Guppy is a special release ... all you need is thirty minutes of hooks and riffs sung by a voice familiar the first time you hear it.
Lust for Life postures itself above all as Lana Del Rey’s most optimistic, political, and globally conscious record to date. Much in the same way that Katy Perry has begun making so-called “purposeful pop”, here Del Rey questions her role as a musician in ushering in a better world.
On Rocket, Alex G proves that he is a very talented artist whose strength lies in his understanding of character.
Michelle Zauner conjures the macro in the micro. Her richly observed songs convey intimate details and observations that conjure the immensity of concepts like love, sex, and desire.
What it sounds like is a band that has found its groove and knows how to run with it in any direction it pleases. Ibibio Sound Machine is now in full control of its sound, and it’s that knowledge that allows the group to truly let loose.
This record is strong from top to bottom, and another great entry into Queens of the Stone Age’s catalog.
Hang is the sound of a group of pop music pirates taking their nostalgia-steeped aesthetic to its gloriously overblown conclusion. Holding absolutely nothing back, Foxygen deliver an absurdly grandiose album that should not work nearly as well as it does.
There are a lot of songs and stories in Adrianne Lenker’s brain and Capicity can’t hold them all, but the 11 that it does are an excellent evolution in the band’s musical and storytelling progression.
Syd is many wonderful things on solo debut Fin - singer, producer, all-around seductress—but most importantly, she is human, and her album is filled with all that entails.
There’s a lot in Life Will See You Now to suggest that it’s Lekman’s finest album to date. It’s certainly his most refined and emotionally rich.
As a whole, Drunk is alternately frustrating and fascinating—much like the titular state of being—in its willingness to follow its creative muse whenever and wherever it may lead.
Gargoyle is as confident and assured as anything Lanegan has released. It stands up alongside his best work and pushes his method in a few new directions, without trying to break from the paradigm. It’s no crossover work that’ll likely garner him new fans, but it finds him cemented in his legacy.
Making these subtle tonal shifts so impactful is a truly rare feat for a debut record and proves that SZA already has a place among our most heart-wrenching writers and vocalists.
Her new work, The Kid, continues the direction of her last solo work, EARS, but features fewer electronic elements in favor of organic instrumentation, no small move for someone who owes much of her earlier career to the Buchla modular systems.
Segarra literally serves as The Navigator on this 12 track journey into the past where memory, poetry, myth, and reality mix to create a rich, spicy and hearty guisada.
The album strikes almost the perfect balance between traditional songs and adventurous sounds, which makes it stand out in Spoon’s extensive catalog of great albums.
Valerie June follows-up a highly regarded debut with a stronger, tighter set of songs around the theme of time and its passing. The Order of Time is unique and presents a confident and dynamic songwriter and performer with a rich background in stylistic and regional influences.
Despite the fractured nature of its lyrics, The OOZ is quite enveloping; its heady mix of fractured jazz guitar and stuttering beats create a dark, unsettling world in which Marshall’s gunky vignettes come alive.
At this point, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that Arca is one of the most vital and consequential voices in electronic music this generation has seen.
The Big Fish Theory is a powerful and troubling record. It’s an epic in miniature that shows a natural progression from Staples’s previous work.
A Deeper Understanding represents another step forward for the War on Drugs, and is among their most ambitious, consistent, and emotionally searing works yet.
As its title suggests, No Shape is playfully elusive, and the album is often content simply to create beauty while remaining agnostic about what lies beneath its surface. The result is an ironically more luminous and even joyful listen than the darker Too Bright.
Joshua Tillman has crafted one of the year’s most undoubtedly ambitious albums, melding of-the-moment musings with classicist songwriting. It’s his best work yet.
Crack-Up joins the ranks of albums like Homogenic, OK Computer and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—works by eclectic, established artists who decided to push boundaries even further and subsequently produced masterpieces.
Sleep Well Beast, the National's best LP since Boxer, features some of the band's most raucous numbers to date, as well as a newfound use of electronics.
While traces from each of their previous efforts show up throughout the album, Slowdive is resolutely its own animal. It is more gentle and peaceful than anything since their debut, but carries a subtle bitterness that belies its airy palette.
Whether or not punk is “back” amidst this wide range of artistic responses remains an open question, but if what the world needs right now is confrontational, unapologetic art, then The Underside of Power rises to the challenge and succeeds.