Arctic Monkeys: The Automobile

Four men in slick, expensive hipster clothes sit on a sofa in a recording studio
The Arctic Monkeys © Zackery Michael

A far cry from the mardy bums, kebab queues and Sheffield nightspots of the Arctic Monkeys’ origins, The Automobile’s luxuriant songs describe a decadent world of moated buildings and French Riviera dalliances, richly imagined and carried out to a tee. Rock aristocracy by no means sounded so good.

Hazard Mouse & Black Thought: Cheat Codes

A man in a white hat and a man in a black suit jacket, both wearing sunglasses, look serious
Hazard Mouse & Black Thought © Shervin Lainez

A cheat code for making retro-rap: take a dusty outdated pattern, loop it, add a strong boombap beat, unleash the verbals. Besides if it had been that straightforward, Cheat Codes could be one in every of many — not one of the year’s best hip-hop records, a classic show of high quality from The Roots’ Black Thought and producer Hazard Mouse.

Richard Dawson: The Ruby Wire

A man in a plaid shirt yells into a microphone
Richard Dawson © Maria Jefferis/Redferns

Generally a necessity is answered that you simply by no means knew you had, comparable to Newcastle maverick Richard Dawson’s latest — an idea album about digital actuality that includes prog-folk vocals, stompy surrealist rock and a 41-minute opening observe sung from the standpoint of a hermit.

Kendrick Lamar: Mr Morale & The Huge Steppers

A man wearing a diamond-covered crown of thorns holds a mic close to his mouth and is surrounded by reverent female dancers in red
Kendrick Lamar © Scott Garfitt/AP

The primary album in 5 years from Kendrick Lamar opens with the phrases: “I’ve been going by one thing.” What follows is 75 minutes of bold beats and virtuoso rapping about fallibility and redemption. It’s a giant one thing.

Angel Olsen: Huge Time

A woman in a yellow jacket sings into a microphone above a keyboard
Angel Olsen © Alamy Inventory Picture

Huge Time is a classy fantasy of sadness and love constructed round country-soul, Nineteen Sixties orchestral pop and the good-looking tremor of Angel Olsen’s voice. “You’ve at all times identified the right way to get straight to my head,” she sings; her sixth album is aware of the right way to do the identical.

The Smile: A Mild for Attracting Consideration

Three men in need of a haircut
From left: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner © Alex Lake

Radiohead spin-off The Smile hit the bottom working on their excellent debut album. Thom Yorke keens and moans. Jonny Greenwood dashes out jittery riffs. Tom Skinner of jazz group Sons of Kemet gives supple drumming. Radiohead followers beam.

Sudan Archives: Pure Brown Promenade Queen

A woman in a tight grey top grasps her silvery dreads
Sudan Archives © Redferns

“I’m not common,” Brittney Parks sings on her second album as Sudan Archives. Eighteen tracks that shiftshape deftly by hip-hop, digital music, funk and pop show her level, a cosmopolitan set of songs that cohere round notions of id and uniqueness.

Suede: Autofiction

Black and white photo of five men looking slightly surly, slightly discontented
Suede © Dean Chalkley

Whereas Britpop readies itself for Thirtieth-anniversary nostalgia, Suede are nonetheless making improbably sturdy information. Autofiction finds them tackling center age with the identical vim they as soon as mustered for doomed youth, galloping into the maelstrom with a flamboyant yelp and all guitars blazing.

Weyes Blood: And within the Darkness, Hearts Aglow

A young woman appears to be glowing from her chest on a beach
Weyes Blood © Neil Krug

Like Laurel Canyon prospectors again within the gold-rush days of the Seventies, Weyes Blood faucets right into a wealthy seam of singer-songwriterly music on her fifth album. Groove, melody and class are united, a stereophonic balm for lyrical themes of aloneness.

Billy Woods: Aethiopes

Veteran underground rapper Billy Woods dazzles on Aethiopes. Excessive-level lyricism about race, energy and historical past is conveyed within the hard-boiled fashion of old-school New York. The beats, by producer Preservation, a maestro crate-digger, match the impression of the phrases.


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