Believe the Hype - No Ripcord Recommendations

  • Big Thief Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

    To borrow a turn of phrase, Big Thief focus on, quite literally, the journey and not the destination. The result is the most compelling case in years on the potential of the journey—the insights to be gleaned, the friendships to be strengthened, your own potential waiting to be untapped. Albums like Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You make you believe in magic again.
  • Spoon Lucifer On the Sofa

    Lucifer on the Sofa could be considered a more straight-ahead, minimalist affair. That said, it also retains Spoon's ability to reshape classic rock sounds and color outside the lines.
  • Ovlov Buds

    Despite getting out their humorous side in song titles and social media, Ovlov nonetheless funnel all their passion and expertise into their exhilarating sound.
  • Hana Vu Public Storage

    Steeped in alt-rock and new wave influences and "you can't prove this is about you" vagaries, Vu's full-length debut is just the right balance of melodrama, defiance, and inhibition.
  • Self Esteem Prioritise Pleasure

    With Prioritise Pleasure, Rebecca Taylor has likely coined enough slogans to retire on t-shirt sales alone, but it’s also one of the most insightful pop records this year.
  • illuminati hotties Let Me Do One More

    Cheekily titled Let Me Do One More, the album stays true to Tudzin's self-proclaimed promise of delivering “all riprs and no more skiprs”—brimming with a joyful energy that feels equally confident and empowered. The album is a powerful declaration coming from a pop savant who is upping her songwriting chops behind deceptively simple songwriting.
  • Little Simz Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

    The immeasurable talent that hides behind Simbiatu Ajikawo's fourth LP's nineteen tracks confirms that she's one of the greatest artists of her generation. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is an open window into the deep and private thoughts the London-based wants to share with us, aware that there's strength in being vulnerable.
  • Darkside Spiral

    Enter Spiral, Darkside’s triumphant return after an eight-year hiatus. Announced at the tail-end of 2020 with the release of lead single Liberty Bell, the album comes as both a pleasant surprise and a much-needed shot in the arm for 2021, pun completely intended. After two years of global turmoil (or, if we’re being more brutally honest, universal misery), hearing what these two virtuosic artists had been concocting whilst holed up in the studio with nowhere much else to go is, put bluntly, life-affirming. And that’s exactly what Spiral is: an alchemical concoction of beats, textures, sonic flourishes, and melodies that sound like they were recorded in a world that had no precedent.
  • Charlotte Day Wilson Alpha

    The long period leading up to this record – not to mention the time afforded for additional audio work due to the coronavirus pandemic – means Wilson has had the space to hone her sound and deliver upon the potential her earlier releases promised.
  • Dry Cleaning New Long Leg

    New Long Leg was constructed in pieces on a wiped-down, passed-around tape deck—the new pandemic normal. It could easily have suffered for it, but the production is masterful. On Unsmart Lady, the tracks are layered so purposefully that when the guitar trickles away every few measures leaving a moment of bare bass, it’s like a curtain of water parting. It yields the floor for Shaw’s punchiest lyric (“If you like a girl, be nice/it’s not rocket science,”) before dissolving into a fiercely rugged but painfully short guitar riff that takes us breathlessly up and over the climax and into the denouement. This push and pull between instruments and vocals, cleverly punctuated with just the right amount of silence, is what gives New Long Leg its seductive tension.