The Beatles, “Let It Be” [Super Deluxe]

This 6-CD/LP box—including rarities, live cuts, and alternate mixes—burrows deep and handsomely below the surface.

Explosions in the Sky, “Big Bend”

This soundtrack to PBS’s Big Bend National Park doc provides a chill sonic tonic with nature as its somnolent guide.

Julia Shapiro, “Zorked”

The Chastity Belt vocalist balances ’90s alt-rock sounds and modern malaise on her second solo LP.

Hovvdy, “True Love”

Their latest LP finds the duo peeling back the layers of their previous work until they arrive at the essential center.

Pastor T. L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir, “I Shall Wear a Crown”

Barrett’s box set portrays honest, positivist music with a mission far beyond self-gratification or artistic vision. 

Ada Lea, “one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden”

Lea gives each song its own sonic identity, taking what could become monotony and creating anything but.

Various Artists, “I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground and Nico”

The late Hal Wilner’s introduction to the classic LP is as lovely, fall-like, and serene as was Reed’s original entry.

Boy Scouts, “Wayfinder”

Taylor Vick’s comfort zone is the lilting, mid-tempo stuff her new album is founded on, opening up an expansive space around her nylon-string compositions.

Macie Stewart, “Mouth Full of Glass”

The Chicago-based songwriter’s debut collection of songs pair perfectly like ginger and garlic in oil, stewing a culmination of flavors that emerge.

Caleb Landry Jones, “Gadzooks Vol. 1”

On Jones’ funhouse follow-up to his psych-rock debut, each interrelated song serves as a madcap one-man show within a cosmic, comic drama.

The Ophelias, “Crocus”

Chamber-pop ornamentation and live-band grit weave around spiritual lyricism on the Cincinnati band’s third album.

We Were Promised Jetpacks, “Enjoy the View”

The group’s 5th LP tones down the dark, nervous energy that was previously at the core of their identity.

Low, “HEY WHAT”

The duo’s 13th full-length often sounds less like a collection of songs than a manifestation of the frequency of existence.

Elvis Costello, “Spanish Model”

Rather than a simple set of demos and rarities, Costello strips “This Year’s Model” down to its instrumental tracks and goes en-Español.

Grizzly Bear, “Yellow House” (15th Anniversary Reissue)

The 2006 LP gives us a snapshot of a band working through the kinks, establishing a framework for an impressive future catalogue.

Blvck Hippie, “If You Feel Alone at Parties”

Everything Josh Shaw does is immediate, off, and odd—like a welcome meeting of Violent Femmes, Kid Cudi, The Cure, and Tom Verlaine.

Lil Nas X, “Montero”

The debut album from the outsider-rap cowboy is a bold, verbal, and vocal display of what it must mean to be lonely at the top.

Thrice, “Horizons/East”

This 11th studio album isn’t as cohesive as some of the band’s previous efforts, but it shows they’re still evolving.

Bob Dylan, “Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985)”

This 5-year case study sees the doctor reviving the patient, taking out the bile, and giving him new legs with more tactile treading.

MONO, “Pilgrimage of the Soul”

The Tokyo-based instrumental post-rockers’ 11th album is an emotional journey that stirs the psyche with its meditative qualities.

Lindsey Buckingham, “Lindsey Buckingham”

On his eponymous seventh album, the modest guitar hero stays true to form in almost every imaginable way.

Cold Beat, “War Garden”

Pulling from 1980s synth influences and written over FaceTime, the latest from the Bay Area post-punks is a capsule of post-pandemic life.

Injury Reserve, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”

The amorphous second album from the rap group focuses on unease-ambient soundscapes that swallow the vocals into the soundtrack.

Kacey Musgraves, “star-crossed”

Kacey’s latest feels like several types of divorce album spliced together, at once messy, conflicted, and purposeful.

Halsey, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”

Halsey’s unexpected collaboration with Trent Reznor is possibly the most recklessly ambitious pop album of the year—and for sure one of the catchiest.

Turnstile, “Glow On”

The five-piece swim in the deep end of their existential and musical curiosities on this unforgettable magnum opus.

Gang of Four, “77-81”

This workman-like all-CD box signals what might be this period’s finest and most uniquely artful one-two punch.

Space Afrika, “Honest Labour”

Where their previous work cut between ideas at a clip, the Manchester collagists achieve a deeper lucidity here through a steadier approach.

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