OMD – Dazzle Ships (link to original issue CD)
I always liked OMD enough for their singles, especially “Enola Gay,” but I never really delved into their albums until this one, a mini masterpiece of whirring industrial synthesizers and indelible pop melodies. Some of OMD’s catchiest songs (“Genetic Engineering,” “Telegraph”) are interrupted by bits of shortwave broadcast played over oceanic synthesizers that lend the whole thing an eerie ambiance. It feels like listening to the radio on a submarine. There’s also a young band called Dazzle Ships; they’re really cool too.
The Beach Boys – Sunflower (new LP)
Sunflower is maybe the last classic the Beach Boys made and is all the more ripe for rediscovering because its songs haven’t been played to death (it wasn’t a hit in the U.S.) and its tastefully layered production sounds great today on harmony-driven songs like “Forever” and “Cool, Cool Water,” fun ’70s rocker “Slip on Through” and, especially, “All I Wanna Do,” which may have helped invent shoegaze.