Let’s face it: There is a lot of music out there nowadays. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with every blog find and critical darling, so we’ve decided to put together a weekly guide for new releases that will make your head spin. This week’s review (October 6th) dives into multiple layers of synth pop and alternative rock with albums from the likes of Citizen, Kelela, Yumi Zouma, Wolf Parade, and more.
Blis. : No One Loves You
The Atlanta foursome are the winners of this year’s Bands That Hate SEO contest but with good reason. Their debut LP is a sturdy alt rock wonder that parries the descriptor “emo” with similarities to Modest Mouse and Pedro The Lion, and sonic assaults (“Home”, “Stale Smoke”) that swing for the cheap seats.
Blue Hawaii : Tenderness
Montreal exports Raphaelle Standell and Alexander Kerby return with a concept album about digital love — one that flirts with disco, house, and rose-coloured pop come-ons that are painfully irresistible.
Citizen : As You Please
[Run For Cover]
The Michigan/Ohio punks’ latest tackles discontent in the Heartland and as a result, turns their floor-hugging grunge moods into polaroids of How Strange, Innocence. Their instinct for “noise v.s. beauty” is still intact (“Medicine”) but the way it blooms during the album’s quieter phases (“Flowerchild”, “As You Please”) is why they are one of the most promising rock bands of this generation.
Cults : Offering
Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have left the film score riffs behind but Offering is a dreamy eclipse of everything that makes Cults addictive as hell. “Right Words” and “With My Eyes Closed” glitter-fy shades of Lonerism while “Natural State” is a spacedusted split of fuzz, doo-wop, and heartbreak.
Ducktails : Jersey Devil
If St. Catherine was Matt Mondanile’s departure from lo-fi, then Jersey Devil is his attempt at making a jazzed-out indie rock record you could have sex to. Use it responsibly but don’t forget the LaCroix.
Kelela : Take Me Apart
The 14 tracks on Kelela’s debut spam the feels that come with lust (and breakups) but they play out like radically digitized nods to Love Deluxe. “Frontline” is entirely physical; “Turn To Dust” is backlit by the dark side of the moon; and “Jupiter” and “S.O.S.” are snippets that “just wanna fuck”. It makes for an album that’s decisively mesmerizing, especially given Kel’s desire to test pop’s libido.
Liam Gallagher : As You Were
Liam’s post-Dig Out Your Soul debut is unapologetically bold because unlike other 90s’ relief efforts, it’s not cluttered with bullshit. “Paper Crown” bleeds Oasis while “You Better Run”, “Wall Of Glass”, and “Doesn’t Have To Be That Way” have the younger Gallagher being an invincible form of his better self.
Strange Ranger : Daymoon
Daymoon is steeped in honesty, wit, and ambient moods but underneath the glum Transatlanticism haze is a Portland, OR band that embraces growth and gives us a reason to fall for the Pacific Northwest.
TOKiMONSTA : Lune Rouge
[Young Art Records]
Jennifer Lee’s ability to craft storytelling beats is second to none and it’s why her latest is an inescapable head rush. In just 11 tracks, Lune Rouge finds its zone and sticks to it — whipping up solo breakouts (“Bibimbap”) and guest-studded pop hits (“Estrange”, “We Love”) while leaving enough room for smoother selects to work out their own vibe. “NO WAY” is one of them and rest assured, it goes.
Wolf Parade : Cry Cry Cry
[Sub Pop Records]
Cry Cry Cry is Wolf Parade’s first full LP since 2010’s Expo 86 and it’s a massive swing into the grandiose side of alt rock. Case in point: “Baby Blue” is a Bowie-in-the-garage blast of guitars and bliss.
Yumi Zouma : Willowbank
Yumi Zouma’s Willowbank is the perfect indie-pop album: hazy, romantic, and confidently poetic. The New Zealand group spend much of it showing off a shorthand for disco (“Persephone”, “Us, Together”) but it’s difficult to ignore their gift for finding new uses for old song structures. “Ostra”, “Other People”, “A Memory”, and “Carnation” burn with entirely different tempos and the group adjust accordingly — lacing each with an assortment of guitars and melodies that are designed to make your heart explode.