Words: Amanda Krew
Lazaretto by Jack White
The release of White’s sophomore solo LP, Lazaretto, has been accompanied by an overall new sound from the former White Stripes frontman. Apparently influenced by a recent move to Nashville, Jack White mixes a country twang with his signature garage rock rumble. This album’s eclectic track list includes ingeniously mismatched back-to-back tracks like Temporary Ground, a harmony heavy fiddle ballad, next to the rhythmic hard rock wail found in Would You Fight For My Love.
They Want My Soul by Spoon
Four years after the release of Spoon’s last album, Transference, in 2010, the band is finally back with a new album. The Texas-based quintet has wowed music critics with what is undoubtedly their most adventurous album to date. Tracks such as Knock Knock Knock have become the band’s new signature with its infectious beats and power pop lyrics that seem to waft throughout the whole album. Despite the paradigm change, Spoon has not yet left its roots in the track Let Me Be Mine, which sounds almost straight off their 2005 release, Gimme Fiction.
Half the City by St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Alabama-based soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones have stirred up quite a buzz following the release of their first album, and for good reason! Lead singer Paul Janeway claims to have learned more from being a preacher than he has from singing on a stage. This speaks loads of his revivalesque, pleading verses. Janeway delivers strong, compelling vocals over booming brass lines in tracks such as Sugar Dyed, and shows his versatility in the melancholy coo of tracks such as Broken Bones and Pocket Change. Obviously inspired by 60s era James Brown and the Muscle Shoals movement, St. Paul is proving to be an innovator of the classics.
Trouble in Paradise by La Roux
Genre: Synth Pop
Following a far too long five-year hiatus since releasing her chart topping hit, Bulletproof, La Roux is back with a more mature sound. Lead singer Elly Jackson has been faced with her fair share of “trouble in paradise” preceding the release of this record, including vocal health issues and being left by producer Ben Langmaid. Despite her trials, Jackson has released a fantastically punchy electro-pop album. Tracks such as Silent Partner hold a sense of urgency embedded in a tight, modern, throbbing dance beat. This album follows a relationship stuck in rough waters, all the while riding on Jackson’s pixi-punk voice.
Singles by Future Islands
Genre: New Wave/Post-Punk
Future Islands has quickly become one of the hottest new names in alternative music after their performance of Seasons (Waiting on You) reached second most viewed on David Letterman’s YouTube channel. The Baltimore-based trio’s intensity seems to juxtapose the appearance of khaki-clad lead vocalist, Samuel T Herring, as he weaves back and forth on the stage. Herring’s guttural, quasi-death metal growl found in tracks such as Spirit counteract the more lyrically heavy, gentle track, Back in the Tall Grass. The hulking rumbles deep in the bowels of Herring’s voice balance the tender moments of this record.
Salad Days by Mac DeMarco
In his sophomore LP, Mac DeMarco has single-handedly created one of the most relatable albums of 2014. The notorious indie-rock jokester’s album is riddled with intimate tracks and catchy hooks covering subjects such as independence, wasted youth, and broken relationships; all without crossing the thin yet oh so evident line of a cliché pop album. Simple guitar riffs and minimalistic percussive lines flow throughout tracks such as Treat Her Better and Blue Boy stirring up chill California vibes.