For such a prolific duo, their output remains consistent and their songwriting as strong as ever. Answers Belie shows a growing maturity for the pair as well, as they do an outstanding job of the ever difficult task of capturing world issues in succinct yet profound ways.
A lot of minimalistic lo-fi bedroom pop has emerged since 2020, for better or for worse, but Open Dream is a massive and challenging exploration of an artist pushing his own boundaries as well as a clear love letter to the possibilities of music.
Frantic Hearts is a statement from a band not just pushing their musical boundaries, but the boundaries of rock music itself, without ever once becoming too theoretical or needlessly experimental. It’s a truly exciting album that continues to surprise regardless of how many times you listen.
You know what? I’m about to say it: We need Sparks now more than ever. With a lyrical voice that is in turn witty, observant, detached, self-referential, satiric, and above all, entirely their own, only the Mael brothers are adequately equipped to comment on the current times while simultaneously providing a much needed dose of escapism.
Regardless of what your favorite 70s band is, there is something in While We Were Making Plans for everyone, but The Splatter Pattern emerges with a fully formed, compelling artistic voice that is all their own.
Recreate is not blindly optimistic, but it is an infectious burst of compassion from a voice that is so needed in this moment.
Always You is a wonderful addition to the artist’s repertoire, and a testament to the continued importance of jazz pop.
King Analog remains compelling and exciting over the entire album, an often difficult feat for instrumentalists, and the artist emerges as a dynamically challenging force to be reckoned with right out of the gates.
Hopefully this tour is not the band’s swansong and Love and Rockets will continue to play live. At the risk of sounding too greedy, one can only dream that they will record another album as well.
The generous hat tips the group gives to their predecessors will win over staunch traditionalists, but First Penetration will undoubtedly appeal to almost every fan of the genre.
Bergquist doesn’t try to shake the world with Wiser Then, but it’s almost as if he wants to slip into the room quietly, preferring to slowly blow away the listener with the accumulation of his strongly poetic lyricism over time.
A coming-of-age album, Chuck Rock is the work of a group still growing, and it’s a fantastic snapshot of a moment in time, while the band purposely plays down the album’s remarkable merits at every corner.
High intensity seems to be the running theme of Zombie Telegram as Mallory expresses themselves unabashedly in an exposed, maudlin, and sometimes even violent manner, creating an extremely captivating, thrilling experience that continues to unfold with each listen.
Never Sleep is a fantastic expansion of Feder’s sound, offering a more vulnerable, introspective side of the artist, and it’s set to be released June 23rd.
The gloomier side of artists like The Cure or the emotional intensity of Cocteau Twins are clear influences, while stylistically she is closer to musicians including Lana Del Rey and Cat Power.
Malice marks a major step forward, in both songwriting and production from previous releases, but most importantly it represents a fantastically cohesive statement from a band unequivocally finding their voice.
It’s as if Michael is sampling bits and pieces of the genre, a Whitman’s Sampler of rock ‘n’ roll, and Rocking Into Midnight succeeds wonderfully as a loving tribute in its own charmingly honest way.
Brennan reaches into her personal experiences to pull out a general theme of hope throughout the five songs that manages to stay uplifting and optimistic without once becoming dangerously cloying.
Lit is a fantastic album that bridges genres and styles effortlessly, and it will easily appeal to both nitpicky blues heads and punk purists alike.
Set to be released later this year, The Beach EP doesn’t rock the boat too much or aim to challenge the status quo, but in his own brilliantly hummable way, Harris offers a folksy, optimistic point of view that is desperately needed right now.
Without being flashy whatsoever, Rocky Roberts stands out as an important voice in classic country, and Pieces of Time has a beautifully timeless feeling.
Petty Human Emotions is a remarkably sprawling and diverse work of art for a group’s debut, and points definitively to even grander things on the horizon.
Terrible and Sad is a fantastic EP that leaves you wanting much more, and it’s an audible testament to individuals climbing out of their struggles, raising the listener alongside them.
Welcome to Doc City is an exquisitely executed album, augmented by a cast of top session players, and the result is a listening experience that was clearly a labor of love for all involved.
The Ladderman’s third album is easily their most ambitious and accomplished yet, and on Figures on Demand the group willingly throws themselves into the deep end, exploring uncharted territory with startling results.
Hidden Gems, instead of being a mismatched hodgepodge, is the most concerted document of Merdinger’s fine songwriting ability so far, and it represents the pinnacle of a real maturing for the artist.
A Thousand Times Brighter will appeal to fans of any number of genres from both sides of the classical/pop aisle, and the album will be released April 28th.
Shifting away from the electronic or ambient sounds of previous releases, The Earthly Frames have found a real home with folk, and although it’s unlikely they’ll linger here for long, one can only hope it’s a sound they return to in the future.
At the end of the day, Cosmic Flute Rides Again is a great pop record that manages to stay interesting and exciting throughout the entire duration without once growing tired or repetitive.
Future Thunder Void is by far the band’s most cohesive and accomplished collection of songs yet, and represents a perfectly crystallized distillation of their ethos.
Vectralux have truly come into their own here, maturing as songwriters and hitting upon a sound all of their own.
Sky’s Rust transcends genres and resists categorization but it will easily appeal to fans of Romeo Rage’s influences.
Globus have really delivered a rollercoaster ride of an album that surpasses the already high bar set by the band.
The production on the album was aided by Tony Maimone of Per Ubu, and the songs truly benefit from a bombastic, larger-than-life sound. Lord Sonny the Unifier truly outdid himself here.
It’s insane to record something with a scale this large, but What Strange Beasts executes their vision with skill and ingenuity that is truly awe-inspiringly impressive.
Belanger has carved out a niche with a unique delivery and down-to-earth lyricism that is entirely his own, and This Moment Is Gone is sure to help find comfort and solace for many listeners.
The Sound of the Winter Sun completely ignores any and all current music trends, and it is all the better for it as Brynilde creates an album that is as timeless as it is mysterious.
Truthfully, there is really nothing else out there like there so it is incredibly difficult to define, but Minds is subtly confrontational and rewards attentive listening as much as it demands it.
Light Roars plays like the most crystallized realization of Husmann’s concept.
It’s awesome to see some great new music come from Seattle again, and Welcome to My World is a fantastic debut EP that doesn’t really sound like anything ever before made in that city.
It’s music that, perhaps, could only be made in Los Angeles, it invites the listener, wherever they are, to step back and appreciate life away from the recent events of the last two years
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.