Black Lips — 'Sing In A World That's Falling Apart'
The wild and rabble-rousing Black Lips are back with their rebellious signature garage rock style that is now blended with some satisfying country and Americana grooves. 20 years into their odd-career, this is the best release from the Atlanta outlaws since their Mark Ronson-produced 2011 magnum-opus 'Arabia Mountain.' As tracks like “Hooker John” and “Rumbler” are indicative of what the band is known for, there’s a sense of sophistication and composure, especially on the Dylan-esque “Get It On Time.” The Black Lips aren’t for everybody, but two decades into their career, they hatched up a release that will go down as one of the finest releases of the year.
The beloved Canandian indie rockers Wolf Parade have just released their fifth studio album 'Thin Mind,' which shows the band staying true to their artful rock and post-punk style, but this time with some new wave romantic aesthetics. The riffs are propulsive, the hooks are dark and sharp and the vocals are intense. But as cynical as the songwriting is here, the band leaves you with some encouragement to make a difference in the world and to evaluate ourselves as human beings.
Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf follows his excellent 2016 solo album 'The Party' with another conceptual release titled 'The Neon Skyline.' Shauf’s new record follows the events in a single night, starting with the narrator going to a local bar, then finding out an old fling is in town—from there the story begins to unravel on each song. The songwriting is well-detailed and intricate, especially on the album’s jaunty opening track, where Schauf evokes nostalgia with the tonality of sixties music, especially Paul Simon. But he’s no copycat, he’s a true musician.
Baker Street Music — 'Baker Street Music' (Self-titled debut)
The up-and-coming Rochester jazz and soul quinet Baker Street released their self-titled debut earlier this month and quite frankly, so far it’s one of the finest local releases of the year. Led by a group of multi-skilled musicians from Nazareth College, their new release is quite expansive and wide-ranging. There’s a blend of various musical styles including: funk, reggae, blues and rock. The songs are well-crafted with their soulful and warm vocals that overlay the grooving and jammy instrumentals. The title track even sounds like it has a touch of the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street,” which should be enough to pull you in.
On their third collaborative release, the respected and prolific James Yorkston, Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan continue together to make counter-cultural music that pushes all boundaries. Fusing Scottish folk with classical Indian styles and soothing jazz, the trio brings you an album that is deeply filled with emotions and sounds from across the world.
The indie pop singer/songwriter has shared the third single off her upcoming debut album 'Notes on Sex and Wine.' The new single “Drinking For 2” finds the indie pop chanteuse combining classic R&B with her beautifully daring signature pop style that is filled with dreamy and atmospheric layers of instrumentals.
AWOLNATION — “Mayday!!! Fiesta Fever” (ft. Alex Ebert)
Awolnation are back with their latest disco-whirling and soulful single “Mayday!!! Fiesta Fever” that features Alex Ebert, the frontman of the beloved indie folk group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The punchy and instant hook is what really grabs you and frontman Aaron Bruno is certainly bringing it all on this one. This is the latest single from the upcoming album 'Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders,'out April 24.
Touching upon garage rock and a somewhat detour of electronic music on last year’s once-rejected album 'Groove Denied,' the Jicks and former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus announced his upcoming third solo release titled 'Traditional Techniques,' out March 6. This week, he shared the first taste from it with the single “Xian Man” which carries the aesthetic of a classic Velvet Underground song with its hazy folk style, but stimulating and mind-bending bursts of fuzz.
The new experimental electronic side-project of Joey Walker, King Gizzard’s guitarist and vocalist, has been quite a mystery compared to the other King Gizz side projects. Walker first released the single “The Simpsons Suck Now,” with a short film to accompany it last month and announced an upcoming album titled 'Tyson, Crying' out Jan. 31. Some fans also picked up that he featured one of the songs on the upcoming album’s track listing in the King Gizz online video game released last summer. But today he just released the second single “XHamster Invoice,” which is not just ambient noise this time. Instead it’s shadowy minimal techno with a throbbing beat.
After seven years, Pearl Jam is back with the dancy, electronic and Talking Heads-esque “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” the first single from the upcoming LP 'Gigaton,' out March 27. Even if this isn’t the style fans were expecting, according to guitarist Stone Gossard in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, there will definitely be “some really straight-ahead rock songs” and “some very spare and very simple ballads” implying the new album will practically cover everything.