Articles by Josh Hurst
Exchanging Ideas with The JuJu
Nico Segal’s Chicago quartet is exploring what jazz music can and should be in 2017.
U2, “Songs of Experience”
At fifty-seven, Bono remains weirdly obsessed with charting a song on the radio, and hopelessly committed to the idea that rock and roll can still change the world.
Mavis Staples, “If All I Was Was Black”
Mavis Staples isn’t one to brandish a song like a weapon—not when she’s so good at disarmament—and here she aims to melt swords into plowshares through the cosmic force of neighborly love, wild empathy, and intentional optimism.
Kelela, “Take Me Apart”
“Take Me Apart”‘s tension between sleek, modern sound and beating-heart humanity reveals what’s always been great about R&B: that it wears its emotions on its sleeve and provides a conduit for deep feeling.
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, “Lotta Sea Lice”
The songs of Barnett and Vile are deliberately gnarled and unkempt, and never sound nearly as fussed-over as they probably are.
Benjamin Clementine, “I Tell a Fly”
On his second album, the Mercury Prize winner is a big star and a total alien on a pilgrimage through hostile lands.
The National, “Sleep Well Beast”
By keeping it low-key, the stakes on The National’s new album somehow seem even higher.
LCD Soundsystem, “American Dream”
Seven years after “This is Happening,” James Murphy remains unparalleled at building slow-burn epics from all the fun bits of his record collection.
Queens of the Stone Age, “Villains”
It’s another great Queens of the Stone Age record that’s simultaneously of a piece with the others and distinct in its character and identity.
Joe Henderson, “The Elements” [reissue]
For as much as the spiritual jazz movement of the 1970s reached for the stars, the great triumph of “The Elements” is how earthbound it feels.
Arcade Fire, “Everything Now”
On paper, “Everything Now” is the dourest of any Arcade Fire album, a significant achievement for a group whose debut album is called “Funeral.”
Big Boi, “Boomiverse”
Is Big Boi underrated?
Fleet Foxes, “Crack-Up”
This band does delicate beauty so well that the stand-out moments of “Crack-Up” tend to be the ones where they let their hair down a bit.
Alice Coltrane, “World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda” [reissue]
These are songs that feel like they’re reaching for something; songs that sound like invocations.
Mac DeMarco, “This Old Dog”
On his third full-length, DeMarco pits the innately good-natured, easy-going tone of his music against a hint of sorrow in his lyrics.
Leslie Feist is casually virtuosic and quietly adventurous throughout her first record in six years, though you never get the sense that she’s pushing things just to push.
Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”
“DAMN.” bears our struggle and triumph, swagger and fear, success and uncertainty, love and original sin.
The New Pornographers, “Whiteout Conditions”
Nothing here wants for hooks or for energy, but the songs on The New Pornographers’ seventh album all seem flat somehow.