This Month's Picks

Reward (CD)

Cate Le Bon
Cate Le Bon’s aptly named Reward is a real winner. The quietly powerful Welsh songwriter dreamed up the album while living in relative isolation in England’s Lake District and attending a year-long architecture program where she learned to make furniture. It’s a great album creation story — and an even better album. Eschewing her usual reliance on the guitar, Le Bon turned to the piano for this new collection of songs. (Don’t worry, the guitar still makes an appearance, as does a saxophone!) The result is an intimate, slightly wistful album imbued with clarity and captivating melodies. Highly recommended. More
Genre: Rock

RAMMSTEIN (CD)

Rammstein
As possibly the most consistently successful German rock band of the new millennium, not only in Europe but with plenty crossover appeal in the States as well, Rammstein’s previous studio album arrived all the way back in 2009. The band has been on a recording hiatus for the past decade, preferring to perfect their renowned live act. With the release of their untitled seventh album, that hiatus is officially over. Appropriately, the album sounds like a decade’s worth of musical ideas suddenly unleashed at once, at times incorporating country-like twang, dramatic string orchestration, and Europop influences alongside the band’s industrial chug. More
Genre: Rock

A Golden State (CD)

Luke Sital-Singh
Luke Sital-Singh delivers his third album of folk rock, entitled A Golden State in a tribute to his relocation from England to California. Filled with personal reflections and often quietly uplifting, tracks like “Lover” slide into subtle, melodic choruses while “Almost Gone” wraps the listener in warm piano chords. On “The Last Day,” Sital-Singh draws in listeners with his slightly husky voice and liquid figure-picking, while “Los Angeles” is an unabashedly sweet ode to starting a new life in a new place. This is an album with its heart on its sleeve, perfect for sleepy but hopeful weekend mornings. More
Genre: Rock

Here Comes The Cowboy (CD)

Mac DeMarco
A lone figure rides into Indie Rock Town. He’s a straight shooter, unmatched in his ability to create lovably goofy, naturally infectious jangle pop. He’s the man, the myth, the Canadian legend, Mac DeMarco, and his latest album is called Here Comes the Cowboy . Fusing his new and deeply weird (check out the album visuals, music videos, and promo materials) Wild West persona with lazy, dreamy lo-fi and the occasional jammed-out funk shuffle, the album promises the kind of left-of-center pleasures that have won over fans from across the spectrum. Essential summer listening for fans of sweet, silly college rock and riding off into the sunset. More
Genre: Rock

12 Little Spells (CD)

Esperanza Spalding
In Esperanza Spalding's music, the orchestral meets the art-funk and the prog, shedding genre restraints in favor of sheer inventiveness. The Bjork-esque concept for her new album, 12 Little Spells , is that each song is dedicated to a body part or function, which in someone else's hands might sound superficial, but the sophisticated music and witty lyrics surpass the concept; ultimately it's just a springboard for Spalding's mountains of talent. “The Longing Deep Down,” for example, is an avant-garde, at times spoken-word, steadily building, fascinating rumination that evokes much more than the abdominal system. The title track is certainly a highlight with its magical atmosphere and incantational melody – in unlikely praise of the thoracic spine. More
Genre: Jazz

Being Human In Public / Kiddo [Indie Exclusive] (CD)

Jessie Reyez
The eclectic Jessie Reyez combines her two EPs, Being Human In Public and  Kiddo , into this double release. Her direct and raw lyrics delivered in a scratchy baby-voiced wail lend her a tough vulnerability first revealed in Kiddo 's straggly ballad, “Figures,” and is reinforced in the near-mumble rap tune, “Fuck Being Friends” from Being Human In Public . “Shutter Island” offers Lorde-esque, light R&B touches while the lyrically dark “Gatekeeper” edges even further into that genre; “Body Count” bursts free as a poppier anthem against slut-shaming. More
Genre: Soul

Age Hasn't Spoiled You (CD)

Greys
Toronto rock band Greys experiment more with post-punk than grungy guitar rock on their new album, but still lean on the '90s fuzz. In contrast to their sophomore release, Age Hasn't Spoiled You offers tracks like “Kill Appeal” - angular and dark, with just a nod towards the industrial, and a driving chorus that almost sounds like Iceage. Yet “These Things Happen” has a distortion-heavy, catchy chorus more reminiscent of Blur, contrasted with lyrics about fatigue in the face of social and political issues. The band merges these disparate elements surprisingly effectively, delivering strong dynamics and melodies. “Arc Light” starts out droney and chilly with heavy vocal effects and then morphs into an uplifting chorus that somehow still works. More
Genre: Rock

Berserker (CD)

Amon Amarth
Gods of Viking metal Amon Amarth roar back onto the battle ground with the mighty Berserker . Taking its name from the most formidable human warriors in Norse mythology, the album is jam-packed with fierce dragons, sun-eating wolves and fearsome scenes of war. Berserker finds Amon Amarth branching out from their usual riff-heavy, riotous sound; though, of course, there’s plenty of head banging to be had, there are also moments of calm, pseudo-classical acoustic sections and even a string ensemble. Fans should find plenty to enjoy as the band pushes the envelope into uncharted sonic territory. More
Genre: Rock

Happy To Be Here (CD)

Barrie
Barrie’s debut LP Happy To Be Here is charming, upbeat and sweet as candy. It’s basically bubblegum dreampop, with infectious hooks and dreamy, breezy melodies. There’s something familiar and cozy about the LP that still sounds fresh—these are the sort of songs you feel you’ve been needing your whole life and now that they’re finally here, all is right in this pastel-hued world. Ideal for lazy summer afternoons, beach parties, and being young and carefree. More
Genre: Rock

Violet Street (CD)

Local Natives
After nearly ten years in the indie rock game, Local Natives sound fresher and more vital than ever on their new album, Violet Street . The band have mastered the art of layering vocal harmonies over smooth yet heart-rending melodies, creating gorgeous songs that are simultaneously funky and soul-stirring. Need a slightly melancholy toe-tapper? That’s “When Am I Gonna Lose You.” Looking for the perfect soundtrack for your desert road trip? There’s the sweeping, cinematic “Cafe Amarillo.” Violet Street is all killer, no filler; a perfectly polished pearl of an LP. More
Genre: Rock