Music Reviews

Kéren

"Over the time this album was written, I was in a process that some would call an 'awakening,'" says Kéren of her new album, In Form.

"I began to see my facades and masks of personality, the caricature I'd created for myself, my defense mechanisms and patterns, and went into deep inquiry of Self. I began my healing journey," she says. "This required some deep shedding as parts of myself were transforming."

Written over a span of five years, the songs on In Form are about change and evolution—depicting what Instagram influencer and creator Gabi Abrão summarizes with her oft-reproduced quote, "I am constantly shapeshifting, adapting, and evolving."

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New Releases

Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers Cover the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris"

All proceeds from the sales will go to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight organization.

Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers

"And I don't want the world to see me, cause I don't think that they'd understand," sing Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers in perfect harmony.

The musicians, who have both settled into a sweet spot between pop stardom and indie credibility, recently released the cover that none of us knew we needed.

Like a lot of what Phoebe Bridgers releases, it's heartbreakingly beautiful, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and made even edgier thanks to political overtones.

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Music Reviews

Third Time’s the Charm with Sam Smith’s "Love Goes"

Sam Smith's artistry has always been most interesting when partnered with electronic soundscapes.

Sam Smith

On Sam Smith's third LP, Love Goes, the singer excels at exploring the LED glow and disco ball glitter of dance pop and electronica.

Although Sam Smith has made a name for themself in today's pop game as the chieftain of soulful, the multi-platinum singer-songwriter has best showcased their talent when their voice travels across enveloping, electronic soundscapes made for endless dancing rather than elegiac ruminating.
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Music Reviews

Review: Ty Dolla $ign Gets Coy About His Success on "Featuring"

The 25-track project features 22 of hip-hop's most prominent musicians, and every track finds Ty cruising in his comfort zone merely because every zone is his comfort zone.

Ty Dolla $ign has always known his worth.

The R&B lothario frequently totes his cultural stance as a sex icon and never shies away from praise he's inevitably received over his decade-plus career. "Many people have said that when you see a song that says, "featuring Ty Dolla $ign," you know it's gonna be fire. As humbled as I am when I hear that, I can't say I disagree," he wrote on Instagram when he announced the tongue-in-cheek title of his third studio record, Featuring Ty Dolla $ign.

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Music Reviews

Premiere: Nick Kingswell's "Brontide" Offers Shelter from the Storm

"Brontide" may be about longing and homesickness, but artistically, it has everything it needs.

"I covered a lot of ground on Brontide. Both lyrically and sonically. Brontide is the low sound of distant thunder, and my take on that is evident in these songs. They're the closest I've gotten to the truth," says Nick Kingswell of his new album.

Defined by Merriam Webster as "a low muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors," brontide is the perfect word to describe the core emotions of the songs that comprise Kingswell's new release.

They're songs that feel born of turmoil, but not the kind of turmoil that boils over and burns—instead the songs evoke sensations of comfort, awe, and sometimes a measured peace. Layered with warm harmonies, slow-burning rhythms (like on "Blame") and shimmering strings (like on "Doubt,") the album is an expansive contribution from a folk artist whose warmth and rich sound resembles the work of Iron & Wine, Kodaline, or the Avett Brothers.

But Kingswell puts his original spin on old and familiar sounds, creating a comforting work of art that feels like sitting by the fire while a hurricane rages outside.

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Music Reviews

LANY Reveal Their Most Authentic Selves on "mama's boy"

They say you must choose between going big or going home—but on LANY's third full-length album, the alt-pop trio do both.

L-R: Les Preist, Paul Klein, Jake Goss of LANY.

According to Wikipedia, LANY is an alternative rock band.

This classification feels wrong, even in consideration of how hazy and debatable the term "alternative" is in the context of music. But the pop group, based in Los Angeles by way of Nashville, do make songs most fervently loved by melomaniac teen girls fond of labeling things as alternative or "counter" for the sake of feeling quirky or different—so a superfan's editing of their Wikipedia page likely explains this inaccurate categorization.

I say this all not dismissively, but knowingly, as I, myself, was a 19-year-old girl just a half-decade ago, living through a phase in which anything mainstream or popular deeply offended me—and enjoying a band like LANY, DIY but only faintly left-of-center, felt like a betrayal of hipster-dom.

So I, too, was the kind of fan who would hide my favorite bands' pop identities behind other descriptors. They weren't pop, because plain pop was basic. They were indie pop, or alt-pop. They were superior.

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