Articles by Josh Hurst

Prince, “Piano & a Microphone 1983”

These songs take on a kind of confessional immediacy that you don’t hear much on proper Prince albums, and there’s stark emotion in abundance.

Low, “Double Negative”

For a band that’s so steady and sure-footed, Low are uniquely gifted at conveying a sense of unraveling.

Mitski, “Be the Cowboy”

Mitski is deepening her craft and heightening her emotional availability, but never dulling her edge.

Cowboy Junkies, “All That Reckoning”

Cowboy Junkies have never reckoned with the times as vividly or as pointedly as they do here.

Florence + the Machine, “High as Hope”

More than ever, Welch trusts her magnetic personality and her unerring gift for skyscraping pop hooks to do the emotional lifting.

Kamasi Washington, “Heaven and Earth”

Everything’s writ large; it is music that contains multitudes, and it’s teeming with joy and power. 

Eleanor Friedberger, “Rebound”

Friedberger has crafted an album of contoured melodies and steely precision.

Janelle Monáe, “Dirty Computer”

Every generation needs its own soundtrack for kicking against the pricks, and Monáe delivers one here.

Willie Nelson, “Last Man Standing”

Willie’s addressing his twilight years with a light touch and an amiable chuckle.

The Decemberists, “I’ll Be Your Girl”

They may be the only band around who can make the New Wave sound old-timey.

Yo La Tengo, “There’s a Riot Going On”

What the indie rock veterans offer is an album’s worth of palate-cleansers—songs of pastoral purity and laid-back reflection.

Caroline Rose, “Loner”

“Loner” could rightly be called a feminist album or simply a human one, weaponizing empathy in an age of despair.

SHIRT, “Pure Beauty”

SHIRT comes across as a battle rapper; he blazes through “Pure Beauty” in a blur of shit-talking and chest-puffing.

Hollie Cook, “Vessel of Love”

“Vessel of Love” feels modest and small-scale—the work of a self-possessed singer who’s inspired by tradition but never beholden to it.

tUnE-yArDs, “I can feel you creep into my private life”

Merrill Garbus’s latest LP doubles down on hooks and polished mainstream sheen without actually jettisoning any of her quirks or peculiarities.

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.

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