27/30 album of the week jazz jazz fusion

makaya mccraven – in these times

‘These Times’ has been lovingly made with a torrent of textures. Through the labyrinthine motions, McCraven and his entourage stay relentlessly kinetic with an unusual level of calm. That is a genuinely great aspect of this record: it is testing, but it works for you, with you. The liquidus quality of the marimbas, flute, and […]

24/30 album of the week experimental rock

no age – people helping people

The cover of No Age’s latest album shows the aftermath of a minor accident: one or two bulbs swept up well, if not neatly. Together with the title, it paints an endearing scene of a helping hand. When the music arrives, it is uplifting and unpredictable—the sound of flowing creative expansion. The vivacious joy with […]

25/30 album of the week electronic pop r&b

jockstrap – i love you jennifer b

Jockstrap had an EP out a couple years ago—the fantastic, but altogether unsettled Wicked City. While the duo’s experimentalism has since been ironed, edged, ILYJB nevertheless emerges with oddities of epic proportions. Moments of tender enlightenment burst through the jagged cracks: the tracklist is technically sharp in the vein of a classical song cycle, soft […]

26/30 album of the week hip-hop

roc marciano, the alchemist – the elephant man’s bones

I first heard this record while cycling uphill, one cheap bud dangling out of my earhole. I didn’t get it. No shit. I got home and put it on the speaker. There we go. From the top. An insidious fog descends when TEMB is allowed to immerse; the tracks appear in and out of the […]

25/30 album of the week folk indie/alternative

cass mccombs – heartmind

There’s an attractive quality to writing that is brave enough to tackle the literarily ‘inconvenient’—stories that are unglamorous and settings that reek of cringeworthy, modern bile. Cass McCombs’ stage is set with fast food, human error, and everything in between on that bizarre scale. But, as the beautiful, light instruments indicate, this album isn’t a […]

24/30 album of the week electronic

sylvan esso – no rules sandy

No Rules Sandy’s most experimental moment comes with its closer: it’s a light, swaying acoustic track with strong vocals cloaked in a kind of timidness. The song is beautiful, but written with a stock palette. It is experimental because it is how the project, filled with sharp, quietly innovative arpeggios, chooses to say farewell. With […]

25/30 album of the week latin salsa

meridian brothers – meridian brothers y el grupo renacimiento

This record is so many things at once, gyrating in different directions, but somehow synchronous. Synchronous, but off-key. Off-key but melodically charged. Charged but humorous and light. Light but poison-tipped. Poison-tipped but joyous. You understand me: this is brave music. The vocals brim with a quality that seeks to exhibit the full capacity of the […]

28/30 album of the week folk singer-songwriter

nina nastasia – riderless horse

TW: this record contains material on suicide and abuse ‘Riderless Horse’ is a lonely album about two people. Like Mount Eerie’s ‘A Crow Looked At Me,’ Nastasia’s first record in twelve years isn’t even an echo: it’s the initial reverberation of real life despair. The jagged candor of her writing is entrusted to expertly patched […]

28/30 album of the week rock

black midi – hellfire

I was on a flight when I listened to ‘Hellfire’. I like flying, but I don’t care for turbulence that moves sideways. It started when I played track one, which evidently perturbed the vehicle. The 4-D experience threatened my objective judgement: I wanted to be present, while half-expecting to fly into the side of a […]