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New Album Reviews:

Junior Boys: Big Black Coat
Buy! - (City Slang)
The fifth album (and first in five years) from this Hamilton, Ontario duo is a more forceful, rhythm-driven take on their spacious electro-pop, masterfully blending house, techno and disco grooves with R&B, funk, motorik prog and more on moody, aching songs combining bubbly synths and propulsive rhythms with hushed vocals and passion-fueled lyrics. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

Other Junior Boys album reviews:

It's All True - 6/2/2011
Begone Dull Care - 3/30/2009
So This Is Goodbye - 9/5/2006
Last Exit - 9/23/2004

Wild Nothing: Life of Pause
Buy! - (Captured Tracks)
The third album from this Brooklyn-via-Virginia project spearheaded by Jack Tatum finds him continuing to evolve by giving a wider range and more studio sophistication to his shimmering dream-pop. Along with glistening guitars and synths, the album features sax, strings, marimbas and more on beautifully arranged songs ranging from propulsive '80s dream-pop and swooning, atmospheric songs to tropical-inflected minimalist pop and moody, soul-steeped ballads. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

Other Wild Nothing album reviews:

Nocturne - 8/24/2012
Golden Haze - 12/7/2010

Deep Sea Diver: Secrets
Buy! - (High Beam)
The second album from this Seattle band led by Jessica Dobson is another sharply crafted set of adventurous pop-rock ranging from moody rockers spiked with Dobson's intricate guitar work to atmospheric, piano-based ballads. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

Other Deep Sea Diver album reviews:

History Speaks - 2/3/2012

Versing: Nude Descending EP
Buy! - (Youth Riot)
This Seattle band's debut EP is a promising 7-song set of moody, '90s-influenced guitar-pop with fuzzy, intricately textured guitars and an abundance of memorable song hooks. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

Field Music: Commontime
Buy! - (Memphis Industries)
The sixth Field Music album from British brothers Peter and David Brewis is a more immediate and emotionally direct take on the band's quirky, jazz and funk-tinged prog-pop. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

Radiation City: Synesthetica
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
This Portland band's third album features a more synth-driven sound for their eclectic dream-pop, combining bright synths and glittering guitars with funk-inflected rhythms, ethereal vocals and sparkling pop hooks. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

The Castillians: You & Me
Buy! - (PNKSLM)
This British trio's second album is a strong set of '60s-steeped garage-pop inflected with R&B, featuring a raw, lo-fi sound combining buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms and catchy song hooks. 2/5/2016 - Don Yates

DIIV: Is The Is Are
Buy! - (Captured Tracks)
The second album from this Brooklyn band led by Zachary Cole Smith is an impressive set of shimmering, surf-tinged post-punk. Recorded and produced by Smith himself, this lengthy album features 17 songs that rarely flag with a dreamy blend of jangly guitars, driving rhythms, murky vocals and wistful melodies. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

Other DIIV album reviews:

Oshin - 7/6/2012

Porches: Pool
Buy! - (Domino)
The second full-length from this New York band led by Aaron Maine is an excellent set of brooding, '80s-tinged electro-pop combining dark electronic soundscapes with Maine's plaintive vocals, wistful lyrics and melancholy melodies. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

Marlon Williams: Marlon Williams
Buy! - (Dead Oceans)
This New Zealand artist's debut solo album is a beautifully crafted set of expansive folk-pop ranging from jangly garage-pop and hard-charging western to sumptuous orchestral pop, creepy cabaret and some sublime finger-picked ballads. The album features a rich, diverse sound blending a variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation with Williams' powerful, elastic vocals. (Released last year in New Zealand, it's now being released in the US.) 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

DJDS: Stand Up And Speak
Buy! - (Body High/Loma Vista)
The second album from the LA-based duo of Samo Sound Boy and Jerome LOL (formerly known as DJ Dodger Stadium) is a strong set of emotive house grooves combining propulsive rhythms, soulful vocals and buoyant melodies. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

The Suffers: The Suffers
Buy! - (self-released)
This 10-piece Houston band's debut album is an impeccably crafted set of old-school soul blended with funk, gospel, reggae and other styles, featuring a full, warm sound with chunky rhythm guitar, simmering organ, wailing horns and in-the-pocket grooves accompanying Kam Franklin's raspy, soulful vocals. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

Nu Era: Armadilla Lexus
Buy! - (self-released)
This Seattle hip hop crew's second album is an impressive set of mostly dark, hard-hitting hip hop with four talented rappers trading rhymes over adventurous production combining experimental touches with a variety of banging hip hop beats. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

Low Cut High Tops: Eh, Whatever
Buy! - (self-released)
The debut album from young Seattle artist David Burns (aka Low Cut High Tops) is a promising blend of Nirvana grunge-pop, quirky Modest Mouse rock and other styles, combining guitars, synths and bouncy rhythms with his high vocals, angsty lyrics and catchy pop hooks. 1/29/2016 - Don Yates

Anderson .Paak: Malibu
Buy! - (EMPIRE/OBE/Steel Wool/Art Club)
This Oxnard, CA rapper's second regular studio album is a masterful set of expansive hip hop and cosmic R&B/soul inflected with jazz, funk, gospel and other styles, combining a warm, melodic and often-breezy sound with his relaxed, slightly raspy vocals and smartly detailed lyrics of love and struggle. Many special guests contribute, with on-point production from Madlib, 9th Wonder, DJ Khalil and other luminaries. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Chairlift: Moth
Buy! - (Columbia)
This Brooklyn duo's third album is perhaps their finest set to date of '80s-steeped electro-pop, featuring jittery, more distinctive rhythms along with glittering synths, sleek guitars and occasional horns and other instrumentation accompanying Caroline Polachek's crystalline vocals and emotionally direct lyrics. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Other Chairlift album reviews:

Something - 1/27/2012

Daughter: Not To Disappear
Buy! - (Glassnote)
This British trio's masterful second album is a more refined and nuanced version of their brooding, folk-tinged dream-pop, featuring a dark, atmospheric sound with reverbed guitars, stately rhythms, haunting melodies and Elena Tonra's smoky vocals and crossed-in-love lyrics. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Other Daughter album reviews:

If You Leave - 4/26/2013

Night Beats: Who Sold My Generation?
Buy! - (Heavenly)
This Seattle trio's third album is their strongest set to date, expertly blending fiery psych-rock with raw garage-rock along with elements of R&B, prog, Latin rock and more on a variety of sharply crafted songs with stinging guitars, hypnotic rhythms and potent song hooks. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Other Night Beats album reviews:

Sonic Bloom - 9/12/2013

Pillar Point: Marble Mouth
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
The second Pillar Point album from former Throw Me The Statue frontman Scott Reitherman was produced by Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes, and he helps bring a more dance-friendly approach to Pillar Point's moody, '80s-steeped electro-pop, combining buzzing synths, propulsive, funk-inflected rhythms and sleek pop hooks. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Other Pillar Point album reviews:

Pillar Point - 2/14/2014

Shearwater: Jet Plane and Oxbow
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Austin band's ninth album finds them continuing in the more immediate and uptempo vein of their previous regular studio album (2012's Animal Joy) with this expertly crafted set of majestic, '80s-steeped pop-rock featuring energetic rhythms, brooding vocals, anthemic choruses and often-politically charged lyrics. 1/21/2016 - Don Yates

Other Shearwater album reviews:

Animal Joy - 1/25/2012