Coldplay do a 180-degree turn from arena pop-rock

At the end of a year that saw musicians like Niall Horan and Ed Sheeran gingerly dip their toes into other languages, Coldplay have responded: Hold my

All-star Mose Allison tribute hits the right spots

It may be a tired cliche to say someone was one of a kind, but Mose Allison most definitely was. A jazz and blues pianist whose songwriting career meshed

Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album centers on poetry

Leonard Cohen’s last album, released just weeks before he passed in 2016, was “You Want It Darker,” which had a sense of finality that made it a

Tom Waits’ songs shine on female-focused tribute

Hard-times troubadour Tom Waits gets the Great American Songbook-style treatment in “Come On Up to the House,” a classy collection of covers performed by two generations of

Joanna Connor takes her blues guitar down new paths

Joanna Connor takes her powerful guitar down new paths on “Rise,” an album featuring some jazzier hues, her considerable acoustic skills and even a guest rapper while

No sophomore slump for country singer Luke Combs

Not many artists break out on their first record, but Luke Combs did it without much fanfare, dropping an album two years ago that has spent 50

Van Morrison shines on ‘Three Chords and the Truth’

Don’t judge a book by its cover, or, at least with Van Morrison, an album by its title. Arriving on the heels of a successful series

Neil Young back in his ragged glory with ‘Colorado’

Neil Young is back with his old band Crazy Horse in all their ragged glory with “Colorado,” a beautiful, rambling, chaotic howl against climate change, division and hate.

Chris Knight snarls out an album that fits the times

In his first release in more than seven years, Kentucky-born country rocker Chris Knight has snarled out an album that’s gruff, uncompromising and perfect for the times.

Elbow’s powerful new album a reflection of its time

With all the talk about bleakness and the experiences of anger and loss affecting “Giants of All Sizes,” you’d imagine Elbow’s eighth studio album arriving with an

North Mississippi Allstars’ latest is fun for all

The blues is alive and kicking, and rock ain’t dead either. Thank the North Mississippi Allstars for that reminder. Luther and Cody Dickinson’s latest album is a communal jam

Hiss Golden Messenger delivers music with a purpose

The new album by Hiss Golden Messenger is one to play on repeat, immersing in every nuance. It’s Americana music with a purpose. Like the North Carolina band’s earlier

Emeli Sandé returns with anthems for the every day

Emeli Sandé’s music has always leaned into the epic. Her clear, full voice powers sweeping anthems, most of which seem perfectly suited for bringing energy to momentous occasions (remember

Charli XCX, pop’s avant-garde princess, returns

Charli XCX could easily have turned in a safe, hit-heavy pop-dance album this year. But where’s the fun in that? If Jack White is the mad

Whitney create poignant, bittersweet album

Indie-rock duo Whitney may have a light, easy sound, but that isn’t an indication of the themes they touch on or emotions they evoke. The pair peaked interest in

Taylor Swift taps into her joyful side with ‘Lover’

If you want an easy way to see how far Taylor Swift has come since her last album, just compare the two covers. If 2017’s “reputation” featured

Entertaining array of stylings on Jason Hawk Harris’ debut

A single guitar solo is by itself worth the price of admission to Jason Hawk Harris’ world. The climactic moment on the Houston native’s full-length debut

Good guitar can’t save Jesse Dayton’s ‘Mixtape’

Seasoned music industry pro Jesse Dayton is out with his 12th studio album, “Mixtape Volume 1,” a bawdy collection of ho-hum country, masquerading as edgy outlaw stuff.

‘Finch’ from Penny & Sparrow is a gem

Texas-raised duo Penny & Sparrow had to do some heavy touring to truly search their souls. They explore the resulting range of emotions and deliver it on

Cuco brings layers to lo-fi love songs on ‘Para Mi’

Love songs may be known for their traditionally jovial tone, but on Cuco’s full-length debut he gives his love ballads a darker tone. “Para Mi” has lighter moments and

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