Hole / Nobody’s Daughter / Universal
When you’re broken and scarred, all you can really do is write. Courtney Love has shown that with the latest release from her group Hole. Despite the absence of a few past comrades, Nobody’s Daughter is an unmarked release saturated in a revived 90s’ sound. The obvious anguish in Love’s voice aided by traditional, simple chords fabricates different gems about past lovers (“Pacific Coast Highway”) and channels vintage Hole (“Nobody’s Daughter”, “Honey”) that’s satisfyingly pleasant. The release could be imprinted as Love’s new solo venture, but in reality, it’s a tattered piece of evidence displaying why she’s considered to be an influential musician.
Download: “Pacific Coast Highway”, “Honey”
Crystal Castles / Crystal Castles / Fiction
Take a look at that cover closely. Feel a tad bit frightened or intimidated? It’s only natural. The second self-titled disc from the experimental electronic duo Crystal Castles isn’t a stuffed animal with large cute eyes or a rainbow on its side. Instead its one with an eye patch, a torn arm and knack for entrancing electronic music that’s ambitious yet diabolical. It could be said the 14 numbers on the release seem refined – as they could very well be – but they’re nothing but raw underneath the skin.
The blatantly creepy “Vietnam” and “Year Of Silence” intrigue with their offbeat grooves while tunes like “Pap Smear” and “Baptism” manipulate your emotions, twisting them to drip thoughts of pleasure. But what undeniably stands out like a prized scar is “Doe Deer” as its complex, unholy and proof that Crystal Castles aren’t for the faint of heart, but for those that relish being decimated poetically.
Download: “Doe Deer”, “Baptism”
Two Door Cinema Club / Tourist History / Kitsune Music
Combine the heartfelt presence of Death Cab For Cutie and the guitar rhythms of Bloc Party and Broken Social Scene and out pops a baby named Two Door Cinema Club. The Northern Ireland trio’s long-awaited release Tourist Eyes captures their youth and enlightens listeners with tales about love and progression. Singer Alex Trimble will spark comparisons to Tokyo Police Club with his mesmeric, wholesome lyrics, but his vocals pack a punch designed for the dancefloor. There is room for the group to grow, but it isn’t essential at the moment as they’re too busy clocking emo kids in the face and telling them it’s time to grow up.
Download: “I Can Talk”, “Undercover Martyn”
The Mynabirds / What We Lose In The Fire.. / Saddle Creek
Named after a supergroup comprised of Neil Young, Rick James and members of Steppenwolf, this project from singer Laura Burhenn demonstrates what the 60s’ venture would have sounded like. Merging soul and gospel and piercing it with garage rock, Burhenn’s voice drives the record taking ears on a journey that makes one ponder if they’re indulging in a nostalgic LP from older times. The influences and innocent vocals are bound to appeal to Motown groupies of all ages, but the debut from The Mynabirds isn’t a party record. Instead it’s one you turn to for comfort and a chance to croon when no one’s looking.
Plants And Animals / La La Land / Secret City
Call it “post-classic rock” or “barbecue rock”, Plants And Animals’ second release simply rocks even if the band doesn’t quite sound the same. La La Land is a new direction for the Canadian indie band and although it’s not quite as stunning as the group’s debut, it’s a polished record fans shouldn’t be afraid to embrace. The twang in the opener “Tom Cruz” with its straight-up indie fuzz, sets the tone for the album, smoothly leading into tracks like the awkward yet delightful “American Idol” and catchy single “The Mama Papa”. There are a few scattered pitfalls that make it difficult to grasp the record, but the closing “Jeans Jeans Jeans” reassures the three-piece still walk the indie walk that solidified their name as a group you just can’t ignore.
Download: “The Mama Papa”, “Jeans Jeans Jeans”
B.o.B. / The Adventures Of Bobby Ray / Grand Hustle
Hip-hop artists always have it easy with debuts. Take B.o.B. for example. The hyped Atlanta rapper sets free The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, a natural release that has your set of star-studded collaborations (Eminem, T.I., Rivers Cuomo, Hayley Williams) and your original contributions. But what separates B.o.B. from the stereotypical is he’s inventive. His flow is unique, he has a sense of charm and swagger when he drops lines, making tracks like “Airplanes” and “Lovelier Than You” contenders for Song Of The Year charts. Critics will tarnish his rep with comparisons to Kanye West, but the fact is there’s a new breed exploding onto the hip-hop scene.
Download: “Airplanes”, “Bet I”