A Perfect Circle: Eat the Elephant

Maynard James Keenan knows he’s kept you waiting, and he’s not sorry in the slightest. The singer crafted Eat the Elephant, A Perfect Circle’s first record in 14 years, according to the same principles as his self-run winery and restaurant in rural Arizona: time, investment, focus, presence. In a recent Revolver interview, Keenan compared himself…

DRINKS: Hippo Lite

It is increasingly impossible, these days, to feel truly alone. But Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley found a way, and on their second record as DRINKS it shows. Le Bon and Presley are each psychedelic geniuses of the 2010s: the former, a wondrous Welsh singer-songwriter and soon-to-be producer of Deerhunter’s new album; the latter,…

Jonathan Richman: I, Jonathan

When Jonathan Richman was 19, he arrived at an epiphany in the Israeli desert. The scruffy salesman’s son from Natick, Massachusetts, was traveling after a short-lived stab as a solo musician in New York, home of his heroes the Velvet Underground. There, in the miles of sand, gazing at a full moon, Richman had a…

The National: Boxer (Live in Brussels)

Boxer: classic stuff, definitive album for one of the definitive indie rock bands of 21st century. One of the best live bands too. The National curate festivals and massively influential artist compilations, Matt Berninger’s relationship with his brother was deemed a worthy subject for a critically-acclaimed documentary, they’ve been this close to debuting at #1…

Smokepurpp & Murda Beatz: Bless Yo Trap

Miami rapper Smokepurpp is best known as Lil Pump’s wingman and understudy, the tag-team partner brawling at his side at shows—a strung-out-seeming, assault rifle-wielding wildman in body armor. He’s the 20-year-old madcap with a baby bottle full of lean tattooed on his stomach, a catchphrase-roaring reject fit for casting in a “Jackass” reboot. There isn’t…

Post Animal: When I Think of You in a Castle

Psychedelia comes in many guises, and Post Animal wear just about all of them. The Chicago sextet’s debut, When I Think of You in a Castle, is a practical travelogue through the genre’s more melodic and explicitly rock-y incarnations, tempered with just the right amount of brawny power-pop. At times, they resemble the ’70s-radio dreams…

Alexis Taylor: Beautiful Thing

Alexis Taylor’s new album, Beautiful Thing, begins with a slightly muffled, boompty beat, part throbbing of the heart and part pounding of a speaker heard through a bathroom door. “I’m dreaming another life,” Taylor sings, his voice quavering sweetly. “Won’t you meet me out of your mind?” Taylor has spent the last 15 years or…

John Maus: Addendum

John Maus doesn’t want you to mistake his smarts for being pretentious. Sure, the cultishly adored synth-pop performer holds a Ph.D. in political philosophy and he isn’t afraid to expound on subjects like Freud, the Enlightenment, and Michel Foucault’s Theatrum Philosophicum in interviews that often read like thesis excerpts. But he also loves cartoons, preaches…

Lena Willikens: Selectors 005

Dekmantel’s Selectors series is an unusual proposition. Though a DJ helms each installment, they are compilations, not mixes. The theme varies according to the selector. Germany’s Motor City Drum Ensemble summed up his soulful predilections by licensing a bunch of decades-old, out-of-print house music; the Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann highlighted his industrial roots with tracks…

Robert Glasper & Kaytranada: The ArtScience Remixes EP

You can trust Robert Glasper to honor your favorite throwback sounds. He’s the cool custodian of old-school grooves who, with his band, the Robert Glasper Experiment, has built a flourishing career out of reinterpreting African-American music history, bridging jazz, soul, R&B, and hip-hop. The two installments of his guest-heavy Black Radio series in 2012-2013 and…

Mouse on Mars: Dimensional People

Across the last quarter-century, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have moved from dense noise to sleek electro-pop to carefully arranged post-rock, equally comfortable with wispy ambient tracks and banging dance tunes. While certain threads run through the German duo’s work—playful humor, an off-kilter rhythmic sensibility, an ear for colorful electronic texture—they never codified their…

Ross From Friends: Aphelion EP

Dance music loves a tempest in a teapot, and few have whistled louder over the last few years than the dust-up over lo-fi house. The term popped up around 2015 to describe a wave of producers like DJ Boring, DJ Seinfeld, and Ross From Friends, who lacquered moody vocal house in tape hiss and racked…

Neil Young: Roxy – Tonight’s the Night Live

Walk the city blocks of Los Angeles and imagine its bohemian yesteryear, when strung-out sex parties and impromptu jamborees emanated from the storefronts and bungalows. Neil Young’s foothold in the musician circles of Topanga, Laurel Canyon, and Hollywood are well documented. Further proof of his contribution to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles is that…

Sarah Davachi: Let Night Come on Bells End the Day

Few artists would want to be defined by their earliest attempts at original work, but in the case of Canadian minimalist Sarah Davachi, her sandbox phase is instructive. As a fan of the Romantic tone poet and pianist Frédéric Chopin, the young Davachi took his tear-jerking chord progressions and distilled them into her first compositions,…

King Tuff: The Other

Garage rock is the natural musical manifestation of a room where junk is collected and neglected, where the floors are stained with grease spots, and where plugging in always carries the thrill of pissing off your parents as they try to sleep upstairs. It is by nature a closed-off, confining space, impervious to external influence…

Mr. Fingers: Cerebral Hemispheres

Despite the visceral punch of the Chicago house innovator Larry Heard’s earliest hits—“Washing Machine,” from 1986, churned with grueling acid squelch; the following year’s cymbal-battering “Slam Dance” came down like a hailstorm—it’s his conflicting impulses that made him an icon. His two biggest tunes, “Can You Feel It” and “Mystery of Love,” both released under…

Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP

Eminem prowled down a long line of young men, each sporting close-cropped, bleached blonde hair, each dressed just like him. Floodlights lit up the empty avenue outside of Radio City Music Hall where the rapper marched into the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards with his army to perform, “The Real Slim Shady,” the first single…

Kwes: Songs for Midi EP

Kwes’ music banks heavily on atmosphere. His debut EP, 2010’s No Need to Run, wrapped sketch-like beats in layers of synth swaddling and dub delay, and in 2012, his Meantime EP, the British musician’s breakthrough as a singer, arrived like a small, semi-precious object bundled between pillows of air. His debut album, ilp, presented an…

E-40 & B-Legit: Connected and Respected

According to Plutarch, Alexander the Great wept not because there were no more worlds to conquer, but because he’d yet to become the master of a single one. Were the Macedonian warrior-king alive today, he and E-40 could discuss the finer points of boundless ambition, perhaps over a bottle of Earl Stevens Mangoscato. At 50…

Johnny Cash: Forever Words

The poems collected two years ago in Johnny Cash: Forever Words were unsung, in every sense of the word. Gathered from handwritten letters, notebooks, journals, and manuscripts that Cash left behind when he died in 2003, the verses had never been set to music, as far as anyone could tell. Yet turning the pages of…

A Place to Bury Strangers: Pinned

In a 2010 review of The Big Lebowski, film critic Roger Ebert wrote that the Coen brothers’ cult comedy was “about an attitude, not a story.” Brooklyn noise rock trio A Place to Bury Strangers can be counted among a growing number of New York bands with a similar approach to music. Just as Lebowski…

Eels: The Deconstruction

Eels diehards can sit this next one out. Not The Deconstruction, because this album is very much for you—but the following question: At some point in the 22 years between “Novocaine for the Soul” and Eels’ twelfth album, Mark Everett lost you, so what could he do to bring you back? Explore topics other than…

Husalah: H

If the Mob Figaz rapper Husalah had a superpower it would be his self-confidence. It oozes from an open wound that also bleeds depression and survivor’s remorse; the whole point of his music would seem to be to unbandage and give it air. But it’s been so long since he released new music that Husalah…

Saba: CARE FOR ME

Last year, Saba’s cousin was stabbed to death in Chicago after a brief scuffle on the train. The killer tailed him for half a block before fleeing, just to make sure he would die. The way Saba raps about his cousin—born Walter Long Jr., who performed as dinnerwithjohn and was a founding member of Saba’s…

Tom Misch: Geography

You might be slow to warm to Tom Misch. You might look at his pretty, symmetrical face and listen to his pretty, sweet voice and think to yourself: Haven’t we seen this before? Do we really need another blue-eyed prince of soul? After all, Misch may sing Dilla’s praises now, but in five years, when…