Sharon Van Etten, “Remind Me Tomorrow”
It’s a fascinating bridge from the moody indie pop of Van Etten’s previous efforts to something a bit thornier, denser, more rewarding.
Gucci Mane, “Evil Genius”
On “Evil Genius,” Gucci’s raps about his past are piled with repetitive tropes and uncreative imagery.
Pearls Before Swine, “Balaklava”
Pearls Before Swine’s quasi-historical mystery album is hard to grasp, its songs coming in waves of breath and snippets of sound.
Van Morrison, “The Prophet Speaks”
The Northern Irish singer-songwriter and instrumentalist may be the twentieth century’s most fascinating interpreter of other composers’ vocal music.
Redd Kross, “Teen Babes From Monsanto” + “Hot Issue” [reissues]
It’s really about the sheer thrill of Redd Kross’ ability to just matter-of-factly, glam-a-riffically rock the fuck out.
The 1975, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships”
Finding a balance between joy and self-seriousness, this is the quartet’s finest and most decadent album to date.
Jeff Tweedy, “WARM”
It’s not an album about what Tweedy has been through so much as an album about what we’ve all been through—a weathered yet buoyant reflection on shared trauma.
Anderson .Paak, “Oxnard”
“Oxnard” isn’t afraid to show admiration for G-funk, and many of its best moments come from the more West Coast–inspired cuts.
Mariah Carey, “Caution”
Carey’s sotto voce coos are soothing as ever, but it’s clear she played it safe.
The Smashing Pumpkins, “Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.”
There’s nary a bad vibe to found here, despite all the ragin’ and cagin’ promised by the angsty title.
Mumford & Sons, “Delta”
There isn’t a song here that couldn’t soundtrack the movie trailer for some teen tearjerker.
J Mascis, “Elastic Days”
Decades after the mainstream’s punk pivot, Mascis is still the master.
The Beatles, “The Beatles (White Album) Super Deluxe Edition”
If not for the fissure amongst the Beatles’ ranks, the lustrous brilliance and weird experimentalism of this collection wouldn’t shine so bright fifty years later.
Muse, “Simulation Theory”
With “Simulation Theory,” one wonders if Matt Bellamy realizes he’s literally last in line for this year’s retrofuturism trend.
Jacob Banks, “Village”
Like a good brandy, Banks’s voice will warm your core.
Thom Yorke, “Suspiria”
Thom Yorke’s soundtrack is that rarest of beasts: music for a cinematic work that can stand on its own.
Tasha, “Alone at Last”
“Alone at Last” elicits the kind of place that only exists in dreams, a sort of chrysalis from all the chaos surrounding us.
R.E.M., “At the BBC”
R.E.M. is one the best bands that America has ever produced, and, appropriately, “At the BBC” is an embarrassment of riches.