At a time when so many young, emerging New York City rappers are eagerly presenting themselves as a sum of their classic New York rap influences, Ratking have generated attention by trying to represent something different. Ratking's palette is restless, chaotic, and cluttered, and So It Goes sounds like it exists in its own world.
This is life-affirming music, repulsed by hype and cynicism.
Part biting satire, part cognitive behavioral therapy, their new collaborative album, Everything’s Fine, is a gorgeous consideration of how simply existing can beat the “fine” out of us.
Initially forceful and ultimately complex, Vexovoid redirects the image of death metal through a dervish funhouse, where the expected shapes have been mutated and multiplied into orders so strange they seem surreal.
It all turns out so ridiculously fun-- with Ken Burns-style readings of speeches from Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, daguerreotype cover art, and song titles all participating in the reenactment-- that it never even begins to approach the pretentiousness these elements might suggest.
He made music that was, at times, intentionally uncomfortable, and part of Hellboy’s appeal is in its brazen ugliness. He said things like, “Coke in her nose, and my dick all in her butt.” And yet, he could sing these words tenderly.
Her best music, this album included, has the effect of putting one in the kind of treasured, child-like space-- not so much innocent as open to imagination-- that never gets old.
Part of the album's magic is the way that Huerco S., after the fashion of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops, has captured a feeling of fragility, of things flaking to dust before our very eyes and ears.
Daytona is Pusha’s best work as a solo artist, a tightly wound record that doesn’t recapture the highs of peak Clipse, but finally makes ideal use of the now middle-aged rapper’s considerable skills.
Beyondless sparkles like a champagne bottle smashed in slow motion.
Mono No Aware collects new ambient music that reflects our present moment. Each piece of the 80-minute compilation has its own unique identity, yet together it feels like the work of one mind.
Still trading in piercing vulnerability, Clean is Allison’s excellent studio debut: a compact album of clear melodies, plainspoken lyrics, and the impossibly tangled logic of infatuation.
Trans Day of Revenge takes the anger and confusion one feels in the depths of the margins, and translates them, literalizes them, from a burning abstraction into something almost tangible.
The Chicago artist marries political commentary with deep introspection, resulting in a richly composed R&B album about the echoes of the past and the promise of the future.
The Scottish trio's debut LP, The Bones of What You Believe, is a seamless fusion of emotive theatrics, hook-loaded songwriting, and some of the more forward-thinking sonics in electronic music right now.
Black Up lets some sunlight in, breathes fresh air, and finds Butler returning to an occasionally lighter flow, the most unburdened he's sounded since the world first heard him.
It's one of rock’s most commanding and ferociously poised debuts in recent years, the work of a band whose outsized confidence and sharp clarity of vision doesn’t correlate with the short amount of time it’s been together.
Her streak of country domination continues on the loose, wandering All American Made.
Devotion ... marries her natural gift with throbbing instrumentation that breathes life into every single turn of phrase or sensitive vocal embellishment.
Are We There may be her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent—the peak of a steady upward trajectory.
This record’s emotional valence—between collapse and grace, unity and emptiness—will resonate with anyone who's ever caught an unexpected sunrise in a concrete room. Yet his depth and clarity of vision resists formula. Making music “to get lost in” is overrated—Compro takes you somewhere new.
Just as this album highlights Williams’ most existentially despondent musings to date, it is also the most fizzy record Paramore have ever recorded.
So while there are few identifiable words here and the titles don't really register, there's a hell of a lot being expressed.
DSU is worthy of its moment, a 13-song set of warped, idiosyncratic sketches each capable of wending its way to a distinct place into the hearts of anyone who ever warmed to the idea of "indie rock".
It’s not a return to Mixtape Nicki, or a third round of Nicki The Brand’s world-conquering dance-pop. It’s an album by Onika Maraj. And it’s a serious album, in the sense that it asks to be taken seriously.
For Britain's biggest young guitar band to ditch laddy machismo, embrace the boy band ideal, and run on feeling rather than posturing—that feels kind of radical. When you sleep can be far too much, but it's not cynical.
This is an ambitious record that doesn't feel at all over-worked or stale, and while Sorrow and Extinction holds up beautifully two years later, Foundations is the stronger collection to the point that Sorrow almost comes across as demos for this new material.
The New York duo's debut full-length is a wildly fun noise-pop thrill-ride, delivering on the promise of last year's widely circulated demos.
It’s not anchored in one particular scene, but plays as broadly California, with sly nods to the Byrds in the guitars, the Go-Go’s in the vocals, and Randy Newman in the wry humor.
On Savage Mode, the dry-voiced and deadpan trap rapper 21 Savage recounts a life that has known nothing but violence. It's his strongest release, thanks to sleek production by Metro Boomin.
David Berman’s first new music in over a decade is a marvelous collection of heartbreak, grief, and bitterness. His careful writing has never sounded so exacting or direct.
As they've gone from spastic punk, to doomed stoner rock, to sparkling guitar pop, to this new album's skinny-jeaned funk, Arctic Monkeys have stayed close to the spirit of their debut's title while minimizing its excess at the same time.
Despite her flitting between personalities and personas, her music feels more like her own here than it did on her debut LP. The songs feel like they were written for Lady Gaga rather than simply for any modern pop star.