Album Reviews: The Crystal Method, Markus Schulz and Paul Basic


The Crystal Method, The Crystal Method (Hype Machine)

They’ve still got it! Celebrating 20 years, the duo originally from Las Vegas returns with their fifth studio album—and you’d be an idiot not to check it out. From the first body-encompassing bass, layers and oomph on “Emulator,” to the commercial-but-not-commercial “Over It” with The Voice finalist Dia Frampton, each track gets better and better. Highlights include guitar riffs and breaks on “Sling the Decks,” as well as collaborations with Le Castle Vania and Afrobeta. I thought I’d hate “Grace” with LeAnn Rimes, but didn’t. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound country. I can’t find anything I don’t like on this offering. ★★★★★


Markus Schulz, Scream 2 (Armada)

Markus, what are you doing?! I really loved the first Screamalbum in 2012. But this? I couldn’t even listen to it twice. Many of the vocals and lyrics are so syrupy-sweet I gagged as soon as they kicked in. The builds are rote and predictable, and the whole thing seems slapped together. The grinding “Can’t Erase You” had me bobbing my head, until some more overly airy vocals kicked in. CeCe Penison can’t even save Scream 2 with her appearance. I do love “Lord Knows” (except the lyric Our minds are frozen by our frozen minds—who writes this shit?) C’mon, Markus. I love you, man, but I know you can do better than this. ★✩✩✩✩

Instrumental Electronic Hip-Hop

Paul Basic, Transient Horizons (Pretty Lights Music)

Beats, beats and more beats? Makes sense when you learn Colorado producer (and longtime pal of Pretty Lights) Paul Basic started out as a drummer. This LP showcases a refined sense of composition with a dark, gritty and grainy edge—perfect for the Pretty Lights label. In fact, if you’re already a fan of Pretty Lights the artist, you’re going to dig these 11 tracks, which meld together, even if they offer more of a full album experience than stand-out single tracks. But you can download the whole thing for free at, so judge for yourself with no risk to your credit card (though donate a few bucks if it turns out to be your new fave). ★★★✩✩

Disc Scan

Upcoming on Deanna’s radar…
FEB. 4: Always giving fans music with a twist, Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang is the Primus frontman’s latest project, or what he called his “Fuck-off vacation band” in Rolling Stone. The Four Foot Shack album presents twang-y versions of familiar songs not only from Claypool, but covers of Alice in Chains, the Bee Gees and more. FEB. 11: Like Band of Horses? If you aren’t familiar, go look them up. You like them now, huh? Well, their Acoustic at the Ryman live album is out on this date, so check that out as well.

Originally published in Vegas Seven.

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