- From Heartbreaker to Love Is Hell, devastating, heart-on-sleeve songwriting has always been Ryan Adams’ forte. Happily, for the follow-up proper to 2014’s self-titled album, the alt-country troubadour eschews Taylor Swift covers to focus on issues closer to home. Candidly sifting through the debris of Adams’ recent divorce from Mandy Moore, the diaristic Prisoner is a powerful listen, offering up an array of gems including the Springsteen-esque ‘Shiver and Shake’, and the unfiltered anguish of ‘Do You Still Love Me?’ which arrives underpinned by the slow ache of Hammond organ. All told, this is Adams’ finest collection of songs in more than a decade.
- Last we heard from Thievery Corporation they were indulging their passion for easy listening and bossa nova on 2014’s Saudade. For this follow-up, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton decamped to Port Antonio in Jamaica with their rhythm section, to soak up the atmosphere and to explore their long-held love of the island’s indigenous music. Thankfully, The Temple of I & I is no pastiche; rather, it finds the D.C.-based collective subtly infusing elements of reggae and dub into their smooth, sunrise-ready soundtracks. Fans should be familiar with their cast of guest stars too, which includes turns from previous-collaborators Mr. Lif, Puma Ptah, Lou Lou, Zeebo and Elin.