Articles by Jon Pruett
Khruangbin, “Hasta El Cielo”
Their music, which favors beats and atmosphere over songwriting, make them an ideal fit for the dub treatment.
Bill Callahan, “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest”
While so much of Callahan’s past songwriting has felt like poetic exercise, this time autobiography shines through.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, “Fishing for Fishies”
The record is kind of fascinating in its obsession with the “boogie”—both as a verb and as a musical genre.
Curtis Mayfield, “Keep On Keeping On: Curtis Mayfield Studio Albums 1970-1974”
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.
Jessica Pratt, “Quiet Signs”
Pratt’s melodies hold nary a wasted chord or unwanted phrase.
Steve Gunn, “The Unseen in Between”
Steve Gunn’s latest has more palpable emotion and literary bent than ever before.
Pearls Before Swine, “Balaklava”
Pearls Before Swine’s quasi-historical mystery album is hard to grasp, its songs coming in waves of breath and snippets of sound.
J Mascis, “Elastic Days”
Decades after the mainstream’s punk pivot, Mascis is still the master.
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.
Lonnie Holley, “MITH”
“MITH” feels drawn to the elephant in our nation’s ugly-ass living room.
Bass Drum of Death, “Just Business”
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.
Gruff Rhys, “Babelsberg”
Rhys has an ideal voice for these space-age ballads and cosmic troubadour rambles.
Wooden Shjips, “V.”
Wooden Shjips are still chasing grace through repetition; they simply have a broader palette to work with this time.
King Tuff, “The Other”
A fuzzy, funky, cosmic party record.
Holger Czukay, “Cinema”
What’s really on display here is Czukay’s maddening restlessness.
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.
Ought, “Room Inside the World”
The schizophrenic energy of Ought’s early albums is harder to find here, but it’s not gone.
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.
Nicholas Krgovich, “In an Open Field”
Ideal listening for starry-eyed shut-ins.
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Rest”
Charged with grief and euphoria, “Rest” is a showcase for Charlotte Gainsbourg the musician.
The Meters, “A Message from the Meters”
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.
Here Comes the Sun King: Laraaji in the Light
A conversation with the benevolent monarch of warm drones and sunny tones.
Laraaji, “Bring on the Sun” and “Sun Gong”
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 Clientele, “Music for the Age of Miracles”
The bards of British folk-rock return with their first album in seven years—and an expanded sonic palette.
Ted Leo, “The Hanged Man”
After seven years away, let’s hope this album of heart-wrenching soul music keeps Ted Leo up on the stage where he belongs.
Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, “Dreaming in the Non-Dream”
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.