Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson Tell Their Truth Plainly

The duo embraces classic country sounds on 'I Walked With You A Ways'

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At the heart of I Walked With You A Ways, the debut album from Plains, there’s a sense of freedom. It’s the freedom of driving fast down an enormous, dusty road: “tak[ing] the quickest route on this 4-lane highway,” but also “crying on the highway with my windows down.” It’s the kind of liberation that comes from finding your own …

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Cool It Down’ is an Exhilarating Yet Unhurried Return

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The audacity, to be an artist who waits nearly a decade to release a project — to sit out the conversation that long. The news cycles that whirr by, the social feeds left to rot on the vine. The refusal to chase the currency of constant, insistent relevance. It’s jarring nowadays. And when that artist is, say, a beloved rock …

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The Uneasy Confessions of Alex G

The devout 'God Save the Animals' distills the songwriter's eccentric style

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With over a decade of released music behind him, Alex G has long taken a playfully distorted approach to songwriting, like he’s filtering his music through a funhouse mirror. The 29-year-old artist often addresses or morphs into fictional characters: insecure teenage girls and children with names like Sarah, Alina, Sandy. Flashes of storybook innocence, tales of guarded treehouses and stolen …

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‘Cheat Codes’ is the album Black Thought couldn’t have made until now

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For many years, the Black Thought solo album felt like an imaginary object, long rumored yet never revealed. It went by several names — Masterpiece Theatre, The Talented Mr. Trotter — and had many soft launches. The Philly rapper born Tariq Trotter had of course already displayed his otherworldly dexterity as frontman and co-founder of The Roots, and, beginning in …

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On ‘No Rules Sandy,’ Sylvan Esso finds freedom outside the formula

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Sylvan Esso‘s fourth album ends in a manner almost antithetical to the duo’s original musical impulses, putting the band’s early-days and present versions on opposite shores. As they’ve recounted, it all started when folk singer Amelia Meath — then best known as a member of the choral-forward group Mountain Man — conscripted electronic music producer Nick Sanborn to remix her …

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For Angel Olsen, the Shortest Distance Between Loss and Love is a Country Song

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Angel Olsen picks musical genres for her records the way other artists pick instruments. “I want that vaulted-ceiling feeling,” another musician might say. “I want classic, I want sweeping. Piano it is.” Olsen’s previous releases have leaned on folk, rock, pop and psychedelia. For her sixth album, Big Time, the selection process could have sounded something like this: I want …

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When it feels like the world’s ending, Sharon Van Etten still cares

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“It’s too much,” Sharon Van Etten sings on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, “but I’ll try.” Well, yes. You don’t really need to know the specifics of Van Etten’s recent experiences to relate, to understand the coexistence of overwhelming fatigue and resigned commitment she expresses. On her sixth album, much of which was written in the sustained trauma …

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Local Spotlight | 3 new tracks by Jax artists out now

New music from L.O.V.E Culture and Ebony-Payne English feat. Ulysses Owens Jr, plus Jawberry’s debut

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We’re always keeping our ear to the ground in order to put the spotlight on the beautiful noise emerging from Northeast Florida. This week, Jacksonville Music Experience contributors share three new songs by local artists that we think you’ll really dig. Let’s dive in. “Growth” by L.O.V.E. Culture Duval hip-hop ensemble L.O.V.E. Culture stay prolific with their latest, a single …

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I thought Encanto’s songs were forgettable. So I went back to see what I was missing

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Back in November, I hosted an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour about the Disney movie Encanto, which I found to be visually lovely and charming but ultimately somewhat minor. Worse, in what would prove to be an absolutely massive time-release self-burn, I declared the songs to be “forgettable” and groaned about the ubiquity of Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose contributions had …

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Mitski’s ‘Laurel Hell’ confronts the wild complexity of feeling

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All over the world, every day, people are losing it. It happened to me just last Tuesday, driving onto I-40 on my way back from Trader Joe’s. Phoebe Snow’s 1974 seduction “Poetry Man” turned up on my playlist and suddenly I was sobbing so aggressively I nearly had to pull over on the freeway on-ramp. That song’s a masterpiece of …

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On ‘Pompeii,’ Cate Le Bon makes meaning from the opulent and absurd

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The literary term anti-mimesis describes when life imitates art, instead of the other way around. When critics use the term anti-mimesis these days, they are usually talking about work — be it literature, fine art or music — that gives off a nonsensical vibe — you know, it’s free associative, too weird to actually happen. Donald Barthleme, patron saint of …

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On ‘Dawn FM,’ The Weeknd is both suffering and saved

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“Now that all future plans have been postponed, and it’s time to look back on the things you thought you owned, do you remember them well?“ actor Jim Carrey, serving as narrator, asks listeners on the final track of The Weeknd’s new album. The dawn climbs out of the darkness where we’ve roamed for the erratic past two years to …

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On ‘CAPRISONGS,’ FKA twigs vibrates at her highest frequency

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Pluto scoffs at superficiality. The planet’s transit, the way that the planet’s movement activates and interacts with a person’s natal chart, demands for connection with core purpose. It is a chance to break through illusions and probe deep in search of inner truth: to evolve and be reborn without perfunctory airs. Born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, singer-songwriter FKA twigs celebrated her …

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