At 25, Phoebe Bridgers is, by all metrics, an artist at the beginning of her career, though Punisher sounds more like the work of a time-tested veteran perfecting a style she's been honing for years.
Sweden's Freja the Dragon has toured with Peter Björn and John, and on Long Gone Girl, she partners Björn Yttlin to craft her exemplary debut showcasing her mesmerizing brand of art pop.
Drab City combine sultry vocals, superlative songwriting, vibraphone chords, twangy guitar, and shadowy atmospherics to conjure an intense trip-hop fever dream on Good Songs for Bad People.
The Uzbekistan-born, Chicago-raised NIIKA combines art-pop and exotic jazz stylings to create a deeply rewarding listening experience on Close But Not Too Close.
After nearly 50 years and two dozen albums, Sparks continue their reign of resonantly quirky art pop-rock delights on A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip.
On Lake Constance, composer Davide Rossi and Matt Hales (better known as the voice behind Aqualung) have pooled their respective talents to craft highly evocative, sophisticated soundscapes from swathes of cool, digital textures and towering layers of majestic strings.
Half Waif's second album, The Caretaker, takes a microscope and a scalpel to the mysteries and wonders of the quotidian, to great effect.
At Severed Heads' third-last show in New York, after decades of playing electronic, art-pop, Tom Ellard swung a noose around his band's head and, with an imitable grin, slowly pulled tighter. After 40 years, Severed Heads is done, and Ellard muses on his long career.
Fiona Apple's Fetch the Bolt Cutters is bold and demanding, and it might very well go down as the finest full-length she has ever made.
British psych-pop band, Glass Animals' "Your Love (Déjà Vu)" is tasty for a minute or two, then curiously flavourless.
"On the Floor" is the Perfume Genius we've been wanting: heartfelt songwriting delivered through sunny, sumptuous pop-craft.
Agnes Obel's Myopia is delicate and personal, employing treated vocals and piano to plow depths of sorrow and interrogate dark storms of the soul.
Meghan Remy's experimental pop project U.S. Girls ventures into more mainstream territory to mixed results on Heavy Light.
Number five on the list is practically synonymous with Great Artistic Statements. But was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band really the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper"? A splendid time is guaranteed for all as Counterbalance figures it out.
Four decades in the music business is no small feat, and yet the Pet Shop Boys enter the new decade sounding just as current and catchy as the pop landscape they helped construct.
Little Scream Combines Easygoing Pop with Serious Lamentations About Politics and Culture on 'Speed Queen'
Montreal's Little Scream offers up reflections on class and poverty disguised as sweet low-key pop songs on her real grower of an album, Speed Queen.
Prince's 1999 is not so much one of the greatest albums of all time as a curation from an amorphous mass of music that might be one of the greatest achievements in pop.
Poppy lays bare a necessary reminder to reject conformity and encircle empowerment. Whereas I Disagree explores what is confining and liberating - the latter is the album's unequivocal focal point.
J-pop meets vintage girl group in Emergency Tiara's smart, sassy cover of the Eartha Kitt Christmas standard, "Santa Baby".
Brooklyn-based art pop artist, Katmaz dances his cares away with a new single (and video) that chronicles a doomed long-distance relationship.
Nearly 30 years have gone into the making of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson's seventh album as No-Man, Love You to Bits. Bowness speaks with PopMatters about returning to the duo's electronic early days, and how Love You to Bits may be the Terminator: Dark Fate of No-Man albums.
Art-rocker Kapil Seshasayee takes on a sexist Bollywood trope with musical skill and visual pathos in "The Item Girl".
Atlanta's Sequoyah Murray has delivered one of the best albums of 2019 with his extraordinary debut Before You Begin.
OMD's first three albums were crucial in the development of ambitious, intellectual, art-pop. They also led to the emergence of a whole generation of electronic pop groups that have continually influenced artists up to this day.
Magdalene makes an unpredictable turn wherein FKA twigs traverses an introverted dimension of her vision through a minimalist perspective and a sense of controlled extravagance.
Florence Welch participated in a deep discussion and gave a short performance as part of the 2019 New Yorker Festival.
Art pop group Elk City share their latest video "Pity of a Rose" and discuss their latest EP, Souls in Space. "My goal in directing the video was to illustrate a human being incapable of emotion, who is navigating the prison of her mind," says co-founder Renée LoBue.
London's deep tan further their distinctive electropop/alt-pop sound on new single, "Shimmer". Fans of Foals, the XX, Maribou State, and Beach House listen up.
Jenny Hval's The Practice of Love is a playful, conceptual pop record that makes sorting through its heady themes as fun as listening to it.