Margo Price – All American Made

Margo Price has been one of few stars [in country music] to speak up about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“I know people don’t want to lose standing,” says Price. “And a lot of people think that music is not a place for politics.

Robert Plant – Carry Fire

Certain tracks on Carry Fire allude to politics and history. “Bones of Saints” references an impending war; “New World …” recounts the European invasion of the Americas; “Carving Up the World Again … A Wall and Not a Fence” is informed by Brexit and Trumpism. In Plant’s delivery, these dire events, and his resistance to their criminality, take on the inevitability of twigs floating down a river or a bird taking flight; they fit in with the songs of love and departure without a hitch.

The Weather Station – The Weather Station

The Weather Station is Lindeman’s loosest, most confident album yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psychological; she doesn’t hold back. Alongside the ups and downs of her own relationship, she tackles her parents’ divorce, her relationship with her father and ideas about being free and coming into her own, finding her power — all against the backdrop of uncertain, stressful times, as on the almost spoken “Complicit,” when she repeats bad news heard on the radio: “Another shooting, floods creeping in the lowlands, and everybody’s shouting, and I just hold your hand.-  Sarah Graham, Exclaim!

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell a Fly

Clementine won the 2015 Mercury Prize for his debut album At Least for Now. He recently released his second album I Tell a Fly, the title and theme of which were influenced by an odd bit of bureaucracy. “I got a visa to America and the title was ‘an alien of extraordinary ability’.

Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow

I’m from nowhere. That’s the way I feel about it now, right at this moment. Music took me and made me and gave me a purpose and I built my world with it, and now my geography is a musical one, forever. And when I break, when I think about running as far as I can, I remember that there is nothing that does me like music, and I might as well be a poor man in a world of my own devising.

Prophets of Rage – Self-titled Debut

“‘We’re not a supergroup,’ says Tom Morello. ‘We’re an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing.'” – Rolling Stone

“A super-group formed during the 2016 election because ‘dangerous times demand dangerous songs,’ Prophets of Rage includes members of Rage Against the Machine (among them the effects-pedals activist Tom Morello), Public Enemy (including Chuck D, the stern embodiment of rap’s political potential), and Cypress Hill (B-Real, the squeaky stoner of ‘Insane in the Brain’).

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

“This record might as easily have borrowed its title from Canadian writer Lynn Crosbie’s own recent, exquisitely excruciating collection of midlife-malcontent meditations, Life Is About Losing Everything. But it didn’t. It’s called American Dream, with its cover art of an excessively blue sky adrift with trying-too-hard clouds, because it’s reaching out to a broader-based malaise.

Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

Can a Grizzly Bear album matter in 2017? In an era when artful polemics, Antonoffed pop, and self-medicated party rap hold sway, this week’s Painted Ruins is a gorgeous requiem reminding us that art for the sake of aesthetic beauty and veiled self-confessional remains as meaningful as ever.

But the industry and conversation surrounding it could never seem more meaningless.

Kesha – Rainbow

“Kesha’s third album cannot help but be about her troubled relationship with her former producer, but it is also a fierce, skilful rebellion against manufactured pop.

More surprising still, an album that should theoretically sound like a jumbled mess doesn’t. It’s held together by the character and sheer force of will of the artist at its centre – no mean feat for someone who outed herself as the cowed puppet of a domineering svengali.

Eagles Of Death Metal – I Love You All The Time: Live At The Olympia In Paris

On February 16, 2016 EODM returned to Paris for the first time following the November 2015 Bataclan massacre, completing their show as part of The Nos Amis Tour with an emotional performance at the Olympia Hall. This release encapsulates the intensity of that concert, which is dedicated to all those who lost their lives just three months prior.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Nashville Sound

“I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I just kept my mouth shut on things that mattered to me. No matter how many records I sold or how many fans I had or how many people I didn’t piss off, it would never be enough.

Enough for me is feeling like I’ve pushed back or I’ve said my piece or I’ve tried to do the right thing as often as possible.

Phoenix – Ti Amo

“Making music was always a joyous thing that we were happy to do, and it stayed that way,” Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars says of recording Ti Amo, the group’s bright new record, at a time when their native France was in turmoil.

“You see things that are evolving and changing around you, and then there’s something dark, but somehow you keep in mind that there is a value and a quality in just keeping your mind.