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Elliott Smith

Essential albums of 2015: Bjork, Kendrick and 8 others on the edge of pop

Essential albums of 2015: Bjork, Kendrick and 8 others on the edge of pop

Embarking on a mid-year rundown of 2015's best pop albums so far is as much an exercise in mix-and-match diplomacy as it is a definitive truth. Within the various portals of "popular music" in 2015 are so many sounds, approaches, accents, instrumental varieties and ear-popping engineering feats that one tilt of the kaleidoscope yields wildly divergent patterns. I've constrained myself to focus on voices pushing at the edges of so-called popular music. Below, 10 essential records released so far in 2015, in alphabetical order: Alabama Shakes, "Sound & Color" (ATO Records). The second album from Alabama Shakes eases in, as if to beguile its way into...

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