Deerhunter’s eighth LP is a sci-fi salve for 21st-century anxiety

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The conceit of Deerhunter’s eighth full-length, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, is that it’s a science-fiction album about the present—the glorious, anxiety-ridden, fear-laden present. It may not be the case that people are more scared than they’ve ever been, though one could make a great argument for it.…

Panopticon’s Kentucky combined folk and black metal to take on the coal industry

In 1976, filmmaker Barbara Kopple released Harlan County U.S.A., a documentary delving into Kentucky coal miners’ 1973 Brookside Strike against the Eastover Coal Company and its larger corporate owners. Critics largely regarded the film as an instant classic, with Kopple receiving an Oscar for Best Documentary…

The 20 most anticipated albums of 2019

2018 may be receding in the rearview, but some of last year’s most anticipated music releases are riding shotgun into this one: My Bloody Valentine, Vampire Weekend, Sky Ferreira, Solange. Because we’ve covered our excitement for these before—sometimes multiple times—we’ve left some of them off the list below to make…

Full tank of gas and a ’69 Tempest: An hour of great mainstream country from the ’80s and ’90s

There’s a certain vintage of mainstream country music that still widely resonates: Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Emmylou Harris. There’s also a lot of country music that’s widely derided, particularly in the years that country music rapidly expanded beyond its Americana roots and began…

Catch up with the year’s best music and more with The A.V. Club’s Spotify playlists

This year in music was one of little consensus, which made our genre-specific best-albums roundups feel even more essential. Even with eight different lists, there are still artists who fit everywhere and nowhere, music whose horizons dissipate further with each note. As we wrote in our roundup of the 20 best albums,…

A-Sides: John Legend, RuPaul, and all of this Christmas’ red-hot musical chestnuts

There’s a lot of music out there. To help you cut through all the noise, every week The A.V. Club is rounding up A-Sides, five recent releases we think are worth your time. Today we’re highlighting our favorite 2018 holiday releases. You can listen to these and more on Spotify.

The A.V. Club’s 20 best albums of 2018

Each new “best albums” list published seems to confirm: We couldn’t agree on much this year. And it’s extremely exciting. The music industry at large continued to decentralize, with our biggest stars and returning veterans sharing airtime with newcomers and indie upstarts. Really the only constant seemed to be in…

The best indie and rock albums of 2018

Like pop and R&B, indie and rock are huge, diverse fields overlapping and extending outward to countless iterations, a reality reflected in our picks for the best albums of the year below. You might’ve been looking for Jeff Rosenstock on our punk and hardcore list, or Neko Case among our top 10 country albums, but…

The best pop and R&B albums of 2018

Pop music is relentlessly omnivorous. In 2018, some of its biggest hits drew from trap, bounce, Reggaeton, African folk, and EDM, to name a few, while also advancing the genre’s overall fusion with R&B—which is why we’ve decided to group the two genres together here in their own top 10. On the charts, the conversation…

Paul Williams on the enduring magic and no-longer-lost music of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

Paul Williams helped build the sound of the 1970s, penning hits for The Carpenters and Three Dog Night before picking up a Grammy and an Oscar for his contributions to the Barbra Streisand-Kris Kristofferson version of A Star Is Born. In 1976, he traveled to the United Kingdom to tape a guest appearance on The Muppet…

Jamila Woods’ final performance of Heavn was one of 2018’s best live shows

Any dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan will tell you that the summers make sticking out the nearly six-month winters worth it (whether or not you believe any of us is up to you). All the memories of scraping layers of ice off our windshields and trudging through puddles of slushes melt away on the first 80-degree stretch,…

The best electronic albums of 2018

Psst—even if you don’t listen to electronic music, every record you’ve ever heard is electronic music. The truth of this sophism is deepening as electronic instruments and idioms overtake every genre. Euro-pop arpeggios twist through country radio. Modular drones whir through folk. Synth rock, once a subgenre, now…

The best country albums of 2018

From one angle, the country music narrative in 2018 was distinguished by consistency. Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s easygoing soul-twang confection “Meant To Be” spent a staggering, record-setting 50 weeks atop the Hot Country Songs chart, while the vast majority of award winners and chart-toppers are all…

Earl Sweatshirt locks in on the uncompromising Some Rap Songs

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Earl Sweatshirt’s 2015 album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is one of the best rap albums of the decade, but it was a grower, claustrophobic and dissonant. Some Rap Songs aims higher and makes you work harder. That blurry cover and demurring title are no feint; he’s buried in the mix, his voice fighting against…

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