A U R O R A can be heard as Frost’s attempt to create something physical, and it stands above the rest of his discography.
Mr Twin Sister sounds flawless, and the fact that they co-produced the album and put it out on their own label aligns with a lyrical streak of independence that runs throughout.
The album adds a fresh layer of grandiosity that hints at festival-sized dance music or even Trent Reznor’s churning soundtrack work while never bowing down to any type of current trend.
With Sea When Absent, A Sunny Day in Glasgow have finally made that loud rock record—full of crashing percussion and screaming guitars—but without abandoning the ambiance that makes them so distinct.
It doesn't matter if Gibbs and Madlib were once considered artists playing to different audiences -- united in their uncompromising, independent-as-fuck visions, they put together something hardcore hip-hop heads on both sides should feel.
He's less concerned with dazzling us this time around, and as a result he moves us more.
In sharp contrast to his previous album-to-album stylistic shifts, the songs of Manipulator represent a perfect melting-pot synthesis of Segall’s many sonic signatures, as if each component—from the British Invasion-inspired melodies to the glam-rock affectations to the berserker guitar solos—was carefully measured out in beakers and test tubes before being mixed together
It’s an anxious, distressed record to be sure—brimming with feelings of disaffection and dislocation—but it presents itself as such simply to show you how that nervous energy can be put to more positive, constructive use.
Hundred Waters thrive in the place where post-rock meets freak folk, and sing-song melodies are twisted into strange shapes by circuitry.
Say Yes to Love is so relentlessly pummeling that it's almost meditative, and its songs are caked in so much sludge it's often hard to make out what Graves is saying. Until, very suddenly, it's not.
The soul of Shabazz Palaces is pairing next-gen sounds with classic brass-tacks show-and-prove emceeing, and Lese Majesty tugs those extremes as far as they've ever been pulled; that it never shows signs of wear speaks to the strength of the bond.
To call it a “grower” would be accurate, though that downplays its visceral jolt, as previous Cloud Nothings records revealed their high points fairly quickly; here, the initial sonic beating's reflected in the unmistakable shades of purple, black, and blue-black in the resultant bruises.
Deep Fantasy is definitely savvy, ensuring its staunch ideals are delivered by a riveting, relatable frontwoman and 22 minutes of vicious, compact musicianship and addictive melody.
The big ol’ city was imaginary; but on 1989, Swift writes and inhabits a fully-realized fantasy of self-reliance, confidence, and ensuing pleasure. Her music was no longer just a diary entry. You can almost hear her winking on every track.
This is the sound of Iceage finding a balance between getting older and seeking immortality by way of leaping into an abandoned-lot fire head-first. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time and, for now, Iceage have found their own unstable sense of peace.
Krell is informed by genre but driven by expression; in his mind, pop music is anything that aspires for the most immediate and impactful connection, even if it risks embarrassment in the process. As a result, his transcendent third LP "What Is This Heart?" is a pop album of the highest caliber.
Rips mostly finds the band walking away from Timony's established voice and pushing toward something more direct and energetic—embracing the past, but also blowing things up and starting again.
Older material accounts for roughly half the tracklist, and some of it doesn’t mesh well with the fresher, weirder stuff around it. It helps to see Broke With Expensive Taste, then, as an anthology, The Portable Azealia Banks.
Sunbathing Animal's considered, whip-smart rock revivalism is a work of substantial growth from a band that already did "simple" quite well, placing Parquet Courts in their own distinct weight class.
I Never Learn utilizes the simplest tools of confessional songwriting: uneasily strummed acoustic guitars and resonant piano chords enlarged for texture and dramatic flair, like they’re appearing from behind a just-raised curtain, or from a radio as you sing to yourself.
Herring acts on impulse—at no point does he sound calculated or clever—offering an open invitation to the uninhibited, to the goofy, and the sentimental.
Hell Can Wait is a debut for rapper Vince Staples, but it’s really a refinement, the end result of a years long search for the right producer. His jump to Def Jam is a case study in the enduring merit of good old-fashioned artist development.
Are We There may be her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent—the peak of a steady upward trajectory.
Taken as a whole, it is an album about unstable unities, things that cannot easily hold together, wholes breaking to pieces and being put back together again in new and unfamiliar shapes.
It's far and away the most free-ranging FlyLo album to date. And yet the album doesn't sprawl out of control, maybe because it doesn't really have the time to: the whole record clocks in at just over 38 minutes, all jolts of sound and quick bursts of motifs.
With each release, Clark sounds less like anybody but herself, and more forcefully embraces a darkness that was quietly stirring in even her earliest songs.
Burn Your Fire for No Witness conjures the past without ever imitating it, swirling its influences into something intimate, impressionistic and new.
They’ve made the first record of their career that feels like it might teach you something over time. It is rare, and special, for a band to be this effortlessly and completely themselves.
As guitar rock continues its slow and inevitable transition into a bygone art, They Want My Soul pulls at familiar threads, fraying things to make them seem now, if not new.
His second full-length, Salad Days, isn’t a departure from its predecessor so much as a richer, increasingly assured refinement. For all its internal contradictions, Salad Days is no more or less than a great album in a tradition of no-big-deal great albums.
These songs feel less like songs and more like treasures, ones that fill you with power and wisdom, and as a result, Too Bright seems capable of resonating with, comforting, and moving anyone who's ever felt alienated, discriminated against, or "other-ized," regardless of sexual orientation.
The key attribute is ultimately confidence. Our Love is a very assured record, from its unconventional, austere arrangements to its unrelenting focus and thematic consistency.
For all the arch humor and affectation, Pink writes some of most wistful and peculiarly moving songs in contemporary music.
For as much ground as he covers on It's Album Time, the music feels effortless, gliding from Henry Mancini-esque detective jazz to bouncy, Stevie Wonder funk like breeze blowing through the waffle weave of a leisure suit.
While Benji is consumed with death, sadness, mourning, and tragedy, there's gratitude within all this melancholy and it’s actually Kozelek’s least depressing and most life-affirming record
To Be Kind adheres to a policy of transcendence by any means necessary, even if it means repeatedly bashing you in the face with a mallet until you’re seeing stars and colors.
What we're left with is achingly beautiful and ... almost unnervingly direct.
The care and virtuosity with which these tracks were assembled is immediately obvious, but nothing feels difficult; the record’s easy flow despite it all is one of its primary virtues, and there’s something new to uncover with every listen.
What at first seemed like a fairly straightforward, traditionalist roots-rock exercise has very gradually, very subtly blossomed into something wondrous and profound.
Quiet as it may be, this is a huge album, a monumental debut. On a formal level, it takes the kinds of risks that few pop artists, and few "experimental" artists, for that matter, are willing to take these days.
Sounding like nothing else and answering to nobody but its creators, Run the Jewels 2 is in a class by itself.