Marcy Donelson

90

Wry, riveting, chaotic, and infectious throughout, Where's My Utopia? easily upstages what was an impressive debut.

80

The band's debut album, Where we've been, Where we go from here, manages to live up to the hype thanks to consistently vulnerable, impassioned material that oscillates between desperate ballads and cathartic rockers with memorable choruses.

80

Diaz not only continues to stare down complex feelings but shines a blue light on the dark underbelly of love, where the flaws, compromises, and insecurities lie.

80

The Interrogator is definitive Paranoid Style and, as such, sure to be a boon for fans as well as an excellent test case for the uninitiated.

80

Alternately affectionate, suspenseful, weird, and poignant, TPTGATKOMDM is a journey, but it's brought to you by straight-up good songs.

80
Although Kirby doesn't back off of distortion pedals on the closer, "Table," the album's generally warmer textures are evident on songs including the fingerpicked and cello-accompanied "Party of the Century".
70

Taken together ... the album is a strong contender for any end-of-the-world party playlist.

70

If it unfolds mostly like a set of made-up-on-the-fly, unserious, everyday-occurrence tunes, it's one by somebody who is exceptionally good at it, with a sharp ear for hooks, quirky phrasing tendencies, and visceral, spontaneous-sounding accompaniment, ultimately making Melt the Honey play out something like a guilty pleasure.

80
Terrible circumstances aside, maybe Hackman just needed a little break before delivering her most compelling album to date.
80
It's an especially dreamy -- and seductive -- album and one that seems to find comfort in collaboration.
70

Even considering its modest ambitions, it's probably not a surprise that Songs of Silence showcases instincts and inventiveness well beyond that of your typical synth-instrumentals diversion.

80
This mix of warmth and wariness permeates Hadsel and, despite its idiosyncratic inspirations and unorthodox instrumentation, may well make it a timely and timeless destination for those who relate to its juxtaposition of comfort and alienation.
70

It's definitely music for dourer days, although there's also an alluring elegance in play that can make it feel more mysterious than dispiriting. Like a lot of compellingly constructed minimalist music, Acts of Light benefits from repeat listens.

60

Spike Field continues to explore human behavior right through to its closing title track, whose steady eighth notes and syncopated instrumentation eventually give way to lurching piano chords and the notion that the past is part of us, however we decide to relate to it (or not), leaving listeners with thoughts as haunting as that piano.


February Playlist
AOTY Discord