Juan Edgardo Rodriguez

80
Is it precious? Sure is, but does it matter when they have full command of their craft?
80

Clocking in at a brisk 28 minutes, Harm's Way unfolds with not a minute wasted, similar to Weezer's Green Album. And while they couldn't be more far apart in tone and ambition, they're comparable in how they progress with limited dynamic range and a generous amount of hooks.

70

It's not quite at the level of Without a Sound, Mascis' definitive pop moment, but What Do We Do Now is the closest he's been to showing his more tender side in years.

70

It's clear that The Smile operates on their own accord. It may very well be their strength in elevating the much-maligned so-called side project. Navigating a less risk-averse path two albums in is the natural course to take, but it also sets a higher mark as they develop into, and this remains to be seen, an established act.

60

Saviors doesn't stray too far from what they've done in the past 10-15 years, but it's far more impassioned despite their pairing things down, proof that maintaining an agreeable middle ground with just enough anger suits them best.

60
While Link's observations are often engaging on the album, they can sometimes get lost in her sometimes-affected lethargy.
70

He rarely reveals much of his true intent throughout, relying upon platitudes that, while truthful, make Hadsel sound a little thin in places. But Condon knows his audience well, resorting to a heavily cinematic atmosphere that will have his listeners contemplating their own aspirations rather than focusing on his. Just like he intended to do.

80
Tarantula is poised to become a staple on their future setlists alongside past singles like Winona, on which the band turns up the tempo with a driving melodic groove that satisfyingly fades as soon as it hits.
80
Creevy sounds freer than ever, reclaiming her life amidst romantic entanglements that are equal parts vulnerable and resilient.
80
Bad timing, perhaps. But these quibbles don't detract from Ratboys' refined ebullience, glistening with an authenticity that sounds even better when you add the Chris Walla effect of making music sound irresistibly bittersweet.
70
An unfair degree of skepticism can surround a band like The Hives for firing in all cylinders well into their forties, but there's no denying their commitment and passion to staying in character on and off the stage.
80
Once the ears adapt to the environment they've created, the second album by the duo Lira Mondel and Caufield Schnug emerges with tuneful pop smarts that could've ignited any college rock scene in the early eighties.
80
Dark and sonically cavernous, Marshall's fourth release as King Krule fills the innermost spaces of his soul with glacial rhythms that vacillate with tension and release.
70
The album mostly screams avant-garde in its minimalism, sometimes to its detriment, but there's no denying they have the talent to justify the mystery they've built.
80

On Everything Harmony, the Lemon Twigs transcend their classic rock influences by sounding very of its time and timeless all at once.

80
The Pumpkins might not sound like they used to, and certainly not how you'd like them to either; let's call a spade a spade here. Still, Corgan somehow achieved the impossible: a genuinely likable, odd, and even inclusive album that sounds like nothing else in 2023.
80
It's a testament to Hartzman's nuanced lyrical bent, whose articulate observations are intriguing and even funny rather than affected.
80

In Praise a Lord..., Tumor achieves the difficult task of remaining as perplexing as ever while forging a more inviting sound.

80

A New Tomorrow, as the title implies, looks ahead with a peaceful nature. And even at their most intense moments, Lei makes it a point to unify and stay strong—especially when external forces are unwilling to cooperate.

70
Having proven themselves time and time again, they've far outpaced those unwilling to grow up with them.
100
What's most impressive is there's not a moment wasted in these twelve satisfying tracks, beginning and ending the narrative with a contemplation that also achieves the difficult task of feeling complete.
90
The conceptual narrative of the Murder Capital moving forward may seem like a tired trope, but it's also their truth, and when backed with songs this good, it justifies their wanting to document their growth as musicians.
80

What's noticeable about Weather Alive is how Orton assumes change as a constant, navigating a new sound and completely unafraid to take any risks.


February Playlist
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