Soft Friday (CD)

Coves, the highly buzzed about ‘60s-infused indie psych-rock duo, deliver a debut album that is sweeping, swirling, and full of passion. Featured as one of NME's Best Albums of 2014.

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Sun Structures (CD)

I’m rarely moved by indie bands, but I really got into this album! I really dig their melodic Beatles-esque songwriting and rhythms, and catchy key changes. This album has great dynamics and nice use of effects.

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Here and Nowhere Else (CD)
Passion drives Here and Nowhere Else to such a degree that it feels ridiculous to even try to resist. Cloud Nothings make you believe in power-chord rock ‘n’ roll again. Read more
Turn Blue (CD)

Blues-rock revivalists and general global music superstars/impresarios/tastemakers return with album eight of greasy, slinky, blues oriented boogie rock. On Turn Blue, guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach has made a shift into darker and more melancholy material, tying the band's trademark boogie to a lonesome and soulful shuffle, fomented by the singer's recent divorce. The album is co-produced by jack-of-all-sounds Danger Mouse, who imbues the record with a sheen caught somewhere between dancefloor and honky-tonk, a site the Keys reside upon comfortably and elegantly. Turn Blue is a decidedly mature record from one of the most ambitious acts in rock music today, it has the potential to please old fans with its refinement-without-compromising-pummel vibes, and the ability to invite new fans to join the fold, offering a unique take on blue-eyes soul-boogie that many contemporary rock fans are still having trouble finding.

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Life Is Easy (CD)

If Erasure’s Andy Bell was born a millennial, he might have sounded like Bright Light Bright Light. Rod Thomas’ project can be described as disco-folk—Thomas first worked as a folk artist, busking and recording demos until working with the right producers to find his sound—so his second album, Life Is Easy, sounds like a nu-disco record with a folk core. Songs like “There Are No Miracles” hearken back to a time when danceable pop songs had heart, as Thomas sings about hard life lessons over dazzling production. On album highlight “I Wish We Were Leaving,” Thomas gets to work with musical hero Elton John (with whom he’s toured), singing with an invigorated John and crafting a soothing New Age-inspired pop tune. And just when Life Is Easy is in danger of feeling a bit sleepy, Thomas drops “An Open Heart” into the mix, a booming, irresistible synth-popper, and the house-inspired “Good Luck,” successfully bridging the gap between the ’80s pop that has informed Thomas’ sound and modern, radio-ready dance music. On Life Is Easy, Thomas creates dynamic, modern pop with real feeling that somehow sounds effortless.

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Diploid Love (CD)

The queen of punk is back! Still angry, but with a little more gloss. Diploid Love is a journey into the artist’s new life: motherhood, sobriety, and her lack of concern with the world. Some tracks will have you back in the pit, but this album’s shine is dripping with pop and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll anthems.

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Luminous (CD)

The Horrors have risen from a spate of NME-touted bands that mostly fizzled or got crappy to steadily improve upon themselves with each subsequent release. Following the Birthday Party-inspired noise pop of their debut, still-noisy yet more refined follow-up and the more grandiose Skying, The Horrors pull it all together masterfully on Luminous. “Chasing Shadows” emerges unhurried waiting nearly a full three minutes before it unleashes its shoegaze guitar bends, gleaming synthesizers and a steady beat and bassline that keep everything circling around them. “First Day of Spring” continues in the same fashion, pairing scenic guitar noise with a steady groove and Faris Badwan’s soaring tenor. From there, Luminous gets more and more interesting. “So You Know Now” pulls a fake-out, starting like a ballad and continuing into grooving new-waver. “In and Out of Sight” pours on synthesizers whirling like dancefloor lights while the band’s spectacular rhythm section keeps things propulsive yet always grounded. Despite these forays into more rhythmic territory, Luminous doesn’t feel like a departure—there’s still copious guitar noise on songs like “Jealous Sun” that feels like a bone thrown to longtime fans, and even with its Giorgio Moroder-style synths, “I See You” packs a dreamy chorus and room for thunderous drum breaks. It’s remarkable that The Horrors are able to incorporate these new sounds into the fold without missing a step. Luminous might just be the best thing they’ve ever done.

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No Peace (CD)

It’s Trash Talk! What else needs to be said?! If you’re not listening to this band by now, you should be. Plus they’re from Sacramento! Favorite song: “Body Stuffer.”

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Nikki Nack (CD)

tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus has always seemed outright phobic of sounding like anyone else, mangling her elastic voice, drums loops and kitchen-sink instrumentation into a cartoonish assembling of sounds that only slightly resembles other indie pop of its ilk. “On the one hand, there is what sounds good, on the other there is what’s true,” she sings on the relatively low-key “Look Around,” as if addressing any criticisms of her music head-on. However, Nikki Nack is Garbus’ best album because she’s able here to wrangle her wild ideas into instantly memorable pop songs that are still nonetheless really effing strange. Whether she’s inventing new hopscotch cheers with Busta Rhymes references on “Water Fountain,” skipping along cabaret-jazz vibes on “Real Thing” or creating alien freestyle jams like “Sink-O” and “Wait for a Minute,” Garbus remains definitely tuned to her own frequency. However, these songs are as rife with hooks as they are loaded with tangents and unstoppable energy. The songs that aren’t as concerned with rule-breaking on Nikki Nack are almost more striking in that they reveal the power of Garbus’ incredible voice and her ability to make even a seemingly straightforward song hauntingly unusual, as on songs like “Time of Dark,” which reveal themselves to be highlights upon repeated listens. tUnE-yArDs still isn’t for everyone—there’s a childlike reading called “Why Do We Dine on the Tots?” that’s a bit of groan-worthy performance art—but listeners who may have shied away from tUnE-yArDs bizzaro pop in the past will find lots to feast on here, as Nikki Nack is always more intriguing than off-putting in its otherness. Listening requires plenty of trust, but Garbus makes falling down the rabbit hole with her well worth it on Nikki Nack.

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The Satanist [CD/DVD] (CD)

Already hailed as a classic of the genre, The Satanist arrives with ample hype from the death metal community. Luckily, Behemoth blow away expectations throughout their 10th album. “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” begins with familiar enough surroundings—a low-end, Sabbath-inspired riff, a processional and Nergal’s shredded yet intelligible vocals—but they blow the thing apart with tribal beats and ghostly synths that explode in the middle of the song and don’t let up for its remainder. “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” offers no such soft pedaling, launching right into its pummeling beats, gothic riffs and satanic, individualist lyrics. Though Behemoth trade in familiar death metal tropes, their tones and subjects are so well-considered across the album that the Polish band can only be called masters of the genre at this point. The Satanist is a thing to admire, ungodly in its power of noise.

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