Megan Thee Stallion, “Good News”

From her sharp delivery and bite-me bravado, Meg flexes at 150 percent on her debut album.

Elton John, “Jewel Box”

No one’s excesses are as glorious and ornate as Elton John’s.

Nick Cave, “Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace”

This recording of Cave’s tearful solo performance offers warmth, elegance, and smart solace.

Told Slant, “Point the Flashlight and Walk”

Felix Walworth’s third LP documents some of the most massive and complex sounds they’ve ever dreamed up.

Elvis Costello, “Armed Forces: Super Deluxe Edition”

The reissue of Costellos’ maximal-overdrive third LP manages to sound crisper than its original recording.

jesu, “Terminus”

Justin Broadrick reflects upon this grey, dragging moment in history, highlighting the beauty we tend to ignore.

King Khan, “The Infinite Ones”

Khan’s jazz album is a logical continuation of the merry-making avant-garde that defines every other KK record.

Soul Glo, “Songs to Yeet at the Sun”

At under 12 minutes, the Philly hardcore band all punch hard while documenting what it’s like to be a Black band in a white scene.

Serengeti, “With Greg From Deerhoof”

David Cohn and Greg Saunier’s improvisational album balances anxiety and quirk in a way only these two artists could.

Jeremiah Sand, “Lift It Down”

The “Mandy” tie-in record convincingly blurs the line between truth and fiction with songs that, on their own merits, are actually pretty cool.

The Mountain Goats, “Getting Into Knives”

“Knives” is the sound of a pre-pandemic band going for all the weird gusto they can.

Oneohtrix Point Never, “Magic Oneohtrix Point Never”

Daniel Lopatin assembles a variety of dystopian styles he’s fostered over the years while throwing in some fantastic new ones.

Tobacco, “Hot Wet & Sassy”

Much of the signature grime has worn off, revealing an innovative—though not necessarily boundary pushing—shine.

Adrianne Lenker,  “Songs” + “Instrumentals”

The tracks on the Big Thief vocalist’s double album are warm and spacious with high ceilings.

Future Islands, “As Long As You Are”

The group’s sixth album is a long exhale after the excited breathing and bare-chested songcraft heard on their last three records.

Gorillaz, “Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez”

The animated four-piece host the wildest, most guest-heavy apocalyptic party since “This Is the End.”

Bruce Springsteen, “Letter to You”

Though recorded in a pre-pandemic setting last winter, “Letter to You” feels unusually safe.

Kevin Morby, “Sundowner”

Morby’s sixth album is both cosmic and terrestrial, with tracks seeped in death and change.

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