Blackstar, David Bowie
In coming to see David Bowie the man finally portrayed by David Bowie the artist, he not only affirms our natural human hopes and fears, but realizes his own in his final hours. The artist lowers his mask and takes a bow. And the audience applauds.
untitled unmastered., Kendrick Lamar
A testament to hip-hop’s undeniable spearhead, Untitled Unmastered does away with excessive decadence. There is no flashiness on its facade, nor no grand showing as to how good the music is, it’s simply a collection of eight tracks recorded during the To Pimp A Butterfly sessions that demands to be lauded.
–Pretty Much Amazing
Everything You’ve Come to Expect, The Last Shadow Puppets
The lyrics, devilishly wedded to their echo-chamber-laden arrangements and sneering Bowie-esque croons, play like coded spells set to music.
Ouroboros, Ray LaMontagne
This unexpected and daring album doesn’t pander to the audience LaMontagne has acquired through five previous releases that sound little like this. Better yet, it never feels forced or pretentious, but rather a natural if somewhat startling extension of the artist’s determined and compelling internal compass.
Cautionary Tale, Dylan LeBlanc
The third studio long-player from the Muscle Shoals-born crooner, the aptly named Cautionary Tale finds Dylan LeBlanc exorcizing some personal demons while injecting some much needed pomp and circumstance into his signature blend of breezy, ’70s West Coast singer/songwriter pop and Bible Belt-bred gothic Americana.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Sturgill Simpson
Simpson … seems hell-bent on disassembling the genre and piecing it back together the only way that sounds right to him. While the best of the best learn to master country music, he’s turning it into a whole new monster, one that’s his and his only.