Nap Eyes, “I’m Bad Now”
“I’m Bad Now” presents itself as a self-examination, asking some existential questions and often leaving them unanswered.
Titus Andronicus, “A Productive Cough”
The majority of “A Productive Cough” sounds cacophonous and free, as if fresh oxygen has been pumped into Patrick Stickles’s blood.
Tracey Thorn, “Record”
On “Record,” Tracey Thorn exudes confidence in every utterance, and that self-assurance is bolstered by the brevity of the songs.
Digable Planets, “Reachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time And Space)” [reissue]
With twenty-five years of hindsight, Digable Planets’ “Reachin’” manages to feel increasingly optimistic, perhaps an unintended consequence of darkening times.
Moby, “Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt”
Moby’s latest is a bummer, man—albeit a great-sounding bummer.
Belle and Sebastian, “How to Solve Our Human Problems”
Belle and Sebastian are best now not at conjuring melancholy afternoons looking out the window, but at celebratory disco epics that get people dancing on the tables.
Car Seat Headrest, “Twin Fantasy”
“Twin Fantasy” showcases Will Toledo sharpening his vision and instincts, marrying the raw passion of his early work with the increasingly impressive sheen of his newest material.
Ought, “Room Inside the World”
The schizophrenic energy of Ought’s early albums is harder to find here, but it’s not gone.
Superchunk, “What a Time to Be Alive”
Superchunk’s “What a Time to Be Alive” combines the irreverent with the thoughtful, and the jittery, chaotic melodies reflect a nervous wreck of a world.
Caroline Rose, “Loner”
“Loner” could rightly be called a feminist album or simply a human one, weaponizing empathy in an age of despair.
MGMT, “Little Dark Age”
MGMT’s fourth LP marks a return to concise synth pop after their intermittent phases of indulgent psych-rock.
SHIRT, “Pure Beauty”
SHIRT comes across as a battle rapper; he blazes through “Pure Beauty” in a blur of shit-talking and chest-puffing.
Kyle Craft, “Full Circle Nightmare”
Craft’s influences of decades-old bombast and glam and down-home folk and blues combine to create a musical atmosphere that feels both modern and familiar.
Bat Fangs, “Bat Fangs”
Bat Fangs’s “Bat Fangs” marries hair metal and garage rock, equal parts campy and true.
Khruangbin, “Con Todo El Mundo”
Now that every new release is considered to be a potential protest album of some kind, “Con Todo El Mundo” has arrived wonderfully devoid of any superfluous meaning.
Pearl Charles, “Sleepless Dreamer”
Pearl Charles has a deft ability to compose radio-friendly fodder, but her soft-handed approach is so pervasive that it (ironically) renders her elusive.
Dream Wife, “Dream Wife”
Over fortified vocal harmonies, punching rock drum beats, and growling guitars that ring like fire alarms, Dream Wife have conceived a pointed but fun debut.
The Soft Moon, “Criminal”
“Criminal” is, in a sense, the new gothic for a new century—paranoid, solitary, and powerfully visceral.