Lars Gotrich

Feist's first album in six years, Pleasure, comes out in just a couple weeks. We've only heard "Century" and the title track from it, so far, and today we get a visual companion for the latter.

When Mlny Parsonz rips into a phrase, you feel the wound. Over three albums, Royal Thunder's soulful hard-rock has very much been tied to a desperation to crawl out of darkness and find some kind of hope beyond. Over three albums, that drive has kept the Atlanta band hungry and humble. Its latest, Wick, is a sprawling account of a band still crawling.

The D.C. brewery Right Proper was like a cultural mullet during a recent visit: a posh baby shower in the front (complete with chocolate petit fours), a bunch of metal heads making beer in the back. Right Proper's head brewer, Nathan Zeender, was dumping a heaping spoonful of hop extract into a tank.

Frank Ocean's show on Beats 1, Blonded, has become a testing ground for new singles. First it was his collaboration with Calvin Harris and Migos, "Slide," then in mid-March, the gauzy "Chanel" rendered in several different versions throughout the set.

The history of '80s D.C. hardcore is extremely well documented; its importance doesn't need to be boot-stomped into the ground anymore. The '90s, less so, as the scene and Dischord Records, in particular, moved onto more melodic and angular ventures (see: Jawbox, Fugazi, Lungfish). But there were still those who held the torch for fast and unruly hardcore, and few ran with it as maniacally as Battery.

From Beyoncé's frank and liberating "Blow" to Marina And The Diamonds' meta, media-scrutinizing "Sex Yeah," pop music's relationship to sex positivity has evolved a lot since Sophie B. Hawkins' "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" (that song still rules, though). Sex is complicated!

In the '90s, few NYC punk bands were as sleazy and bluesy and profane and funky as Boss Hog. You hear stories about confrontational live shows and the husband and wife's contentious stage personas. It was dangerous rock 'n' roll.

If you like a little dirt in your power-pop, Needles//Pins should already be on your radar. The Vancouver trio has been pumping out the punk-fueled pop jams since 2010, releasing albums and 7"s on labels that know a thing or two about scuzzy hooks (Portland's Dirt Cult, Germany's Erste Theke Tontraeger).

Can made music from an imaginary country, one with its own traditions and language — which means none at all. In its work, jazz, funk, electronic, psychedelic and minimalist music ran wild through impossible valleys and fantastic mountaintops. Some call it krautrock by virtue of the band's German home base in Cologne. Most just call it Can.

Debut albums aren't supposed to be this self-assured and sharp — but then again, H.Grimace did take its sweet time. The London-based, Anglo-Australian post-punk band formed in 2011 as a songwriting partnership between Hannah Gledhill (vocals/guitar) and Marcus Browne (guitar), along with Corin Johnson (bass) and Diago Gomes (drums). Self Architect — the culmination of a few promising EPs — explores identity and cultural power dynamics, led by Gledhill's gripping voice.

Calvin Harris has a habit of making ubiquitous summer jams.

"Definitely cowboy poetry was something I got interested in." Well, that's one way to describe an ancient Greek epic.

The Texas Panhandle is windy and flat and full of sky, material ripe for country songs and buried Cadillacs.

Two Inch Astronaut works quickly! Just about one year since the release of Personal Life, the suburban D.C. post-punk band already has album number four in the bag. Can You Please Not Help continues the pop-focused mind-meld of previous efforts with monster hooks and a musicianship that only comes with a boatload of experience.

Slowdive's first album in 22 years is starting to come along quite blissfully, and now it has a name. A calmly geometric, geologic video for "Sugar For The Pill" announces Slowdive, not to be confused with the band's eponymous EP from 1990.

Nighttime is restless. Even in our sleep, we are moving in our dreams, or involuntarily flopping around the bed disturbing a loved one, be it a significant other, a dog. Lullabies are written to calm these restless minds, but maybe they should also recognize the motion of the day.

Nick Hakim begins with a bit of a fake-out — languorous strings like something out of a Stars Of The Lid record rumble from a sampler, somber and hesitant. But as he begins to sing in a heartbroken falsetto, surrounded by optical fibers hanging from the ceiling of SXSW's Optic Obscura installation by Raum Industries, the ambient intro morphs into a quiet, psychedelic croon.

With a reassuring voice that howled over an acoustic guitar, Jesy Fortino made records as Tiny Vipers about emptiness and absence that were severely intimate. She channeled both Neil Young and Stevie Nicks in "Landslide" — two songwriters who knew a thing or two about being bummed out, but would try to find something hopeful in the mess.

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