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New Album Reviews:

Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color
Buy! - (ATO)
This Athens, AL band brings a more polished, confident and diverse sound to their second album, expanding upon the rootsy garage-soul of their debut by not only digging deeper into R&B and funk, but also incorporating lots of trippy psych-rock, some brash punk and more. Best of all, Brittany Howard’s gritty and dynamic vocals have never sounded stronger. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Alabama Shakes album reviews:

Boys and Girls - 4/6/2012
Alabama Shakes - 10/28/2011

Built To Spill: Untethered Moon
Buy! - (Warner Bros.)
The eighth studio album from Doug Martsch & co. features a revamped lineup and a consistently strong set of songs from Martsch with crunchy, inventive guitar riffs and solos, wistful melodies and melancholy, angst-ridden lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Built To Spill album reviews:

There Is No Enemy - 10/1/2009
You in Reverse - 3/20/2006
Ancient Melodies of the Future - 7/15/2001
Sabonis Tracks - 6/15/2001
Live - 4/15/2000
Keep It Like A Secret - 1/15/1999
Perfect From Now On - 1/15/1997

Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer
Buy! - (Carpark)
The second album from this Northampton, MA band led by Sadie Dupuis is another excellent set of ‘90s-steeped indie-rock reminiscent of Pavement, Helium and Bettie Serveert, though this time featuring a bit more polished and intricate sound with fuzzy, wiry guitars, atmospheric keyboards and jagged rhythms accompanying Dupuis’ honeyed, often-deadpan vocals and smart, poetic and emotionally cutting lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Speedy Ortiz album reviews:

Major Arcana - 7/12/2013

Passion Pit: Kindred
Buy! - (Columbia)
The third album from this now Brooklyn-based project led by Michael Angelakos is an ebullient set of hook-filled electro-pop with a glossy, densely layered sound featuring bright neon synths, lots of hand claps and finger snaps, falsetto vocals, sunny melodies and deeply personal lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Slack

Other Passion Pit album reviews:

Gossamer - 7/27/2012

Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Toronto band’s second album is another excellent set of blistering post-hardcore with scuzzy, angular guitars, pile-driving rhythms, anguished vocals and dark lyrics of loss and alienation. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other METZ album reviews:

METZ - 10/1/2012

San Fermin: Jackrabbit
Buy! - (Downtown)
The second album from this Brooklyn band led by composer/multi-instrumentalist Ellis Ludwig-Leone is a bit more of a darker, more urgent and song-focused take on the band’s arty chamber-pop. The album also features a revamped lineup, expanding to an eight-piece with alternating lead vocals between San Fermin regular Allen Tate and newcomer Charlene Kaye. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Torres: Sprinter
Buy! - (Partisan)
The second album from Brooklyn-based artist Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) features a bit more of a full-bodied sound along with bringing a more aggressive edge to her brooding, stripped-down rock, combining rumbling guitars and haunting melodies with her husky vocals and deeply personal lyrics of alienation and isolation. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Saun & Starr: Look Closer
Buy! - (Daptone)
The debut album from the Bronx-bred duo of Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan Lowe (both longtime backing vocalists for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) is a strong set of throwback soul. Produced by Gabriel Roth with accompaniment by The Dap-Kings, the album combines a full, ‘60s-influenced sound with the duo’s soulful vocals and gospel-steeped harmonies. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Wire: Wire
Buy! - (Pinkflag)
This veteran British band’s 13th studio album is a strong set of brooding post-punk with tension-filled songs combining buzzing guitars, atmospheric keyboards, hypnotic rhythms and often-dark lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Wire album reviews:

Red Barked Tree - 1/28/2011
Send - 5/27/2003
Read & Burn - 9/15/2002

Errors: Lease Of Life
Buy! - (Rock Action)
This Scottish trio’s fourth album is an impressive set of ‘80s-influenced electro-pop with shimmering synths, occasional gauzy sax, hypnotic rhythms and majestic melodies. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Errors album reviews:

Have Some Faith In Magic - 2/24/2012

Mikal Cronin: MCIII
Buy! - (Merge)
The third album from this San Francisco-based artist (and Ty Segall Band member) is another first-rate set of smartly crafted power-pop. As with his first two albums, Cronin played nearly everything on the record, though this time he brings a bit more polish to a strong set of songs ranging from crunchy garage-rockers and breezy power-pop to some gorgeous, string-laden ballads. 4/10/2015 - Don Yates

Other Mikal Cronin album reviews:

MCII - 5/3/2013

Calexico: Edge Of The Sun
Buy! - (City Slang/Anti-)
The 9th album from this veteran Tucson band led by Joey Burns and John Convertino is a beautifully crafted set of expansive folk-rock inflected with mariachi, synth-pop, cumbia and more. The album’s vibrant, colorful sound is fleshed out with help from an impressive supporting cast including Neko Case, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, Devotchka’s Nick Urata and other notables. 4/10/2015 - Don Yates

Other Calexico album reviews:

Algiers - 8/31/2012
Carried to Dust - 8/11/2008
Garden Ruin - 2/23/2006
Feast of Wire - 2/15/2003
Hot Rail - 5/15/2000
The Black Light - 5/15/1998
Spoke - 9/15/1997

Lord Huron: Strange Trails
The second album from this LA-based band led by Ben Schneider is another impeccably crafted set of expansive folk-pop incorporating elements of psych-pop, rockabilly, surf, Bruce Springsteen and more on songs ranging from propulsive, anthemic rockers to dark, airy ballads. 4/10/2015 - Don Yates

Other Lord Huron album reviews:

Lonesome Dreams - 8/24/2012
Mighty EP - 1/28/2011

Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too
Buy! - (Big Dada)
This Edinburgh, Scotland-based trio’s second full-length finds them moving away from hip hop and towards adventurous TV On The Radio-style prog-pop flavored with psych-rock, soul, gospel and much more on inventive songs combining a densely layered sound with the trio’s nonconformist lyrics. 4/10/2015 - Don Yates

Other Young Fathers album reviews:

DEAD - 2/7/2014
Tape Two - 4/12/2013
Tape One - 1/25/2013

WATERS: What's Real
Buy! - (Vagrant)
The second album from this LA-based project spearheaded by former Port O’Brien frontman Van Pierszalowski is a fine set of anthemic pop-punk combining emotive lyrics and impassioned vocals with energetic rhythms and massive song hooks. 4/10/2015 - Don Yates

Other WATERS album reviews:

Out In The Light - 9/9/2011

Legs: Altitud
Buy! - (self-released)
Legs are a Brooklyn-based five-piece with strong local roots in the small town of Indianola on the Kitsap Peninsula. Their confident debut album further showcases the band's groove-driven dance/pop that finds frontman Tito Ramsey singing atop the band's smart, kinetic, shape-shifting rhythms that often explode with infectious energy and massive hooks. 4/3/2015 - Alex

East India Youth: Culture Of Volume
Buy! - (XL)
The second album from this London-based artist (aka William Doyle) is another ambitious, beautifully constructed blend of moody electro-pop, lush neo-classical and ambient, spacy prog-rock, pounding techno, trance and more, though it’s also more polished, melodic and song-oriented than his somewhat more prickly debut. 4/3/2015 - Don Yates

Other East India Youth album reviews:

Total Strife Forever - 2/14/2014

Toro Y Moi: What For?
Buy! - (Carpark)
The fourth album from this Berkeley-via-South Carolina artist (aka Chaz Bundick) finds him leaving behind the electronics for a set of psych-tinged pop-rock reminiscent at times of Big Star and Todd Rundgren, featuring a warm, ‘70s-steeped sound with vintage guitars and keyboards, hazy vocals and sun-kissed melodies. 4/3/2015 - Don Yates

Other Toro Y Moi album reviews:

Anything In Return - 1/11/2013
Underneath the Pine - 2/18/2011

Lapalux: Lustmore
Buy! - (Brainfeeder)
The second album from this British producer (aka Stuart Howard) is a transportive set of blissed-out, shape-shifting electronic grooves featuring a woozy, densely layered sound inflected with R&B, hip hop, jazz and other styles, with occasional R&B-tinged vocals from Andreya Triana, Szjerdene and Lustmore himself. 4/3/2015 - Don Yates

Other Lapalux album reviews:

Nostalchic - 3/29/2013

Marriages: Salome
Buy! - (Sargent House)
This LA-based band featuring former members of Red Sparowes offers up an impressive debut full-length blending elements of dream-pop, post-rock, doom metal and more into powerful, dynamic songs with heavy/dreamy guitar textures, atmospheric synths and muscular rhythms accompanying Emma Ruth Rundle’s haunting vocals. 4/3/2015 - Don Yates