This Month's Picks

Ventura (CD)

Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak’s star continues to rise on his excellent new LP, Ventura . Joined by a whole galaxy of top tier talent, .Paak delivers a non-stop mix of soulful, funky future hits. Along for the ride are Andre 3000, Smokey Robinson, Lalah Hathaway, Jazmine Sullivan, Sonyae Elise, Brandy, and the late Nate Dogg. Executive produced by the legendary Dr. Dre, this is an album you already know is reaching future classic status. Essential listening for true soul and hip-hop heads. More
Genre: Soul

Only You Can See It (CD)

Emily Reo
Emily Reo makes an attention-grabbing entry into the field of smart, shimmering electropop with Only You Can See It . Lush and vibrant, the album is jam-packed with glorious washes of sound, candy sweet vocals, and glittering synths. Reo has been crafting dreamy indie music for a decade; with its addictive melodies and pop-leaning sensibilities, it seems likely Only You Can See It is the LP that will catapult her into the spotlight. Don’t sleep on this gorgeous, golden electro extravaganza. More
Genre: Rock

The Medicine Show (CD)

Melissa Etheridge
The indomitable Melissa Etheridge returns with her first album of originals since 2014. Her rich voice and guitar chops are as potent as ever, and emotions run strong on this new collection of songs – not the least in “Last Hello,” a poignant tribute to the survivors of the Parkland school shooting. “Wild And Lonely” is a powerful single, with strong dynamics and an anthemic chorus. “Faded by Design” is folkier but with a hint of outlaw country. The album's themes touch on healing, renewal, and reckoning with troubled times in the U.S., including the opioid crisis. More
Genre: Rock

The Hurting Kind (CD)

John Paul White
The second solo album from The Civil Wars' John Paul White features tracks co-written by Nashville greats Bobby Braddock and Whisperin' Bill Anderson, as well as guest turns from the Secret Sisters and Lee Ann Womack, among others. It's a set of country folk that rides along pleasantly on mid-tempo guitar. “The Long Way Home” is decidedly catchy despite a dark tone and White's sensitive but urgent vocals carry the chorus. “I Wish I Could Write You A Song” sways and soars gorgeously, and album closer “My Dreams Have All Come True” is a sweet waltz that swells into something grander, floating on strings and steel guitar. More
Genre: Folk

Life Metal [Record Store Day] (CD)

Sunn O)))
Enthusiasts of both guitar amplification and seminal drone-metal group Earth, Sunn O))) have come a long since their early experiments in testing the limits of feedback and distortion. Their most ambitious work might have culminated in 2009’s Monoliths & Dimensions , an album that incorporated a diverse array of instruments and textures into their nightmare drone, and since then they have collaborated with artists like avant-pop hero Scott Walker, proving vast possibility to what might seem like a limited formula: ostensibly two dudes with guitars making instrumental drone metal. However, Life Metal follows the precedent set by 2015’s Kannon in returning a bit to their roots, utilizing fewer instruments and focusing more on those hypnotic waves of guitar chords. The mission of Life Metal in particular was to attempt to emulate the sound and feel of Sunn O)))’s live show, which they do courtesy of Steve Albini’s all analogue production. Play this one loud, or you’re not really playing it at all. More
Genre: Rock

On The Basis Of Sex (BLU)

Inspired by the powerful true story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones), On the Basis of Sex depicts a then-struggling attorney and new mother facing adversity in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a ground-breaking case, she knows the outcome could alter the courts' view of gender discrimination. Stronger together, Ruth teams up with her husband, Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), to fight the case that catapults her into one of the most important public figures of our time. More

Mirai (BLU)

From acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda ( Wolf Children ) comes a daringly original story of love passed down through generations. When four-year-old Kun meets his new baby sister, his world is turned upside down. Named Mirai (meaning "future"), the baby quickly wins the hearts of Kun's entire family. Kun becomes increasingly jealous of her, until one day he storms off into the garden, where he encounters strange guests from the past and future – including his sister Mirai, as a teenager. Together, Kun and Mirai go on a journey through time and space, uncovering their family's incredible story, in this magical and emotionally soaring adventure about the ties that bring families together and make us who we are. More

Welcome To Marwen (BLU)

Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis ( Forrest Gump, Castaway ) brings Welcome to Marwen , a bold, wondrous and timely film that is a miraculous true story of one broken man's fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit. When a devastating attack leaves Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) shattered and without his memory, no one expected recovery. But by putting together pieces from his old and new life, Mark meticulously creates a wondrous fantasy world, where he draws strength to triumph in the real one. His astonishing art installation becomes a testament to the powerful women who support him on his journey. More

thank u, next (CD)

Ariana Grande
Named after the surprisingly gracious and amicable breakup song (everyone from Big Sean to Taylor Swift, take notes) that preceded it, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next continues her reign as the queen of modern R&B, and all the heartbreak, controversy, and adversity that seems to follow her has only served to make her stronger and more resilient as an artist. Of course, that all reads well enough on paper, but doesn’t mean anything without the songs to back it up. Fortunately, Next brings ‘em. Twelve, to be exact. Enough has been said about the title track, as well as the Rodgers and Hammerstein-quoting megahit “7 Rings,” when equal praise must be given to empowerment anthem “NASA,” which flirts heavily with punning (“you know I’m a star, I’ma need space”) in pursuit of self-affirming celestial imagery. Then there’s the eyebrow raising title of “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored,” which backs up its megalomaniac intentions with a swaggering performance full of honey trap cooing over a skittering trap beat. Grande is in peak R&B divadom right now, with the added baggage of having every move scrutinized in the public eye. Never mind that noise; Thank U, Next proves that the brighter the spotlight, the brighter Grande shines. The cliché is cosmic on purpose: after all, she’s not just a star, man, right now she’s cosplaying as the whole universe. Lucky for us, we're all N-A-S-A. More
Genre: Rock

Morbid Stuff (CD)

Toronto four-piece PUP packs a whole lotta punk attitude into the fast-moving, fun Morbid Stuff . Inspired by frontman Stefan Babcock’s battle with depression, the songs find the band giving a middle finger to the disease in characteristic smart, sardonic style. It’s bleak, it’s upbeat, it’s full speed ahead. Punk rock defiance finds its calling in the battle against the disease and in turn, fans of classic-style punk will find one of the year’s best records in Morbid Stuff . More
Genre: Rock