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Forest Swords

Matthew Barnes’ work as Forest Swords is definitely an acquired taste. It’s not music you’d ever play at a party, and little of it is pretty or even pleasant. The

Son Volt
Notes of Blue

Notes of Blue starts out with a note of comfort. “Promise the World” takes me right back to the late '90s, when Jay Farrar and Son Volt played with confidence

Emperor of Sand

Mastodon is back with Emperor of Sand, and the lead-off single (and first track) “Sultan’s Curse” gets right to the point. Forty seconds in and you’ve

Thievery Corporation
The Temple of I & I

Thievery Corporation has always been known for its multi-culti blend of textures and trends—sitar meets acid jazz, trip hop takes on bossa nova tones, etc.—and the

Near to the Wild Heart of Life

I really like the Japandroids, and so I hope they have a long, prolific career, with a lot more highs than lows. Unfortunately, this uninspired release, Near

The XX
I See You

The XX’s new album, I See You, is one of the most uninterestingly beautiful recordings in recent memory. This album wants you to stand back and

Staff Picks of 2016: Matt Slaybaugh

Top 10 of 2016

10. David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia Records)
What a way to end the story. The timing was incredible in and of itself, but the fact that Bowie recorded his best work in at least 35 years, one of his boldest adventures, makes Blackstar an achievement that might never be matched.

9. Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book (self-released)
It was May in Ohio, …

David Bowie

After David Bowie passed away in January, Nothing Has Changed jumped to number five on the U.K. charts and number 57 on Billboard’s Top 200

Pitchfork Music Festival
Union Park, Chicago, July 15–17

The Pitchfork Music Festival has always been a great place to see a few bands you love, a few bands you know, and a few bands you had no idea you would love

Pitchfork Music Festival 2016

Catharsis, virtuosity, spectacle, escape. Pitchfork’s annual Chicago festival, at its best, offers heightened moments of all four, and in the most

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