Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”
“DAMN.” bears our struggle and triumph, swagger and fear, success and uncertainty, love and original sin.
Orchestra Baobab, “Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng”
These are the sort of arrangements that pride themselves on being so elegant that they practically demand an audience get dressed up to meet them.
Charly Bliss, “Guppy”
Charly Bliss’s Eva Hendricks makes Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley sound like Eddie Vedder.
Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, “Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars”
On their second LP, the Scottish/English/Indian trio of guitarist James Yorkston, double bassist Jon Thorne, and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan demonstrate a subtle mastery of fusion.
Joey Bada$$, “All-Amerikkkan Bada$$”
Any art that pours out of social criticism is an attempt at reorganizing society, and all Joey Bada$$ wants is for his country to respect black lives.
Guided by Voices, “August by Cake”
“August by Cake” is an album stuffed with songs that qualify as demos, half-baked ideas, and snippets, along with a handful of brilliant gems nestled in between.
Father John Misty, “Pure Comedy”
Is this J. Tillman at his most ironic, or his most sincere?
Future Islands, “The Far Field”
“The Far Field,” much like Future Islands albums that preceded it, is a deeply romantic album.
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.
The Shins, “Heartworms”
The Shins’ fifth record exists in a weird, pleasing limbo between Ariel Pink and The Magnetic Fields.
Jessi Colter, “THE PSALMS”
Colter creates music that drones, builds, drifts, and crests, never following familiar emotional beats but instead allowing them to follow their own wild intuitions.
Craig Finn, “We All Want the Same Things”
A more than welcome addition to—and expansion of—the Hold Steady frontman’s catalog.
Hurray for the Riff Raff, “The Navigator”
Alynda Lee Segarra simply wants, like we all do, to be something.
Spiral Stairs, “Doris & the Daggers”
With family life firmly in the picture, head screwed on correctly, and rangy Pavement life behind him, Scott Kannberg has delivered his strongest album-length statement.
Chicano Batman, “Freedom Is Free”
The LA quartet has crafted one of the most pleasurable sounding records you’ll hear this year, the idea of personal liberty permeating the record’s warm grooves.
Gold Star, “Big Blue”
When he’s not sharing stories about strangers, Marlon Rabenreither spills his guts about his own love affairs, breakups, and what it’s like to be all by his lonesome self.
The Colin Newman–led band is not the same as it used to be fifteen albums ago. And that’s exactly the point.
Real Estate, “In Mind”
Like previous Real Estate records, “In Mind” washes over the listener, pleasantly blending into the background.