This Month's Picks

I Loved You At Your Darkest (CD)

Behemoth
Polish metal outfit Behemoth have evolved tremendously over the course of their 25+ year career, starting as a strictly traditional black metal outfit (complete with corpse paint and Old English lettering) before evolving into a technical death metal style that culminated with 2004’s breakneck Demigod , then eventually finding a middle ground between the two with 2014’s The Satanist . Their first record in 4 years and 11th overall, I Loved You At Your Darkest continues this trend of blackened riffs and blastbeats alternated with the pummeling churn of death metal, even if frontman Nergal claims the inspiration this time around is more AC/DC than Altars Of Madness. The secret sauce to Darkest’s Valhallan glory is in the choral overdubs that are sprinkled all over the record: Gregorian chant-inspired arrangements that give these tracks an over-the-top, cult-y feel. This is exactly the kind of stuff that haunts Tipper Gore’s nightmares. More
Genre: Rock

C'est La Vie (CD)

Phosphorescent
Phosphorescent’s C'est La Vie is a transcendent, grand piece of work disguised as a cozy, vulnerable Americana album. Lead single “C’est La Vie 2” is an excellent showcase for songwriter Matthew Houck, awash in textured soundscapes and hypnotic melodies, while his intimate, emotional lyrics float gloriously above. It’s the type of song that listeners will make an instant connection with; there’s just something universal about Houck’s muddling through love and life, aiming for the best, and maybe a little unsure of what that means. There’s a lot of heart behind this collection of gentle, golden songs. More
Genre: Rock

Wanderer (CD)

Cat Power
Wanderer , Cat Power’s tenth studio LP is seemingly gentle (if downbeat) on the surface. Beneath her velveteen voice and intimate lyrics, the album’s impact is emotionally devastating. But with Cat Power, isn’t that to be expected? In some ways, this is a return to her earlier more confessional work after a few stints in the realm of slightly glossed-up indie pop. Chan Marshall duets with Lana Del Rey on “Woman” and draws out the real life drama of Rihanna’s “Stay.” A true pearl of an album. More
Genre: Rock

Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes (CD)

John Lennon
A truly unique expanded edition of one of the most iconic albums of all time. Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes takes us on incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process, providing a remarkable testament of the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words. More
Genre: Rock

Evening Machines (CD)

Gregory Alan Isakov
The dark indie rock and folk of Evening Machines possesses a dusky hue. Hushed acoustic guitar and sparse piano combine for a moody foundation that's amplified by ornate and heavy embellishments: distant electric guitars, keyboards, pedal steel, saw, percussion, strings, banjo, and some electronic drums. More
Genre: Rock

Mi Vida Local (CD)

Atmosphere
Atmosphere’s seventh album reflects the ways in which the world – and their place in it – has changed. At times, Mi Vida Local is a heavy album, but it’s far from grim. The album pairs complex subject matter with equally deep beats – ones that show a clear lineage back to the psychedelic funk landmarks from an earlier era. More
Genre: Hip Hop

Perfect Shapes (CD)

Madeline Kenney
Madeline Kenney’s latest leaps headfirst into fresh and adventurous territory. Largely eschewing conventional rock structures, the album is full of surprises from vibrant synth lines to taut bass figures and subtly modulated vocals, which reveals her penchant for elegant and abstract composition. More
Genre: Rock

Carolina Confessions (CD)

The Marcus King Band
Marcus King focuses more on songwriting for his band's new record, Carolina Confessions , but still delivers those blistering blues-rock guitar solos he's become known for. There's plenty of variation here: “Welcome 'Round Here” stands out for its satisfyingly gritty Southern rock take on guilt; “Where I'm Headed” skews more folky and adds a gospel flavor to its chorus, while “Homesick” brings funk and soul to the table, with King's textured voice tying it all together. A plus: Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys chipped in to co-write “How Long.” More
Genre: Rock

Wax (CD)

KT Tunstall
The second release in a self-described trilogy, Wax is further proof of KT Tunstall's ability to be a pop songwriter of the highest order. With the ocean air and abundant sunshine of current home Venice, California helping replenish her creative spark, Tunstall crafts another winning collection of tracks that speak to the mind, body and spirit. The set is produced by Franz Ferdinand founder Nick McCarthy, who adds to the radio friendly veneer of undeniable first single "The River." More
Genre: Rock

Traces (CD)

Steve Perry
Former Journey frontman Steve Perry makes a long-awaited return to music with his solo album, Traces . Sparked by a promise made to a lost loved one, Perry turns his heartache into a true labor of love over the course of these emotion-filled songs, with his voice not having lost any of its ability to connect with the listeners on a deeper level. A soulful and welcome surprise, like an unexpected reunion with an old friend not seen in decades. More
Genre: Rock