- Sylvan Esso What Now
The pop duo Sylvan Esso has produced the best tunes you’d likely hear at a Starbucks over the last few years, and the group’s new project incorporates more samples and drums, but keeps the songs tight and catchy.
Standout Track: “Radio”
2. Bishop Briggs S/T
Airy folk vocals placed atop simple electronic backing tracks. This project is very much like Marian Hill, or even some Sylvan Esso work, but the lead vocals here are much more powerful and soulful.
Standout Track: “Wild Horses”
3. Kendrick Lamar DAMN.
This is the worst Kendrick Lamar album, sure, but the worst of the best, in this case, is still worthy of some praise. The through-line on this project comes much less intelligible than Lamar’s last two full-length projects, both in its narrative and its sonic palate. Tracks like “DNA” and “HUMBLE” are unavoidable bangers, the best of the year, and the lengthy and contemplative “FEAR” is something more akin to what I loved in Lamar’s previous work…but then there’s “GOD” and “LOVE” : terrible tracks for any artist.
Standout Track: “DNA”
4. Father John Misty Pure Comedy
A continuation of the approach to I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty creates lush songs tackling the aches and pains of living as a critic of/participant in western pop culture. Some of the instrumental choices have changed, but the melodies here could’ve winded up on either album. The humor is thick and black and paired with 70’s pop…it’s a formula that’ll work until Father John Misty himself becomes the next Taylor Swift.
Standout Track: “Total Entertainment Forever”
Other Solid Releases: The New Pornographers, Whiteout Conditions ; Future Islands, The Far Field ; Feist, Pleasure