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New Adds: De Lux, Beach House, Tame Impala, and More!

De Lux - Generation: We all know this Angeleno post-disco duo from last year’s Fest, so I’ll spare you the exhausted comparisons to Talking Heads/LCD Soundsystem. Sure, this group borrows heavily from the funkier facets of New York’s new wave, but hey, that music was fun and so is this. Nearly every track on this album has a groove you can get down to; Lyrics are catchy, tongue-in-cheek critiques of life in LA, typical “I hate LA, but won’t leave cause then I’d have nothing to complain about”. Who can’t relate…SHILL
RIYL: Talking Heads, Tame Impala, Hot Chip
Recommended Tracks: “Living In An Open Place”, “Simba Simba Simba”, “Oh Man the Future”

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness: The Weeknd's brand of R&B reflects a terminally tortured drug-addled soul and the ideals of today's youth. Like "Prisoner" feature Lana Del Rey, he sometimes verges on melodrama, but his lyrics ultimately resonate with listeners. His rise in popularity is largely thanks to music's move toward an increasingly upbeat, jazzy, and radio-friendly sound that he showcases on Beauty, which has 4 tracks that have been in Top 40 circulation and an Ed Sheeran collab, "Dark Times."  If the hype and radio play this guy is getting doesn't convince you to give this album a listen, maybe Kanye West will. CAROLINE
RIYL: A$AP Rocky, sad Drake, Jeremih
Recommended Tracks: The Hills (5), Real Life (1), Shameless (8), Can't Feel My Face (7)

Jamie xx - In Colour: After the exceptional awesomeness of Gil Scott Heron collab We're New Here, Jamie xx's first full-length solo album had high expectations to live up to, and live up to them it did. It's eclecticism at its best. The tracks on In Colour contain a beautiful range of emotional depth that summons you to dance and simultaneously pokes right at something deep and true inside you. You'll laugh, you'll cry, yadda yadda yadda... CAROLINE
RIYL: James Blake, Disclosure, xxyyxx
Recommended Tracks: Loud Places (8), I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times) (9), Obvs (4), Gosh (1)

Beach House - Depression Cherry:
Over their last three albums (Devotion, Teen Dream, Bloom), Beach House has continued to mold their airy, ethereal, dream pop bliss into something increasingly more mature and complicated.  So, Depression Cherry is released in 2015, two years after Bloom, and people wonder how much has changed? Well quite frankly, not much.  That is the main criticism that I’ve been reading from many lukewarm reviews about Depression Cherry all over the internet.  And as a self confessed Beach House fan boy, I get kinda sad reading those reviews, because, obviously with bias, I really loved their newest album.  Many people discuss how their sound has not changed much over the last few years, arguing that they should switch up their material dramatically. However, I disagree! Not every band has to be the Beatles, Radiohead, or Kanye West; some should just be able to stick to their niche and perfect it.  And that’s what I believe they’ve achieved on this LP.  On Depression Cherry, Beach House returns to the aesthetic of Devotion, which is stripped down songs with minimal drum machine loops and far higher emphasis on melody and texturing.  This contrasts to their last album, Bloom where they wanted to use live drums and a more cinematic, grandiose approach.  

If you listen to a lot of Beach House, you can actually notice slight changes to their sound.  For example, lead singer Victoria Legrand sings in a much more clearer tone in a higher octave in contrast to her raspy deep voice she uses on previous albums.  They also even add an entire choir to one song on the last song “Days of Candy” The most obvious change is that Alex Scally the guitarist uses distortion for the lead single Sparks. Sparks is an amazing song.  It begins with a loop of Victoria’s voice then adds in, at first, jarring synths and then a distorted guitar that emulates a My Bloody Valentine kinda vibe with a driving force that’s not too common on many BH songs.

The album begins with Levitation.. and to me it sounds like I’m in a country home and there’s a warm summer breeze blowing in through my open bedroom windows and I’m laying down on a bed with all white sheets.  By the middle of the song, with hits of synth chords and then a distorted guitar rumbling underneath, Victoria swoops in with her voice in a higher octave and it feels like i’m in her arms, being rocked back and forth, and she’s singing me to sleep. 

Space Song sounds a lot like a Teen Dream song, with it’s bouncy drums and sliding guitar rifts.  10:37 features what sounds like a Toy Soldier drum machine loop marching away under airy synths.. and when the guitar comes in around 2 minutes and Victoria sings in upper register.. musical orgasm

PPP is like the perfect song BH has always wanted to make.  A guitar rift fluttering up and down the registers, spoken word at the beginning, a melody that feels like stairs connecting each segment of the song, a wispy guitar solo that turns into a giant build up and release at the end.  Wildflower sounds like a soundtrack to a 80s teenage angst movie about driving around with your friends… it’s amazing..  And Days of Candy begins with a choir singing in a very church like manner, with Victoria singing over it beautifully… then it slowly but surely turns into a meaningful farewell… and when the drums come in with a synth with so much vibrato around 3 minutes…. uhhh.. i can die now….. DYLAN
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine
Recommended Tracks: Levitation, Sparks, 10:37, PPP

Mick Jenkins - Waves: This is the first album I’ve listened to by Mick Jenkins and it was pretty cool.  He has nice deep voice with very strong delivery over some cool beats by the Alchemist and others.  The song, Alchemy, is pretty cool. It features a very aggressive Mick Jenkins rapping over a dark trap beat with an ending that sounds a lot like our lord and savior Yeezus because he sings in a distorted auto tuned voice while the track deconstructs itself.  I really like Piano too. Super short song that has is very bouncy. DYLAN

RIYL: Isaiah Rashad, Travis Scott
Recommended Tracks: Alchemy, Piano, Get up Get Down, P’s & Q’s

Miguel - Wildheart: Miguel’s mission with Wildheart is to make you feel like you are as awesome as he is. The album sonically builds on the rock-R&B fusion of Kaleidoscope Dream while becoming more explicit in his messages, often switching between sexual and empowering. Overall a fantastic album that is thoroughly enjoyable all the way through. KEN

RIYL: The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Luke James, Dawn Richard
Recommended Tracks: “Coffee” (4), “the valley” (3),  “waves” (6), “face the sun (feat. Lenny Kravitz)” (12), “what’s normal anyways” (7)

Shamir - Ratchet: Ratchet is my favorite debut album so far this year. Shamir has unique voice that drifts between masculine and feminine while delivering lyrics via plainspoken rap or a tenor singing voice over engaging electronic beats, often incorporating cowbell. At times the lyrics fall flat, but Shamir has enough charisma to keep the album afloat. KEN

RIYL:  Le1f, Petite Noir, FKA Twigs, Chance the Rapper
Recommended Tracks: “On the Regular” (3), “Call It Off” (4), “Demon” (6), “Darker” (9) 

 

Vince Staples - Summertime ’06: A young gun out of Northside Long Beach, Vince Staples made waves this summer with his first studio album, Summertime ’06. Vince laid down something for everyone - there are plenty of hood anthems, definitely some very lyrical hip-hop, and even a potential club banger or two. The structure of the record reminds me a lot of J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, even if Summertime feels a little “harder.” Quick shouts out to my favorite song on the album, “Dopeman,” in which Vince pays homage to his South L.A. forefathers with a dark tale of slingin’ rock and staying iced out. CHRISTIAN

RIYL: Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, Future
ecommended Tracks: Norf Norf (3), Dopeman (7), Hang n Bang (Disc 2, #7)

Tame Impala - Currents: With their latest installment Currents, Tame Impala has once again produced an instant classic - another psychedelic odyssey of the highest musical quality. This new record departs from the Beatles influence of Lonerism and begins to draw more from indie synth sounds, yet somehow the progression feels entirely natural. Innerspeaker was the confusing, exciting come-up; Lonerism was the overwhelming and colorful peak; and Currents is the chill, wavy, and above all nostalgic come-down. CHRISTIAN
RIYL: Pink Floyd, Beach House, Pond
Recommended Tracks: Nangs (2), The Moment (3), The Less I Know the Better (7) 

Thundercat - The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam: Thundercat’s third album is pretty short, with only 2 songs over three minutes, but is still a groovy adventure. It has a pretty laid back sound layered with some funk. The short listen is worth your time while you are trying to wind down. HARRY

Recommended Track: Them Changes, Lone Wolf and Cub
RIYL: Hiatus Kaiyote, George Clinton

 

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love: Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Multi-Love follows the self-titled tracks psychedelic indie pop sound and is just as great. The music is catchy, easy listening, and layered with a soft watery keyboard sound. It’s the kind of music that can work while you are doing just about anything. HARRY

Recommended Tracks: Multi-Love, Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
RIYL: Foster The People, Tame Impala

 

 

Leon Bridges - Coming Home: Although Leon Bridges and I both call Texas -- and, sort of, Fort Worth, though I mostly grew up in San Antonio -- our homes, going home sounds a lot more pleasant to him than it does for me. (It's a long story.) This, however, is not surprising given our vastly different backgrounds centered in the same state:Coming Home is more than just a throwback to the blues of past generations but a reincarnation of the genre fueled by Leon's own struggles working as a dishwasher only last year. He's a real homie. ASHLEY

RIYL: Amy Winehouse, Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Recommended Tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9

Alaska Thunderfuck - Anus: Alaska Thunderfuck may have ruined my life. This may sound a little ridiculous, but here are the facts: 1. My hair/makeup/life will never be as perfect as hers is (just watch her music videos -- you will be just as jealous as I am). 2. I know think and communicate almost exclusively in phrases from her songs (because this is my hair, I don't wear wigs, and YES, your makeup is terrible). 3. By obsessing over Alaska, I have inadvertently introduced by boyfriend to drag music, and he could very well run off with a drag queen in the near future. If you have listened to any drag music before (shout out to Ru Paul), then you would expect this album to be characterized by somewhat cheesy electronic club beats and references to drag culture, but while Anus certainly has both of those things, it is also supremely entertaining and fun and actual quality music. I mean, I routinely have Alaska Thunderfuck dance parties, and not ironically. ASHLEY

RIYL: Ru Paul, Lady Gaga, Ru Paul's Drag Race (yes, I am aware this is a TV show, get over it) 
Recommended Tracks: Anus, This Is My Hair, Nails, Hieeee