Kindred spirits, Lynch and Jewel have both built careers exploring the razor-thin line between beauty and horror and the unspeakable terror that often exists just beneath the surface of even the most breathtaking facade.
Williams boasts undeniable talent, but her gusto requires the sharp songwriting and clever instrumentation of her bandmates, and After Laughter testifies to what happens when a singer like Williams is met with a group of quality instrumentalists.
The sonic equivalent of a hardened d-boy new to legal wealth and a reprieve from street life casually flexing his jaw to flaunt the brilliance of a permanent diamond grill, Culture is an unapologetic doubling down on their sound and devotion to all things A-Town adjacent.
James Murphy and his band of collaborating friends have yet to make a wrong turn over the course of three previous records and American Dream doesn’t blow the perfect game, taking a low-key approach to underscore why people love LCD Soundsystem in the first place.
There’s something to be said for the potential for personal growth inherent in traveling without a destination, and every song here is the sound of Julie Byrne making peace with her restlessness.
Sleep Well Beast certainly takes the air out of the hopeful balloon that swelled on Trouble Will Find Me, but if there’s ever been a time to wallow in lush, masculine melancholy, it’s now. This beast isn’t going anywhere.
If Process was flawless, Sampha’s voice would leave listeners teary, and in a time as somber as now, these uplifting numbers remind us to take a break, immerse ourselves in a rush, and focus on the positive — a welcome path to wander down.
If it sits well with him, it sits well with his listeners, and in that, Drunk is a record of R&B fusion that feels good from start to finish, masturbation jokes included.
The strength of this album, and the 14 that precede it, is the immense healing and soothing found in the sheer beauty of Amos’ vocal delivery.
Even with three or four excess tracks, the album is still an essential listen; disorienting but never dull, heartsick but never maudlin, the rambling melancholy of The Ooz seems destined to soundtrack thousands of lonesome nights and send its listeners on journeys through its nocturnal half-dream without the need to leave the comfort of their headphones.
Challenging throughout and at times jarring and inscrutable, Crack-Up searches for a resolution just out of reach.
Weddings & Funerals is a relentlessly catchy record, brighter, tighter, and more focused than the band’s debut.
It is a strong, elegant, and self-assured album that, in its creative arrangements and lyrical world building, contains remarkable complexity and depth in terms of both skill and concept.
As inscrutable as it can be at times, Giannascoli never betrays his purpose, making Rocket his most developed and accomplished album yet.
Even though it’s only 36 minutes long, 4:44 is the first JAY-Z album where you’re hanging on every single word from start to finish, because the words have about four times as many meanings as they did on any of his dozen solo albums prior.
After spending a lot of time with the new LP, the early work seems almost naive, the product of someone still trying to find her voice ... And that’s simply because Black Origami is a massive breakthrough.
Throughout A Deeper Understanding, The War On Drugs develop their strengths, taking what they do best and airing it out. A master class in widening scope, the record finds the band unafraid to push their sound in a way that feels bigger than what any of their contemporaries are doing.
For 44 minutes, Mann slips into the skin of someone walking an emotional tightrope, and it’s an act she pulls of with grace and conviction. Mann’s music has never lacked for warmth or heart, but her latest songs are the kind of delicate bruisers that feel like they might fall apart in your hands if you sneeze.
If Pallbearer feels the eyes of the metal world upon it, it does a damn good job not showing a lick of sweat. Heartless continues the successes of Sorrow and Extinction and Foundations of Burden, while also incorporating familiar but tasteful sonic flourishes from adjacent genres.
No Shape may feel, to some listeners, less cohesive than past Perfume Genius records, but it makes up for that with endless inventiveness and daring passion, and it indicates that Hadreas is a musician who is only growing more vital as he develops and expands his sound.
Though it contains his most serene music by a stretch, Arca is the epitome of that warring nature, reaching for his innermost self to attempt at finding a balance.
HNDRXX is Future at his most inventive, or at least the most inventive he’s been in a while. While his most definitive project remains 2015’s Dirty Sprite 2 for its balance of Future’s innate melodic sense and especially effective trap records, HNDRXX comes in as a close second.
It’s a chugging, nimble-footed affair, showing a matured and restrained group; no more eight-minute-plus pounding, slashing jams, replaced instead with a sense of clarity and focus, a driving, raw sonic thesis statement.
Turn Out the Lights is a rich, moving work that creates a communion of sorts, an acknowledgement that the little victories are worth embracing even if salvation seems utterly out of reach.
Like a hyper-layered painting that’s simultaneously subdued or a thin piece of literature whose words puncture your heart, Aromanticism overwhelms with its ability to put weary emotions into words and then wring emotion from them once again.
Take Me Apart is a multi-faceted sidewinder of a release that refines the aesthetics of Kelela’s previous projects and painstakingly marries them to exemplary result.
Every song bursts out of its box with dizzying Technicolor touches and unexpected noises or inside-out harmonies.
Overwhelming and humbling, Elverum’s revelatory work offers a blueprint for others going through similar situations in their own lives, a true testament to the power of art and a loving tribute to Geneviève.
With Ctrl, SZA proves that the cult following that ballooned with the release of her 2014 mixtape, Z, was not some flash in the pan, but a deserved wellspring of attention from an adoring fan base whose faith in what she had yet to produce helped to produce the project that could eventually stand as the best thing she has ever done.
Yes, MASSEDUCTION is worthy of being treated like an event, but whether or not it tops her previous two excellent efforts is a little tougher to support.
Slowdive delivers nearly everything their fans desire in a return: familiarity, innovation, and vast atmospheres to get lost in.
On his new album, Big Fish Theory, Staples continues to perfect his brand of nuanced nihilism while exploring new sounds that should put the music industry on notice that the future is now.
Adams assembles a stunning scrapbook that captures heartbreak in an intimate array of snapshots, a collection that marks his most accomplished record since Heartbreaker.
A sonic departure from the jazz inflected funk of To Pimp a Butterfly and the hyper-melodic, west coast revival feel of good kid, m.A.A.d city, DAMN. is much more concerned with trading groove for thump and concept for straight spitting.