REVIEW: Yves Tumor – Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume

On March 17th, Yves Tumor released the anticipated follow-up to his 2021 EP The Asymptotic World. The full-length album, titled Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), features singles released over the past year, as well as fresh new tracks that carry Yves’ signature sounds— a mesh of rock, pop, psychedelia, and darkly ambiguous lyrics hinting at Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.

I approached this project with a bit of apprehension; Yves’ 2020 album Heaven to a Tortured Mind reinvented my understanding of genre, combining ethereal vocals with experimental instrumentation to evoke the awe-inducing experience of watching the finale of a firework show. I wondered how— or if— this kind of collage of genres could be improved upon without losing its dazzling freshness. Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume absolutely did not disappoint. Despite dialing down the erratic theatrics of previous albums, Yves Tumor has re-emerged as an artist who is confident in his artistic strengths and knows how to show them off. With the help of Grammy award-winning producer Noah Goldstein (Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), Yves’ signature sound is smoother than ever.

Praise A Lord notably conforms to genre, or at least a consistent voice, more than any of their previous projects. Yves finds the delicate intersection of theatrical pop and distortion-heavy rock, altering catchy pop melodies with thick and fuzzy guitar, layered instrumentation, and airy vocals that preach existential philosophies and poetic metaphor. The opening track, “God is a Circle”was released as a single in November and remains my favorite on the album. It opens with a scream and heavy breathing that melts into the melody, establishing a tone of darkness and obsession as Yves drawls “Sometimes, it feels like, there’s places in my mind that I can’t go”. The rest of the tracks fall into a consistent formula; Tumor’s delicate vocals, evocative of Prince’s versatile emotionality, float over sonic atmospheres packed with erratic chord progressions and synths that feel alive. “Meteroa Blues” builds on its drums and guitar slowly, bringing the song to an energetic climax of intense noise. The hazy interlude in “Parody” feels like crossing a liminal space between worlds. “Echolalia” is the most danceable track on the album, with fast-paced drums ushering in a catchy vocal melody. The last track, “Ebony Eye”, reminds me the most of the dramatic crescendo and electronic sparkle of Heaven to a Tortured Mind which initially drew me to his musicDramatic instrumentation, dreamy synths, and continually layered vocals create a landscape of sparkling colors and excitement. It’s the perfect ending to the album, encapsulating Yves’ willingness to try anything— and everything— at the same time.

Although Praise a Lord isn’t my favorite album (Heaven to a Tortured Mind always takes the cake), Yves has proven his maturity as an experimental artist. The album carries his ambiguous voice and imaginative style, but contains it within a more palatable (and radio-playable) format, balancing pop and rock song structures with contemporary instrumentation. Each track feels alive, having a mind of its own, almost always ending in a completely different spot and with a different attitude than where it started. It’s truly an immersive listening experience that is worth the time. Even if his unique approach isn’t something you are drawn to, it sparks thought about what genre is— or what it can be in the future, and what the pioneers of contemporary genres will sound like. Yves Tumor has, in my opinion, cemented his spot as a trailblazer of the future.

Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume is available on popular streaming platforms. Yves Tumor is coming to the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on May 10th. Get your tickets while they’re still available for a unique live music experience.

PREVIEW: Yves Tumor – Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume

Yves Tumor has been an enigmatic figure in the music scene for years. Blending the boundaries between electronica, psychedelia, and rock, Yves Tumor has invented their own brand of contemporary pop that meshes crashing drums with passionate guitar solos to create an atmosphere of drama and emotional turmoil. Their upcoming album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), is a long-anticipated follow-up to their 2021 EP The Asymptotical World. Four sonically diverse singles have been released since 2022, teasing the release of the album. My favorite is God is a Circle; one of their moodiest, more gothic tracks, this song combines creative sampling with dark and fuzzy guitar to evoke the sense of doom in a relationship that swallows you whole.

Although his uninhibited self-expression and colorful experimentation have led critics to draw comparisons to Prince and other rule-breaking trailblazers, Yves Tumor has a sonic personality that is completely unique and transcends genre. The ethereal soundscapes and emotional drama of Heaven to a Tortured Mind brought Yves into the public eye— the guitar solos on “Kerosene!” are to die for— and the release of erratically surreal music videos have further cemented Yves’ status as an artist— visual, musical, and lyrical— to watch closely.

Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) is released March 17th on popular music streaming platforms. If you haven’t heard Yves’ music, I’d suggest listening to Heaven to a Tortured Mind and his acclaimed singles before the album’s release. Regardless of whether or not electronic-psychedelic-soul-rock-pop is something you’re interested in, their music is a unique and memorable experience that is well worth giving a chance. Following the album’s release, Yves Tumor is going on tour and making a stop in Detroit at the Majestic Theatre on May 10th. Grab tickets while they’re cheap!

REVIEW: Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

If the music of Big Thief was a physical place, it would be a campfire nestled in a mossy forest, friends cozying up around the flame and reminiscing on bittersweet memories. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, the American band’s fifth studio album, is the same campfire at dawn while the world sleeps, embers flickering, the sky brightening over a peaceful horizon. After conjuring this mental image, I came to realize that the cover itself is a sketchy drawing of animals around a campfire— a pure reflection of the album’s commitment to simple and authentic emotion. As the nature imagery suggests, the sonic world of the indie-folk act is anything but industrial. Even their more experimental songs are rooted in traditional folk, avoiding the mass-produced synthetic sound of modern pop. This genuine touch is what brings Big Thief’s masterful work to life.

DNWMIBIY feels more in touch with the band’s true voice than Big Thief’s 2016 album Masterpiece. The folky guitar evokes images of my youth, of rainy-day hikes in little red rain boots and curiously watching bugs move across the ground. Big Thief explores themes of adolescence, particularly the growing pains of becoming older and finding yourself face-to-face with an emotional reality no longer shrouded by naivety. Adrianne Lenker— who released successful solo music that leans toward a more delicate feminine sound— pours her heart into the vocals, her wavering voice expressing rawness that doesn’t have to be screamed to be felt. “Change” is a particularly resonant track and one of the most popular on the album; lyrically, “Change” has the same transcendent feeling as classic poetry. Like a gentle lullaby, Lenker sings:

“Change like the sky, like the leaves, like a butterfly, death, like a door to a place we’ve never been before”.

The album dives fearlessly into experiments as the album progresses, with spunky lyrics and textured sounds that stray from the calm earthy feel but still stick to the sense of adolescence. Adrianne Lenker’s songwriting is similar to a child’s wild and carelessly joyous thought process. It feels loose, freeing, and successfully exploratory. “Spud Infinity” carries on nature imagery to shout a gleefully unified message:

“One peculiar organism aren’t we all together?
Everybody steps on ants
Everybody eats the plants
Everybody knows to dance, even with just one finger”

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is an honest tale of unbridled feeling. Adrianne Lenker’s gentle voice echoes unconditional hope, admiration, and longing; it’s a love letter to the natural wonders of human existence and human expression, packaged in a homey atmosphere. If you’re an outdoorsy person, a folk-music-listener, an indie-music-enjoyer, or simply someone who wants to dig under the chaos of daily life to reconnect with your natural emotions, give this album a listen. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, or another music streaming platform of your choice.

REVIEW: Before Love Came to Kill Us

If Jessie Reyez’s Before Love Came to Kill Us was a quarantine essential, it would be a serrated knife used to saw through a loaf of thick-crusted, homemade bread. Released this year on March 27, Reyez’s debut studio album wastes no time ripping into the artist’s grittiest emotions and slicing away with expansive, genre-bending gusto. The versatility of Reyez’s vocals and unapologetically blunt lyricism are present throughout the album, with sounds ranging from the swaggering, synth-infused “Ankles” to the reproachful Spanish ballad “La Memoria”. Though colored by a multitude of musical genres, each song seems to inflect different emotional responses to the messiness of love and the realization of one’s own mortality.

Reyez introduces her work with a distinctive vulgarity, declaring “I should’ve fucked your friends/It would’ve been the best revenge/For the fire that you started”, before continuing to saw away with impassioned remorse at the memory of her ex-lover. Reyez’s raspy declarations are accompanied by the almost ironically soft tones of a piano and string quartet, reflective of how the song’s mood glides through extremes. The singer slips between the fiery indignation of being “sick with feeling like I deserved better” and the quiet jealousy of “if I blow your brains out, I could guarantee that you’ll forget her” – delivering unforgettable lines with no semblance of mercy.

Before Love Came to Kill Us includes several of Reyez’s previous releases – like raw 2017 single “Figures”, and”Imported”, a slinky R&B collaboration with 6LACK. Though the tracks fit in thematically, with “Figures” cracking down on post-breakup hurt and “Imported” commenting on immigration and casual love, something about each seems to disrupt the album’s emotional flow. Perhaps the two singles flavor differently in emotional maturity – while the rest of Before Love Came to Kill Us exudes loud confidence even while tackling great insecurity, “Figures” and “Imported” display vulnerability more blatantly.

One of my favorites from this album is “Ankles”, a gloriously self-assertive production drawing upon both choir and trap sounds that make the listener feel as if they were curling their lip at their own unsavory ex. Reyez chants along with the instrumentals by continuously bearing a disparaging truth about her ex’s future: that regardless of who he finds, “these bitches can’t measure up/To my ankles/Levels? (Nah)”. She does this while bearing the truth of her own realizations – that the ex and their relationship, in all its cheating toxicity, had managed to string her along with guilt – not once, but twice. Reyez finishes her masterful rampage surrounded in ticking drum beats and the last strains of a choir, asserting that like her ex’s future prospects, he is “backwards, 2 feet/Shallow, too real”.

Review :: New Music and the UM rendition

University of Michigan’s own Contemporary Directions Ensemble, otherwise known as CDE, is a group dedicated to playing contemporary music. What the hell is that? Steve Reich, a highly-praised, NYC based composer said, “…the essential difference between ‘classical music’ and ‘popular music.’ And that essential difference is: one is notated, and the other is not notated.”

Contemporary music a.k.a “New music” is a genre of notated music that appeals to a modern aesthetic. Similar to the way in which Beethoven was a revolutionary of his time, composers alive today like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage, Iannis Xenkis, David Lang, John Luther Adams, and a cast of others, are revolutionizing our ears and our minds. New concepts and definitions of sound and music are being realized almost daily. These composers have been classical trained but have moved so far past the archaic term, “classical” which no longer comes close to describing what they do.

Modern art – music meant for the art galleries and the coffee shops, the intimate venues and the outdoors, the art goers of today and the musicians of tomorrow. This is 21 century shit.


Conducted by Christopher James Lees, and made up of graduate students, CDE is a small group – about 20 large. This past Thursday night, their show entitled Fathers and Sons let them all rip it. They played driving music like the Son of Chambers Symphony, paired with the sound explorations of John Cage, paired with the 20 minute long bassoon solo, paired with the in-house piece by Kuster, dedicated to her father now past. Incredible textures, wild combinations, and innovative sounds. A buffet for the ears

The gorgeous program ~

Here, Leaving by Kristin Kuster, premier by U-M composition faculty member

How we got here (4th edition) by Luciano Berio, bassoon solo complete with circular breathing

But what about the noise of crumpling
paper which he used to do in order to
paint the series of “Papiers froisses” or
tearing up paper to make “Papiers
dechires?” Arp was stimulated by water
(sea, lake, and flowing waters like rivers

by John Cage. Yes, all one piece. Simply Beautiful

Son of Chambers Symphony by David T. Little

I would describe everything in detail but as a friend told me once, “it’s like when someone tells you a joke is funny before you hear it decide for yourself.” In light of that, I would love to hear your thoughts. Listen to a couple of these, Catch a John Cage concert it’s his 100 birthday this year (if he was still alive) and I’m nutty about it. If you don’t hear of any, just get in touch.

Hunter Chee