Although it’s admittedly a patient listen, Warpaint plucks at a different petal each time through it in its entirety. It’s truly a triumph for a group of women whose colors are singular and run incredibly deep.
Stott looks patiently inside whirring machines and pulls out their constructed heartbeats; Faith in Strangers is simultaneously a machine and movement, a noun and a verb.
Cadillactica ... is a confident piece of work even during the slower jazz rap sections.
At its best, DSU cycles through that duality with aplomb, which will serve as an excellent introduction to his gigantic discography for all new fans. Yet it’s also a reminder that Giannascoli is getting older, both as an artist and as a human being. And for better or worse, things don’t necessarily feel the same.
Ryan Adams can be seen as an emotionally mature take from an artist who is able to think in terms of career, able to look beyond selfish reasons for creating art, and able to give fans something that can be both pleasant to listen to and enjoyable to perform on a nightly basis.
Ought’s blistering More Than Any Other Day, the Montreal-formed quartet’s debut, is a post-punk album on the surface, armed with barbed wire guitars and conspicuous hi-hats. It works best, however, when it’s hastily becoming something rather than settling itself into one pocket.
The fact that The Men have already been so prolific, have earned veteran status as fast as any act in rock history, has meant that they can’t help but write samey songs from time to time. But those who don’t sleep don’t rust, either, which helps explain why Tomorrow’s Hits is unsurprisingly excellent.
Hardly a cookie-cutter pop voice, she’s brash but not abrasive and can be sultry without being hammy. Those songs showcase the versatility of her croon, while also updating the pop ballad form with Vindhahl’s metallic, glitchy production.
Three years after their back-to-back records, time has served Future Islands well, especially given their expansive growth and their ability to forge their strongest qualities to precision.
The album works best as a single, unified listen, the instrumental stretches inspiring just as many shivers as the Kendrick and Snoop Dogg features (if not more).
SYRO peaks as Aphex Twin’s most accessible album since his ambient works. But a published gear list of over 130 items attests that the production is no less technical.
In its droning self-focus, To Be Kind exposes the core, both its own and the listener’s, revealing the visceral building blocks of the song as well as the acts of listening and existing.
While his style remains inconsistent and his lyrics can verge on cheesy, the music never gets stale. Each word is sung like the weight of his world depends on it.
The moral of Oxymoron, though, is that Q couldn’t have made a much better album being the rapper he is.
It’s all at once contemporary enough to thrive in a market that demands constant innovation, yet nostalgic enough to shepherd the spirit of a bygone era on which the genre is founded.
Despite its heightened complexity, Too Bright still fosters an intelligible world where Hadreas can bridge the distance between his vulnerability and self-assuredness.
The hour-long record could’ve benefited from either less early material or more new. At any rate, this definitely winks at the whimsicality of the album’s title, and more importantly, It’s Album Time finds Todd Terje shattering dance music stereotypes.
It trafficks specifically in lost arts like sequencing, pacing, and mastering. It’s not concerned with moving units. It’s concerned with Beyoncé’s self-exploration, in a complicated, incredibly intriguing way.
Are We There functions best as the portrait of an artist coming into her own, while hopefully putting some of her demons to rest.
In revisiting those times, in trying to get back in touch with that man, he and the rest of Weezer have created something that’s completely unique to their catalog, a record that tries its damnedest to feel alienated by the conflicts of the past, but discovers that it’s actually at peace with them.
Much like Angel Olsen’s also excellent album from this year, Li isn’t exactly blazing new territory in terms of emotional revelation but is in uncomfortable territory, realizing that her voice is her own and using it for what feels true to her.
HEAL is a rock record, unabashed in its influences and unbridled in its execution.
Del Rey’s voice flourishes. Inside the album’s big, vintage swing, she sings herself into places that Born to Die, with its pop veneer, couldn’t touch.
In Conflict is ominous, gloomy, and marked with some of the most playful arrangements Pallett’s laid to date.
By keeping things simple and letting it all hang out, the singer manages to add another solid batch of darkly confessional indie folk tracks to his already hefty CV.
Madlib’s tricky blaxploitation production doesn’t only force Gibbs to push his abilities, but also gives him a space to explore a new perspective.
There’s a broader range of music here than perhaps any prior album of theirs, which makes for an adventurous listen … but not exactly a cohesive one.
Her biggest fans may prefer less direct writing, but it makes St. Vincent her most widely appealing album to date, an infectious work that doesn’t ever feel like a compromise.
LP1 isn’t anything revolutionary; it’s a frankly expressed project focused on the dualism between love and lust, reality and fantasy.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues will be remembered as a milestone not because it’s the first widely known punk record performed by a trans woman, but because it brandishes a genre saturated by empty, male-centered politics to broadcast the most punk statements possible: Fuck the haters, be who you are, hold fast to those who love you.
It’s rich in slow-burning ambiguity, and it may be vibrant and clean, but it doesn’t entice dialogue quite the same way his past albums have.
At 22, Baldi’s words aren’t tinted with irony, experience, or self-understanding. They are in the moment, full of emotional complexities that sometimes are more noticeable by the ferocity of his yelps, and less with his poetry.
Billed as “a collection of songs grown in a year of heartbreak, travel, and transformation,” Olsen’s sophomore LP is an astonishingly graceful, open, and engaging offering filled with intimate and unflinching songs.
An album like RTJ2 is rare. Decades from now, this album may just be revered as one of the best hip-hop records of our era, the total synchronicity of two talented artists reaching the apex of their prime.
The more you spin it, the more you wear out that thin needle of your record player, you realize that Granduciel is discovering the problems of his life, not figuring them out or even reflecting on them. This all makes for an album that truly sounds like it’s coming to life.