The Albums You Need to Know About Every Week
This week, our top releases are really across the board. We’ve got WHY?’s pseudo-hip-hop charm balanced with the symphonic feel of Sun Airway, Matt & Kim’s high-energy alternative rock and Taken By Trees’ mellow, Hawaiian vibes. The Mountain Goats released their fourteenth studio album, Muse their sixth and The Vaccines their second. We’ve got a great mix going here, and I’m certain there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
MATT & KIM – LIGHTNING
From their formation in 2005, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim (@mattandkim) have been killing it in the indie rock scene. Their raw, high-energy style has matured over the years, but remained idiosyncratic enough to make their songs easily identifiable. This week, they released their fourth studio album, Lightning, on Fader. Lightning is a great continuation to their discography — I’m hearing a lot more experimentation with electronics, while the two still maintain their signature simple hooks and loud, boisterous sound. Check out the album’s first single, “Let’s Go”, above as Pat the Roc does athletic stuff to the music!
THE VACCINES – COMES OF AGE
As The Vaccines’ (@therealvaccines) frontman, Justin Young puts it, “Great records are not perfect– they’re human.” By those qualifications, we’ve got another great one on the way this week — the London band is releasing their sophomore album, Come of Age. Since their first release in 2011, The Vaccines have been compared to the greats, such as The Strokes and The Ramones. They’ve got a knack for being acutely aware of how to construct a good pop song while maintaining a genuine feel. Whatever it is, something about this band is just so darn likable.
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS – TRANSCENDENTAL YOUTH
This week, California indie folk band The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) released their fourteenth studio album, Transcendental Youth, on Merge Records. The album’s single, “Cry For Judas” has veritably one of the best basslines of any song on this list. There are a lot of compliments I could dish out to frontman John Darnielle, but it’s probably more effective to step back let the longstanding quality and uniqueness of his music speak for itself.
MUSE – THE 2ND LAW
If there’s one thing Muse (@muse) have never failed to do, it’s creep under their listeners’ skin. Their sixth studio album, The 2nd Law, is a firm departure from all of their previous releases, taking on heavier elements of dubstep and electronica. Judging from single “Unsustainable”, Muse have now centered their focus on unsettling us and snatching us swiftly out of our comfort zone. Unique and boundary-pushing only begins to describe The 2nd Law. Below, you’ll find the video for the single, in which the album’s title is thoroughly (albeit spookily) explained.
TAKEN BY TREES – OTHER WORLDS
If Muse’s new material is just a little too sinister for you, sit back and sink into Taken By Trees’ (@takenbytrees) third studio album, Other Worlds. The project’s solo member, Victoria Bergsman, drew her inspiration for the album from a trip to Hawaii, a fact that’s reflected wonderfully in the music. One of my personal favorite releases over the past few months, this album is relaxing yet upbeat; happy yet mysterious; eclectic yet smooth. The Swedish songstress mixes Hawaiian with reggae and folk only to emerge amidst a great big sea of awesome. Listen to her groovy single, “Large,” above.
SUN AIRWAY – SOFT FALL
Jon Barthmus, the man behind Philadelphia’s Sun Airway (@sunairway), has mastered the art of handcrafting “lush, symphonic pop.” He’s spent the past three years at home recording his sophomore release, Soft Fall, and has worked his way to arrive at a pretty amazing sound. The album has elements of dreampop, as well as hints of classical and alt-rock, but it feels like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Meticulously and delicately constructed, the music of Sun Airway is rich, ambient, and satisfying.
WHY? – MUMPS, ETC.
I distinctly recall the first time I heard WHY? (@whywithaquestionmark) — my heart was racing, my hands were sweating, and my jaw was on the floor. Full-on shock mode. After recovering a few minutes later, I began dancing like I was in a club (while alone in my bedroom). This music is so absurdly cool, you can’t believe you’ve never heard it before, but, at the same time, it’s so weird you’re stunned it’s actually real. This week, WHY? released their fourth full-length album, Mumps, Etc. I urge you to give it a listen — the beats, the lyrics, and the hooks will all have you dying for more.