Site news alert! We’ve now reached the halfway point of 2013, and with that I’d like to use that as a springboard to make some changes to the site moving forwards. Really by “changes” I mean one change, and that’s going to concern album reviews on the site. A little earlier today, I posted my review of Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. If you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, please do, because it gives an in-depth analysis of one of the year’s strongest records. You may also notice that review is quite lengthy. Like the sort of lengthy that maybe makes you not want to read it, or wait until you’ve got plenty of time to read it. It’s also the first album review I’ve written in a few weeks. Why? Mostly time constraints, and when I did have free time, I kept writing that Vampire Weekend review. It went through an editing process and I didn’t put it out there until I felt satisfied with the end product. This sort of perfectionism and relentless need to dive head first into deep analysis of every record I hear has ultimately crippled my ability to write reviews in a timely and easy to read fashion. In a sense those longer reviews do stand out a little from a lot of other music bloggers, who will toss an mp3 at you with a paragraph about the song and call it a post. Alas, I’m just not getting the diversity and lending my opinion to enough records these days. There’s so many great albums out there I want to write raves about, but simply don’t have the time or luxury to do so. Which is why I’m changing the way I write album reviews. From now on, a vast majority of my reviews will be very short and to-the-point. Certainly something will be lost in these quick hit reviews, but I hope to give you a basic idea about the worth of an album in a nice economical package that’s easy to read and reveals whether or not it’s worth your time and money. Look for that new album review format to start later this week or early next week. I’ll begin by playing catch-up with a few notable releases from the first half of the year that I failed to get to, and then quickly jump to current and future releases. The hope is to put together 4-5 of these reviews each week, which is much better than the 1 or 2 every week…or two that my review rate has fallen to. I hope it will increase your overall enjoyment of the site just a little bit more. One of the other things I wanted to point you in the direction of now that we’ve officially hit mid-year is a new Spotify playlist (U.S. only) featuring 80 songs from the first six months of the year that I genuinely loved. There’s tracks from well-known artists like Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, The Joy Formidable, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake paired along side more interesting discoveries such as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Alpine, Daughter, Savages, The Knife and Autre Ne Veut. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing if you have time (take it in chunks), and click the follow button in your Spotify app to keep an eye on things. Of course new music doesn’t stop coming just because we’ve reached July. Here’s your Monday edition of Pick Your Poison as well, featuring tracks from Black City Lights, Flaamingos, Gladiola, Kodacrome, Little Big League, Obits, Sinden, The Static Jacks, Steel Cranes and Walking Bicycles. Wow, lots of good stuff today. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new songs from Chelsea Wolfe, Duke Dumont, Holograms, Janelle Monae, Torche and Chicago’s own Twin Peaks.

Black City Lights – Offering

Cadien – Expression of Self

Emeron & Fox – Arms Out

Flaamingos – Walk A Wire

Gallant – If It Hurts

Gladiola – Your Biography

Kitten Forever – Famous Friends

Kodacrome – Strike the Gold

Little Big League – My Very Own You

Obits – Taste the Diff

Sinden – Almost Gone

The Static Jacks – I’ll Come Back

Steel Cranes – Boat Song

Walking Bicycles – So

SOUNDCLOUD

Chelsea Wolfe – The Warden

Duke Dumont – Hold On (ft. MNEK)

Holograms – Meditations

Janelle MonĂ¡e – Dance Apocalyptic

Torche – Leather Feather

Twin Peaks – Irene