Pandora Blog

Picks of the Week

Coldplay aims for reverie

Like its multi-colored, kaleidoscopic collage-art cover, Coldplay attempts a sonic potpourri of all things uplifting on A Head Full of Dreams. Beyonce sings about “shooting across the sky,” ex Gwyneth Paltrow provides backup on “Everglow,” even Barack Obama sings “Amazing Grace.” After Coldplay’s upcoming Super Bowl performance, the opposing teams might just hug and go home. –Party Ben



Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971 is finally released on audio.

This recording reveals many shades of Johnny Cash. Today’s “rad dads” still wearing that T-shirt of Cash flipping off the camera will appreciate the usual outlaw hits. But the true grit country music fans will delight in appearances by The Carter FamilyThe Statler Brothers and Carl Perkins. –Eric Shea


Minimal, melodic screamo from these Buckeye bruisers.

While ostensibly a punk band, Ohio’s Wolf Teeth spend much of A House//A Home weaving mesmerizing expanses of sprawling, minor key post-rock – winding loping rhythms in moody ambience and tense, spidery guitar melodies. That melancholy minimalism underpins the anguished, emotional vocals, occasionally splintering into churning dirges or exploding into bursts of howling hardcore. –Andee Connors

The Complete Matrix Tapes is a dazzling insight into one of rock’s greatest bands.

This 42-song set comprises both nights of The Velvet Underground’s legendary 1969 run at San Francisco’s fabled club. Standouts include three versions of the seldom-heard “There She Goes Again” with noticeably more jagged rhythm guitar than the studio cut and two takes of “Venus In Furs.” –Michelle Solomon



Visalia, California retro rockers ramble on….

The specter of Led Zeppelin looms large over Slow Season’s recently reissued, eponymous 2012 debut. It’s a smoking slab of hard rocking, psychedelic blues, equal parts slow-psych smolder and ‘70 style, rock ‘n’ roll stadium stomp, boasting fuzz-drenched riffs and wailing vox, all driven by booming, bombastic, Bonhamesque drumming. –Andee Connors



Patrice O’Neal: Comedy’s Tupac?

Since his posthumous comedy debut Mr. P in 2012, Patrice O’Neal’s estate has released three albums of the comic’s work. The latest, The Lost Files: Circa 2005, offers O’Neal at his lo-fi best, holding forth on getting through airport security with dignity, horrifying American holiday origin stories and abusing the audience the way only he could. –Kelly Anneken


SOPHIE explodes commodified pop.

Mysterious UK producer SOPHIE claims PRODUCT isn’t an “album” but eight singles, a smart decision since this hyper-pop insanity is best consumed in small doses. His PC Music compadres make music so sweet it’s scary; an agenda most evident in now-classic freestyle-via-Mars single “Bipp” and new track “L.O.V.E.,” where Aphex Twin noise meets delicate music-box tinkles. –Party Ben


Moody and introspective pop music from Justin Frahm’s Nightshuttle.

A stalwart sideman in the San Francisco music scene, Justin Frahm steps out into the limelight with his new EP The City Is Perfect Right Now. Nightshuttle synthesizes his diverse interests and talents into a brooding stew of pop gems, hinting at the darker side of UltravoxJapan and ABBA. –Diego Gonzalez