Suit & Tie (RCA)
Okay, so “Suit & Tie is no “SexyBack. It’s no “My Love either. But, hey: new Justin Timberlake! After over six years, that’s cool in and of itself.
Girls (Fueled by Ramen)
From the soundtrack of the HBO series of the same name, the slamming trap-dancehall crusher “Girls is the easiest sing-along ever: just say the title a bunch of times and you’ve nailed it.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
So Good at Being in Trouble (Jagjaguwar)
Lo-fi indie white-boy R&B never sounded so good. Like, literally never. As in it’s never actually sounded any good at all until now.
Blur (Modern Outsider)
If Julee Cruise had fronted the Jesus and Mary Chain at its sweetest (and least feedback-prone), it might sound something like this. Or it might sound exactly like the Raveonettes. Same diff.
Anxiety’s Door (Night People)
There just isn’t enough good mope rock being made these days, is there? Florida’s Merchandise somehow manages to sound like the product of somewhere more grey and miserable, like Manchester circa 1981. Or Vancouver circa now.
Glass (Neon Gold)
We’ll let Karen Marie Ørsted get away with singing about “our horny souls, but only because she’s Danish and because this song is electro-soul that makes us feel warm and squishy.
I Am Haunted (4AD)
Off-kilter acoustic guitar and multitracked vocals fit for a Prince combine in the kind of song that might be best described as haunting. Not to mention really fucking cool.
Esben and the Witch
Iceland Spar (Matador)
Blinding sheets of distorto-guitar and quietly world-weary vocal passages make you more excited for the next My Bloody Valentine record than anything My Bloody Valentine is currently doing.
Move over Billy Joel, Ben Folds, and that crazy chick whose album titles are always about 200 words long: there’s a new piano hero in town.
Starts out with a shot of Irish film dialogue you need a translator for, and then slides into blunt-blazed downtempo hip-hop territory. Cue it up, light one up, and then marvel at Corvid’s lyrical dexterity.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Jubilee Street (Anti-)
With Warren Ellis riding shotgun on violin, the most uncompromising renegade in rock gets all meditative without losing any of his menacing cool. Badass has seldom sounded so beautiful.