16 January 2021
Here's how it works: The Recent Releases chart brings together critical reaction to new albums from more than 50 sources worldwide. It's updated daily. Albums qualify with 5 reviews, and drop out after 6 weeks into the longer timespan charts.
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Alternative country/rock sounds in their second album
Loose-limbed and by turns loud then laid-back.
An enjoyable, relaxed album that contains some of Oberst's best work. It also shows him lifting some of that weight of his shoulders.
Occupies much the same folk-rock territory as Oberst's old band Bright Eyes, punctuated with the occasional taut blues shuffle.
No longer such a press darling, Conor Oberst has let the hype around him settle down while still making some magnificent music.
You can sense the passion coming from The Mystic Valley Band and the songs quickly escalate, powered by their instrumentation. The album was recorded at the end of a long tour and the bond between the players is palpable.
Conor Oberst's most focused and mature – both sonically and lyrically – solo effort to date
Many things may weigh on Conor Oberst's mind, but on this record, ego isn't one of them.
Shave a couple of the non-Conor tracks and it'd sit comfortably with his best.
Ranging from his trademark sacrilegious alt.country to the curiously Razorlighty Spoiled.
Democracy is all well and good in its place, but its place isn’t rock bands.
May represent a step back from last year’s work, it is perhaps another step forward for Oberst in terms of his evolution as an artist. While such a process may produce some patchy results along the way, one hope’s Oberst’s evolution will be like those of the greats… never-ending
One suspects that virtually all of the album’s flaws, from its overstuffed tracklist to its lack of consistency, could have been avoided had the band taken its time writing, vetting and selecting songs for Outer South.
Perhaps it's simply the case that Oberst is on a busman's holiday here, but either he failed to get the memo to keep things light, or else he should have recruited some more substantial Wilburys.
Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band: Outer South
Drunk Tank Pink
Shame have put together a collection of fantastically varied ragers that are bound to blow the roof off whenever we’re allowed back to live gigs
The Line Of Best Fit
The London band’s second album combines themes of burnout and ennui with fast rhythms
Cummings and Covid are two of the subjects touched on by the Nottingham duo as they exhibit an evolving style
The Dirty Nil
Records like this - 35-odd minutes of fist-pumping rock songs from the very top drawer - need to be celebrated and rewarded
Drunk Tank Pink
In spite of all that’s going on, the ground that Shame manage to cover, it all hangs together brilliantly. Drunk Tank Pink is a great album, from whatever angle you look at it
The London post-punk band’s second album is bigger, louder, and more textured as frontman Charlie Steen anxiously details the strange gap between youth and adulthood
Kacy & Clayton
For the most part, Plastic Bouquet has a much stronger country influence thanks to the involvement of Williams with tracks like ‘Old Fashioned Man’ and ‘I Wonder Why’ making you swear you heard them somewhere before, a very long time ago
Drunk Tank Pink is an all-too-often unimaginative album from what’s still a promising group. At best, this sophomore project suggests a band pushing itself in every direction and through every crevice of the genre to see what fits them and their messaging most effectively
Beats Per Minute
Behind the rough exterior is an old soul, notes of romance hiding in every grunt and wail
A high-quality record with not a single mediocre song on the tracklist. Despite the intense deadlines they were under, it sounds in no way rushed, but instead, polished
A record that knows every trick in the book
The Smashing Pumpkins
The band's raw ambition is back front-and-center
Whether you’re aboard the train or not, Williamson and Fearn don’t seem overly bothered. You’re either with them or you’re aren’t; the wheels keep turning
Bristles with the pent-up aggression of men who aren’t allowed to be loud and shirtless in public any more
The London band went from playing a 350-show stretch to nothing at all – and while tunes and originality are lacking, their subsequent dislocation makes for some thrilling music
Since we've been around, that is. So, the highest-rated albums from the past eight years or so. Rankings are calculated to two decimal places.
To Pimp A Butterfly
Fetch The Bolt Cutters
D'Angelo And The Vanguard
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Rough and Rowdy Ways
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Run The Jewels