In 2015, Dan Auerbach entered the studio with Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and the late Richard Swift (who passed away in 2018) to record The Arcs' debut album. Now, more than 7 years later, those same sessions became the bedrock on which the surviving members fleshed out the follow-up, Electrophonic Chronic, a collection of psychedelic rock, gritty funk, and heady, soulful grooves.
In just three remarkable solo albums Margo Price has cemented herself as a force in American music and a generational talent. On her fourth full-length Strays, recorded in Topanga Canyon and produced by Jonathan Wilson, the singer and songwriter presents a clear-eyed mission statement delivered in blistering rock and roll. Margo Price has something to say, and nothing to prove.
The stimulus behind Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn’s shiny, sophisticated electronic pop is, they say, an ongoing “argument” between themselves. If so, recording the North Carolina duo's fourth album must have been a tumultuous, unfettered affair. It’s a free-wheeling surge of glitchy beats and fizzing, ravey energy, with the wobbly UK garage underpinnings of “Echo Party” a notable standout.
An in-demand beatmaker who has worked with Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and more, the producer finally releases his solo debut—a dynamic record bursting with soul samples and complicated emotions. Charismatic, self-effacing and generous, Louie reveals the duality of the artist— an enigmatic, introspective searcher who has experienced pain and duress, and alchemized it via looped samples and hypnotic drum patterns.
Born in Oklahoma, raised in Paris, living in NYC, assistant to a Nobel Prize Winner, licensed tour guide and Murder Mystery business owner, JW Francis is the newest signing to Sunday Best Recordings. His brand of utterly irresistible bedroom dream-pop takes its lead from the city JW lives in, with echoes of Jonathan Richman, The Velvet Underground and the lo-fi sound New York has been inspiring for decades.
Featuring guests like Kim Petras, Koffee, Jessie Reyez and Ed Sheeran, Gloria (the artist’s fourth LP) is a compact, steadily flowing collection of pop songs that showcase Smith’s vocal versatility and personal growth. Smith — one of the world’s most recognizable voices — graps how being true to themselves can make their own instrument’s power even mightier.
Gone is the scrappy garage/glam, in favor of sophisticated singer- songwriterly pop constructed around acoustic guitar, strings, extravagantly multi-tracked vocal harmonies and consistent tunes. There are still the nods to Marc Bolan, but with Smalltown Stardust, Kyle Thomas transcends references, transmitting purest joy in nature which cannot fail to make the listener's heart sing.
A true legend of guitar music, there’s nothing reining Steve Vai in, as he shows on new album Vai/Gash. Together with his since-departed biker friend Johnny “Gash” Sombrotto, he recorded these eight tracks back in the early 90s so that they’d have “real biker music” to blare from their Harley Davidsons. Three decades later, he’s finally putting them out to the world as the ultimate tribute.
The Canadian hardcore legends have been known for their epic scale in the past, so it might be a surprise that Fucked Up’s sixth studio album is their shortest to date, written and recorded in the confines of one literal day (hence the title). Don’t mistake size for substance, though: The band’s sound has only gotten bigger, more hard-charging, with even denser thickets of melody.
Every Acre’s focus is very much on McEntire’s (Mount Moriah) close-up storytelling and confessions on grief, loss, and links to land and loved ones -- the odd, soaring electric guitar solo aside. Fans of the early records of Margo Price and Courtney Marie Andrews will find much to love here, while the diversion into groovesome country soul on “Rows Of Clover” keeps the head nodding.
On her second album of raw, deliciously sad indie-rock, Samia dwells on broken relationships, toxic behavior and addiction revealing an album that’s diaristic and uncomfortably relatable. Honey constantly flits between blackly comic confessionals and excruciating bloodletting. It’s playful, painful and loaded with hooks that worm their way to the surface making it ripe for bleak midwinter wallowing.
It’s unusual for a band that’s been around since the ’80s to be doing some of their best work in the 2020s, but that’s exactly what Obituary have accomplished. Dying Of Everything destroys in the time-honored tradition of early classics while maintaining the killer studio sound that the band has perfected while their legacy as a Death Metal institution, churning out some of the heaviest riffs in their career.
Late Developers floats through genres with ease – from the frantic Billy Bragg-with-hella-flute-energy of the opening track and what might be Stevie Jackson’s best song, into an all-out dance party in the third quarter of the record. They then unearth a 1994-era pre-Belle and Sebastian tune, with the help of Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell right before they bring you home with a true bop.
Katatonia's sound has evolved over the years, shifting from death/doom to a more varied musical palette that utilizes everything from gothic to post to prog. They have amped up the intensity a bit on Sky Void of Stars compared to their past few albums, but no matter if it's heavy or mellow, the band always delivers first-class musicianship and exquisite songwriting.
Driven by analogue synths, distorted chimes and hallucinogenic soundscapes, Ladytron crash-landed at the turn of the century, using the dancefloor as a bridgehead to the collective unconscious. On Time’s Arrow the group adds new richness, distant shimmers and a shoegaze-adjacent glow with their trademark understated voices now inhabiting a space somewhere between cloudscape and dream.
Gigi’s Recovery is such a leap in songwriting and execution that it might as well not be the same band behind it. Where the first was terse and unwieldy (and amazing in its own right) this one is open – even joyous despite its heavy subject matter. At their best, which is often on Gigi’s Recovery, TMC combine muscular drama and skeletal grace with a confidence that Radiohead would be proud of.