async is a luxurious, picturesque recording. It showcases that Sakamoto's unique ability to create genuine beauty with a varied — at times abrasive — palette.
Not only is Gas' Narkopop a top candidate for best microhouse album of 2017, it may also be the best drone album and the best classical album — and possibly just the best album you'll hear this year, period.
Sincerely, Future Pollution is Timber Timbre's most confident record. The lyrics remain obtuse, but even if it's not clear that Kirk knows what he wants to say, he surely knows how he wants it to sound.
This is pop music designed to give you all the feels, and even with a disruptive pseudo-reggae track thrown into the mix ("Candles"), Future Islands prove that they can do it better than anyone else right now.
Rocket is a true tour de force that cements (Sandy) Alex G snugly in the company of indie rock's great auteurs.
While this experiment (and use of the zurna) might perhaps not being everyone's cup of tea, Flying Microtonal Banana is a rollicking groove machine of a record, as explorative and endlessly searching as the band themselves.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions can seem daunting with its hour-long runtime, but it's a worthy monolith that can be explored on the listener's own terms.
Both sides of Gang Signs & Prayer come to a head on pointed closer "Lay Me Bare," in which he writes about depression and his absentee father. Far from a weakness, that vulnerability brings welcome depth to Stormzy's explosive and emotional debut.
The cleaned up sound does wonders for Baldi's songwriting, always his strength yet still often overlooked. Producer John Goodmanson shines some much deserved light on the small nuances that make Cloud Nothings' music so intriguing, giving a proper, polished showcase to some of the band's most hook-filled material to date.
Trumpeting Ecstasy is the culmination of Full of Hell really coming into their own, exuding the confidence that comes along with refining their stylistic approach and honing their sound into something that is completely theirs.
Kelly Lee Owens is warm, emotive and well-produced, the work of a natural talent that will only get better with time. I can't wait to hear what she'll do next.
With their latest offering, Forever, they've surpassed themselves on multiple fronts. By incorporating unconventional dynamics, sounds and structuring, the band have pushed their sound to new and interesting places.
The Iceberg ultimately delivers a rich yet digestible musical main course worth more than one helping. If you've been sleeping on Odd, it's time to wake up.
No matter how many musicians he showcases, no matter how many sonic avenues he takes, no matter how many tracks he squeezes in, Thundercat sounds undeniably and defiantly like no other on Drunk.
Run the Jewels 3 is a rap armoury for hard times, a hip-hop bullhorn that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.
The xx largely avoided any major pitfalls here, coming out the other side with a consistently rewarding pop album that retains enough of their sonic signature to please old fans and enough new sounds to pique the interest of the unconvinced.
Power Trip have returned, fiercer and unrulier than ever before, with their latest full-length, Nightmare Logic, outdoing their already-raucous LP Manifest Decimation and taking all elements of their sound to new heights.
Courageous and passionate, Bada$$ is a well-timed soundtrack to social and political struggle.
Everybody Works retains her economical songwriting while adding impressively intricate arrangements.
While VIEWS served as an ominous soundscape to a never-ending winter and reflected a booming hunger in the city, his newest release, More Life, presents the fruits of that labour in a sunnier, more celebratory arrangement.
This record possesses immense power to make listeners reflect on their own relationships and mortality. A Crow Looked at Me is a grim memento of the grand injustice of losing those most precious to us.
Pure Comedy is packed with so much meaning and complexity, it feels as overwhelmingly absurd, joyous, curious, tragic, extraordinary and contradictory as life itself.
She's more than capable of penning a good tune, but Pleasure presents a unique, uncompromising vision of intimacy and enjoyment. True to its name, this is the sound of Feist fighting through the bullshit of being human to have a good time despite it all.
Process was a long time coming, but the wait has resulted in one of the most assured debut albums in recent memory. Even if it should take Sampha another six years to follow it up, the wait, I expect, will be worth it.
DAMN. is the first time in Lamar's career that he hasn't broken new ground, explored old themes in new ways or exhibited sonic growth. That said, it's a small blemish on an otherwise spotless catalogue.