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New Album Reviews:

Natalie Prass: Natalie Prass
Buy! - (SpaceBomb/Startime/Columbia)
This Virginia-bred, Nashville-based artist (and member of Jenny Lewis’s band) offers up an excellent debut album of orchestral, soul-steeped pop. Co-produced by Matthew E. White and Trey Pollard, the album features a lush sound and sophisticated arrangements with swelling strings, soaring horns, bright piano and soulful guitar licks accompanying her delicate, understated vocals and melancholy lyrics of love and loss. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Pond: Man It Feels Like Space Again
Buy! - (self-released)
The fifth album from this Perth, Australia band featuring current and former members of Tame Impala is a more polished and pop-oriented take on the band’s adventurous psych-rock, with a diverse variety of songs ranging from fuzzy glam-rock and psych-addled funk to epic space-rock ballads. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Other Pond album reviews:

Hobo Rocket - 8/2/2013
Beard, Wives, Denim - 2/24/2012

Bjork: Vulnicura
Buy! - (One Little Indian)
The Icelandic artist’s ninth studio album is a sometimes-entrancing though often-difficult blend of avant-classical, orchestral pop and electronic styles. Mostly co-produced by Bjork and London-based Venezuelan DJ/producer Arca (aka Alejandro Ghersi), the album features mostly lengthy songs with intricate string arrangements and a variety of electronic beats and textures accompanying her pixie vocals and devastatingly frank, lovelorn lyrics. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Other Bjork album reviews:

Volta - 5/2/2007
Vespertine - 8/15/2001
Selmasongs - 9/15/2000

The Dø: Shake Shook Shaken
Buy! - (Get Down)
The Paris-based duo of Finnish vocalist Olivia Merilahti and French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy ditched the acoustic instruments that colored their previous releases in favor of a more keyboard-oriented sound for their third album. It’s a strong set of emotive electro-pop combining bright synths and other keyboards with aching vocals and moody melodies. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Other Dø album reviews:

Both Ways Open Jaws - 12/2/2011

Chandos: Rats In Your Bed
Buy! - (Carpark)
This Boston-based band’s debut album is a strong set of ‘90s-influenced indie-rock with fuzzy, dissonant guitars, energetic rhythms, potent song hooks and anxiety-fueled lyrics. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Buy! - (White Room)
JMSN is the stage name of Los Angeles-via-Detroit musician Christian Berishaj. While his debut album came off a bit too much like a retread of The Weeknd’s dark and smoky R&B confessions, his ambitious self-titled sophomore album comes off as revelation, finding him taking a more mature, organic, shape-shifting, timeless sound that blurs R&B, pop, soul, funk, and spacious rock with a keen ear for beautiful melodies and warm arrangements. Recalling the likes of Miguel, Justin Timberlake, and D’Angelo, JMSN’s latest sonic evolution is an impressive journey. 1/23/2015 - Alex

Trash Kit: Confidence
Buy! - (Upset the Rhythm!)
Trash Kit are three ladies from the UK that includes former Electrelane member Ros Murray. Their sophomore album is a first-rate set of infectious, melodic post-punk full of smart song structures, sharp hooks, and a thrilling sense of urgency. 1/23/2015 - Alex

Petite Noir: The King Of Anxiety
Buy! - (Double Six/Domino)
The US debut EP from South African producer/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Petite Noir (aka Yannick Ilunga) is a beautifully crafted blend of New Wave, R&B and various African styles, featuring an intricately layered sound with glimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and hypnotic rhythms accompanying his soulful, dynamic vocals. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Doomtree: All Hands
Buy! - (Doomtree)
The latest album from this Minneapolis collective is a solid set of underground hip hop with a densely produced sound featuring buzzing, edgy synths, booming hip hop beats, energetic deliveries and often-politically charged lyrics. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Liam Hayes: Slurrup
Buy! - (Fat Possum)
This Chicago-bred, Milwaukee-based artist has been making recordings under the name Plush since the mid-1990s. His latest album is a well-crafted set of Beatlesque, psych-tinged power-pop with jangly guitars, bright keyboards, catchy melodies and playful lyrics often-laced with dark humor. 1/23/2015 - Don Yates

Dengue Fever: The Deepest Lake
Buy! - (Tuk Tuk)
The fifth album from this LA-based band fronted by Cambodian expatriate Chhom Nimol finds them rebounding from their disappointing last album (2011’s Cannibal Courtship) with one of their most adventurous blends of ‘60s Cambodian pop and psych-rock, inflected this time with hip hop, various Latin and African elements and more. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

The Sidekicks: Runners In The Nerved World
Buy! - (Epitaph)
The fourth album from this Columbus, OH-based band led by Steve Ciolek (who also is a member of Saintseneca) finds them continuing to evolve by moving farther away from the raucous pop-punk of their earlier releases towards a more measured and sophisticated kind of ‘90s-steeped indie-rock. Produced by Phil Ek, the album recalls bands like The Shins and Built to Spill along with bringing some occasional Superchunk punch. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Mark Ronson: Uptown Special
Buy! - (RCA)
The British producer’s fourth album is a vibrant, hook-filled blend of funk, soul, hip hop, psych-rock and ‘80s pop, featuring a bright, colorful sound and a variety of special guests including Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt, Stevie Wonder, Mystikal, Bruno Mars, Kirin J. Callinan, Trombone Shorty, the late Memphis guitarist Teenie Hodges, members of the Dap-Kings and other notables, with many of the song lyrics provided by novelist Michael Chabon. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Menace Beach: Ratworld
Buy! - (Memphis Industries)
This British band’s debut album is a promising, ‘90s-inspired blend of fuzzy shoegazer psych-rock and grungy slacker-pop. Produced by Hookworms frontman MJ, the album combines scuzzy guitars, driving rhythms, alternating male/female vocals and catchy pop hooks. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Until The Ribbon Breaks: A Lesson Unlearnt
Buy! - (Kobalt)
Formerly the solo project of Pete Lawrie Winfield, this British group has expanded to a trio for their debut full-length. It’s a dark, brooding blend of electro-pop, hip hop and R&B with haunting keyboards, spacious hip hop beats, breathy vocals and intimate lyrics. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

All We Are: All We Are
Buy! - (Domino)
This Liverpool-based trio comprised of Brazilian guitarist Luis Santos, Norwegian bassist Guro Gikling and Irish drummer Richard O’Flynn debuts with a promising set of spacious, R&B-inflected indie-pop combining sleek, atmospheric guitars, propulsive rhythms, smooth harmonies and soulful, often-falsetto vocals. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Bettye LaVette: Worthy
Buy! - (Cherry Red)
The veteran soul singer’s latest album is another first-rate set soul and funk, combining sympathetic production from Joe Henry with strong material and LaVette’s masterful vocals. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Other Bettye LaVette album reviews:

Thankful N' Thoughtful - 9/7/2012
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook - 5/18/2010
The Scene of the Crime - 9/5/2007
I've Got My Own Hell to Raise - 8/30/2005

Twerps: Range Anxiety
Buy! - (Merge)
This Australian band’s second album is a masterful album of jangly indie-pop reminiscent at times of Yo La Tengo, The Go Betweens and a host of classic Flying Nun bands, combining jangly guitars and driving rhythms with gentle harmonies, bittersweet melodies and emotionally frank lyrics. 1/16/2015 - Don Yates

Sleater-Kinney: No Cities To Love
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The recently reunited trio’s eighth album (and first in 10 years) is a strong return-to-form, with an intense blend of punk, classic and hard rock combining fierce guitar interplay, urgent, dynamic rhythms, searing vocals and sharply crafted lyrics examining power, injustice, love and the band’s place in the world. 1/9/2015 - Don Yates

Other Sleater-Kinney album reviews:

The Woods - 5/3/2005
One Beat - 8/15/2002
All Hands On The Bad One - 4/15/2000
The Hot Rock - 3/15/1999
Dig Me Out - 4/15/1997

Panda Bear: Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
Buy! - (Domino)
The fifth solo album from Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) is a typically adventurous, brightly colored set of warped psych-pop with swirling, often-disoriented synths, trippy ambient textures, occasional hip hop breakbeats, celestial melodies, multi-layered vocals and quasi-cryptic reflections on mortality. 1/9/2015 - Don Yates

Other Panda Bear album reviews:

Tomboy - 4/13/2011

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