At 10 compact, differently beautiful songs, Driver is the work of an artist entering the springtime of their brilliance, as good as singer-songwriter indie-rock can get.
On The Plugs I Met 2, Benny explores this sadness and danger more fully over a selection of Harry Fraud beats that meld the grit of the first Plugs with the sheen of Proof.
You can always feel the humanity behind Black Midi’s mad scientist experiments.
Some of the best music can be raw while remaining widely accessible. Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine is Brockhampton’s best effort to balance these approaches; their hard times and brash raps go down more smoothly than ever.
The Foos’ 10th album is upbeat even by their uniquely well-adjusted standards, returning to their core Nineties alt-rock sound minus any gimmicks, detours, or shenanigans.
Goat Girl’s second album evokes the dreamier side of post-punk ... Listening to On All Fours is like wandering in a cool thrift shop.
As a quarantine-driven detour on Williams’ artistic path as a solo act, Flowers works as a side project, although its commitment to confessional storytelling and stripped-down production the whole way through will make it appear one-noted against Petals.
Japanese Breakfast’s latest LP Jubilee is the project’s most ecstatic-sounding album to date, although one glance at the lyrics will tell you that Zauner isn’t done excavating the thornier aspects of dependency, devotion, and longing.
Though brief, with a runtime of just over 30-minutes, the EP shows Sullivan crafting a complete constellation of love and loss.
A fully realized artistic statement without a skippable track, even if a few songs trail off a bit toward the end — almost as if Baker knows the rush of cathartic energy has left everyone involved a little exhausted, including herself.
On Obviously, they’re still oddballs, but in the best way.
On Chemtrails, her most subdued and introspective album thus far, she soundtracks the death of the American dream right from the heart of Hollywood, just as she did on her previous effort, 2019’s electrifying Norman Fucking Rockwell! And while it may not have as many grandiose showpieces as its older sibling . . . Chemtrails is every bit as sharp and prescient of a cultural artifact from pop’s premier Cassandra.
Soberish, her first album in 11 years, brings to mind the glory of Guyville and its 1994 follow-up, Whip-Smart, without feeling at all like self-conscious recapitulation.
The wildly inventive rapper-producer teams up with electronic musician Four Tet to create an album that lives in the space between the past and the future.
She Walks in Beauty is best taken in small doses to appreciate its majesty.
There’s no real sense of worry or anxiety in the love songs, and Moctar’s calls for unity are set to a loose soundtrack of unpredictable guitar. This is how free rock & roll should sound.
Mustafa’s choice to sing of hood tragedy in folk music is effective, not only because it is beautiful and stirring, but because it feels unexpected.
Carnage ... is a relatively quiet meditation on spiritual salvation in the era of loneliness.
Whereas most artists build to their breakup album, carefully laying down the foundations of their future devastation, Rodrigo has already skipped ahead to her Tunnel of Love.
She has a great time singing over reggaeton beats on an EP that plays to her strengths.
It’s the cheekiness and humor of Deacon that really shines, without sacrificing the complex theatricality that has made Serpentwithfeet such a standout project.
Spare Ribs, the Mods’ 11th LP since they formed in 2007, is a veritable a la carte menu of outrages.
On Path of Wellness, Sleater-Kinney sound like they’re regrouping after a period of loss and isolation, taking stock of what remains.
Tyron ... while not as evolved as it might think, is a solid effort at reflection from a promising young artist learning to get out of his own way.
Her thirty-something voice is richer, deeper and more sure of itself. She embodies her earlier country affectations, but only to a point.
This late in the game, Craig Finn should have run out of punk-rock-noir narratives, but, nope, the lyrics on the eighth THS album are as vivid as ever, and the guitars ring true.
A revelatory collection of glassy-piano dance grooves and noir folk, based in Tamara Lindeman's piercing songwriting.
June has never sounded more fully and thrillingly herself than she does on her latest album, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, which merges pop ambition, folksy open-heartedness and blues wisdom.
It’s Weezer’s attempt at pathos (or bathos in Cuomo’s case) that makes OK Human feel, well, more human. If Cuomo could ever let his guard down fully, without feeling self-conscious, he probably has a great album inside of him.
Despite its brooding introduction, Nobody Is Listening shows both restraint and growth from a new dad who just turned 28, even if the songs seem more reflective of his relationship with longtime partner Gigi Hadid than of his journey into fatherhood.