FLOTUS is much more than another genre effort, where Wagner deeply alters his usual country bearings and gives it a new and unexpected orientation.
Mvula has written a hypnotic record that provides a congenial embrace, but it also isn’t afraid to take bold action. A new star is most definitely born.
In Pretty Years, the perennial late 90’s sounding rockers are stepping somewhat outside the box by introducing elements of heartland Americana and synth rock without turning away from their layered, guitar-heavy parts.
Sleep Cycle represents, and unintentionally so, a creative rebirth that goes against Animal Collective’s increasingly evanescent creativity. It took long enough, but the investment was worth it.
At first, it seemed as if King Gizzard’s stylistic motifs weren’t meant to be taken that seriously, but on their latest, Nonagon Infinity, the band wear their idiosyncrasies loud and proud.
Whereas Colonial Patterns hinted at an artist who maybe would’ve liked to get listeners to dance, Those of You wants to take our minds to a more serene place. It’s mesmerizing background music that doesn’t pass judgment if you let it take a secondary role in your daily life.
Minor Victories predictably commingles lengthy passages and oodles of noise with a gothic insouciance, occasionally touching on slight shoegaze elements to deliver a coherently attractive voyage that tends to linger in its perpetual gloom.
For All We Know is an extremely accomplished debut from a supremely talented artist ... Her emotional gradients are defined by her outstanding grasp on texturing both her voice and her electronics, and the production of the record allows this skill to come to the forefront of her debut.
Human Ceremony is an instinctive record, with the band more than happy to act on an impulse. The enthusiasm of the band is infectious, always remaining grounded but delightfully exploring their own infinite limitations.
In writing White Album, Cuomo stresses how he felt he hadn’t made a full-blown beach album, even though many would be quick to defend that Blue Album is the quintessential nineties surf rock album. But never has there been a theme attached to it, and in White Album, Weezer are dutifully following a similar pop template akin to The Beach Boys’ pre-psychedelia streak.
While the music remains as invigorating as ever, the subject matter has the most direct through line of her discography. If Let England Shake looks at conflicts both past and present from an afar, journalistic view, then this album is up-close and personal. The result mostly succeeds, though it's not without problems.
Is the Is Are is told with barefaced honesty, seen through the lens of a band that is reclaiming their capacities as a unit after their lead songwriter faced near self-destruction.
Preoccupations is a strong follow-up to an excellent debut record. It showcases a band that is evolving and finding new ways to stretch out their sound.
Wildflower is simply a joy, an euphonious hour-long journey that exists in some wonderfully naive and blissful alternate universe. It’s an aural paradise you’ll never want to leave.
There’s a reason why this could be considered his attempt at writing an album akin to Sgt. Pepper: as Ocean consciously sets a very clear tone with some intrepid experimentation, he finds to way to put the focus almost entirely on thought-provoking sentiments.
It’s a collection of unsightly surveillances expressed in a magnificent manner, and the work of a man more than capable of out-creating himself.
The tracks don’t have the cinematic grandeur of those that made that album, but the dark, stalking hypnosis of the ‘untitled’ tracks that didn’t make the cut only serve to further display Lamar’s stratified, multi-faceted genius.
Cut for cut, this is a triumph of melody and intelligence, with hooks that aren't cute and noise that doesn't dampen introspection, cosmic and prosaic at the same time. Parquet Courts have conquered rock 'n' roll's biggest hurdle: to move forward while staying true to themselves.
His voice is peerless, quietly adapted to his world of minimalist beats and ghostly electronics. The effect is stark, and intensely compelling. At 17 tracks long, this is a listen that plumbs substantial depths, but in Blake’s world, time ceases to be a constraint.
Its songs churn out their most muscular grooves yet, leaving a trail of testosterone in their wake.
While Savages have upped their game in terms of song craft in Adore Life, starting with the impeccable instrumentation, it doesn’t always favor the task at hand.
A Seat at the Table is intensely rich and gracious in its candor, so much so that it’s quieter, painstakingly personal moments are every bit as robust as direct aggression.
Mitski’s boldness is hugely impressive, and couple that with the fact the record is so expertly mixed and edited, she has produced one of the year’s more complete LPs.
What makes My Woman great isn't the new synths or the rockier tone. It's Olsen herself, filling these songs with the love, desire, anguish and acceptance that comes from her perspective as a woman.
It’s the adequate album to write when you’re on a quest to become something, later to realize that you’ve no idea how to carry on fulfilling that need. It’s a transition that Toledo perfectly captures, one that he’s relieved to have outgrown.
These songs are chaotic, unexpected and jarring. Samples, vocoders, and shambling synths crash together in an unstructured soundscape. But if you listen through the anarchy, you will find a stirring, masterful odyssey.
With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead didn't reinvent the wheel, but instead crafted an emotionally resonant, musically unexpected and richly rewarding album.
Skeleton Tree is the sound of feeling and not expressing sorrow. It’s something unexplainable, a feeling you can’t quite place into words when you’re still decompressing.