Photo: Courtesy of artists Here are the best of the many, many albums that have been released so far this year, according to our music critic Craig Jenkins . This list has been updated to include October releases. Amanda Shires, To the Sunset To the Sunset — album number seven — Shires and producer Dave Cobb get playful with arrangements. "Charms" and "Leave It Alone" employ synths and programmed drums. "Take on the Dark" toys with the same post-punk/folk rock hybridization popularized by early R.E.M., while "Break Out the Champagne" nicks a bassline and some pep from the Foo Fighters' "Big Me." Country music and hard reckoning are still the album's central focus, and Shires's pen is killer: "Eve's Daughter" swan dives into a doomed romance, saying, "I was thirsty, and he looked like water." To the Sunset 's ten gems are as smart and lively as they are shockingly short. It's a testament to the still-vibrant power of the three-minute love song. Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino sees the singer ditching his rowdy NME-rock past and adopting a quirky cabaret singer's snark and weathered croak. The new songs muse abstractly about outer… Read full this story
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