The best music of 2016 so far: The A.V. Club’s catch-up guide

2016 has been a big year for music, with the likes of Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, Chance The Rapper, and Drake all releasing records that vary from pretty good to really, really great. Then there’s the emerging talents that have turned in career-defining works and earned high marks, like Blood…

Bob Dylan, meet Ariana Grande: Here’s what’s coming to record stores in May

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to reviews sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out

“I am very, very proud of you”: 9 songs that feature real phone calls from parents

Phone messages from a couple posited as Kendrick Lamar’s parents snake their way through the Compton rapper’s major label debut, 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, providing the album with a realistic dimension. The message at the end of “Sherane” sets the tone for Good Kid, leading Lamar into the complicated world he…

Grindcore Christmas albums pay tribute to music’s margins 25 seconds at a time

Grindcore made its first splash outside its insular bubble with Napalm Death’s 1987 debut, Scum, which includes the one-and-a-fraction-second song “You Suffer,” a favorite of iconic BBC DJ John Peel. The terse, brutal cuts on Scum set the tone for decades of extreme metal to come, and tense opener “Multinational…

From Black Skinheads to Pissed Jeans: We honor the most notable music of 2013 (so far)

We’re only about halfway into 2013, but this year already feels more musically exciting than 2012. With albums on the horizon from Lady Gaga, The Dismemberment Plan, and Arcade Fire—and great LPs already out from Kanye West, Deafheaven, My Bloody Valentine, Vampire Weekend, Daft Punk, and David Bowie—the race for…

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