Dent May, “Across the Multiverse”
When times get tough, it’s easy to check out. It’s harder to be present. Dent May gets it.
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.
Benedek, “Bene’s World”
Benedek’s affinity as a collector of artifacts—and their means of merging with his creative process to produce music—gleefully bridges reminiscence with newness.
The Myrrors, “Hasta La Victoria”
Like Jonny Greenwood and Shye Ben Tzur’s “Junun,” this is music that uses rhythm and repetition—and strategic departures from both—as ways of generating and shaping power; it is a suggestion of community.
Gary Bartz Ntu Troop, “Harlem Bush Music – Uhuru”
Bartz was interested in broadcasting a particular worldview, one that was stridently African, anti-war, and cosmically enlightened. He wanted to make music that reflected his experience.
Randy Newman, “Dark Matter”
Now that he’s settled into his seventies and is releasing his eleventh studio album, it’s a remarkable comfort to see how unflinching Randy Newman remains.
Popol Vuh, “Agape-Agape Love-Love” and “Spirit of Peace” [reissues]
Popol Vuh Agape-Agape Love-Love (8/10) Spirit of Peace (9/10) ONE WAY STATIC Of all the disparate figures grouped incongruously under the “Krautrock” banner, none sought…
The Districts, “Popular Manipulations”
This is how most of “Popular Manipulations” works: starts modest, grows bolder, ends up on a mountaintop.
Manchester Orchestra, “A Black Mile to the Surface”
The Atlanta group’s latest is a next step that feels fitting for them.
Avey Tare, “Eucalyptus”
On the Animal Collective leader’s latest solo effort, there’s still dense canopy to explore.
Vic Mensa, “The Autobiography”
Mensa’s debut finds him more musically focused and intellectually connective than ever, but his apparent urge to be Common and Justin Bieber at the same time still wears on his content.
Cornelius, “Mellow Waves”
Twenty years have passed since Cornelius’s sugary cut-collage classic “Fantasma,” and the Japanese electronic sound sculptor known for excursions in Shibuya-Kei has grown in ways unimaginable from that elastic landmark.
Tyler, The Creator, “Flower Boy”
Tyler’s always been an immensely talented producer and rapper, but he’s never put together an album as cohesively as he does here.
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.”
Alan Vega, “IT”
Like New York back in the day, Vega’s resilience is inspiring—and still a little scary.
Sheer Mag, “Need to Feel Your Love”
During times of protest, resistance is sometimes reduced to consuming the right media. Sheer Mag are a big fuck-you to that type of complacency.
Psychic TV, “Pagan Day” and “Allegory & Self” [reissues]
What’s remarkable about these records in hindsight is how indebted they are to the psychedelic folk sounds of what had come around about fifteen years prior.
Japanese Breakfast, “Soft Sounds from Another Planet”
“Soft Sounds” shows Michelle Zauner constantly reinventing herself, proving that she can dabble in any genre and produce something that stands with the best of them.