Reviews of new records from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Alvvays, and more


Shabazz Palaces, Lese Majesty
The Seattle outsider hip-hop duo’s critically beloved debut, Black Up, was exquisitely made but robotically cold in its delivery. For their encore full-length, Shabazz Palaces let a little fresh air and whimsy slip into their dense mélange of whispered rhymes and slack-jawed space beats. The slightly-loosened-up attitude helps turn shambolic backdoor bangers such as ”They Come in Gold” into intimate headphone masterpieces. B+

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
Nearly 40 years into his hit-filled career, Petty is still anxious. ”See those fault lines laid out like land mines/It’s hard to relax,” he sings on ”Fault Lines,” the standout track on his latest. All of Hypnotic carries a sense of knowing urgency, as though jamming on itchy blues is the only logical defense against the inevitable. The fact that ”Red River” and ”U Get Me High” have grandly escalating, lush hooks should also help keep the darkness at bay. A-

Alvvays, Alvvays
First albums rarely arrive catchier or more self-assured than this Toronto indie-pop quintet’s frothy inaugural go. The band marries hard jangle guitars, gauzy distortion, and singer Molly Rankin’s arresting coo, which is capable of unraveling teen narratives and dashing off one-liners such as ”We could find comfort in debauchery” with equal aplomb. A-