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MICHAEL KIWANUKAKiwanuka(Polydor/Interscope)  On his third studio album, Michael Kiwanuka grooves to a lively and self-assured beat. The first single off Kiwanuka, “You Ain’t The Problem,” sets the pace with a jam-packed party, punctuated by fever pitch drums, horns, and Funkadelic throwback “la-la-la-la-las.” But as this musical time machine lets us in, so does Kiwanuka. Lyrically straightforward and melodically kaleidoscopic, it’s an exceptionally bold body of work. Each track carries its own weight, coming together to paint an honest, outspoken self-portrait. And there’s no shortage of...

ANGEL OLSEN All Mirrors(Jagjaguwar) Angel Olsen is back, and she’s brought a band. All Mirrors is an effort of musical growth reflecting personal growth, finding Olsen exploring themes of change, acceptance, being a stranger to yourself, and letting go. The first track, “Lark,” feels like autumn in New York: six minutes of sweeping, full strings, bringing with them triumphant possibility. While the title single emits heavy Twin Peaks vibes with its synth and bass. Olsen’s soft and raw vocals weave it all together, whether they’re fuzzed, echoed,...
  Winnipeg's “tiniest, toughest band” has a nontraditional hazing method for new recruits. First, you must find the most hideous, bedazzled jean jacket at a neighborhood thrift store and wear it all day with pride. No exceptions! Next, the ice cream challenge (two scoops to the dome, two minutes, no spoon), and then—if you survive the insane brain freeze—you may be appointed with your ceremonial witch's hat! Yeah, The Sorels came to rock, but they're not above crank-calling your crush while you're in the bathroom (not unlike your...
  On an episode of his talk show two weeks ago, Jimmy Kimmel quizzed the teenage emo-pop sensation Billie Eilish on her familiarity of all the artists he listened to when he was her age in 1984 (a clue of foreshadowing for those who are familiar with this certain band’s discography). When he began to ask “Can you name a Van Halen-” the seventeen year old expectedly replied, “Who?” to which Kimmel joked he was going to start crying. To be fair, I am a member of...

GIRL RAYGirl (Moshi Moshi) Girl Ray has transformed its twee sound by embracing its pop sensibilities and adding synths. The result is a smooth collection of twinkling pop tracks. Influenced by superstars like Ariana Grande, Girl’s easy vibe is so prevalent that it often eclipses the lyrics. “Show Me More” has a disco beat that makes it almost impossible to listen to while sitting still, but the album hits its stride with the catchy “Friend Like That” and “Keep It Tight”—songs that would seamlessly fit...
It would be an understatement to say that Lizzo will be dominating the Grammys: this is the first year she’s even been nominated, and she’s managed to snag eight nominations. Lizzo, a singer-songwriter, flutist, and rapper, was nominated in top sections: Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best R&B Performace, Best Traditional R&B performance, and Best Urban Contemporary Album.             View this post on Instagram                   THANK YOU A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on Nov 20,...
Walking around the grassy concert grounds of Riot Fest, it is evident punk music has evolved to become more inclusive: the festival attendees are people from all walks of life. Everyone is here to have a good time, and with a wide variety of music, there seems to be something for all of us. As attendee Fat Tony put it, "I think nowadays it's way more punk to be accepting, and it's way more punk to use the right pronouns not to misgender people. Being misogynistic...
Just in time for sweater weather, Swedish alt-pop artist Frida Sundemo is finally back with her first release of 2019. Written and produced by Joel Humlén and Sundemo herself, “Nothing Can Hurt Me” is exactly what you need to listen to if you've been having a bad week. Her light, airy, and almost child-like voice is both soothing and heartbreaking, undoubtedly making this an ethereal bop. "I want to convey the feeling of perfect freedom, the one that can be difficult to hold for more than...

  At one point during her November 1 show at New York’s Terminal 5, 20-year-old Mikaela Straus—better known as King Princess—looked out at the crowd and announced, “I’m gay.” Once the cheers died down just a bit, the pop up-and-comer performed “1950,” her first single from 2018. “I hate it when dudes try to chase me,” Straus sang. “But I love it when you try to save me.” Of course, her fans knew all the words. I first fell for King Princess with the June 2018 release...
  They say breakdowns are really just breakthroughs in disguise, and such a notion beautifully applies to Odessa’s second single, "Live On," from her upcoming album All Things, produced by Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst), Wilco’s Pat Sansone, and Spoon’s Jim Eno. The dreamy, waltzing track evokes sentiments of peacefully waking up to the sun peaking through your window, correlating to the song’s overall theme of celebrating the endless possibilities that come with starting over and moving forward. Odessa is familiar with making strides. After...