This is functional, engaging music, even exceptionally so, but it never seems to have a real, vested interest in being anything beyond that.
It’s a heartfelt, narcotic odyssey through the seductive pleasures of lava lamps and black light posters, a kind of escapism that comes in the same strange, silk-screened colors as the novelty lighters and t-shirts one might find at a backwoods southwestern gas station.
Food is consistently satisfying and often fabulous.
Remarkably, the absence of guitar from the equation opens the door for Wasner and Stack to play in a much more delightfully ambiguous environment.
Ghettoville is as deeply immersive a piece of music as any, a veritable world unto itself, full of dark alleys and hidden nooks, the kind of place you can get lost in and which reveals new details with every listen.
It doesn’t provide the thrill-a-minute jolts of Light Up Gold, but Parquet Courts may yet become a garage punk band that millennials can call our own.
Running just shy of thirty-five minutes, WONDERLAND’s eight tracks present a renewable opportunity to get lost. Each spin offers a chance for escape, but what endows Berglund’s sophomore effort with the glow of a masterpiece is its accessibility.
Dupuis’s bittersweet, teasing vocals feel like the gorgeous, blue, and brutally cold day after it snows three feet.
It all comes satisfyingly full circle, but Familiars mostly washes over you when it should be lunging for your heart.
For as commanding and affecting Burn Your Fire for No Witness can be while it plays, the album remains elusive when trying to call it to mind later.
Here and Nowhere Else’s disposition for self-examination coaxes out a superior depth and nuance when stacked against Cloud Nothings’ previous works. Conversely, it is a little surprising how unsurprising the album is.
As the trio continue to remould and refine their craft, Mess, an album fuelled by impulse, demonstrates their ideological core hasn’t moved an inch.
These sonic tweaks are welcome, but they are merely the fine grain of an album that works in broad, hypnotic strokes – song by song capturing feelings of separation, exploration, and uncertainty.
Do It Again remains impressive, if not extraordinary, from beginning to end. Röyksopp and Robyn for once sound like bandmates, rather than guest stars on one another’s solo work.
Future Islands are remaining relevant by crafting stimulating, quirky, synth-laden music that fuses the arcane with the universal; there’s a depth and complexity to their sound that’s lacking in many of their peers.
Ørsted’s debut LP wears its history heavily, composed of equal parts previously released and new material. It is a risk for an artist as dependent on earworm shock value as Ørsted, but a deliberate one that yield dividends at the end of the day.
Throughout In Conflict, Pallett opens up his compositions even more than his lyrics, but the songwriting is no less brainy, and themes no less tangled, than on his earlier work.
Compared to the tedious Total Loss, done in by consistently plodding tempos and an icily ascetic atmosphere, the new material (produced by Rodaidh McDonald) is much more dynamic and is in audible conversation with Krell’s peers all around the pop landscape.
Beck’s voice, most often doubled and sometimes tripled, omnipresent and in conversation with itself, binds and elevates this, his most consistently exceptional album since Odelay.
Ultraviolence, a collection of mid-century ballads spiked with blues-rock, is a stunning accomplishment. Its eleven songs whimper and howl, soothe and taunt, hypnotize and thrill.
For all the pomp and circumstance preceding Salad Days, this is still an album that DeMarco recorded in his Brooklyn walkup. It’s a record that boasts glaring maturity without diminishing the iconic immaturity.
On The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Hundred Waters offers an album of quiet moments of subtlety juxtaposed with crashing waves of desperation.
Present Tense may be a less accessible offering from Wild Beasts, but it’s their most human – a mesmeric bundle of contradictions, indignities and pleasures.
The stakes of this music are so high – dizzyingly high, perilously so. Life-or-death high. Perfect Pussy are so good, it ought to embarrass most of their peers.
Nikki Nack, the phenomenal follow-up to whokill, will only solidify the prior convictions of admirers and cynics alike. Garbus has broadened and sharpened her sonic vocabulary. Her melodies are catchier, her zany song structures more welcoming.
Beyoncé waited for the last moment to unveil 2013′s finest pop album. It arrived too late to enter our top ten lists, but just in time to own the year.
Deep Fantasy is incisive and immersive. It has real depth and space, even color: it’s filled with exquisite little turns, playful flashes of sound-for-sound’s-sake brilliance.
To Be Kind is a loving ode to chaos, full of deranged, mutant energy and even more brilliant for it.
It’s nerves are uneasy, but Lost in the Dream stands as Granduciel’s most open-armed record yet, filled to the gills with selfdom and sprawling musicality.
The sparse musical arrangements and haunting production only serve to heighten the album’s intimacy and ultimately render it a masterpiece of reflection and introspection, destined to be played on repeat in scores of late-night, tired, and lonely rooms.
While Are We There can be taxing at points, by its end, you’ll be overcome by the feeling that you’ve shared in something profound.
The ruthlessly taut St. Vincent makes its predecessor appear flabby and loose. St. Vincent – so jagged and sinewy – doesn’t lack lush moments. But they go as soon as they come – with maximum impact.