It’s getting toward the end of June, which means… mid-year list time! It’s been a strange year for music thus far, with plenty to like but relatively little to love, and as a result, our annual state-of-the-year-in-progress list is an eclectic affair, encompassing genres as diverse as studies on an imagined pseudo-China, dystopian futurist pop, food-centric neo-soul, and an epic triple album that’s likely to generate a panic attack and/or an existential crisis. And strangest of all, perhaps, hip hop from Portland.
Against Me! — Transgender Dysphoria Blues
It’s easy to lose this album in its narrative — the first record Against Me! have made since Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace, and an album that addresses the transgender experience with perception, compassion, and at times brutal honesty. But it’s also just a great rock ‘n’ roll record, home to some of the best songs that Grace has ever written, songs that evoke the most universal of human emotions: rage, and sadness, and love. — Tom Hawking