They deliver fast punk songs and slinky surf rock songs alongside glittering pop-influenced dance jams, each of which still sound uniquely Priests.
Bolstered by the strongest back half The National have ever recorded, I Am Easy to Find is a much-needed rejoinder to the idea that the band has rested on their laurels, not a return to form but an indication that they are still open to exploring new ideas.
Life Metal brims with the white-hot intensity of the duo’s early records, when the primacy of the distended riff overrode all concerns.
With ANIMA, his revelatory beats create a full spectrum, as unnerving as they are welcome.
All Mirrors feels like the most fully-realized version of Olsen that we’ve gotten yet.
Who’d have thought Brown would make it to old head status, much less a wise and witty elder statesman.
With When I Get Home, the end result is a series of songs that feel like similar but still distinct microclimates, built out of samples that appear and vanish without a moment’s notice.
Add two more pages to the bestiary: 1) a mostly domesticated beast; 2) the strangest, rarest creature in the Callahan biome: the happily married Shepherd.
Remind Me Tomorrow may delve into darker sonic terrain for the artist, what with its whirring and noisy synths, but Van Etten has never sounded as ecstatic as she does on this record, and her already considerable body of work seems poised to get even better.
Where the band’s three previous albums sounded like the byproduct of academic intellectuals fresh out of school, Father of the Bride feels more like an homage to pop with a decidedly more mature, domesticated California-leaning aesthetic.
Igor is a triumph, another feather in the cap of an artist whose real aim has always been to emote, not provoke, and who has made his vulnerability an expansive palette from which to draw in an exploration of the shades and contours of his own emotional canvas.
With this gorgeous, gripping, thought-provoking album, she continues her enigmatic, glass ceiling-smashing trajectory thanks to some spectacular vocal performances and updating the sonic templates left to her by her forebears.
Ghosteen takes years of hurt, sorrow and reflection and releases them in an astonishing double-album, one of the most challenging and most beautiful of Cave’s career.
Norman Fucking Rockwell! is nothing if not entertaining in that most Hollywood of ways. Hype or no, art or artifice, it’s nonetheless well worth the experience.
Purple Mountains is the strongest return one could hope for from Berman, and far stronger than one might expect from someone so trapped in a quagmire of misery.