New Releases

AM

Arctic Monkeys
AM is the fifth studio album by the English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys. It was produced by James Ford and co-produced by Ross Orton at Sage & Sound Recording in Los Angeles and Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California, and released in September 2013 through Domino. The album was promoted by the singles: "R U Mine?", "Do I Wanna Know?", "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?", "One for the Road" and "Arabella". It features guest appearances by Josh Homme, Bill Ryder-Jones and Pete Thomas.
The album received critical acclaim from music critics and featured in many end of year lists as one of the best of 2013. It was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize for best album, hailed the Best Album of 2013 by NME magazine, and featured at number 449 on NME's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Commercially, AM has become one of Arctic Monkeys' most successful albums to date, topping charts in several countries, and reaching top ten positions in many more. In the United Kingdom, Arctic Monkeys broke a record with AM, becoming the first independent-label band to debut at number one in the UK with their first five albums.

~ Provided by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AM_(Arctic_Monkeys_album)) under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)

Long Way Down

Tom Odell
British singer/songwriter Tom Odell released his debut full-length, Long Way Down, following 2012's critically acclaimed EP Songs from Another Love. He was presented with the influential BRITs Critics' Choice award in 2013, which was previously won by such luminaries as Adele (2008) and Florence + the Machine (2009). His piano-led music is achingly heartbreaking, and on atmospheric single "Hold Me," Odell wears his heart firmly on his sleeve with his poignant lyrics.

You And The Night (Original Soundtrack)

M83

Reflektor

Arcade Fire

Days Are Gone

HAIM

The 1975

The 1975

Morning Phase

Beck

Spreading Rumours (Deluxe)

Grouplove

6 Feet Beneath The Moon

King Krule

Oh, What A Life

American Authors

Mind Over Matter

Young the Giant

Where You Stand

Travis

So Long, See You Tomorrow

Bombay Bicycle Club

Awake

Tycho

Seasons of Your Day

Mazzy Star

Agent Cooper

Russian Red

San Cisco

San Cisco

After The Disco

Broken Bells

The Take Off And Landing Of Everything

Elbow

Warpaint

Warpaint

We Need Medicine

The Fratellis

Das Gegenteil von Allem

Jupiter Jones

Top Albums

Awake

Tycho

Morning Phase

Beck

My Head Is An Animal

Of Monsters And Men
The performance that launched Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men in the States was an intimate, acoustic living room session recorded in late 2010 for (Reykjavik sister-city) Seattle's KEXP. Their full-length debut, My Head Is an Animal, similarly begins with just acoustic guitar and male/female vocal harmonies, but it quickly opens up into anthemic upsweep and choral shouts worthy of Arcade Fire, as the six-piece band expands from indie folk to booming chamber pop. There is odd instrumentation (accordion, melodica, glockenspiel), lively percussion and background vocals, and subtle effects of studio space; this is an album that announces Of Monsters and Men as a vastly bigger, and more ambitious, beast.

Eric Grandy, Google Play

Cope (Deluxe Version)

Manchester Orchestra

Days Are Gone

HAIM

Lungs

Florence & The Machine
Precocious Brit Florence Welch fired a bullet into the head of the U.K. music scene in 2008 with the single "Kiss with a Fist," a punk-infused, perfectly juvenile summer anthem that had critics wiping the names Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, and Kate Nash from their vocabularies and replacing them with Florence + the Machine. While the comparisons were apt at the time, "Kiss with a Fist" turned out to be a red herring in the wake of the release of Lungs, one of the most musically mature and emotionally mesmerizing albums of 2009. With an arsenal of weaponry that included the daring musicality of Kate Bush, the fearless delivery of Sinéad O'Connor, and the dark, unhinged vulnerability of Fiona Apple, the London native crafted a debut that not only lived up to the machine-gun spray of buzz that heralded her arrival, but easily surpassed it. Like Kate Bush, Welch has little interest (for the most part) in traditional pop structures, and her songs are at their best when they see something sparkle in the woods and veer off of the main trail in pursuit. "Kiss with a Fist," as good as it is, pales in comparison to standout cuts like "Dog Days Are Over," "Hurricane Drunk," "Drumming Song," "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," and "Cosmic Love," all of which are anchored to the earth by Welch's knockout voice, a truly impressive and intuitive trio of producers, and a backing band that sounds as intimate with the material as its creator. [Lungs was also released in a Deluxe Edition that included Lungs: The B-Sides, a bonus disc featuring studio tracks like “Swimming,” “Falling,” and “Heavy in Your Arms,” the latter of which appeared on the soundtrack for Twilight Saga: Eclipse, as well as live cuts (“You've Got the Dirtee Love"), demos (“Ghosts”), and remixes (the "Yeasayer Remix" of “Dog Days Are Over").]

James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Some Nights

Fun.
Fun.'s debut album Aim and Ignite was an interesting blend of seemingly divergent styles topped by a healthy dose of grandiose ambition and performed with a precise abandon. The trio made an album that was truly progressive and also super catchy and fun. The follow-up, Some Nights, ramps up the ambition and sonic bombast, but also manages to be even more powerful and impressive. While writing and planning the album, singer Nate Ruess, guitarist Jack Antonoff, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost were heavily influenced by both the sound and scope of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and made every attempt to achieve something similar, even to the point of hiring that album's co-producer Jeff Bhasker to produce and craft beats for them. (Also Emile Haynie, who has worked with Eminem among others) Though the album has more of a hip-hop influence than Aim and Ignite did, there are still large doses of Queen and ELO coursing through the band's blood, both in the machine-crafted vocal harmonies and the ornate bigness of the sound. The album is overloaded with strings and horns, backing vocals, keyboards, and programmed drums surrounding Ruess like a clamoring crowd, but never drowning out his innately sincere vocals and painfully honest lyrics. He has the kind of voice that could cut through any amount of noise, not by using volume but honesty. Even when he's fed through Auto-Tune, you know he's telling you the truth all the time. On songs like the lead single "We Are Young" or the rollicking "All Alone," he provides a very human core that grounds things even as the music builds to ornate crescendos. Indeed, the album is really, really big sounding and could easily have ended up collapsing under its own weight and pretension, but the opposite happens and Some Nights takes flight instead. The songs are both anthemic and human-sized, the heartfelt words and naked emotions are never buried, and the music is uplifting, not overpowering. The trio has crafted a record that measures up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy musically and delivers enough emotional charge to power a small town for a month. It's an impressive achievement and Fun. deserves every bit of acclaim that comes its way because of it.

Tim Sendra, Rovi

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Modest Mouse
After more than a decade with Modest Mouse, Isaac Brock still sounds young and weird and searching, and never more so than on Good News for People Who Love Bad News, which follows the band's meditative The Moon & Antarctica with a set of songs that are more focused, but also less obviously profound. The occasionally indulgent feel of The Moon & Antarctica allowed Modest Mouse the room to make epic statements about life, death, and the afterlife; while Good News for People Who Love Bad News is equally concerned with mortality and spirituality; it has a more active, immediate feel that makes its comments on these subjects that much more pointed. The band hits these points home with a louder, more rock-oriented sound than they've had since The Lonesome Crowded West, particularly on "Bury Me With It," which embodies many of the contradictions that continue to make Modest Mouse fascinating. For a song loosely about contemplating death, it sounds strikingly vital and liberated; Brock delivers finely shaded lyrics like "We are hummingbirds who've lost the plot and we will not move" with a barbaric yawp; it's nonsensical but oddly climactic, conveying how what seems trivial can be anything but. "The View"'s angular bassline and scratchy guitars underscore the Talking Heads influence on Modest Mouse, but since the Heads have become a more trendy touchstone (mostly for bands with less creativity than either Talking Heads or Modest Mouse), it's nice to hear how Brock and company take that influence in a different direction instead of just rehashing it with less inspiration. Feeling stuck is a major theme on Good News for People Who Love Bad News, but the same can't be said about the album's sound, which spans the forceful rock of the aforementioned songs, to the pretty guitar pop of "Float On" and "Ocean Breathes Salty," to the lovely, rustic "Blame It on the Tetons." That's not even mentioning the contributions of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who open Good News for People Who Love Bad News with the aptly named "Horn Intro." They also add a theatrical jolt to the wickedly funny, Tom Waits-inspired "Devil's Workday," which along with the noisy stomp of "Dance Hall" and "Bukowski"'s witty self-loathing, underscore that Modest Mouse haven't lost the edge that made the band compelling in the first place. Other standouts include "Satin in a Coffin," a creatively creepy mix of rattling bluegrass-rock with a tango beat that nods to the group's backwater roots; "One Chance," an unusually open and straightforward ballad; and the dreamlike "World at Large," on which Brock sings, "I like songs about drifters -- books about the same/They both seem to make me feel a little less insane," once again proving that he's a past master of lyrics that are both abstract and precise. Even though this album isn't as immediately or showily brilliant as The Moon & Antarctica, Good News for People Who Love Bad News reveals itself as just as strong a statement. By drawing an even sharper contrast between the harsh and beautiful things about their music, as well as life, Modest Mouse have made an album that's moving and relevant without being pretentious about it. [The album's Japan edition featured bonus tracks.]

Heather Phares, Rovi

Oh, What A Life

American Authors

Trouble Will Find Me

The National
Brooklyn indie rockers the National release Trouble Will Find Me, their sixth studio album and follow-up to 2010's critically acclaimed High Violet. Produced by the band's guitarist twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner and featuring the powerful build of "Demons," Trouble Will Find Me is once again evidence of the National's ability to captivate the listener from beginning to end, with the help of emotive lyrics delivered in Matt Berninger's trademark baritone style.

Daniel Clancy, Rovi

Lost In The Dream

The War On Drugs

After The Disco

Broken Bells

The 1975

The 1975

Torches

Foster the People
Foster the People's 2011 full-length debut Torches expands upon the indie electronic outfit's '80s synth-meets-'60s psych pop sound. Buoyed by the online buzz surrounding the band's single "Pumped Up Kicks," Foster the People have crafted a batch of similarly catchy, electro-lite dance-pop that fits nicely next to such contemporaries as MGMT and Phoenix. To these ends you get the aforementioned anthem "Pumped Up Kicks," as well as the hypnotic disco hop track "Call It What You Want." Equally compelling are such deep cuts as the yearning, melancholy ballad "I Would Do Anything for You" and the foot stomping arcade game-sounding anthem "Houdini." Burning with a hot track intensity somewhere in between early evening rave-up and late-night club afterglow, Torches is a beacon of melodic dance-pop love.

Teeth Dreams

The Hold Steady

Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend
Following the success of their sophomore album, Contra, Vampire Weekend released their highly anticipated third full-length, entitled Modern Vampires of the City. The record had been kept tightly under wraps since writing began in late 2011, and the four-piece discreetly hit the studio with producer Ariel Rechtshaid (We Are Scientists, Plain White T's, Usher) in their native New York. Lead single "Diane Young" illustrates the group in full flow, interjecting a rasping bassline and trashy drums to their crisp indie rock sound.

Scott Kerr, Rovi

Mind Over Matter

Young the Giant

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

xx

the xx
Debuts as fully formed and confident as the xx's self-titled first album are rare, but then, there is very little that is typical about this band or their music. Their influences are wide-ranging -- traces of post-punk, dream pop, dubstep, indie pop, and R&B pop up at any given moment -- but are focused into songs that are as simple as they are unique and mysterious. These tracks are so sleek, they're practically sculptural, and they boast impeccably groomed arrangements. The beats pulse rather than crash; the guitars are artfully picked and plucked; and the vocals rarely rise above a wistful sigh. This restraint and sophistication make the fact that the xx's members were barely in their twenties when they recorded the album all the more impressive; artists twice their age would be proud to call the maturity and confidence that flow seemingly effortlessly through the xx their own. Even their song titles are the perfect mix of concise and evocative: "Stars," "Shelter," "Night Time" (actually, all of their songs could be named this -- they're that intimate and sleepily cool). The moody, monochromatic sound the xx sets forth on "Intro" is lovely enough, but it's how the band subtly shifts and tweaks it on each track that makes the album truly special. "VCR"'s innocent guitars hint at the band's fondness for Young Marble Giants' radically simple indie pop, while "Infinity" leans more heavily on their post-punk roots, and "Heart Skips a Beat" underscores its name with wittily fractured rhythms. And while singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim sound good on their solo turns (Sim particularly shines on the spacious "Fantasy"), together they're truly inspired -- the aloof sensuality they generate makes romantic intrigue actually intriguing again. "Crystalised" might be one of the more intense songs here, but it still carries the confessional quality of a conversation between lovers, reaffirming what "heart-to-heart" really means. The standout "Basic Space" takes Croft and Sim's push-pull chemistry in an even more pop direction, but it's still awash in subtly fascinating details like its exotically rolling beat and Durutti Column-esque guitars. While the band's subtlety and consistency threaten to work against them at times, XX is still a remarkable debut that rewards repeated listens and leaves listeners wanting more.

Heather Phares, Rovi

Ceremonials (Deluxe Edition)

Florence + The Machine
There’s a point just past the halfway mark on “Shake It Out,” the rousing first single from Florence + the Machine's second studio release, when the swelling guitars, organs, and strings, staccato percussion, and Florence Welch's air-raid siren of a voice lock up in a Herculean battle over which one is going to launch itself into the stratosphere first. It’s a contest that plays out at least once on each of Ceremonials' immaculately produced 12 tracks. Such carefully calculated moments of rhapsody would dissolve into redundant treacle in less capable hands, but Welch does emotional bombast better than any of her contemporaries, and when she wails into the black abyss above, the listener can’t help but return the call. Bigger and bolder than 2009’s excellent Lungs, Ceremonials rolls in like fog over the Thames, doling out a heavy-handed mix of Brit-pop-infused neo-soul anthems and lush, movie trailer-ready ballads that fuse the bluesy, electro-despair of Adele with the ornate, gothic melodrama of Kate Bush and Floodland-era Sisters of Mercy. Producer Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Friendly Fires) knows that the fiercest weapon in his arsenal is Florence herself, and he stacks her vocals accordingly, creating a fevered, pagan gospel choir on “What the Water Gave Me” and “Leave My Body,” a ghostly, Phil Spector-ish chorale on the surprisingly Beatlesque “Breaking Down,” and a defiant, uplifting horde of merry pranksters on the spirited “Heartlines,” resulting in that rare sophomore outing that not only manages to avoid the slump, but bests its predecessor in the process. [A Deluxe Edition of Ceremonials features three bonus studio tracks, as well as a demo version of “What the Water Gave Me.”]

James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Direct Hits

The Killers

Spreading Rumours (Deluxe)

Grouplove

Reflektor

Arcade Fire

Top Songs

A Thousand Years

Christina Perri

Some Nights

Fun.

Do I Wanna Know?

Arctic Monkeys

We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe)

Fun.

Pumped up Kicks

Foster the People

Little Talks

Of Monsters And Men

Somebody That I Used To Know

Gotye

Forever

HAIM

Chocolate

The 1975

Dog Days Are Over

Florence & The Machine

It Will Rain

Bruno Mars

The Wire

HAIM

Float On

Modest Mouse

Dirty Paws

Of Monsters And Men

Electric Feel

MGMT

Intro

the xx

Unbelievers

Vampire Weekend

R U Mine?

Arctic Monkeys

It's About Time

Young the Giant

Fall For You

Secondhand Serenade

Take a Walk

Passion Pit

Skinny Love

Bon Iver