Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds return to form with their new LP Push the Sky Away. Still coming down from the would-be adrenaline rush of Grinderman (Cave’s Alter ego), the band find themselves more grounded and introspective than ever. Like Johnny Cash’s "American Recordings" sessions, this is a set of songs that contrasts low energy and volume with tremendous soul and emotion. While Nick Cave is no longer the angsty young man of the Bad Seeds’ early days, his spirit pushes on with a newly refined sound. -NA
Recommended Tracks: "Higgs Boson Blues", "We No Who U R", "Jubilee Street"
Jamie Lidell - Jamie Lidell: Remember when I said I would add anything from Warp? Lidell has made a career out of fusing freewheeling electronica with Motown, and this record doesn't deviate from the formula in a significant way. Here he leans on Dayglo synth textures and cavernous drums straight outta "Party All the Time" to evoke the tired VHS Vibe that's been so prevalent these days. Stylistic decisions aside, Lidell's songwriting and pipes are often in top form here. Some of these tracks are duds, sure, but others rank near the top of his catalogue (spelling in reviews must match the nationality of the artist) - check out the brilliant "Do Yourself a Favor" to see what it'd be like if Stevie Wonder got really into LFO. -ZN
Recommended Tracks: "You Naked", "Do Yourself a Favor", "What a Shame"
Mister Lies - Mowgli: Alright, let's get the MYTHOLOGY out of the way: "Nick Zanca revisited his New England roots with a collection of Rudyard Kipling's written work and a carload of microphones, synthesizers and samplers and camped out at a cabin on a lake in Vermont. MOWGLI is the eight-track result of that meditation and soul-searching-- an aggressive hunt for self-awareness and feral youth." Half-baked Bon Iver comparisons aside, the good news is that this is a very, VERY good "eight-track result." Zanca can be meditative in a manner reminiscent of Nicolas Jaar but weaves together his synths&samples like a young James Blake. The tunes run the gamut from house-y stompers like "Align" to the spoken-word atmospherics of "Canaan". Everything sounds brilliant, but I'm not quite sure if Zanca has nailed down a style of his own yet; he seems to be trying on the hallmarks of other producers. As Kipling once said, "It's pretty, but is it Art?" -ZN
Recommended Tracks: "Dionysian", "Ludlow", "Ashore"
Foals - Holy Fire: Somewhere between the spacious jamming of My Morning Jacket and the pulsating grooves of Kasabian lies Foals, one of Britain’s largest exports of the last few years. With their latest release Holy Fire, the band aim to solidify themselves as a formidable group in Britrock history (and they do just that). Where English counterparts Muse spent the last decade writing self-aware and ego boosting “epics” on their way to rock stardom, Foals’ music resonates with a sense of authenticity and grounding. They aren’t afraid to stray from the catchy hooks and rhythms for momentary bursts of grunge, but they won’t force it either. A record containing moments fit for rock, pop, and dance, Holy Fire’s strength lies in its adaptability to a variety of audiences. -NA
Recommended Tracks: "Inhaler", "Bad Habit", "Everytime"
Inc. - No World: Andrew and Daniel Aged's second album is a throwback to the early '80s R&B that's actually refreshing. The album blends early R&B in these ultra layered tracks that are formed into an alternative sound. The right amount of textures in these tracks that makes this album a reanimating experience to R&B of the early '80s. Track number one, "The Place" is ultra layered and the sounds are something reminiscent of bells, water drops, and potentially the "marimba" setting on a keyboard? It's all done in a much more electronically/musically advanced way than I can ever aspire to describe (especially at this hour). Who knows, but what I can explain is that No World's catchy melodies will make you want to replay these smooth songs over and over again. -JH
Recommended Tracks: "The Place", "Lifetime", "Your Tears"