"As the band name suggests, there was a breakneck, YOLO verve to everything Branch did that goes double here. Wolf-like howls punctuate these tracks, vying for primacy with scything, bowed strings. Rhythms drive, tumble and sashay" - the Guardian writes reviewing the posthumous album by jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch and her bend Fly or Die (5 of 5 stars is the verdict). Pitchfork points out that "'((world war))' provides a precious document of her artistry... and a reminder that the struggle for a better world is a beautiful and worthwhile endeavor" (tagged in Best New Music, with grade 8.5). Treblezine likes how borderless and non-final it is: "These nine songs burst about with full-throttle, hellion-rowdy, freaky consciousness-expanding shaman type verve... If anything, it’s a lovely bouillabaisse of branch’s way of gathering the tribes and bringing folks together".

"For the fourth year in a row, they’ve outdone themselves. The epic songs are more epic, the pop songs poppier, the country-fried desolation more potent and immersive" - Stereogum argues in favor of their latest Album of the week, 'Rat Saw God' by Wednesday. Rolling Stone writes lovingly that "the North Carolina band thrives on a huge guitar sound and the great songwriting of Karly Hartzman," whereas Consequence sees a beginning of something really big - "call it country-gaze, bubble-grunge, or skip the genre classifications altogether, the project is 10 tracks of immaculate songwriting, big ideas, and sheer character". Pitchfork tagged it Best New Music, because "their outstanding new album is why they’re one of the best indie rock bands around".

"On 'Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)', they share some of their catchiest and most openly introspective songwriting yet" - Guardian reviews the new album by Yves Tumor. Pitchfork highly recommends the "ecstatic fusion of alt-rock and R&B, seeking the mysterious nexus where 'Loveless' meets 'Purple Rain'" (tagged it Best new music, rated 8.4). Consequence insists "they’ve turned themselves into a ravenous rock deity, a masterful songwriter", whereas NME hears as "evidence of how brilliant rock can be when ambition and talent are met with a creative who isn’t afraid to be strange".

"Uniquely memorable record, encapsulating its creator’s restless spirit" - Mojo reviews the new album 'Oh Me Oh My' by the avant-garde jazz/electro artist Lonnie Holley. Uncut points out it's "his most substantial and accessible album yet," as well as an "act of spontaneous divination, revisiting past traumas with pained understanding, yet also hopeful and celebrating the wonder of life." Pitchfork argues it's Holley's "most ambitious and approachable album: an extraordinary aural memoir that tells a cosmic story of survival" (rated 8.5, tagged Best new music), whereas Treblezine is confident that the album "will be deeply treasured". "This album is a report of loss, deep and personal and historic, yes, but most importantly, tangible and true" - Sputnik music writes enthused.

"Big, queasy guitars, bloated bass, drums that hit like a medicine ball to the forehead—the album exudes a sense of both revulsion by and fascination with bodies and the things they do" - Bandcamp goes presenting their recent Album of the Day, 'Dogsbody' by the New York industrial/post-punk band Model/Actriz. Flood Magazine lists a number of references it can detect on the album, whereas Pitchfork declares it Best New Music (grade 8.2), saying "the band’s expertly contained noise-rock din is the perfect foil to frontman Cole Haden’s white-hot charisma".

"Dream Unending sounds very much like what they are: two gifted, experienced metal musicians trying to capture a colossal and elusive feeling that goes beyond subcultural identification or, indeed, earthly limits. It’s bewildering, and it’s beautiful" - Stereogum writes highly of the new album by dream-doom band Dream Unending. Pitchfork states that DU's "monuments to melancholy have never felt so crushing or beautiful", (tagged it Best New Music, grade 8.5). 

We prepare the faces to meet the audiences we meet
March 25, 2022

Aldous Harding: I feel like a song actor

Today, Aldous Harding released her new album 'Warm Chris', a strange collection of minimalist baroque folk songs. Recently, she talked to Pitchfork about it (The P tagged it best new music, gave it 8,2), and her personality: "For me, taking identity too seriously is really detrimental to my music. People say to me, 'Why don’t you use your real voice?'. But what people don’t understand is that I don’t know what my normal voice is anymore. In a lot of ways, I feel like the songs are like secrets that the muse is keeping from me. I have to listen, and then it tells me where the gaps in the universe are, and then I try to fill them with good intentions".

How to listen to Dragon?
February 11, 2022

Big Thief new album 'Dragon...' - "ambitious and unburdened"

"In 20 songs, Big Thief have rambled far beyond the bounds of their previous catalog... 'Dragon...' is as heavy in its lyrical concerns as any previous Big Thief record, and more ambitious in its musical ideas than all of them. But it also sounds unburdened, animated by a newfound sense of childlike exploration and play. Twenty times, it asks 'What should we do now?', and twenty times it finds a new answer" - Pitchfork really appreciates playful new Big Thief album (9.0 score, Best New Music tag). NME finds similar joy: "the band employ some weird methods that ultimately end up making sense; often allowing their varied surroundings to creep into the creative process". Spin calls it "an overwhelming effort, aiming for band’s magnum opus".

“Inside a song, you are neither here nor there, a liminal feeling that evokes so much of our time in life languishing in the middle. Call it meta-heartland rock” - Pitchfork writes about their lates Best New Music choice, The War on Drugs’ ‘I Don’t Live Here Anymore’. Mojo insists it’s a “calm space amid a world in collapse”, whereas NME points out “there’s magic everywhere you look on this triumph of an album”.

"He can rap absurdly well, and he could have a career on that alone, but he doesn’t seem to want it. Instead, he seems to want to exist in a lane that did not exist before him. He’s pulling it off" - Stereogum reviews Mach-Hommy's 'Pray for Haiti', declaring it one of the best rap albums of 2021. Pitchfork appreciates "his razor-sharp bars and an exceptional eye for detail" (tagged it Best new music, grade 8.8).

To make it easier to navigate their expansive archives, Pitchfork has created the Reviews Explorer, an interactive tool designed to help you discover new albums, rediscover old ones. Type an artist’s name into the search bar, select that artist from the dropdown menu, and see their reviews, plus reviews of similar artists, arranged by rating in a graphic interface. You can also filter the results to show which album recommendations are designated as “Best New Music” releases, and sort reviews by date.

"Far from impenetrable, the record carries listeners along on sandstorms of driving, infectious rock and roll" - RIFF Magazine reviews the new album by the Touareg guitarist (gave it 9 of 10 stars). Pitchfork branded it Best new music (grade 8.4), arguing it "captures the group’s easy chemistry and explosive energy". Rolling Stone goes idealistic in its review: "This is how free rock & roll should sound". Uncut is equally enthusiastic: "An exhilarating band set that mixes electric and acoustic instrumentation, it’s at once fiercely modern and as ancient as the Niger river". DJ Mag chose it as their Album of the month.

"Their elaborate and very loud efforts to build tension, achieve overwhelming catharsis, and write their most memorable melodies yet feels more like a conversation with a medium they love. It doesn’t hurt that their newfound transparency makes the music feel refreshingly human and relatable" - Pitchfork reviews the new album by the elusive hipster-hardcore band The Armed (tagged it Best New Music, grade 8.2). 'Ultrapop' is also Stereogum's Album of the Week, described as "punishing, bombastic, catchy, genuinely surprising collection of songs... It sounds like everything hitting at once. It rules so hard". Treblezine appreciates the album's "juxtaposition of delicate dream pop and metal".

"The band’s debut album arrives fully formed, ready to evacuate the contents of your brain and replace them with the odd images, bizarre obsessions, vivid sense memories, and banal judgements that live rent-free in the mind of another" - Pitchfork writes in its review of Dry Cleaning's 'New Long Leg'. Guardian deems it a "work of a terrifically focused group... a debut to be excited about". Exclaim like the paradox of it - "record that absorbs and spits back the unending noise of the world and asks that you take a second look, every common thing somehow made brand new".

"It is a statement about the beauty of slowing down, of not worrying about what you say and instead focusing on how you feel" - Pitchfork writes Lost Girls' 'Menneskekollektivet’, the debut LP from the Norvegian duo Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden. Sonically, it's "a dance record, a heady cocktail of muted drum machines and hypertrophied synthesizers", while its "inherently unfinished quality makes it feel naturalistic, deeply human". Beats Per Minute argues 'Menneskekollektivet' is "a fun time; an unorthodox album that borders on a million genres and commits to none".

'Promises' is a collaborative project by producer Floating Points, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra, but the one holding it together is - "Sanders, his warm tone and fluid technique undiminished even at 80 years old, listening to his surroundings and finding brilliant patterns to stitch the work together and thus elevate it", as Pitchfork hears it (tagged it Best new music also). The New York Times appreciates the unity of it: "When [Sanders] plays his final notes of the album... he does not so much disappear as become one with Shepherd’s web of humming synthesizers".

'Ignorance' is bliss
February 08, 2021

Critics really like new Weather Station

Rave reviews of new album 'Ignorance' by The Weather Station who made a u-turn from indie-rock singer-songwriter to alter synth-pop. Pitchfork tagged it Best New Music (9.0) due to "unforgettable moments of calm and beauty". Guardian gave it perfect 5 stars - "quietly revolutionises an old, familiar trope – the pop album about heartbreak, co-starring piano and strings – and makes it a rallying cry for our time". Brooklyn Vegan says "she's explicitly making the case that ignorance is not bliss, not anymore, but musically, artistically, 'Ignorance' is a thoughtful, transportive and genuinely moving call to action".

Microphones released their first new album in 17 years, 'Microphones in 2020', today, comprised of one, 44-minute song, that comes with a beautiful one-shot still video. It is a slide-show of 800 printed photos of band's leader Phil Elverum's childhood and touring years, accompanied by the lyrics to the songs (watch/listen to it here). Critics like the album a lot: Stereogum branded it their Album of the Week because "he weaves together vast metaphysical explorations and minute personal memories"; Pitchfork branded it Best new music (grade 8.5) for exploration of "artmaking, self-mythologizing, and what it means to bear witness to one’s own existence and transformations"; Exclaim goes philosophical and poetical on us: "This is Elverum's indelible stamp of style, distilled into a single track that flows like waves in the ocean or hills on the mountainside".

"It’s Haim as we haven’t quite heard them before: not just eminently proficient musicians, entertainers, and 'women in music', but full of flaws and contradictions, becoming something much greater" - Pitchfork argues in favor of the third album by the three California sisters. Other critics like it as much: "Haim take us through a dark place and they do it frankly. But they never let the momentum dip. And they never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel" - Independent; "Experimental, soothing and vulnerable; it’s a thing of great beauty" - NME; "Richly searching, explosively produced third album" - Guardian.

"Love needs fury to fight hate. Clearly none of this is lost on the pair of indie, old head, no-fucks-giving, chain-snatching, self-professed menaces to sobriety behind this project. Their boisterous new album, 'RTJ4', makes time for trash-talking and chin-checking amid insurrection" - Pitchfork highly suggests Run the Jewels' new album (tagged it Best new music, grade 8.3). The P argues 'RTJ40 is closest to who Killer Mike and El-P are - "weary but unbroken, wary but not hopeless, eager to knuckle up".

"These songs are about taking action - using experience as a teacher and a guide" which makes for Medhane's "most present and clear-eyed project", as Pitchfork says in review (tagged it Best new music, grade 8,4). His raps got better - "there is even more force and focus behind his bars", as well as production - "the beats are gorgeously gritty, warped yet whole; he remolds jazz and soul samples as if from particles of sand, which brings the clarity of the raps into sharper relief".

Perfume Genius' new album is "three-dimensional, dust-blown world that is cinematic in its grandeur and intimate in its inspection of the human form", Pitchfork states in its review (grade 9.0). The P is impressed by the style of the album - "the songs expand and contract, one minute blasting open with the melodrama of a Roy Orbison ballad, the next zooming in with surgical detail as Hadreas describes ribs that fold like fabric, a tear-streaked face, an instance of post-coital petty theft".

'Mutable Set' by the Californian guitarist and singer Blake Mills is "a hushed, finely tuned album" that "splits the difference between Mills’ two sides—the unassuming singer and the ambient wanderer", Pitchfork says in their review (tagged it "Best new music", grade 8.3). The P says it's not "just another singer-songwriter record. Its arrangements are slippery, and it’s often hard to tell if what you’re hearing is a keyboard, a guitar, a saxophone, or something else entirely. It’s never clear exactly where this album will go next, but there’s no doubt an expert hand is guiding the way".

Experimental composer Drew Daniel gathered his friends and family, including his Matmos bandmate M.C. Schmidt, Horse Lords saxophonist Andrew Bernstein, percussionist Sarah Hennies, "and a world-class trio of vocalists: Angel Deradoorian, Colin Self, and Lower Dens singer Jana Hunter" to create "a cathartic, emotional windfall" with his project The Soft Pink Truth. The resulting album 'Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?', Pitchfork says, "carries itself with the strength of a soft prayer, masterfully fusing jazz, deep house, and minimalism into an enormous, featherlight shield".

Fiona Apple‘s highly anticipated new album 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters' came out at midnight, and Pitchfork gave it a rare perfect 10, their first since Kanye West’s 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' ten years ago. Why? - it's "unbound, a wild symphony of the everyday" - it features handclaps, chants, echoes, whispers, screams, breathing, jokes, and at least five dogs - "an unyielding masterpiece. No music has ever sounded quite like it". Guardian, similarly, gave it five of five stars (not so rare in their case) - call it "astonishing; as if she has returned to reinvent sound... a sudden glorious eruption". Independent, five of five stars also - "the melodies are wonderful. The lyrics, too – conversational yet precise". Consequence of Sound (an "A", this is becoming a pattern) - says it's "prescient, mordant, and unyielding judgement day for the wicked world around us and a wild birth of urgent, unconventional sound all wrapped into one".

Can do much
March 27, 2020

Critics really like new Waxahatchee

Guardian calls it "the best album of the year so far" with songs "genuinely good enough to be compared with peak Dylan" (gave it 5 of 5 stars. Pitchfork tagged it Best new music because "'Saint Cloud' is all lilacs and creek beds, Memphis skylines and Manhattan subways, love and sobriety, the sound of a cherished songwriter thawing out under the sun" (grade 8,7). Consequence of Sound calls it "incredibly authentic" (gives it A-).

Lyra Praum is a classically trained musician who recorded her debut album 'Fountain' using only her voice - the rhythms, the melodies, the textures, it’s all her, heavily processed. Pitchfork is deeply impressed by the concept calling it a "technological excavation of her own body’s resonant possibilities inside a tender vision of a post-human future", and "an oh-so-timely reminder that the body is a site of infinite possibility".

"The skillset of Jay Electronica as both an MC and a producer is on full display... 'A Written Testimony' gives us a peek into the immense, singular possibilities of Jay Electronica" - Consequence of Sound writes in a review o New Orleans rapper's debut album (gives it A-). Plenty of Jay-Z on the album - 50-year-old billionaire still rapping with the hunger and poignancy that he did in the ’90s. Pitchfork tagged it Best new music calling it "mystical, distinctive work", coming from a "well of deep faith, he summons rap performances that seem to defy space-time".

"As with most rock music that sounds truly youthful, 'Melee' doesn’t invent new forms so much as connect bands once separated by subtle genre classification" - Pitchfork writes in a review of the debut album by Dogleg, and compares them to At the Drive-In, ...Trail of Dead, Cloud Nothings and Japandroids. Dogleg are video-games fans, which transforms into their music as an interest "in sheer, rejuvenating physical pleasure of controlling a lifelike version of yourself capable of jumping higher, punching faster, and sustaining more damage than any human could".

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