Big Star, “Live at Lafayette’s Music Room”

“Live at Lafayette’s Music Room” offers a window into one of the most acclaimed (and equal parts ignored) bands of the 1970s.

Thelonious Monk, “The Complete Prestige 10-Inch LP Collection”

The handsomely-curated vinyl box set revisits the early albums that set the tone for Monk’s mad aesthetic.

Miguel, “War & Leisure”

With “War & Leisure,” Miguel has solidified a sound that contextualizes past efforts.

Boulevards, “Hurtown, USA”

We’ve all lived in Hurtown, USA, and this album is reason enough to go back.

Nicholas Krgovich, “In an Open Field”

Ideal listening for starry-eyed shut-ins.

Neil Young + Promise of the Real, “The Visitor”

Shakey’s response to Trump is one that the USA desperately needs.

Björk, “Utopia”

Björk’s utopia is not born without pain.

U2, “Songs of Experience”

At fifty-seven, Bono remains weirdly obsessed with charting a song on the radio, and hopelessly committed to the idea that rock and roll can still change the world.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Rest”

Charged with grief and euphoria, “Rest” is a showcase for Charlotte Gainsbourg the musician.

OCS, “Memories of a Cut Off Head”

With a return to the OCS ethos, “Memory of a Cut Off Head” is a full house notably lacking a garage.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “Soul of a Woman”

“Soul of a Woman” is full of light and hope, serving as a testament to the beauty of life—and love and friendship and all that good stuff we get to experience in our short time on this planet.

Spinning Coin, “Permo”

Spinning Coin’s true strength lies in not just being some manner of revival of those pop-post-punk tenets, as much as clever guardians of the aesthetic flame.

Gun Outfit, “Out of Range”

It’s in the way the hidden reveals itself that Gun Outfit finds its surest footing.

Mavis Staples, “If All I Was Was Black”

Mavis Staples isn’t one to brandish a song like a weapon—not when she’s so good at disarmament—and here she aims to melt swords into plowshares through the cosmic force of neighborly love, wild empathy, and intentional optimism.

Spoon, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” [10th Anniversary Reissue]

“Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” is the logical conclusion of Spoon’s commercial appeal and their innovativeness, an effort seamlessly weaving between earworm melodies and genuine experimentation.

Baths, “Romaplasm”

For Baths, self-exploration—and at times self-deprecation—is packaged with a saccharine exterior. 

John Maus, “Screen Memories”

As time marches violently on, John Maus is seeming less and less a bursting aggro-eccentric and more and more the sane elder dwelling at the end of the hall.

R.E.M., “Automatic for the People” (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Sometimes, a reissue of a classic album can reveal too much of the process. With “Automatic for the People,” the opposite is the case.

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