My Bloody Valentine - m b v: FROM THE MOMENT I PRESSED PLAY, I KNEW...jk
Recommended Tracks: "New You", "Only Tomorrow", "In Another Way"
Local Natives - Hummingbird: Some folks may dismiss the Natives' sophomore release because there's nothing quite as bombastic or immediately electrifying as, say, "Sun Hands" from 2010's Gorilla Manor. However, I think this album is fairly brilliant in its subtleties; producer Aaron Dessner of The National gives a remarkable sense of space to these compositions, and Taylor Rice offers his best lyrical work to date.
Recommended Tracks: "Colombia", "Breakers", "Heavy Feet"
Darkstar - News from Nowhere: Disclaimer: I'll add anything Warp Records puts out. With that being said, we have a very solid 2nd release from an English electronic trio that began with dubstep experimentation before transitioning into synthpop on their first album for Hyperdub. Here, the group tries psychedelia on for size and ends up with something in the vein of Animal Collective.
Recommended Tracks: "Timeaway", "Armonica", "A Day's Pay for a Day's Work"
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II: I always confuse this band with Manchester Orchestra. I'm pretty sure this is the good one. The follow-up to UMO's self-titled debut expands on that record's psyched-out soul and places a heavy emphasis on Ruban Nielson's exceptional guitar chops. Some of the noodling gets a little tiresome, but the hooks hit hard despite complex chord changes. A slight yet engaging evolution from a group that will be very interesting to hear develop in the coming years.
Recommended Tracks: "So Good at Being in Trouble", "Faded in the Morning", "Swim and Sleep"