With 232 pages and an expanded 12″ by 12″ format, our biggest print issue yet celebrates the people, places, music, and art of our hometown, including cover features on David Lynch, Nipsey Hussle, Syd, and Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, plus Brian Wilson, Cuco, Ty Segall, Lord Huron, Remi Wolf, The Doors, the art of RISK, Taz, Estevan Oriol, Kii Arens, and Edward Colver, and so much more.
Devendra Banhart, Flying Wig
With the aid of producer Cate Le Bon, the psych-folk songwriter’s Mexican Summer debut swaps crinkly textures for something uncharacteristically glossy.
Kylie Minogue, Tension
The electropop trailblazer’s 16th LP reignites her commitment to small reinventions in order to suit the modern pop landscape.
The Singaporean songwriter and producer diverges from the predominantly gitchy stylings of their previous release and explores heavenly sounding guitar-based melodies.
Their music, which favors beats and atmosphere over songwriting, make them an ideal fit for the dub treatment.
While so much of Callahan’s past songwriting has felt like poetic exercise, this time autobiography shines through.
The record is kind of fascinating in its obsession with the “boogie”—both as a verb and as a musical genre.
Attempts to unpack the legacy of one of Chicago’s favorite sons could veer into a novel-length investigation—but an overview of what made him an essential voice is on Technicolor display here.
Pratt’s melodies hold nary a wasted chord or unwanted phrase.
Steve Gunn’s latest has more palpable emotion and literary bent than ever before.
Pearls Before Swine’s quasi-historical mystery album is hard to grasp, its songs coming in waves of breath and snippets of sound.
Decades after the mainstream’s punk pivot, Mascis is still the master.
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.
“Wanderer” is a triumph of raw emotion, old direction, and new meaning.
“MITH” feels drawn to the elephant in our nation’s ugly-ass living room.
A 1-2-3-go punk-pop record in the Buzzcocks vein with a nice little bend in the tempo, as if you just got zapped by lightning.
A two-man mixtape of psych, guitar pop, soul power, and good times.
Rhys has an ideal voice for these space-age ballads and cosmic troubadour rambles.
Wooden Shjips are still chasing grace through repetition; they simply have a broader palette to work with this time.
A fuzzy, funky, cosmic party record.
What’s really on display here is Czukay’s maddening restlessness.
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.
The schizophrenic energy of Ought’s early albums is harder to find here, but it’s not gone.
“Live at Lafayette’s Music Room” offers a window into one of the most acclaimed (and equal parts ignored) bands of the 1970s.
Ideal listening for starry-eyed shut-ins.
Charged with grief and euphoria, “Rest” is a showcase for Charlotte Gainsbourg the musician.
Anyone with even a passing interest in beats, party vibes, “in the pocket” grooves, or ecstatic dancing needs to breathe this music in like the fresh air it is.
A conversation with the benevolent monarch of warm drones and sunny tones.
The master of New Age’s two new records are prime examples of the kind of celestial trance music he has been making since the 1970s.
The bards of British folk-rock return with their first album in seven years—and an expanded sonic palette.
After seven years away, let’s hope this album of heart-wrenching soul music keeps Ted Leo up on the stage where he belongs.
The world Forsyth and his bustling Solar Motel Band are illuminating is one that is fraught with unease and a search for some kind of exhilaration.
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.
The ability to construct songs based on only the best parts—the hook, the acoustic rhythm guitar, the first notes of a sandblasted solo—is what keeps The Peacers operating on a higher level.
Three years on from their (also) self-titled debut, and there’s a sense that the group have evolved to incorporate a more widescreen vision.
The former Sonic Youth leader’s new LP is a five-song blast of instantly recognizable discordant guitar tones and the kind of crunchy, heady forays into punk-jam-band land that he’s been perfecting since “Expressway to Yr. Skull.”
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.
Guy Blakeslee has never really been a wallflower when it comes to singing, but “Book of Changes” showcases his voice in a way that feels like it’s a new thing.
There is an airy, homemade weirdness to Meg Duffy’s solo debut.
The Oakland singer continues her ascent up through the R&B hierarchy.
Following a release cycle marred by breakup rumors, Sam France and Jonathan Rado have reappeared from behind the velvet curtain, and they’re more unified than ever.
Unlike his peers Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes, Carlos’s music never made inroads into North American consciousness. These reissues from Light in the Attic should change that.
Much of “Cowboy in Sweden” comes across like an elegy.
Light in the Attic’s new new-age compilation turns the beam out across the Atlantic.
The latest release from the Numero Group chronicles the pop sounds of the African country of Upper Volta in the ’70s.
The Nashville quartet choogle with the best of ’em.
The Long Island brothers practically have glitter in their blood.
The UK duo’s third album in as many years finds them pushing the boundaries of their sound.
Navel-gazing R&B is in high demand in 2016, but Blanco navigates this world like she’s the first person on Mars.
HBO’s new comedy series wandered into pay cable from the dank world of Vimeo.
Partly singing and partly talking, Anika presents an external dialogue of thoughts and dreams.
Everything is aflame on “Operator,” a vigorously aggressive dancefloor party fueled by a jarring punk ethos.
How do you follow up a sixteen-year-old plunderphonic pop masterpiece? With a neon-tinted mixtape.
Uchenna Ikonne on the little-known Nigerian rock scene of the 1970s.
The Conogolese rhythm aces’ hypnotic swirl of customized kalimbas and booming, trance-inducing percussion gets smoothed over—but only slightly.
On his third album, Morby continues to carve out a rarefied space.
What’s surprising here is not just how well these two acts sound together, but the heretofore-unknown third element that arises when they combine.
It’s an endless rush of sugar and data.
The band, a riotous mixture of Crazy Horse and The Dream Syndicate, excelled at drawing droning, melodic riffs and elongating them into eight-minute-plus excursions on their debut, and “The Rarity of Experience” dives right back in.
The guiding question here: how do you make a nearly forty-minute piece of music comprising only the sounds of a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine?
Nothing visionary here, but it’s a pleasant enough musical journey with a serious bummer of an ending—hopefully one vindicated by this reunited victory lap.
Imagine a world where pop songs are written on an acoustic guitar, amped up with a beater of an electric guitar, and then fashioned together with duct tape.
“W-X” provides plenty of fodder for hungry minds looking to go deeper into rarefied zones.
“Divers” is a remarkable release based on its linguistics alone
But man, awesome drums!
Arthur Ashin’s (a.k.a. Autre Ne Veut) unabashed love of deep soul comes through in the way he stretches and elongates the simplest of phrases into breathy crooning.
It’s an addictive sound, as if the early ’90s records released on labels like Creation and Slumberland have been stripped of all excess, then run through some kind of reverb grinder.
With “Stuff Like That There,” YLT are playing it short and sweet, leaning on a brushes-and-stand-up-bass rhythm section that carries each tune from one sweet melodic resolution to the next.
It may be the most welcomed and least compromised, least diminished return of a ’90s act since…well, ever.
The album thrives on bent and busted riffs unfolding around a ferocious rhythm section that sounds like it could dig its way through several layers of earth and magma.
Christopher Owens’s “Chrissybaby Forever” follows 2014’s rather boldly titled “A New Testament,” but feels closer to Girls’s debut than anything he’s done since.
The album is pristinely produced, with songs that echo the big rock and California-centered records of the ’70s and O’Rourke literally belting out choruses.
While Unknown Mortal Orchestra has flirted with big moves beyond the bedroom psych realm before, this LP really transports listeners into lush zones filled with hypnotic future-funk.
“Hypnophobia” takes Gardner’s sound into the future—granted it’s definitely still a retro-themed future—and shows off his seemingly endless, ghost-like melodies, and warm, groove-centered production.
Juan Wauters came to the United States from Uruguay in 2002 and we should all be thanking his parents for making that trip because otherwise we might not have this fine platter of shambling folk-pop songs.
“Makes A King”—the latest collaboration between Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and UK producer Johan Hugo as The Very Best—dives deeper into the pop genre than the duo’s two previous LPs.
Lightning Bolt has been a concern of many since the dawn of the new (and rather screwed) millennium.
For a few years now, Australian foursome Dick Diver (named after a F. Scott Fitzgerald character) has been making a fair amount of well-organized indie-rock noise with a couple of records that showcased the band’s unique brand of slipshod, jangling effervescence.
The King Khan & BBQ Show have been making records like every night is a Saturday night since the ’90s when they were in the raucous band Spaceshits together.
Sonny Smith’s latest is full of mystical West Coast folk tales with a rambling, pre-punk feel (read: slashing guitar occasionally and overall no-fucks-given vibe).
Skipping the time-tested structure that normally leads guitar guys to eventually start playing acoustic blues as they advance, Ben Chasny has flipped his own script.
This is a fittingly elegiac album of stately notes and blissful figures that feels like a sad hero waking up pre-dawn to a deserted world.
“La Isla Bonita” is another testimonial of their avant-punk-pop charm and innovation, still untouched two decades in the game.
You don’t need to hear this record for more than four seconds before you realize who is wielding that guitar like a piece of errant shrapnel.
What makes Foxygen’s third album so fascinating is how close they are to falling apart sonically, as if the more delicate songs were one beat away from collapsing into a pile of drumsticks and glitter.
Get Yer Body is originally from 2003, and it’s a sandblasted spin on garage rock with nearly every song clocking in under two minutes.
The debut songs from this new Leeds-based quartet hover between chin-stroking artfulness and joyful minimalism.
Their world is one of blazing ’60s frat-rock with twisted, fuzz-laced psychedelic outros.
This reckless, wayward pop song, with its bright organ flourish (from Martin Phillipps of The Chills), and its dashed-off immediacy still sounds shockingly out-of-time.