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New Adds: Twin Shadow, JEFF the Brotherhood, Houndstooth, Modest Mouse, Reptar, Vetiver, Will Butler, The Cure, and The Police

Twin Shadow - Eclipse: George Lewis Jr. (aka Twin Shadow) has been quoted as saying that he hopes to open for One Direction some day and that Eclipse is his attempt at crossing over. As Twin Shadow’s first major label release, Eclipse has removed the guitars of his previous albums in favor of a synth-pop sound. Lewis’s voice is comfortable in this new environment, which is a pleasant surprise. Lyrically, the album is much lighter than the previous two, featuring many radio-ready choruses. Eclipse is solid album overall that will probably lose him some fans due to the pop sound, but probably will pick up quite a few new ones as well. KEN

RIYL: How To Dress Well, Wild Nothing, Kindness

Recommended Tracks: “Flatliners” (1), “Turn Me Up” (6), “Old Love/New Love” (8)

JEFF the Brotherhood – Wasted on the Dream: HOW ‘BOUT THAT MOTHAFUCKIN’ FLUTE SOLO IN “BLACK CHERRY PIE’” YOU GUYS*** I may be mistaken, but I think Jaison would agree that woodwinds automatically elevate any song to the level of a “banger.” Or does it slapp??? Maybe I should just do what I do best, i.e. give a personal anecdote that will hopefully help you appreciate this band/album. Once upon a time, in the summer before my senior year of high school, I conned my parents into paying me to fly to Chicago to go to Lollapalooza (and visit college campuses, sort of). The catch: my mother came with me to the festival – equipped with jorts, a drawstring backpack, and (probably) a roll of toilet paper to use as makeshift earplugs (in other words, she looked like goddamn supermom) – and she was NOT a fan of standing in a hot, sweaty crowd at 1 PM to see a band she had never heard of. In fact, she REALLY hated the first set we saw. The band? JEFF the Brotherhood. Luckily, being disliked by my mother is probably a good thing; she thinks that any band with guitars is Pearl Jam, and her current favorite artist is “Adrianna” Grande. On the other hand, I really enjoyed JEFF and, ever since that show, have had a thing for men in almost-booty shorts(in case you were wondering). Although JEFF the Brotherhood now has more than 2 members, Wasted on the Dream still retains the band’s sound established on their earlier releases. If you are not familiar with the band, that “sound” is basically a throwback to mid-nineties alternative a la Weezer or Foo Fighters after Dave Grohl cut off his (luscious) hair, which was clearly a turning point for the band. There isn’t much else to say about this album; it’s a solid, summery, guitar-based alternative album…that FLUTE, though. SHLEY

RIYL: Weezer, Wavves, Cloud Nothings

Recommended Tracks: “Black Cherry Pie” (2), “Coat Check Girl” (9), “Mystified Minds” (4)

Houndstooth - No News From Home: Houndstooth is a Portland-based group that makes laid back folksy indie rock. They remind me a bit of She & Him if they were more rock-n-roll and Zooey Deschanel had a less annoying voice. Songwriter and lead vocalists Katie Bernstein's voice is reminiscent of Deschanel's but has more clarity, less of that kind of goat-y, Shakira-esque thing she does (NO HATE SHAKIRA- wonderful woman). Bernstein sings with a low pitch and soft, full tone that has a mellowing effect over the upbeat guitar-driven country rock songs on No News From Home. On the band's second album, country music's influence is apparent in the storytelling-focused lyrics backed by swinging melodies that, in combination with the album's title, evoke a sense of both physical and mental wandering and transition. This album kind of sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a cross-country road trip and all of the emotional entanglements that entails - relationships ("Amelia"-2), breakups ("Green Light"-4), reflecting on the past ("Wasted Hours"-5) and the inevitable end of such an experience ("They're Racing Tonight"-11). Please note that the link is a joke and in no way am I trying to say that this album is anything like the 2002 film Crossroads starring Britney Spears (and Zoe Saldana, who knew??!). Anyway, No News From Home offers up solid country-rock that will mellow you out for a walk on sunny day or that road trip to womanhood you've been jonesing for. CAROLINE

RIYL: She & Him, Foxygen

Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 5, 7

Modest Mouse - Strangers To Ourselves: The last time Modest Mouse released a full length album was in 2007. Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana, the last Harry Potter book hadn't even come out yet, and Barack Obama was still campaigning to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. Also, I was in 6th grade. Clearly, things have changed a lot since then. The election of the first African American president is old news, we all know that Harry doesn't die at the end and that Dumbledore was gay, and everyone saw this whether they wanted to or not. I like to think that I've personally come a long way since then, too. As magical a time as middle school was, I'm kind of digging not being in the thralls of puberty. Anyway, my point is that the world receiving Modest Mouse's latest release, Strangers To Ourselves, is very different from the one that embraced We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank eight years ago. Before I listened to this album, I was skeptical about how Modest Mouse would translate into a new era (I mean Instagram didn't even exist when We Were Dead was released - it's been a while) and to be honest, "Lampshades On Fire" sounded to me, at first, like it was trying too much to sound new/modern without actually bringing forth anything innovative or really new. However, the song totally grew on me to the point that it's listed in the recommended tracks. I think what that initial feeling reflects is that this album isn't new Modest Mouse in the sense of their having a new twist on their sound or entering into a new phase. It's new Modest Mouse in that these guys are back at it again and here's more of that stuff they've been giving us. And that stuff is good! I definitely could understand criticism saying that Strangers lacks the something new one would expect/want after 8 years, but I'm feelin that why fix something that isn't broke thing (remember how shitty it got with The Strokes...let's not ruin more nostalgia). We like Modest Mouse! And this is a Modest Mouse album. CAROLINE

RIYL: Modest Mouse !! (duh), TV On The Radio, Vampire Weekend 

Recommended Tracks: 2, 3, 5, 14

Reptar - Lurid Glow: After a massive hiatus doing probably not much more than bumming around Athens waiting for their annual Ath Fest showing, Reptar has FINALLY provided a follow up to their excellent debut album Body Faucet (an album which Pitchfork gave a 3.0… Are you kidding me? Do you people hate fun??). I hope those idiots just don’t bother this time because Lurid Glow deserves no criticism. It is pure, it is playful, and calming, like Saturday morning cartoons. It is a baby that is learning about the world, gazing in wonderment at the things we jaded 20-somethings take for granted. But, this album is not all fun and games; it has an anxious side, an uneasiness, a preoccupation with death – the baby is growing up, realizing that this ain’t no oblange fizz, ya’ll. Shit’s real. But, if there is anything we should learn from Reptar it is that no matter how real life gets, you can always just forget about it all and dance. SHILL

RIYL: Dan Deacon, Kishi Bashi, MGMT

Recommended Tracks: “Cable,” “Easier to Die,” “Daily Season,” “Breezy”

Vetiver - Complete Strangers: Man this stuff is super chill; I imagine you would make tea or tend to your garden or some shit listening to this album.   The male lead singer’s voice is very calm and gentle as he delivers wistful lyrics, kind of like Belle and Sebastian with an instrumentation of bright folky guitars, light breezy synths that reminds me of Devandra Banhart or Real Estate.   If you’ve listened to Real Estate (and if you haven’t you should.  Start with Days), it’s the same sort of blissful, carefree vibe.  Very easy to consume stuff that I would think would make very good morning music as you get ready for the day ahead.  Or actually, could totally imagine this playing in a San Francisco (where they’re from) cafe with wooden tables, a cat, comfy pillows, and a barista with a mustache and an interesting taste in literature. DYLAN

RIYL:  Devandra Banhart, Real Estate, Belle and Sebastian, Foxygen 

Recommended Tracks: "From Now On," "Confiding," "Shadow Lanes", "Time Flies By"

Will Butler - Policy: Well here he is, Will Butler of Arcade Fire releasing his first solo album.   Will Butler is Win Butler’s (the lead singer of AF) little brother.  Though naturally people will compare Will Butler’s album to any Arcade Fire project, I think you should maybe try to think of him as a separate entity.   He is talented and it seems that many websites put his work in the shadow of Arcade Fire.  Although,  Policy sounds like a much more dancey rockabilly verison of The Suburbs.  At least the guitar rifts, the fast piano chords, and his singing make me think of Arcade Fire before they went all disco shit weird on Reflektor.   Will Butler’s music is much less complicated; it’s very simple and to the point as opposed to the very layered, complex music that you can find on Funeral or The Suburbs.  Fun shit to dance to when you’re drunk. DYLAN 

RIYL: Arcade Fire (duh),  LCD Soundsystem

Recommended Tracks: "Anna," "Take My Side," "What I Want" 

The Cure - Disintegration: 

“I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel”

To characterize Disintegration as an album about depression is not only an oversimplification of but also an insult to one of the greatest Goth albums of all time. Sure, the album certainly depicts depression with unparalleled realism; “Pictures of You” (quoted above) relates better than probably any other song the desperation that accompanies falling in love, becoming obsessed with another human being. However, the album – even that song – deals with so many more emotions than sadness and pain: love, fear, desire, and above all, hope – yes, hope!Disintegration does not portray the jubilant hope of teenage girls waiting to be asked to prom, the saccharine hope of Hollywood chick flicks or of Taylor Swift songs, the synthetic hope American pop culture wants us to feel. Rather, Disintegration captures the complicated, adult, realistic, pathetic brand of hope that someday the person you love, who often causes so much pain, will one day love you back, that your suffering is meaningful and profound. There is a reason this album has sold over three million copies worldwide (other than the fact that the production is amazing, just listen to “Fascination Street” or “Lullaby” or any song on the album, really) – people identify with this music. This is what real life sounds like. ASHLEY 

The Police - Reggatta De Blanc: The Police could take flack for a number of things: In their early days, the band made a concerted effort to affiliate themselves with the punk movement due to the potential “commercial opportunities” the burgeoning genre held; secondly, Sting is kind of an asshole; and lastly, The Police may be your dad’s favorite band. However despite the band’s faults, your Dad is totally right and Reggatta de Blanc proves it. On their second album, The Police shy away from the power pop of Outlandos d’Amour in favor of a more refined sound that I believe is more indicative of their true nature. The Police were seasoned musicians at the start - Sting was classically trained in jazz, and Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland had each been performing with prog rock bands. Reggatta brings it all together beautifully. I never really thought about it, but Sting is a great bass player, bringing punchy reggae grooves on nearly every track with spastic improvisation. Summers’ guitar brings elements of prog, reggae, punk, and new wave creating spacey, textured soundscapes with repetitive strumming and sustain that goes on forever. Some of the more choppy stuff reminds me of Bernard Sumner’s playing with Joy Division. But, perhaps the standout instrument here is the drums. Copeland has this propensity for rapid fire drumming executed with lethal precision. Relentlessly maintained rhythm is peppered with counter-tempo snare hits and splash cymbal. In lyrical content, the songs are like the middle-aged, middle class version of punk disillusionment, “my wife has burned the scrambled eggs, my dog has run away” etc. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek, but fitting. Of course this album includes big singles like “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”, but there’s a lot more there if you look. Nearly every track has a catchy hook or chorus so it shouldn’t be too hard to get into it. I like “Reggatta de Blanc,” “Contact,” “On Any Other Day,” and “The Bed’s too Big Without You." SHILL