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MUNA (CD)

MUNA is the Lilith Fair vibin’, queer and minority indie pop trio 2022 needs. With glossy, upbeat melodies anchored by lyrics filled with longing and unease, MUNA’s self-titled new album exemplifies the saying that joy is an act of resistance. Lead single “Silk Chiffon” is an undeniably catchy celebration of queer identity, romance, and living life to its fullest. Throughout the album, the band channels the great chart-toppin’, alterna-rock ladies of the ’90s while adding in dashes of bouncy electro pop and sassy, smart pop country. Out on Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, MUNA is ready to be the soundtrack to your summer.

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Magic Sign (LP)

Real Estate songwriter Martin Courtney’s second solo album Magic Sign is soothing yet bittersweet, evocative and fresh. This boldly original album features feels steeped in nostalgia for those aimless endless summer teenaged days, that youthful yearning for an as-yet-unwritten future turned back to look wistfully on the past. On “Corncob,” Courtney offers up a country twang-twinged ‘80s synth track with keening guitars, swirling soundscapes, AM gold harmonies, and gauzy textures. It’s unexpected, and once you hear it, absolutely essential. “Sailboat” has a more straightforward Reagan era vibe, with a deeply compelling melody that calls to mind classic jangle pop and college rock. An emotionally rewarding album that’ll have you looking for signs in your own life.

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Otherness (CD)

It has been a long wait for Alexisonfire fans: thirteen years, in fact. Fortunately, Otherness is worth it. The album showcases the post-hardcore sound that made the band a cult fave, even as the band pushes their sound forward in new and exciting ways. Expect searing guitar solos, brutal drums, and vocals that switch effortlessly between intensely emotional anthemic style choruses and punishing, rage-fueled screams. Otherness is, at its heart, a solid rock ’n’ roll album powered by hardcore, motivated by the desire to push boundaries and inspired by the injection of genres outside their usual milieu.

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Excess (CD)

Automatic’s Excess feels like early Factory Records post-punk meets Ze Records mutant disco, all distilled through a contemporary lens. The LA trio treads the line between ‘70s motorik sound explorations and cynical ‘80s synth, taking on (unfortunately) timeless topics of consumerism, alienation, and nihilistic frivolity. And they do it with such icy cool, impeccable style! The tracks are hypnotic with a hint of danger, featuring stabbing synths, droning bass, and precision percussion. In Automatic’s sleek cosmopolitan nightmare, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s room for the darkly danceable, and the album’s momentum builds enjoyably as the mood moves from tense and tightly-wound to…tense and trance-inducing.

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Life Is Yours (CD)

On their seventh studio album, Life Is Yours, Foals sound reinvigorated, exuberant, and joyful. It's their first album as a trio and their first with multiple producers behind the board, with Dan Carey (Wet Leg, Fontaines D.C.), John Hill (Cage the Elephant, Carly Rae Jepsen), and A.K. Paul (Jai Paul, Big Boi) all contributing. The songs feel fresh and fun; they're ideal summer listening, instant mood expanders that are guaranteed to make you wish you could trade in your office/car/kitchen for a dance floor. Jam-packed with undeniably enjoyable indie bangers, this is the type of record that'll stay in heavy rotation for months to come.

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Remade In Misery (CD)

Memphis May Fire find hope amidst the anguish on their first album since 2018, Remade in Misery. Both sonically and emotionally, the songs are remarkably textured, with eye-of-the-storm melodic breakdowns, punishing riffs, and confessional choruses. The lyrics delve into the darker aspects of the human experience—the struggle to find your way, the feeling of being lost—but no matter how intense things get, Memphis May Fire manages to bring us back to a sense of purpose and power in pressing forward in spite of it all. Intense, urgent, and affirming, Remade in Misery is a thrilling journey.

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Profound Mysteries (CD)

Royksopp’s new release, Profound Mysteries, is more than just an album; it’s a whole multi-pronged conceptual project. The universe of Mysteries includes films and visualizers described as “artifacts”—if it all seems very intellectual and gallery chic, you’ll be glad to learn that the music doesn’t require a PhD in art criticism to enjoy, just a beating heart and an appreciation for soaring electronica. Standout tracks include the Alison Goldfrapp-voiced “Impossible” and the disco-tinged “Breathe” featuring Astrid S. There’s no filler on this collection; all the songs create their own mini world that blends elegantly into the album as a whole. These are Mysteries you’ll want to explore.

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Rufus Does Judy At Capitol Studios (CD)

There are album releases…and then there are event album releases. This latter category is all about what’s larger-than-life: the artistry, the voice, the history, the glamour. Rufus Wainwright’s Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios checks all those boxes, with aplomb. It’s the album version of Rufus’ June 10, 2021 virtual tour performance at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, during which he recreated Judy Garland’s live concert recording, Judy at Carnegie Hall, in the same studio where Garland once performed, and on the very same microphone. As an added bonus, Rufus is joined by sister Martha Wainwright and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth. This heartfelt, soulful album isn’t just iconic—with Rufus covering Judy, it’s doubly iconic.

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Live [2CD + Blu-ray] (CD)

Few artists could do it like Prince. Case in point: the new album version of Prince and the Revolution’s legendary Live, the companion piece to the Grammy-nominated concert film of his Syracuse Career Dome performance on the Purple Rain Tour. Remixed from the original multitrack master reels, all the power, energy, and passion of that night come pouring through your speakers. The album’s jam-packed with classic track after classic track, from opener “Let’s Go Crazy” to the grand finale, “Purple Rain.” An absolutely essential release from one of the most visionary artists of our time.

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Every Five Seconds (CD)

The FIXX return with their first album in nearly a decade, the excellent Every Five Seconds. Featuring the band’s original lineup, the songs here still possess the power and urgency of their classic era work. “Wake Up” is a darkly cool, almost menacing lullaby. “Closer” is an attention-grabbing, rollicking rocker with an infectious chorus. “Take You Want” sounds like a long-lost ‘80s gem, with its insistent chorus and bewitching verses. It’s always satisfying when a long-running band like The FIXX release new material that sounds as impassioned and vital as their career-defining early works. That’s what Every Five Seconds does: it’s great fun, with great emotional depth.

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