San Antonio-tied avant-garde musician lands on New York Magazine's best albums list

Alamo City-raised claire rousay's latest LP, sentiment, blends more familiar pop song structures with found sounds.

click to enlarge Avant-garde musician claire rousay's latest album is a more conventional pop release but still features plenty of sonic experimentation. - Facebook / Claire Rousay
Facebook / Claire Rousay
Avant-garde musician claire rousay's latest album is a more conventional pop release but still features plenty of sonic experimentation.
After picking up positive reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and other-high profile outlets, San Antonio-raised claire rousay's most recent full-length release, sentiment, has landed on New York Mag's list of the Best Albums of 2024 (So Far).

That's no mean feat for an avant-garde musician. Especially considering some of the magazine's online followers were miffed that the 18-album list left off recent LPs by superstars including Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Billie Eilish.

LA-based rousay, whose collaborations have included work with quirky Alamo City popsters Buttercup, is best known for abstract releases that incorporate improvisational passages, electronic noises and field recordings. She describes her niche as "emo ambient."

Sentiment, released by venerable indie-rock label Thrill Jockey, features more conventional pop structures paired with confessional lyrics. The delicate guitar figures and Auto-Tuned vocals are also embellished by found sounds that sound like answering machine messages and chatter from a coffee shop or bar.

Vulture, New York Magazine's standalone pop-culture section, praised the album's blend of pop and sonic exploration, adding that rousay has laid out an engaging exploration of the intersection between love and despair.

"Drifting through the psychedelic badlands adjoining Midwest emo and early post rock, sentiment — the latest full-length album from prolific singer-songwriter and found-sound composer Claire Rousay [sic] — surveys the numbness of depression with a mapmaker’s exhaustiveness," New York Magazine critic Craig Jenkins wrote.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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