Strange Weekend is ultimately a pop album—a flight of lo-fi fancy anchored by some very real (and very catchy) pop hooks.
Throughout, the lyrics ring with honesty and charm, the phrasing gently off at times, emphasizing a missed moment, a passing fancy.
It’s the Black Moth Super Rainbow recording we’ve been waiting for: unchecked and as wonky as ever, but with just enough structure to give it a lasting impact.
Ultraísta could so easily have been yet another post-dubstep decent-but-disposable record. Instead the trio have managed to create something that genuinely impresses and surprises.
Aptly, the title is about as subtle and nuanced as the record itself: a short, samey burst of enjoyable, yet disposable, garage rock.
Lacking that up-close-and-personal aesthetic, Sun isn't likely to land among the singer/songwriter's best records.
Even if Manuel’s a better producer and pop visionary than he is a singer, Young Hunger is still a delightfully shameless, anthemic embrace of young love, keyboard wizardry, the ’80s, and the ’90s.
The sound may be a nod to the past, but this is no tongue-in-cheek trip down memory lane.
Tramp ups the game on both fronts—her songs have a newfound bravado, and her crushing heartache has become tempered with acceptance and understanding.
It's Rose's crowning achievement to date, a gorgeously impressionistic album that's a quantum artistic leap forward for this exceptionally talented songwriter.
Banks is all new material, and is a manifestation of the quantum leap Banks has taken as a songwriter and arranger.
A Thing Called the Divine Fits does a fantastic job building on many of the strengths of its members to create a new, exciting project.
Remaining members Justin Harris and Danny Seim have created an album that's just as musically twisted and thematically perverse as their previous outings...and a whole lotta fun to sing along to.
Bergsman uses the idea of Hawaii—palm trees, sepia-tinted photos of beach sunsets, the gentle rhythms of the ocean—to provide a pervading mood of calm.
It’s far more opaque than Measure at first listen, a rat maze of persnickety, unpredictable pop that’s more akin to the first few full-lengths.
They've found their stride—really completed the vision—here.
Choir of Young Believers has expanded upon the blueprint outlined on their well-crafted first album and channeled it into a sophomore release that's really outstanding.
With a firmly established legend behind him, The Seer doesn't serve to endear him to new fans but rather to deepen his already compelling narrative.
"USA" alone makes America one of 2012's striking moments and new high-water mark for Dan Deacon's ever-ascending career.
The collection is streamlined, but not minimal, and it boasts stylish anger that could soundtrack a thousand fashion collections.
The record largely blurs together into a gloriously inscrutable haze, but certain songs resonate as sundry, singular experiences.
WIXIW succeeds at carrying a consistent, immersive mood from start to finish, possibly more than any of the group's output.
Ariel Pink lays on the humor thick enough that his sheer songwriting ability is at times almost overshadowed.
When Krell is on, he’s on. When he’s not, at least the mood remains intact
The end result is an intriguing, ambitious set of songs that reward those who opt for full immersion, rather than cherry-picking tracks, with each listen.
It's subtle moments like these that illustrate just how far Bear in Heaven have progressed as songwriters, and I Love You, It's Cool is an album rife with them.
Each song on Gossamer is a dance party staple for those paper lantern occasions that you only realize the significance of years later.
Iit's another resounding triumph for Pierce.
It's clearly the product of a band in a conventional sense, one tightened like a corkscrew by relentless touring and songwriting.
The songs throughout Fragrant World are arrestingly forward-thinking without shying away from invoking music's rich pageantry.
It's uncommon for bands to achieve cohesiveness amidst such high levels of quirk; on their debut, Alt-J have done much better than that.
It's clear from the start with the gorgeous opener, "Funtimes in Babylon," that Tillman's is a singular talent
With a clear opening and finale, upbeat moments and downbeat ones, romance, tragedy, and plot twists, Kill for Love feels less like an album and more like a feature film.
No expectation could have prepared listeners for how good this album is.
Visions isn’t as much of an evolution as it is an elongation
The album is filled with wonderful little moments that add up to create a remarkable whole.
While Dirty Projectors have always been driven by core member David Longstreth's vision, Magellan benefits from its feel as a band record.
Once again Chairlift displays a potent blend of smarts and charm
Stripped down of any excessive ornamentation, it's the most raw incarnation of Bat For Lashes we've heard yet.
Despite the album title, the duo picks right up where it left off on 2010's Teen Dream.
Arrangements explode or implode, meticulous vocal melodies rub up against perverse sonic sensibilities, genres are hopped, and fidelity is determined by the pure haste of getting ideas down.
This time around, Tatum is attacking the form with a more "adult" approach, careful in its construction and aware of its context—but somehow eternally youthful in its vision, still lost in the clouds.