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Supply & Demand (2013)
Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
Bad Seed Ltd. (2013)
Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
Capitol/I.R.S. Records (2012)
Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.
Richard Hawley's seventh studio album opens with "She Brings the Sunlight," a clouds-parting, hippy-dippy drone explosion that plays like "Tomorrow Never Knows" caught in the echo of a football stadium.
Now that he's getting love as a godfather figure from both sides of the indie/mainstream divide (see No Age and Foo Fighters, for starters), Bob Mould is again playing like he has something to prove — or at least an iconography to maintain.
Ry Cooder's spur-of-the-moment (or is it heat-of-the-moment?) political album opens like any good political album should, with a rollicking blues song told from the point of view of Mitt Romney's dog.
As its simple title would suggest, the fifth album from the Brooklyn Afrobeat torchbearers gets back to basics.
Best Britpop band? That’s a question of taste — though if your answer is Oasis, you’re probably wrong, and if your answer is Blur, you’re probably right.
Rough Trade (2012)
Like her stylistic sista Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Micachu's Mica Levi makes pixelated, abstract anti-pop that sounds like marionettes jamming in an aluminum factory.
Ninja Tune (2012)
Grasscut are ascension music: each measure another layer of melody, each minute another swell in forward momentum.
Long delays between albums, equally long album titles, uncompromising artistic vision, the is-Joni-Mitchell-is-not-Joni-Mitchell question, and that "Criminal" video.
Bowie's greatest album? Depends on the day. Canonically, however, this is and will always be a BFD: an archetype of alternative commercial rock, the primo platter of the so-called glam era; and arguably the best record ever made about apocalypse, interplanetary lust, singer-songwriter role playing, and rock-and-roll-as-alien-outsider stuff.
Caldo Verde (2012)
The first thing you'll notice about Mark Kozelek's fifth LP as Sun Kil Moon are song titles that would give Morrissey a boner.
These days Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly, and Pete Hayes are involved in enough extracurricular activities (Graham Parker, NRBQ, countless side/session-men gigs) that you could hardly blame them if they closed their two decades-plus Figgs chapter.
In 1998, and again in 2000, English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg teamed up with Wilco— not yet on their post-Americana trip — to put unreleased Woody Guthrie lyrics to music.
Out of the Game is being billed as the most "pop" album of Rufus Wainwright's career, which is to say that it dismisses many of his trademark classical and/or stagey affinities.
The End (2012)
The title of the Dandy Warhols' eighth record may be a Woody Guthrie allusion, but don't fret — the closest the Portland, Oregon, band get to politics here is a cover of Merle Travis's "16 Tons."
Stones Throw (2012)
No, this isn't the theological rap supergroup you've been pining for.
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