Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Stars, the Oceans & the Moon”
Echo & the Bunnymen are as much a religious denomination as a band. And rewriting a prayer is tricky business.
Fucked Up, “Dose Your Dreams”
This is easily Fucked Up’s most conceptually scattered record, but that’s also what gives it its charm.
Adrianne Lenker, “abysskiss”
Lenker’s haunting vocal acrobatics will linger with you long after the album is done.
David Nance Group, “Peaced and Slightly Pulverized”
Hair-raising, skin-crawlingly good stuff, if you’re into jammin’ on the one, passin’ the pipe, or just rocking back and forth in a violent trance.
Cat Power, “Wanderer”
“Wanderer” is a triumph of raw emotion, old direction, and new meaning.
Joe Strummer, “Joe Strummer 001”
This new set of rarities unleashes Strummer’s passion into the world in a small but concentrated dose, while honing in on his adoration of American mythology.
Lil Wayne, “Tha Carter V”
It was always easy to view Lil Wayne as another narcissistic capitalist, bragging his way into superstardom, but now we know the real story.
Pixies, “Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa”
Both their debut EP and LP—now repackaged together—sound as fresh, inspired, and inventive as they did three decades ago.
Lonnie Holley, “MITH”
“MITH” feels drawn to the elephant in our nation’s ugly-ass living room.
The American rap group—or boy band, if you ask them—have found the right balance of vulnerability and abrasive freneticism.
GØGGS, “Pre Strike Sweep”
“Pre Strike Sweep” is a fireball of an album, blistering from start to finish.
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.
Mutual Benefit, “Thunder Follows the Light”
The end of the world is merely a natural evolution, and “Thunder Follows the Light” is about basking in the calm before the chaos.
Noname, “Room 25”
The organic production has a real pulse to it, which gives the songs a spirited, fluid underpinning that feels uniquely suited to Noname’s reserved but dexterous delivery.
St. Lucia, “Hyperion”
Remarkable as St. Lucia’s ability to traverse time remains, 2013 still seems like their most urgent destination.
Black Belt Eagle Scout, “Mother of My Children”
The kind of album that can both haunt and heal you—if you pay close enough attention.
Low, “Double Negative”
For a band that’s so steady and sure-footed, Low are uniquely gifted at conveying a sense of unraveling.
Lenny Kravitz, “Raise Vibration”
None of this has anything to do with what’s currently clogging up the charts—but then, when did Lenny ever neatly fit the zeitgeist?