Ballad of the Golden Hour (Captured Tracks)
As any photographer will tell you, the "golden hour" is that part of the day just before sunset, when all is bathed in a magical glow. This slide-guitar-burnished dream-folk strummer is an ideal musical accompaniment.
Veronica Falls sounds like the Smiths, if the Smiths were a C86-inspired jangle-core band with boy-girl harmonies and a somewhat sunnier disposition than Morrissey could ever muster.
Till Dawn (Here Comes the Sun) (Universal Republic)
Despite its subtitle, "Till Dawn" bears no resemblance to any Beatles song. Instead, it’s business as usual for Abel Tesfaye, all shameless lyrical confessions and unresolved musical tension.
Lines (Purple Ribbon/Def Jam)
A kind-of-weird collaboration with up-and-comer A$AP Rocky and Pitchfork-approved indie-pop duo Phantogram, "Lines" sounds like three separate songs mashed together. But not in a bad way.
The Star Spangled Banner (Asthmatic Kitty)
Reinventing your country’s national anthem as a slow and sad (but oddly noisy) hymn is a neat trick. So who’s going to do it for ours? You can probably get a Canadian Heritage grant for some- thing like that.
No Destruction (Jagjaguwar)
Despite having a name that drips sex and ’70s shag carpets, Foxygen is, on this golden-hue jam, more into spiking sunset-country with a lethal dose of the Velvet Underground.
Old Man Song (Aporia)
The music of the Old Country gets a quirky makeover at the hands of Anna Atkinson, who obviously has a deep-seated appreciation for straight-from-the-tavern accordions and Gypsy-camp fiddles.
The Gambler (Aporia)
Sorry, it’s not the Kenny Rogers classic, but instead a downbeat-country rumination on where everything went so very, very wrong. Which is to say, everywhere.
The Parson Red Heads
Kids Hanging Out (Second Motion)
If Tom Petty had grown up wearing bolo ties and obsessively listening to the Long Ryders in the ’80s, this is what he would have sounded like, only probably not as cool.
Can’t Get You Out of My Head (EMI)
Kylie Minogue books herself into Abbey Road and emerges classier for it, with the synths and big beats of her massive club hit replaced by subdued classical strings and a stripped-naked vocal approach. That’s right: she’s almost naked.
Cease Fire (RCA)
The woman with the best vocal chops in show business shows some admirable restraint on a military synth-soul number that should be required listening for anyone in couples counselling.