Guppy, the debut album by Charly Bliss, is a nearly flawless exemplar of its kind, a record that captures a certain sound, mood, and energy with the passion and exuberance of a teen as-yet-uncrushed by life.
These all contribute to the record’s capacity for surprise, a playfulness that accounts for the most literal representation of Pleasure’s eponymous emotional state.
Compassion may feel especially timely, but music this passionately realized will always be worth revisiting.
Voigt’s music can be hypnotic, transporting, and soothing, or it can sound like an orchestra tuning up over a throbbing headache, depending on your own tolerance for such things. But for those who appreciate the palliative pleasures of those kinds of immersive ambient textures, Voigt’s first Gas album in 17 years marks a very welcome return.
As on its predecessors, Damn. is packed tight with thoughts, anxieties, and anecdotes, but this time Lamar doesn’t even try to shape them into a big picture ... Lamar trusts every idea to stand on its own. When you’re making art this substantial, vital, and virtuosic, there’s no need to wrap a tidy bow around it.
In these songs, Marling looks at womanhood and female relationships from various angles and distances, giving the gray areas of these roles and intimacies plenty of breathing room. The result is a record of great affection and fluidity.
Pain is the crux of Elverum’s career, and without resorting to any of his brutally stark instrumentation, he offers his most sobering full-length to date, and likely of all time.
The new Perfume Genius often brings to mind the sort of music one listens to in a bedroom while fantasizing about escape. It has moments of populist ambition and self-consciously arty experimentation, and it’s a credit to Hadreas and producer Blake Mills that its 13 tracks sound as seamless and cohesive as they do.
Process is an exercise in finding beauty in even the tragedy of a parent’s death, a record of singular probity and hard-earned optimism. It’s the best R&B debut since FKA Twigs’ LP1.
Slowdive is not a quantum-leap record, nor does it slavishly replicate past successes. Rather it’s another collection of thoughtfully written songs, filled with evident joy for the band’s reformation.
Where Sylvan Esso collected some great songs, What Now feels like a statement of purpose, a duo stretching into the shape it was meant to be and bringing it all purposefully together.
Ctrl is as tough as Damn is tender, and it knocks as hard as The Sun’s Tirade swoons. It’s weirder than any of them, and maybe funnier, too.
Big Fish Theory veers off the course set by its predecessor, bucking the sophomore slump by ditching the vast majority of his old collaborators and peers in favor of the sort of whole-cloth artistic reinvention generally associated with canonical greats like Kanye or Bowie. What’s even crazier is that he sticks the landing. It’s his second classic LP in a row.
Each Waxahatchee album has felt like a big step forward, and Out In The Storm feels like the biggest one yet.
It’s the whole package that matters here, and taken together, The World’s Best American Band has the elements of one of the year’s best rock albums.