PopMatters Picks

2 Tone: Race, Music, and Pop Culture in Thatcher’s UK

2 Tone: Race, Music, and Pop Culture in Thatcher’s UK

2 Tone found a sweet spot between punk anger and pop sensibility that mirrored the myriad poles they were trying to bridge in their band members and audiences.

MONO Recommit with Life-Affirming ‘Oath’

MONO Recommit with Life-Affirming ‘Oath’

MONO return with a post-rock album about faith and commitment, which serves as a fitting epitaph for their long-term artistic collaboration with Steve Albini.

Steve Dawson Brings a Direct Feel to ‘Ghosts’

Steve Dawson Brings a Direct Feel to ‘Ghosts’

Now armed with a full band, Steve Dawson’s songs have more musical heft on Ghosts, resulting in one of his best and more streamlined solo works.

The Decemberists’ New LP Is a Return to Form

The Decemberists’ New LP Is a Return to Form

The Decemberists straddle between the exotic and quotidian, the real and imagined, to reveal that existence is most interesting when lived in a liminal state.

Hermanos Gutiérrez Explore the Final Frontier on ‘Sonido Cósmico’

Hermanos Gutiérrez Explore the Final Frontier on ‘Sonido Cósmico’

In Sonido Cósmico, Hermanos Gutiérrez take to the stars, evoking the open spaces of an imagined Wild West and the even greater mystique of the final frontier.

Jessica Pratt Addresses the Mystery Found in the Pitch

Jessica Pratt Addresses the Mystery Found in the Pitch

On Here in the Pitch, indie folk’s Jessica Pratt offers an aural world where opposites are part of the whole. The best interpretation is to accept the mystery.

Arooj Aftab Unleashes Moody, Nocturnal Bliss on ‘Night Reign’

Arooj Aftab Unleashes Moody, Nocturnal Bliss on ‘Night Reign’

Arooj Aftab’s Night Reign is filled with dark, mysterious corners and an intoxicating blend of jazz and her Pakistani roots with stunning results.

Forest Law Debut ‘Zero’ Has Worldly Finesse

Forest Law Debut ‘Zero’ Has Worldly Finesse

At the center of Forest Law’s Zero is his versatile guitar work, through which he variously evokes bossa nova, classic funk, and psychedelic folk.

Charli XCX Is Everything on ‘Brat’

Charli XCX Is Everything on ‘Brat’

Brat is next-level Charli XCX, a miracle and an instant classic. It’s the kind of album that makes you feel lucky to be alive at the same time as it.

Baroque Pop Songstress Margo Guryan Immortalized in New Boxed Set

Baroque Pop Songstress Margo Guryan Immortalized in New Boxed Set

With her keen feel for tone, phrasings, tension, presence, and lyrics that cut, Margo Guryan is synonymous with the most sophisticated 1960s songcraft.

King Hannah Deliver Another Satisfying Set of Songs

King Hannah Deliver Another Satisfying Set of Songs

Liverpool’s King Hannah reference indie rock contemporaries on Big Swimmer but advance their sound through unique soundscapes that stand on their own.