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St. Vincent perfects her fractured, futuristic pop vision on Masseduction St. Vincent perfects her fractured, futuristic pop vision on Masseduction

In a recent Q&A for Billboard, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark talked about why, despite her recent foray into filmmaking, she’s not all that interested in acting in front of the camera. “I don’t mind the performance aspect of it, because that’s kind of interesting,” she explains. “But I really don’t like the lack of…

Hiss Golden Messenger finds the silver linings on the loose Hallelujah Anyhow Hiss Golden Messenger finds the silver linings on the loose Hallelujah Anyhow

Hiss Golden Messenger’s M.C. Taylor has always been a prolific songwriter. But even for him, releasing Hallelujah Anyhow less than a year after 2016's Heart Like A Levee (which itself was packaged with a bonus eight-song record, Vestapol) is rather impressive. By way of explanation, Taylor told Uncut’s John Mulvey,…

OMD examines the complications of progress on the sparkling The Punishment Of Luxury OMD examines the complications of progress on the sparkling The Punishment Of Luxury

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) has always embraced the future. Formed in 1978 by Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, the duo hobnobbed with post-punk innovators, opening for Joy Division and Gary Numan in its early days, while distinguishing itself through its use of then-cutting-edge technology. As the ’80s…

Kesha finds her true colors on her comeback record Rainbow Kesha finds her true colors on her comeback record Rainbow

There are difficult follow-up records, and then there’s Rainbow. Since the release of Kesha’s second album, 2012’s Warrior, the pop shapeshifter’s music has taken a backseat to her contentious, complicated legal battle with producer—and accused abuser—Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. Even today, the case is far from…

On Lust For Life, Lana Del Rey envisions a slightly brighter future On Lust For Life, Lana Del Rey envisions a slightly brighter future

When Pitchfork recently sat down with Lana Del Rey for a wide-ranging interview, the topic of the pop star’s apparent newfound happiness came up right away. “I made personal commitments,” Del Rey responded when asked how she’d reached a better place, although she demurred on specifics. “I had some people in my life…

HAIM comes into its own on the confident Something To Tell You HAIM comes into its own on the confident Something To Tell You

Much to the chagrin of anyone who believes that guitars equal real music, the artificial divisions that once kept pop and rock acts in separate corners have collapsed through gradual erosion. Music genres have been so thoroughly blurred together and amalgamated that calling something “pop” or “rock” today is almost as…

Katy Perry runs away from her strengths on the pop slog Witness Katy Perry runs away from her strengths on the pop slog Witness

Hell hath no fury like a pop star backlash. Because mega-selling artists of Katy Perry’s caliber are put on impossibly high pedestals, they’re also held to higher standards of scrutiny. Mortal sins for pop stars include (but aren’t limited to) overexposure, changes in music styles, trying too hard, not trying hard…

Harry Styles takes a bold step forward by leaning on the past in his solo debut Harry Styles takes a bold step forward by leaning on the past in his solo debut

There are myriad reasons why Harry Styles is the most popular and recognizable member of One Direction. Chief among them, however, is the utmost respect he has for the band’s (primarily) teenage girl fan base. “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music—short for popular, right?—have worse musical taste than a…

Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy demands serious attention Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy demands serious attention

Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, is both a journalist’s dream and worst nightmare. His press conversations are hours-long marathons, making transcription a royal pain and a focus tough to pin down. On the upside, these chats overflow with quips and sound bites, meaning that writers really can’t go wrong with…

From Justin to terrible: 21 unfortunate cinematic pop-star vehicles From Justin to terrible: 21 unfortunate cinematic pop-star vehicles

If you are a successful pop star, conquering the movies appears to be the next logical step. After all, it worked (kind of) for Elvis. And Justin Timberlake! But it turns out that Elvis and JT are the rare exceptions. Most times, when movies are crafted around a particular pop star who’s new to film, the results are…

Cloud Nothings’ Life Without Sound keeps the faith despite personal disorientation Cloud Nothings’ Life Without Sound keeps the faith despite personal disorientation

Cloud Nothings has always felt like a perpetual work in progress. With each record, the Dylan Baldi-led group takes incremental steps forward, building on its influences—peach-fuzz power pop, scabrous post-hardcore, and furious punk aggression—and creating something more refined and confident. It’s no coincidence that…

AFI sounds refreshed and rejuvenated on its 10th album, AFI (The Blood Album) AFI sounds refreshed and rejuvenated on its 10th album, AFI (The Blood Album)

After bands have established career security, their albums tend to feel more labored-over. Part of this phenomenon stems from internal pressures and expectations: Groups feel compelled to one-up (or at least equal) the quality of previous records, or decide to indulge in experiments that by nature are more complex.…

From anti-releases to 1-inch records: 13 albums you have to work too hard to hear From anti-releases to 1-inch records: 13 albums you have to work too hard to hear

Obsessive music fans are a strange ilk. Not only will they fill their homes with every deluxe reissue of a record, but they’ll take on some barely functional curiosities, too. Here’s a look at the releases that stretch the definition of “album,” often requiring so much effort that it begs the question if it’s worth…

Nine Inch Nails’ “The Idea Of You” captured 2016’s creeping dread Nine Inch Nails’ “The Idea Of You” captured 2016’s creeping dread

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re picking songs from 2016 that we discovered too late in the year to include on our year-end ballots.

Silence speaks volumes on Brian Eno’s innovative, tranquil Reflection Silence speaks volumes on Brian Eno’s innovative, tranquil Reflection

By design, Brian Eno’s latest collection of instrumental ambient music is a fluid entity. In addition to making the 54-minute, one-track Reflection available via the usual media (e.g., CD, vinyl, streaming platforms), the composer collaborated on iOS and Apple TV editions featuring an “endless and endlessly changing…

What song do you wish you—and the world—could hear again for the first time? What song do you wish you—and the world—could hear again for the first time?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

The Weeknd’s resonant Starboy embraces the downside of fame The Weeknd’s resonant Starboy embraces the downside of fame

The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abél Tesfaye) only sees possibilities, not limitations, where his music is concerned. The Canadian producer-songwriter’s official label debut, 2012’s Trilogy, was a triple album compiling his eclectic early mixtapes, while 2015’s hit Beauty Behind The Madness LP took a loose, expansive approach to…

Bruno Mars takes homage-pop to the next level on the escapist 24K Magic Bruno Mars takes homage-pop to the next level on the escapist 24K Magic

After Marvin Gaye’s family won a lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement over the hit “Blurred Lines,” it stood to reason that similar lawsuits would follow. In late October, that suspicion came to fruition: The Minneapolis band Collage sued Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson for…

Honeyblood’s ambitious, unsettled Babes Never Die is a riotous success Honeyblood’s ambitious, unsettled Babes Never Die is a riotous success

The duo Honeyblood is frequently compared to The Jesus And Mary Chain, which is a flattering (albeit limiting and superficial) assessment. Sure, both groups hail from Scotland, and each favors fuzzy shoegaze with decidedly lo-fi tendencies. However, their paths diverge from there: Honeyblood—vocalist-guitarist Stina…

The Pop Group’s Honeymoon On Mars lacks danger, menace, and focus The Pop Group’s Honeymoon On Mars lacks danger, menace, and focus

On paper, The Pop Group’s fourth full-length, Honeymoon On Mars, seems like a nuclear explosion. The U.K. post-punk annihilators worked with Dennis Bovell, who also produced their groundbreaking 1979 debut, Y, and Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad, the production team behind Public Enemy’s most incisive, exciting work.…

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