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CD Reviews: Tyga's 'Hotel California' and Villagers' '{Awayland}'

Tyga

Tyga (Credit: Tyga (Getty Images))

‘Hotel California’
TYGA
2.5 stars
Leaning on the legend of the deathless Eagles epic (forever upstaged by Frank Ocean’s spot-on appropriation), it falls to Compton-raised rhymer Tyga to bundle up various shards of Cali rap history, from resurrected Tupac verses on “Hit ’Em Up” to the G-funk talkbox of “Neva Rains,” and make do as best he can. The sophomore album from the “Rack City” rapper persistently drops into the gap between raw mixtape cohesiveness and studio polish, with the latter barely winning out on production points like the booming outro of “Diss Track,” the juicy drop-in of 2 Chainz on “Hijack,” and the Maybach Music menace of first single “Dope,” featuring the sorry-not-sorry Rick Ross. Tyga’s youth and lithe wordplay carry him far, but faux-tender tracks like “For The Road,” a depthless thug-love slow jam featuring noted respecter of women Chris Brown, shows the many stripes he has left to earn.

‘{Awayland}’
VILLAGERS
2.5 stars
The second studio album from Mercury Prize-nominated Irish songwriter Conor J. O’Brien gets its proper U.S. release. “{Awayland}” is a grandly scaled collection of electricity-seared future folk that builds on the early-aughts U.K. vanguard led by acts like Travis and others. Similar to his countryman Glen Hansard of the Frames (and the Broadway tear-wrencher “Once”), O’Brien has a deft hand for building momentum within individual songs, with cuts like the dire “Earthly Pleasures” and orchestral freight train “Nothing Arrived” making the transition from skeletal to saturated with seamless ease.

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