The singer-songwriter's new album was written entirely in response to his recent divorce. Even in its darkest moments, though, The Beast in Its Tracks finds Ritter sounding more bruised than wounded, and yearning to compartmentalize and preserve the happy memories that remain.
The Twin Cities band's ninth album bursts with warmth, whether in spare examinations of faith or in big-hearted explosions of ecstatic celebration. At times, Cloud Cult's music recalls the larger-than-life reverie of The Polyphonic Spree, but the music on Love feels more personal and fragile.
The one-man band has made one of the most arresting headphone records you'll hear this year. The subjects of Youth Lagoon's second album are weighty, but the music is uplifting, if a bit dysphoric, like an awkward hug for all that is light and beautiful.
Led by singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee addresses teenage flux with seasoned songcraft. On the band's new album, Crutchfield has a way of making dysfunctional relationships sound like something to strive for.
Argentina's Gustavo Santaolalla and Uruguayan Juan Campodonico mix electronica with tango and folk. Their eight-piece band's new album, Presente, shimmers in a way their previous records didn't, with deceptively simple electronic textures.
Particularly in its first half, Optica plays like a marvelous '80s mixtape, albeit one with modern production values and a good deal of subtlety. In all their sweet and sunny glory, the Swedish pop band's songs invariably chime and shine.
D.C. musicians Brendan Canty (of Fugazi) and Rich Morel (of Bob Mould's band) make great pop full of unexpected turns on their debut album. Deathfix's melodies and harmonies feel like Big Star or even Queen, but the album also takes a fresh look forward.
The Philly soul singer explores the contours of intense emotions with patience and psychedelic insight. On A Love Surreal, Bilal keeps his vision grounded in fierce intelligence and a commitment to letting stories unfold.