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  LAURA STEVENSON The Big Freeze(Don Giovanni)     Dark, cold, and empty is the direction Laura Stevenson takes on The Big Freeze, a reference to Earth’s worst case scenario. Still, there’s something inviting about her dystopian pop focused on compulsive skin picking (“Dermatillomania”) and doomed long-distance love (the soaring “Living Room, NY”). Recorded in the dead of winter in her childhood home, Stevenson’s fifth record pulls no punches, admitting on “Lay Back, Arms Out” there’s a “sweetness to that” kind of unflinching honesty regarding loneliness and distance. “I...
  GRIM STREAKERNo Vision(Local Fun Boy Records)     Thank Brooklyn’s Grim Streaker for keeping the glorious thing we call punk alive and lacerating. Fronted by brawler Amelia Bushell, whose vocals call to mind legendary female killers from Karen O to Poly Styrene, No Vision kicks the door in on the first cut, “A.D.D,” waxing at once propulsive and melodic. “Snakes” creates fantastic drama and seduction, and the subtle yet affecting “Cat Call” shows off the band’s appreciation for driving beats laid down beside careening guitars and spasmodic vocals that keep the spirit...
  DIANE COFFEE  Internet Arms  (Polyvinyl)   Shaun Fleming, aka Diane Coffee, returns with his third full-length album, accenting his glam/prog rock with blue-eyed soul and electro-pop. Tracks like “Not Ready To Go,” “Like A Child Does,” and “Doubt” combine pristine pop with the sounds of early-’80s U.K. soul boy groups (like ABC, Haircut 100, and Spandau Ballet). And Fleming takes a dip back into the glitter pond on “Good Luck” and “Work It.” Internet Arms is chock full of authentic, well-crafted pop music just waiting to be adored....
  Described as “The Best DIY Rock Star You’ve Never Heard Of” by Billboard, Maddie Ross’s debut album Never Have I Ever is here and could not be more on time. Jammed packed with all the beloved looks, sounds, and feels of yore, but with all the queer flavor it desperately needed, the 10-track album soothes and rocks an early ‘90s baby’s middle school heart, delivering all the ‘00s nostalgia we’ve been missing. Her most recent video, “Liv Tyler” is television reimagined: bisexual contestants on MTV’s...
JAMILA WOODS LEGACY! LEGACY! (Jagjaguwar)      Jamila Woods’ LEGACY! LEGACY! is making history. A blend of soulful rhythm, baroque melody, and deep bass supports Woods’ voice through the journey of a narrative both oppressed and liberated. In heart wrenching track “SONIA” (feat. Nitty Scott), the realities of race, domestic abuse, and self-esteem are linked by our histories: “‘Cause if my blood went through it/I knew that I could do it/I knew that I could heal it.” And, with each track titled after deceased Black artists, like “BASQUIAT,”...
CHARLY BLISS Young Enough (Barsuk Records) Brooklyn band Charly Bliss is back with a new sound on its second full-length album. The band’s signature glitter- and bubblegum-infused grunge sound has been tinged with ’80s synth. The track list is a perfectly balanced journey between peppy, like on “Bleach” and “Hard to Believe,” and the band’s most emotional songs yet; “We’re young enough to believe it should hurt this much/Do you remember running barefoot against me?” vocalist Eva Hendricks sings on the title track. Young Enough is fun, nostalgic, and...
  ARIESJuramento Mantarraya(K Records) Aries’ fourth album, Juramento Mantarraya, is a burst of sunlight to usher in spring. It’s not surprising that musician and producer Isa Fernández Reviriego recently scored a video game, as tracks such as “Space Cake” reveal an effervescent chiptune influence. Aries mixes twee vocals and layers of shimmering sounds in a manner reminiscent of indie electronic artists like Animal Collective and Múm. When the relentless energy gets a bit overwhelming, the dreamy “El camino” and “Un gran puente” offer breathers from the rigorous...
      SHANA CLEVELANDNight of the Worm Moon(Hardly Art)     It’s all cosmically good vibes on Shana Cleveland’s second solo album. Recorded during 2017’s solar eclipse, the La Luz frontwoman’s latest is partially inspired by a documentary about an alien-worshipping cult. But really, Cleveland’s worshipping at the altar of jazz Afro-futurist Sun Ra, who inspired the title track, a string-laden ode to being a fly on the wall. She also bows down to uncertainty on the woozy “I’ll Never Know” and UFO sightings on the psychedelic dirge...
SOLANGEWhen I Get Home(Saint Records/Columbia)     Solange has always been the more avant-garde of the Knowles sisters, and her excellent new album, When I Get Home, finds her pushing her own musical boundaries even further than she did on 2016’s A Seat at the Table. When I Get Home is a meandering, complexly layered love letter to Solange’s hometown of Houston, featuring several spoken interludes and a lengthy roster of guests including Gucci Mane, Panda Bear, Playboi Carti, and The-Dream, plus a sample of—this is...
“Did you know it’ll be my first show in over a year?” I’m on the phone with Aldous Harding, who comes across not unlike the music she makes - tough, but tender, slightly mysterious, with a dry sense of humor to boot. If there were any start of tour jitters during her set at Rough Trade in Brooklyn on April 9, I was none the wiser. Her latest album, Designer, earned her a 5 boob review in our March/April issue (the highest amount one can earn). Listening to...