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Foals | Holy Fire

Transgressive (2013)
Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.
By: RYAN REED  |  February 11, 2013


Unknown Mortal Orchestra | II

Fat Possum Records (2013)
With the frustrating and often brilliant II, these oddball psych-pop New Zealanders have sunk even deeper into the swampy digs of why-fi — as in, "Why the hell tarnish such excellent songs with such half-assed fidelity?"
By: RYAN REED  |  February 01, 2013


Local Natives | Hummingbird

Frenchkiss Records (2013)
Local Natives' sophomore album bows out with closer "Bowery," a brooding indie-rock epic. But its true climax arrives a track earlier.
By: RYAN REED  |  January 30, 2013


Ra Ra Riot | Beta Love

Barsuk Records (2013)
On their woefully underrated first two albums, Ra Ra Riot worked their trademark art-pop sweet spot.
By: RYAN REED  |  January 23, 2013


Toro Y Moi | Anything In Return

Carpark Records (2013)
Chaz Bundick's done with chillwave, the lo-fi, underwater synth-pop fad that propelled his Toro y Moi project to hipster-blog stardom.
By: RYAN REED  |  February 14, 2013


Christopher Owens | Lysandre

Fat Possum Records (2013)
Who knows what fans were expecting with Girls frontman Christopher Owens's debut solo album — but whatever it was, it likely didn't involve madrigal flutes and Jim Croce fingerpicking.
By: RYAN REED  |  January 08, 2013


Big Boi | Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Def Jam (2012)
"Been a handsome-ass nigga since my mama wiped my bottom," raps Antwan Patton (a/k/a Big Boi, a/k/a Sir Lucious L. Leftfoot, a/k/a Daddy Fat Sax, a/k/a Billy Ocean) minutes into his schizoid sophomore album.
By: RYAN REED  |  December 10, 2012


Mogwai | A Wrenched Virile Lore

Sub Pop (2012)
All in all, Virile Lore feels more "deleted scene" than "director's cut."
By: RYAN REED  |  December 04, 2012


The Weeknd | Trilogy

Universal Republic (2012)
Modern R&B is, no doubt, in the midst of an experimental renaissance — artists like Frank Ocean, Drake, the-Dream, and even Usher are expanding the genre's sonic playbook by going darker and weirder, incorporating elements of dance-pop, trip-hop, and warped indie rock.
By: RYAN REED  |  November 16, 2012


Deftones | Koi No Yokan

Reprise Records (2012)
Deftones' brand of metal is artful and spacey, patient and textured: Stephen Carpenter's de-tuned distortion washes over like menacing storm clouds; Abe Cunningham's dextrous drumming takes cues from both hip-hop and prog; and, at his most melodic, Chino Moreno is the greatest art-rock vocalist on the planet.
By: RYAN REED  |  November 12, 2012


Paul Banks | Banks

Matador Records (2012)
It has taken a decade, but Paul Banks has finally written his mission statement in song: "Death will come by ocean, I want that guarantee," he sings on "I Paid for That," a propulsive cut from his debut solo album.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 24, 2012


Diamond Rings | Free Dimensional

Astralwerks (2012)
"Love is a drug, and it's the only one I'm dealing," raps gender-bending synth-pop siren John O'Regan deep into his sophomore album.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 18, 2012


Benjamin Gibbard | Former Lives

Barsuk Records (2012)
"It's been a basement of a year," Ben Gibbard sings over a perky two-chord strum on the saccharine "Oh, Woe." It's hard not to take him literally.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 09, 2012

OTR:FlyingLotus:Until The Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus | Until The Quiet Comes

Warp Records (2012)
On Until the Quiet Comes , his reliably solid fourth studio album, Flying Lotus's Steven Ellison continues to bang out mind-bending electro-donut jams for folks who don't quite "get" electronic music.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 03, 2012


Mumford & Sons | Babel

Glassnote (2012)
Three years ago, London folk-rock quartet Mumford & Sons blew up in a major way with "The Cave," an angst-fueled, Grammy-nominated strummer built on quiet-loud dynamics, Country Marshall's propulsive banjo, and Marcus Mumford's gruff bellow, which churned like a locomotive in free-fall.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 25, 2012


Grizzly Bear | Shields

Warp (2012)
The initial moments of "Sleeping Ute" are so quintessentially Grizzly Bear, they almost have no impact — Daniel Rossen nurses jagged, staggering chords on an electric guitar likely purchased from a 12th-century pawn shop.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 19, 2012


Cat Power | Sun

Matador (2012)
Mental illness, bankruptcy, heartbreak, sonic impotence: Chan Marshall has suffered through her share of crises since her last album of original material, 2006's highly praised The Greatest .
By: RYAN REED  |  September 12, 2012


The xx | Coexist

Young Turks (2012)
The xx's sleeper electro-soul debut was defined by its silences as much as its sounds: by the pauses between dusty, cymbal-less beats, stoned basslines, and echoing guitar pings, and by the pregnant tension between the voices (the unison NyQuil croons of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim).
By: RYAN REED  |  September 04, 2012


Lynyrd Skynyrd | Last of a Dyin' Breed

Roadrunner Records
The eponymous track of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 13th studio album opens with a tease of gritty gusto — a skank-nasty slide riff a few ghostly notes short of Led Zep's "In My Time of Dying."
By: RYAN REED  |  August 28, 2012


Nathan Fake | Steam Days

Border Community (2012)
Even though it's difficult to feel a human pulse on his third studio album, Steam Days, Nathan Fake's brand of laptop-tronica remains uniquely organic.
By: RYAN REED  |  August 21, 2012
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