness, with Garbus embracing her oddness in a gesture of self-love that results in an alarming, startling, fun and playful record.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though easy to peg a purely pop album, with only one track that dares to venture beyond the 3:30 mark, Evening Tapestry's controlled psychedelic overtones help the songs go beyond run-of-the-mill pop tunes.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As Hauschka takes his orchestral style into this new musical sphere, his music demonstrates the constant evolution ignited by combinations of diverse musical influence.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You aren't likely to find a single track that you'd want to put on repeat for the drive home from work, but the experience of listening from track to track, beginning to end, is a moving experience worth lending your ears.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In between the soul-searching, Fleet Foxes cranks out some pretty great singalong songs. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In all, this is a muscular yet not flashy outing from Gang Gang Dance, and its smooth confidence is a welcome respite from its self-indulgent neighbors.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Burst Apart is smart and calculated without feeling as though you're being duped by artificial feelings.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Man Man has an image to uphold, and it does that while refining its focus. The group has moved forward conceptually but at times still sounds like the trained animals and clowns from the circus that ambushed the orchestral pit, and that's just fine.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For the eccentric young artist, James Pants once again makes the statement that Pants' music has made many times before-he creates to celebrate his bizarre style, carefree of the expectations of mainstream audiences and trends.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album lags a bit on a few songs where it sounds like one half of the group had the majority of the say during the writing process. These instances are few and far between though, leaving the rest of the album as an intriguing concoction of two bands coming from polar opposite sides of the musical spectrum and meeting in the middle to make something new.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As a debut and a fleshing out of Stelmanis' previous eponymous work, Feel It Break is a solid place to build from and a reason to expect good things from Austra in the future.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    That all changes with Nursing Home, as production legend Steve Albini sharpens the group's teeth into the fangs Let's Wrestle was always meant to bare.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The lyrics are undoubtedly tragic, but they are what give Brilliant! Tragic! its brilliance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    That's the type of music that the band knocks out of the park: music for lovers to do romantic things to. On Codes And Keys, those lovers are encouraged to be happy-an emotion that sometimes has evaded Death Cab.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The most resonant part of Doi Todd's music is the quiet darkness that she twists into an undercurrent of tenderness. Cosmic Ocean Ship is more openly joyous than other songs on previous albums, like 2008's Gea, and perhaps not as "mysterious" or grabbing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Shit, Laced is not. The debut album is a testament to Psychedelic Horseshit's incredible versatility.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On its fourth LP, Arctic Monkeys combines its clever, tongue-in-cheek wordplay with a wider variety of sounds than it ever used on its other releases.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Black Lips puts on a hell of a show on Arabia Mountain, and it doesn't even need riots and stage diving to keep you interested.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    To hear the band members tell it, David Comes To Life is the record they've been working up to for the past 10 years, a grandiose statement that closes off the first chapter of Fucked Up's history. It's anybody's guess as to how they'll follow something like this, but we're already excited for chapter two.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Deeply rewarding and slyly addictive, Channel Pressure is an uncommon gem, a difficult record that really isn't difficult at all.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a seriously cute band that writes seriously catchy love songs that you will probably seriously enjoy--if you're all right with that ebullience thing.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Marissa Nadler is more musically complex than earlier records, she maintains her overall aesthetic, both bucolic and tragic.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Goodbye Bread shows Segall's calmer side, but the frantic instrumentals, heavy guitar riffs and rough-around-the-edges sound remain, betraying his decidedly harder roots and showing that Segall hasn't gone totally soft.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Black Up is a wild ride, but Butler's songwriting is not haphazard. To be sure, his laid-black flow channels a vibe similar to the who-cares attitude of those on the opposite side of the left-field hip-hop divide, but don't let that fool you; his music is weird, but it's also deliberate.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even at its most far-out, the songs on Culture Of Fear always seem to know where they're going, even if they choose to take the scenic route to get there.