Beyoncé – Lemonade
When life gives you lemons, make Lemonade.
Since its debut this past week as a “visual album” along with the proper musical album drop, Bey’s sixth LP has commanded the world’s pop culture discourse, settling the listener into some dark confined territory. Whether it’s autobiographical or not, Lemonade proves that she’s a woman not to be messed with.
by Michelle Solomon
AFRICA / WORLD / CONGOTRONICS
Curator’s Pick: Konono No. 1 – Meets Batida
Kinshasan iconoclasts return!
Way back in 2004, the world was introduced to Konono No. 1’s Congotronics, a gloriously rhythmic racket created from an arsenal of homemade percussion, amplified kalimbas and junkyard PA speakers. Those Congotronics are still in full effect, but now with DJ Batida on board, that sound is further sweetened by bigger beats and a little Euro groove.
by Andee Connors
Guided By Voices – Please Be Honest
Robert Pollard doesn’t care what you think.
Aptly titled, Please Be Honest is really a Pollard solo album. He plays all instruments on GBV’s 23rd (!) LP, and while this may be viewed as self-indulgent, it could also be a statement of independence. Uncle Bob is in top form on many of these songs, like “Glittering Parliaments” and the title-track.
by Mat Bates
Pity Sex – White Hot Moon
Punk meets shoegaze.
The Michigan based group Pity Sex returns with their highly anticipated second full-length release. Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely! White Hot Moon is full on shoegaze complete with droned out distortion and enough fuzzy guitar to make J. Mascis smile. While the dreamy vocal duo lift this record to the next level.
by Crystal Lowe
Josh Kelley – New Lane Road
Josh Kelley has evolved from the 23-year-old behind his 2003 smash, “Amazing.” New Lane Road is an emotional reflection of his real life growth, and he’s never sounded better. Fans got to catch Kelley on tour this spring with brother and Lady Antebellum member, Charles Kelley. We’re betting that this led to some pretty incredible duets.
by Rachel Whitney
A$AP Ferg – Always Strive And Prosper
Harlem hits hard with A$AP Mob boss.
Trap Lord A$AP Ferg keeps the crew fed with heaters like the bass heavy “Hungry Ham (feat. Skrillex),” ‘90s dance throwback “Strive (feat. Missy Elliott)” and real world storytime on “New Level (feat. Future).” With street anthems and pop crossover, A$AP Ferg is taking us uptown on the road to prosperity.
DJ Shadow – Nobody Speak (feat. Run the Jewels)
Nobody Speak, nobody get choked.
Shadow’s ability to craft soundscapes hasn’t waned since his opus Endtroducing… made an indelible mark on music – the foot stomping “Nobody Speak” is a reiteration of that. Run the Jewels spits jagged battle raps over juke joint guitar riffs, sliding brass swells and impish synth arrangements that syncopate with Shadow’s signature drums of death.
by Diego Herrera
Rachel Feinstein – Only Whores Wear Purple
The number of women who are whores will surprise you!
Rachel Feinstein follows up her debut album Thug Tears with an hour-long special produced by her BFF and number one fan, Amy Schumer. Utilizing her sidesplitting character work, she describes her mother’s upsetting interactions with Latinos, the parade of doofuses she’s dated and her grandmother’s outmoded attitudes toward gender roles.
by Kelly Anneken
Joy – Ride Along!
Yesterday’s biker rock, today!
Everybody’s a biker now (blame it on Sons Of Anarchy). Refreshingly, San Diego’s Joy are legit. Outside their shows, you’ll see ratty old choppers lining the curb. Joy’s second album fittingly rocks like it came with a 1971 subscription to Easyriders magazine. Members of Earthless, Radio Moscow and Sacri Monti sweeten the deal with epic cameos.
by Eric Shea.
PSYCHEDELIC HARD ROCK / PROTO-DOOM
Indie Pick of the Week: Druid – Odysseus
Monoliths And Megaliths
These Midwestern magi conjure up a heady brew of epic sprawling prog, hazy, blown-out psychedelia and fuzzy retro-doom grooviness. It’s a sound that evokes a lost age of classic hard rock with sonic rituals that play like paeans to the great ones that came before: Sabbath, Zeppelin, Pentagram, Captain Beyond, Sir Lord Baltimore and yes, even Yes!
by Andee Connors