Grace is such an exciting album that reminds the audience of the fun playfulness to be had with the genre.
Merdinger’s lifelong connection to these songs is immediate, making Troubadour a statement that is both a personal journey for the artist as well as representative of the story of American music since the 60s.
With a large turn to socially conscious music lately, the Bomb Cats are a refreshing blast of fresh air, reminding the audience to still have some fun occasionally.
January 22 has all of the theatrics of a U2 with more grit, and for an album self-recorded (at least partly on the artist’s sailboat), it is a stunningly ambitious achievement.
What the artists attempt to achieve on Sacred Spiral is a lot, but listen to any of the songs and it’s clear they come extremely close to the sublime.
Overall, the album leaves the listener with a sensation that can only be described as awestruck.
The five-piece band puts their own spin on the Red Dirt country genre with a Heartland sensibility that focuses on honest vignettes of individual lives to which their audience can immediately relate.
Cornell’s trajectory somewhat echoes that of Nick Lowe, whose raucous beginnings gradually gave way to a gentler croon subtly influenced by pop of the 50s and early 60s.
It goes without saying that it is brave to be this honest and transparent about a subject that many still struggle to talk about openly, but this is also nothing short of a fantastic record.
Pureocracy thrives and succeeds because of its production, and although modest, it’s a definite contender for one of the year’s strongest debuts.
What truly sells the album is an emotionally charged desire to capture a snapshot of modern life at a singular moment in time.
It’s a tour de force of technicality, but more importantly, SE3 is so fantastically addictive and challenging that it firmly lodges itself in your brain like a work of art you have known your entire life.
It’s a fantastic document of a band captured in what is seemingly a transitional period, and leaves the door wide open for more great music on the horizon.
The Other Side of Midnight is a timeless work which could have been released in any number of eras and still have held a great depth of artistic significance.
The world may not have ended, yet, but if the events of the last few years have fueled the inspiration of bands like Vannon, then at least we can be thankful for a work of art this powerful.
It’s difficult to feel left wanting a little more, but what Aura Blaze has given us here is breathtaking in its scope and truly impressive in its beautifully lush production.
Ellis is a fantastically hypnotic collection of songs, and a giant step forward for 1st Base Runner’s sound.
A fascinating and captivating twist on grunge and alt-rock that strips the genres back to their bare essentials and injects a heavy dose of psychedelic oddness for good measure.
It’s an ambitiously dramatic and highly theatrical album that never loses focus, and the band never forgets to have a blast in the process, making the whole thing a rollercoaster of high octane fun.
It has glimpses of the 70s, 80s, 90s, even the future, and ultimately nothing today sounds quite like what Sluka are making.
After four EPs, it clearly seems like Seneko is building his music to something big, and a full-length album will undoubtedly deliver on the promise in this collection of his best songs yet.
It might be some time and many repeated listens before the totality of SEL Fellow’s mysteries and beauty truly reveal themselves to this listener, but Tawni Bias is clearly a name that holds a ton of promise for the future.
Each Morning and the Morning Thereafter leaves the listener with the feeling that they have heard a collection that sounds a little like a million different references and yet also something entirely brand new and fresh.
In only four deceptively simple songs they have crafted an immersive experience that envelopes and hooks you with each listen.
Chicago’s Livingroom released their debut album, Don’t Shoot the Messenger!, this year, and it plays like exactly the breath of fresh air the music world needs at this moment.
Home All Day, Home All Night might emerge as one of the more profound artistic statements of the COVID precisely because the band doesn’t date themselves to the era and the album will hold up long after this pandemic is behind us.
It’s interesting to ponder how these songs would have been received if they had been released in the 90s, but it is undeniable that Hey Mountain Hey is absolutely perfect for this moment.
Rarely is a first release as ambitious as Mettle, and fortunately for the artist and the listener, the finished product more than lives up to that promise in bold and highly original ways.
Killed by The Architects doesn’t try to reinvent indie rock or post-punk, but it will easily charm and melt the frozen hearts of even the pickiest of gatekeeping fans.
Rather than padded with filler, the immense album is proving to be made with meticulous care and attention.
Night Shadows isn’t above referencing pop culture or the long history of popular music, and by beautifully and effortlessly synthesizing both the high and the low the band is elevated to a living individual work of art.
As time and aging are common themes throughout the album, it is fascinating to listen to an artist with a new perspective sing these songs written by his younger self.
Metamorphosis will appeal most of all to fans of the genre looking for something more intellectual than the standard fare.
Like the primeval thunderstorms of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the music of Echo Us scratches an ancient itch deep in the back of the listener’s subconscious.
For all of the seriousness behind the inspiration, Wise John handles it with a deft touch; sometimes with humor, sometimes with anger, and sometimes with a hint of naivety.
The Virtualistics is undoubtedly a product of the COVID age, but it is also a light at the end of the tunnel.
Release is one the truest, most mature accounts in contemporary folk of what it means to struggle, to persevere, or to just get by.
Madness on Repeat which fantastically showcases the tight, telepathic communication between the members and their impressive musicianship.
Perched somewhere between dark pop and the avant- garde, Endgame is a tricky work of art to unravel, but there are plenty of rewards for those who try.
Like the “old cedar box” described in “Polaroid Parade,” Songs from the Briarpatch plays like a collection of memories—some good, some bad, some in between—and the resulting feelings that emerge are not easy to pick apart.
Every song on Open Sesame is like some song you heard on the radio in the 70s once and blew your mind even if you never found out the name of the artist. And I think that’s the point.
Race Against Time acknowledges that such a race as its title suggests is ultimately impossible to win, and thereby the album ends up one of the genre’s most thoughtful and intelligent entries in a long time.
This album sits on the more introspective end of the grunge spectrum, and is undoubtedly best enjoyed in the dark of one’s bedroom than dancing riotously in a crowd.
Hello Morning might have been a long time coming, but Wax Moon have created a startlingly powerful album that shows the fruits of their labor without ever showing off.
The Invitation is a remarkable example of an artist both rejecting and welcoming trends, creating something uniquely their own in the process.
Earlier this month, Husmann released a new album Seven Years of Silence, titled after the seven year hiatus the artist took from the industry.
Like Rocky Horror, the EP is extremely camp, over the top, and a ton of fun.
Whispers From the Wicker Man may be one of the more unexpected hard rock releases of the year, but it is sure to remind fans why the group first caused a stir all those years ago.
Although their next release promises to have more of a rock edge, the mood of Sirens Go By, especially the title track, perfectly suits the uncertain and contemplative time we are in.