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The Best Releases of August: Music Staff Picks

Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States Aussie noise rock band Tropical Fuck Storm’s third album, Deep States, is as messy and disorienting as the doomed political landscape it was birthed out of. Reflecting mind-poisoning social media discourse twisted through the filter of a distortion pedal, vocalists Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin deliver some of their most compelling melodies over lacerating guitar and synth lines. The opening track, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, writes from the perspective of Jesus’ second coming to Earth to proclaim in a grand chorus “There ain’t no end of days.” Even at its loudest, a sense … Continued

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The Best Releases of June: Music Staff Picks

Spellling – The Turning Wheel The Turning Wheel, Chrystia Cabral’s third album under the project Spellling, offers bewitchingly captivating progressive folk and neo-soul songs. A shift towards natural instrumentation marks a stark change from 2019’s synth-heavy Mazy Fly, giving these songs a new liveliness, and pushing Cabral’s songwriting towards the theatrical. The sonic palette on its own can be bewildering at first–veering off without warning into performances of soul, hard rock, classical, folk, and of course, synthwave. It’s no surprise that the personnel list reveals more than thirty performers–all of whom sound great. The songs are left with an enchanting … Continued

The Best Albums of May: Music Staff Picks

Written contributions by Jaden Amjadi, Derek Tate, and Jake Bisson Jeff Rosenstock – N O D R E A M Throughout his career, though especially the last decade of it, Jeff Rosenstock has done more than possibly any artist to remove the stigma from pop-punk. His earworm melodies, impassioned shouts, and nervous energy consistently produce cathartic listening experiences. His newest effort, the surprise-release N O D R E A M, is no exception to this rule. Acting as a soundtrack to yet another anxious breakdown, songs respond to perceived personal inadequacies (“Old Crap”, “Beauty of Breathing”) and political helplessness (“Scram!”, “N O D R E A M”). While many tracks aren’t more than four minutes, most have a tremendous sense of pacing and dynamism, never wearing out a melodic or sonic idea before moving onto the next. The title track’s different musical phases cover a … Continued

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Wasteland, Baby! is full of references and asides to pop culture, politics and the spirit of survival. However you may choose to embrace or reject the void, there’s a track to speak to the contradictions of fear and hope, love and loneliness, anger and joy that buoy us from day to day. (Image via Pitchfork)

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In my quest to be ahead of the curve in who becomes big in music for once, a friend from home (who has claimed to have liked Young the Giant, Khalid and Tove Lo all before they became “mainstream”) suggested I check out British artist Nao‘s sophomore album, Saturn.  The self-described “wonky funk” artist and East London native is well established in her home country; she performed in the Glastonbury Festival and even earned a Brit nomination in 2017 for Best British Female Solo Artist for her 2016 album For All We Know. I’m hoping Saturn, released on October 26, will put … Continued

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The first thing I noticed about Julie Byrne was how much she smiles. Listening to her music, one would assume the singer and guitar player would be as downcast as her ballads. However, watching her bound up onto the stage with a giant smile over her face, I realized that was not the case. Julie Byrne’s show exuded joy and was a wonderful experience. Opening with one of her most popular songs, “Sleepwalker”, Byrne’s show helped me find the joy in her music. Each of her songs seemed livelier and genuinely happier live, as she exuded a calming euphoria. She … Continued

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