Captain Beefheart was a man, but also an idea, and to write a straightforward piece about him here seems antithetical to his essence. He had a mustache sometimes and other times he had a goatee; sometimes he wore a fedora and other times he wore a cowboy or top hat. Despite having no musical training, he played numerous instruments. Occasionally, he composed at the piano, which he did not know how to play. He was friends with Frank Zappa, who produced Trout Mask Replica. His music is indisputably its own strange amalgamation, but it was still as directly tied to the confusion of the ‘60s as any music ever was, fusing blues, beat poetry, jazz, rock ‘n roll, psychedelic, noise, and avant-garde. His voice was almost magical and he could shift between gravelly falsetto and rumbling baritone at the drop of a harmonica. To try to make sense of Captain Beefheart is pointless, and furthermore, it goes against his very being. Sure, he can be understood as a social phenomenon, but this playlist isn’t about that. It’s called “Captain Beefheart Insanity.” Just go with it.
Before & After Radioheads OK Computer
Its a pop cultural truism that OK Computer is in the upper echelons of the modern rock canon, so it makes sense that the venerable Charles Aaron would plunge into Radioheads masterpiece in The New York Times. According to Aaron, this is the "Sound of Rock Being Deprogrammed" and he dives into each track to prove just that by tracing the songs source material ("the before") and its reverberating effects ("the after"). While there have been plenty of pieces dissecting the inner workings of Radioheads monumental third album, few have put their analyses to playlist form.
In the article, Aaron elaborates on his picks, using his own discerning ear alongside Radioheads own stated influences (Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone, The Beach Boys) and other critics constant comparisons (Wilco, Muse, Coldplay). He links Jonny Greenwoods Mellotron on tracks like "Exit Music (for a Film)" to Genesis "Aisle of Plenty," Phil Selways blurred breakbeats on "Airbag" to DJ Shadows "Building Steam with a Grain of Salt," and the computer speak of "Fitter Happier" to Stephen Hawkings "A Brief History of Time." His "afters" tend to be even more straightforward, as he connects Coldplays tear-jerking "Fix You" to "Let Down," Grizzly Bears woozy "Knife" with "No Surprises," and the Selway drum sampling of Lloyd Banks "Cold Corner 2 (Eyes Wide)" to "Climbing Up the Walls."
His selections are mostly based in sound rather than cultural context, so even without knowing the reasons for his picks, the playlist flows fairly seamlessly. That said, there are a few jarring transitions, from the maddening rock opus "Paranoid Android" to Queens sillier multi-part beast "Bohemian Rhapsody," or from the doomy "Fitter Happier" to Daft Punks heart-pumping "Harder Better Faster Stronger." But overall, this works as a solid aural document of rock at some of its most daring and cerebral yet emotionally moving moments. And if you dont buy that, just take a listen to the moody, slinky stretch of "Karma Police," "Sexy Sadie," and TV on the Radios "Staring at the Sun" and try to convince us otherwise.
Described by Guitar Girl Magazine as "a Latin artist who combines hypnotic, electronic funk with alternative and psychedelic styles," DeAnza recently released her concept EP Cosmic Dream on June 29. The collection of tracks and interludes designed to take you on a sonic journey through the various sleep cycles. To continue celebrating that release and her subsequent tour, we asked her to make us a playlist thats as eclectic as her style. Listen here.Says DeAnza: "I went through several playlist ideas in my head before deciding to create a list that’s as eclectic as the music I listen to. Duke Ellington said, there are only two kinds of music – good and bad. I created a list that consists of what I believe to be good music, regardless of the genre or era. All of these artists have inspired me in some form or another."What you’ll get: Some classics, witchy women who I idolize, singers who blow my mind, couple deep cuts and some Latin spice for those who want to hear something that isn’t Despacito."
Whats This Playlist All About? The venerable music site ranks the chillest, haziest, and, of course dreamiest indie albums of all time—or at least those with a vague sense of "atmosphere, intimacy, and a light coating of psychedelia."
What You Get: An airy assortment of breathy, often angelic vocals, floating atop sumptuous layers of soporific sound. As its name implies, "dream pop" doesnt have any sort of concrete meaning or even unifying song structure, a truth even Pitchfork owns up to. Still, something intangible, ethereal, maybe even mystical, links these artists together, from the undisputed originators Cocteau Twins, who easily take the No. 1 spot with Heaven or Las Vegas, to their respected disciples Beach House (who also nab two spots). In between, the mood subtly shifts; the dark noir of Julee Cruise slips into the colorful pop of Atlas Sound, while the ambient melancholy of Grouper gives way to the euphoric nostalgia of M83 and the sultry twang of Mazzy Star and Mojave 3.
Best Surprise: The inclusion of Brightblack Morning Light, especially their featured track—the slinky, druggy doozy "Everybody Daylight”—which has always managed to slip under the radar.
What Did They Miss? Their "conscious decision to not include records that wound up on our Best Shoegaze Albums list—even though shoegaze and dream pop have, at times, been used interchangeably,” kind of messes with the playlist listening experience. Thing is, we dont care whats on the shoegaze list when were listening to the dream pop one, so to not include certain "shoegaze" standards like, say, MBV or Slowdive or bands like Pale Saints and Seefeel, feels slightly off. Theres also plenty of people noting the absence of Cocteau Twins Treasure.
You read that right: This is 90s "alt-pop," not "alt-rock." If alt-rock represented the commercialization of 80s indie-rock, then these artists represented the commercialization of alt-rock. These are the diluted descendants of Nirvana, Green Day, Beck, and other legit underground-to-mainstream crossovers, artists who didnt have to worry about selling out, because, with few exceptions, they had no indie cred to begin with. They were "alternative" only by virtue of existing in the 90s, when any rock act that wasnt Aerosmith was ostensibly "alternative." Theyre the artists who made Kurt Cobain roll over in his grave more vigorously than most.But if each of these songs represented a nail in the coffin of the freak-scene utopia that Neverminds success briefly promised, today they function as a portal to an equally distant and inaccessible realm: i.e., a more innocent pre-9/11 era, before our hearts were perpetually filled with despair over the state of the world, before social media was clogging our brains with a 24/7 dose of aggravation. Lets go back to a world where our sunshine never got stolen.
The most maligned woman in rock history, Evelyn McDonnell called her, and it’s not hyperbole. Yet for studiocraft, Fly, Feeling the Space, and especially Approximately Infinite Universe deserve the scrutiny that her husband’s desultory Nixon-era albums get from Beatlephiles (she pushes her husband to new heights as a lead guitarist, too). Toss in Season of Glass and Rising and I had to stop noting the number of excellent songs written by Yoko Ono. Her influence is profound: from Alex Chilton’s pilfering the melody of “Mrs. Lennon” for “Holocaust” to the B-52’s and Sleater-Kinney. Walking on Thin Ice, a distillation of the Rykodisc Onobox, is one of the great accidental purchases of my life — at a Best Buy in summer ’96!Eight years younger than my grandmother, Yoko is still recording: I wish I’d heard Take Me to the Land of Hell, and she enjoys a thriving second life as the object of okay to excellent remixes of older material that have taken her to the top of the American dance charts.Visit our affiliate/partner site Humanizing the Vacuum for great lists, commentary, and more.
As Miley Cyrus gears up to release her sixth studio album, Younger Now, she appears to have come full circle: from nepotistic wholesome country actress to culturally appropriating twerking pop star to experimental absurdist performer and back again. It seems like just yesterday Miley was apologizing for disappointing her fans because she took a bong rip of “salvia” on camera, the first in a string of rebellious acts that disintegrated Cyrus’s family-friendly image one TMZ headline at a time. Now Cyrus is engaged to her longtime on-and-off again celebrity partner Liam Hemsworth, and she’s infamously shed much of the “bad girl” image that defined her for the past several years.Miley’s look and sound have changed so much that it’s easy to forget her last album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, was a strange collaboration with Wayne Coyne that featured Big Sean, Phantogram, and Ariel Pink. Miley released the album, which had no pop singles, online for free. The project represented the culmination of Miley’s personal and artistic experimentation, the depths of the “weird phase” from which she seems to have emerged unscathed.About a year before that album came out, Miley spoke to Rolling Stone about her relationship with The Flaming Lips. She claimed she had been listening to that band exclusively, as the two had been teaming up in the studio to record some Beatles covers. Miley’s work with Coyne and the rest of The Flaming Lips undoubtedly influenced her music and performance style during the buildup to Dead Petz, but it’s surprising to revisit just how strong her relationship with the band became.This playlist, which consists of the 10 songs Miley listed to Rolling Stone in that May 2014 feature, contains some unlikely choices. Miley doesn’t mention “Do You Realize?>” “She Don’t Use Jelly,” “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song,” or any of the Lips’ more widely recognizable songs. Miley lists “Try to Explain,” from 2013’s The Terror, as her No. 1 choice, an understandably contemporary pick for a young fan. Yet she also digs deeper, citing Zaireeka’s “Thirty-Five Thousand Feet of Despair” and Soft Bulletin cuts like “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton” and “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” among her favorites. She also includes the rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Money” that The Flaming Lips did with Henry Rollins for their 2009 Dark Side of the Moon cover album.Miley displayed a thorough knowledge of The Flaming Lips’ discography in her Rolling Stone interview, and the songs she picked span various eras of the band’s work. The Flaming Lips have maintained an unusually lengthy musical career, due in large part to a constantly evolving sound and a consistently entertaining, always absurd onstage presence. Even if Miley’s sound shifts back from the strange turn it once took, the singer could learn a thing or two about longevity from her former collaborators. Either way, The Flaming Lips have obviously impacted Miley’s life in a significant manner, and all of us could benefit from having our pop stars be fans of one of the best experimental psychedelic bands of all time. And besides, listening to 10 good Flaming Lips songs has to be better than listening to Miley’s new album, right?
In his various roles as a producer, collaborator, theorist, or composer himself over the past 50 years, Brian Eno has enjoyed nothing more than throwing wrenches into musical spanners. Indeed, there may be no fiercer opponent of the tried and true. Back when he was at art school in London in the late ‘60s, the young painter devised a variety of ways of getting himself creatively unstuck. The trick, as he explained it to journalist Glenn O’Brien in 1978, was that in “performing a task that might seem absurd in relation to the picture, one can suddenly come at it from a tangent and possibly reassess it.”Such tactics proved to be even more useful after his focus shifted from art to the rock world. While recording For Your Pleasure with Roxy Music in 1973, he would put odd little instructions on cards and scatter them to help introduce a random variable to the high pressure and often rigid context of the recording studio. “You tend to proceed in a very linear fashion,” he said. “Now if that line isn’t going in the right direction, no matter how hard you work you’re not going to get anywhere. The function of the cards was to constantly question whether that direction was correct. To say, ‘How about going that way?’”Full of instructions like “do nothing for as long as possible,” those cards were the basis of Oblique Strategies, a deck that Eno and artist Peter Schmidt published for use by other artists in 1975. The spark of vitality and ingenuity those cards fostered is the quality that most connects a wildly disparate body of work by an artist whose guises and capacities can seem just as varied. True to his word, Eno has never gotten stuck in one place, swiftly shape-shifting from the feather-clad self-professed “non-musician” of his Roxy Music days and thrilling early solo albums, to the intrepid experimentalist who invented ambient music, to the invaluable creative foil for David Bowie and U2, to the modern multi-tasker whose artistic and technological ventures include 2017’s Reflection, a work that exists as both an album and a generative-music app. And as these playlists demonstrate, those various spheres contain their own multitude of reliably random variables.
Despite his later reputation as rock’s preeminent egghead, Brian Eno clearly delighted in his showman tendencies when he arrived on Roxy Music’s stages looking like a space-age ostrich before smothering the band’s high-concept art-rock rave-ups and decadent ballads with synthesizer whirrs and squeals. Even by the standards of early-‘70s glam, he was wildly flamboyant, so much so that Bryan Ferry grew weary of competing with him for attention from audiences and critics. The tensions prompted Eno to quit the band in 1973.Starting with the same year’s Here Come the Warm Jets, Eno then released a series of solo albums that were just as packed with wild new ideas as his albums with Roxy Music had been. With the help of friends like Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera, King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, and Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt, he would demolish just about every piece of existing rock methodology in songs that turned and twisted while somehow retaining their headlong velocity.
Eno claimed to have invented ambient music while convalescing after a car accident. Immobilized, he was unable to adjust the volume on a recording of classical harp music that was partially drowned out by the sound of rain. From that experience, he got the idea of creating music that was explicated designed to stay in the background, subtly coloring its environment. The notion wasn’t entirely original—French composer Erik Satie developed very similar ideas about “furniture music” back in the 1910s—but Eno most definitely was the one who popularized it as a genre when his first ambient album, Discreet Music, was released in 1975.Over the next decade, Eno continued to be a crucial nexus point between the rock and experimental music worlds via endeavours like Obscure Records, the label on which he released early works by future avant-classical giants like Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman. Meanwhile, on his pioneering Ambient series and beyond, he’d develop more elaborate sound worlds, working with such collaborators as Daniel Lanois, Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Harold Budd, and his brother Roger. (His fascination with Germany’s experimental-rock scene would also culminate in several albums with Cluster and Harmonia, as well as the Krautrock-influenced instrumentals on David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Low.) Surely anyone who’s ever blissed out at the end of a yoga class owes him a sizable debt of gratitude.
What can you say? The man’s a people person. Even before his tenure with Roxy Music was done, he was networking with just about every member of the art-rock elite. Dalliances with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, John Cale, Kevin Ayers, and Nico would lead to his collaboration with David Bowie on his Berlin trilogy. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, he’d prove his mettle with rock’s new vanguard as a producer for Ultravox, Talking Heads, and Devo, as well as the no-wavers he included in the No New York compilation.His work with an ambitious young Irish band is what truly established Eno’s rep as someone who could bring the best out of musicians in a recording studio. Eno and Daniel Lanois’ wide-screen production aesthetic for U2’s The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree became the gold standard for Important Rock of the 1980s. But rather than apply the same brush to every artist’s music, he’s continued to adapt his methods to whatever the situations require, thereby eliciting extraordinary moments both from blue-chip clients like Coldplay and Damon Albarn and fellow avant-pop artists like Owen Pallett.
Being in such high demand as a producer meant less time for his own musical ventures. As a result, Eno’s releases became more sporadic after the original run of Ambient recordings. Yet the century thus far has been one of his most prolific periods, both in terms of his many musical installation works and the recordings under his own name, and with collaborators such as Leo Abrahams, Jon Hopkins, and Underworld’s Karl Hyde. In fact, his relationship with Warp Records has yielded a run of albums that are as richly enthralling (albeit less frantic) as his first four solo efforts in the 1970s. Not bad for an artist who still doesn’t consider himself a musician.
For the past three years, I’ve been impressing people—hell, impressing myself—with the fact that I’ve been to Tom Petty’s house. I’d gone to Malibu to interview him for UNCUT magazine about Hypnotic Eye. Admirably raucous and rancorous, it proved to be his final studio album with the Heartbreakers, the band that he fronted for the better part of 40 years. So that album’s mostly what we talked about in a room next to his studio, which he’d built next to the rambling, Spanish-style, and thoroughly unpretentious home he bought after an arsonist set fire to his place in Encino in 1987. This one nearly burned down too, thanks to the massive wildfires in the area in 2007—as we chatted before sitting down, he pointed out the window to the spot a little higher up the hill where the fires stopped short of his property and the Pacific Coast Highway just below. The house is where he was found unconscious and not breathing after his cardiac arrest early Monday morning. I remember the room in the studio as homey—I could imagine Bob Dylan here with his boots up on the sofa, checking out the tasteful black-and-white framed photos on the walls. (Tom was onstage with his hero Roger McGuinn in one; with his fellow Wilbury Roy Orbison in another.) Petty served us coffee from a big stainless steel urn into oversized southwestern-style mugs that I imagined he washed himself because he didn’t want the pottery to get fucked up in the dishwasher. Throughout the interview, he puffed on a vape pen before rewarding himself at the end with a genuine smoke from a pack of American Spirit. Sporting a big bushy beard along with his usual straggly blond hair, Petty had the tanned and weathered face of an old Florida beach bum, but his bright blue eyes made him look younger by 15 years. He was friendly and a little crotchety—in other words, he was as cool as you could’ve hoped. We were supposed to have an hour but he gave me two. Then he walked me back to the front of the house and got on with his day.So that’s the scene I’ve been replaying in my head since I heard the news. Somehow, our afternoon together—and its complete lack of the audience-with-a-rock-star bullshit you might expect—speaks to the Everyguy/no-bullshit/scrappy-kid-from-Gainesville thing that Petty always exuded. He was a man of the people in a way that Dylan and Springsteen couldn’t be, because they just seemed too oversized, too mythic, too huge from the get-go. Like the characters he tended to write about, Petty was always somewhere between underdog and self-made outcast. Yet the chip on his shoulder was the rare and beautiful kind that seemed to make him more empathetic to people rather than less so. Anyway, that’s what I hear in the songs that I go back to most—some are hits and others are deeper in albums that didn’t quite get as much love as they should’ve (like the Heartbreakers’ final two albums, Mojo and Hypnotic Eye). Petty’s pair of albums with the reconstituted version of his proto-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch proved that the man never lost his songwriting chops even if the snarling, punk-ass Petty of 1978’s You’re Gonna Get It and 1979’s sublime Dawn the Torpedoes was always gonna be hard to outdo.When we spoke, Petty talked about his plans to do an expanded version of his Rick Rubin-produced solo masterpiece Wildflowers from 1994. He didn’t get a chance to realize that ambition but in 2015, he did a preview of sorts by putting out a previously unreleased song from the sessions called “Somewhere Under Heaven.” A deceptively simple vignette that movingly portrays the bond between a “working-man” dad and the daughter who’s too young to know how bad the world can be, it’s arguably as fine as anything he ever wrote. In the last verse, the father has this to say to his little girl: “One day you’re gonna fall in love/ One day you’re gonna pay the rent/ Hold on to what love you find/ You’re gonna need all you can get.” Feels like good advice right now for all kinds of reasons.
Still flying high on their 2016 release, Strange Little Birds, and their summer 2017 tour with Blondie, alt-rock icons Garbage also recently released a coffee-table book chronicling their two-decade history, titled This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake. But on this playlist she created specially for The Dowsers, frontwoman Shirley Manson reveals the songs she turns to when she wants to cry herself to sleep. “The Winner Takes It All,” ABBA: The first slow dance I ever shared with a boy was to this song. I didn’t know at the time that it was a song about divorce, but I do now. Pop brilliance at its finest.“I’m a Fool to Want You,” Billie Holiday: I have nothing but love and gratitude for Billie Holliday and her artistry. True love forever.“Don’t Smoke in Bed,” Peggy Lee: The first time I realized that a song didn’t need to be catchy or feel good. It could tell a story—and a great, heartbreaking one at that.“So in Love,” Ella Fitzgerald: I associate Ella Fitzgerald with my mum because she played her so regularly in our household. This song is killer.“Wild Is the Wind,” Nina Simone: Nina Simone is without doubt the greatest voice I have ever heard in my life. And this song is blissful agony to listen to from start to finish. Utter perfection.“Anyone Who Had a Heart,” Dusty Springfield: After listening to this song, I always feel like I just got gutted like a fish.“Troy,” Sinéad O’Connor: One of my most favorite singers of all time. Sinead has the voice of a creature sent from the heavens. We must strive harder to cherish her whilst she still walks amongst us.“Revenge,” Patti Smith: Patti is everything to me. She is a god. She is a light. She is my go-to when everything gets dark.“You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” The Supremes: One of the first songs I can remember singing along to into the handle of my hairbrush at the top of my lungs. Diana Ross remains, to this day. one of my most beloved stars.“Why Dya Do it,” Marianne Faithfull: This song is perfect. I wish I’d written it. A woman destroyed is a woman not to be trifled with.“Winter Kills,” Yazoo: Fucking love how twisted and dark this still sounds.“Save Me,” Joan Armatrading: I love how unique and rich Joan Armatrading’s voice is. A criminally underrated, and unsung talent.“Oh Daddy,” Fleetwood Mac: I participated in a recording of this song during music class at school. It was the first time I’d ever been inside a recording studio. My music class was very inspired by Fleetwood Mac at the time, and I remain so.“You’re Not the Only One I Know,” The Sundays: I love how deliciously cavalier this song sounds. So easy and breezy and bitchy.“I Go to Sleep,” Pretenders: I have cried myself to sleep over and over to this song. Chrissie Hynde slays me every time.“Here You Come Again,” Dolly Parton: The most brilliant and sunny angel on earth.“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Ike & Tina Turner: The vocal is completely sick.“Talking in Your Sleep,” Crystal Gayle: This song is so fucking sad! I first heard it listening to a tiny radio my grannie gave to me for my ninth birthday. I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time, but I could tell it didn’t mean anything good.“Cry Me a River,” Julie London: Such a nasty little song disguised in such silky and satin sounds.“I Will Survive,” Gloria Gaynor: Favorite rebound song of all time. Game over. Mic drop.NOTE: Shortly after this list was published, Shirley Tweeted us the following request, which we have honored, of course:
🖤Can you add in Amy Winehouse Back to Black? I don’t understand why I forgot to add this song. The voice of a generation.🖤
— Garbage (@garbage) November 10, 2017
Photo Credit: Joseph CulticeSaveSave
The ’90s have never sounded better than they do right now—especially for modern-day indie rockers. There’s no shortage of bands banging around these days whose sound suggests formative phases spent soaking up vintage ’90s indie rock. Not that the neo-’90s sound is itself a new thing. As soon as the era was far enough away in the rearview mirror to allow for nostalgia to set in (i.e., the second half of the 2000s), there were already some young artists out there onboarding ’90s alt-rock influences. But more recently, there’s been a bumper crop of bands that betray a soft spot for a time when MTV still played music videos and streaming was just something that happened in a restroom. In this context, the literate, lo-fi approach of Pavement has emerged as a particularly strong strand of the ’90s indie tapestry, and it isn’t hard to hear echoes of their sound in the work of more recent arrivals like Kiwi jr. or Teenage Cool Kids. Cherry Glazerr frontwoman Clementine Creevy seems to have a feeling for the kind of big, dirty guitar riffs that made Pacific Northwestern bands the kings of the alt-rock heap once upon a time. The world-weary, wise-guy angularity of Car Seat Headrest can bring to mind the lurching, loose-limbed attack of Railroad Jerk. And laconic, storytelling types like Nap Eyes stand to prove that there’s still a bright future ahead for those who mourn the passing of Silver Jews main man David Berman. But perhaps the best thing about a face-off between the modern indie bands evoking ’90s forebears and the old-school artists themselves is the fact that in this kind of competition, everybody wins.
It may be that 2019 was the best year for ’90s metal since, well, 1999. Bands from the decade of Judgment Night re-emerged with new creative twists and tweaks: Tool stretched out into polyrhythmic madness, Korn bludgeoned with more extreme and raw despair, Slipknot added a new drummer (Max Weinberg’s kid!) who gave them a new groove, and Rammstein wrote an anti-fascism anthem that caused controversy in Germany (and hit No. 1 there too). Elsewhere, icons of the era returned in unique ways: Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor scored a superhero TV series, Primus’ Les Claypool teamed up with Sean Lennon for some quirky psych rock, and Faith No More’s Mike Patton made an avant-decadent LP with ’70s soundtrack king Jean-Claude Vannier. Finally, the soaring voice of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington returned for a moment thanks to Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton, who released a song they recorded together in 2017.
Taking a look at the playlists for my show on Boston’s WZBC might give the more seasoned college-radio listener a bit of déjà vu: They’re filled with bands like Versus, Team Dresch, and Sleater-Kinney, who were at the top of the CMJ charts back in the ’90s. But the records they released in 2019 turned out to be some of the year’s best rock. Versus, whose Ex Nihilo EP and Ex Voto full-length were part of a creative run for leader Richard Baluyut that also included a tour by his pre-Versus outfit Flower and his 2000s band +/-, put out a lot of beautifully thrashy rock; Team Dresch returned with all cylinders blazing and singers Jody Bleyle and Kaia Wilson wailing their hearts out on “Your Hands My Pockets”; and Sleater-Kinney confronted middle age head-on with their examination of finding one’s footing, The Center Won’t Hold.Italian guitar heroes Uzeda—who have been putting out proggy, riff-heavy music for three-plus decades—released their first record in 13 years, the blistering Quocumque jerceris stabit; Imperial Teen, led by Faith No More multi-instrumentalist Roddy Bottum, kept the weird hooks coming with Now We Are Timeless; and high-concept Californians That Dog capped off a year of reissues with Old LP, their first album since 1997. Juliana Hatfield continued the creative tear she’s been on this decade with two albums: Weird, a collection of hooky, twisty songs that tackle alienation with searing wit, and Juliana Hatfield Sings the Police, her tribute record to the dubby New Wave chart heroes (in the spirit of the salute to Olivia Newton-John she released in 2018). And our playlist finishes with Mary Timony, formerly of the gnarled rockers Helium and currently part of the power trio Ex Hex, paying tribute to her former Autoclave bandmate Christina Billotte via an Ex Hex take on “What Kind of Monster Are You?,” one of the signature songs by Billotte’s ’90s triple threat Slant 6.