Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now

This week's curator: Chuck P, DJ for KCRW.

Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: DJ Chuck P, of KCRW, whom you can join on his continuous search for what’s next on KCRW’s Music Blog.

1) High Highs, High Highs

High Highs, from Brooklyn by way of Sydney, make music that’s light, airy, and easy to listen to. They remind me of what I love about both Tunng and the quieter moments from Blitzen Trapper, without sounding like either of those bands. Their songs feature wonderful harmonies and melodies that stay with you well after it's over. High Highs have earned plenty of buzz over the past year,  and this vinyl EP should open the door even wider than their recent tour with The Radio Dept.

Listen: Horses


2) Cough Cool, Clausen

Despite being named after a Misfits song (they do an excellent cover of “Some Kinda Hate”), Cough Cool generally sounds nothing like the New Jersey hardcore pioneers. Some of Cough Cool’s songs are incredibly claustrophobic and intense, with the lyrics buried among the droning strums of of guitars and throbbing bass. Others are lighter and acoustic, but retain that same (admittedly Danzig-like!) intensity. Just in time for Halloween.

Listen: Suckers


3) Gauntlet Hair, Gauntlet Hair

Tropicalia meets Animal Collective. Okay, that may not be much of a stretch, but it's still a welcome combination. The new self-titled album is a perfect marriage between relaxing and engaging: it calms without boring. Gauntlet Hair specialize in massive, airy soundscapes that can either pull you or be resigned to background music, and either way, they're perfect.  This album is perfect for fans of Animal Collective and El Guincho.

Listen: Top Bunk


4) Zola Jesus, Conatus

Zola Jesus (Nika Roza Danilova) puts her best instrument up front: her voice. In her operatic, industrial-influenced music, strings mingle with heavy percussion as Danilova's voice floats above it all — it’s both ethereal and heavy. There's more clarity here than her previous two EPs, making Conatus the best place to start if you're interested in exploring her music.

Listen: Seekir


5) Yellow Ostrich, The Mistress

Way back in 2010, I bought The Mistress from Yellow Ostrich’s Soundcloud page and immediately loved the incredible vocal harmonies (reminiscent of Grizzly Bear) and the quirky sense of songwriting (think Of Montreal). Percussion takes center stage and the songs progress rather than just rehash: each verse builds higher and higher until it's over and you wonder why you're at the edge of your seat.

Listen: Whale


Commentarium (111 Comments)

Nov 02 11 - 1:56am

I know that most music bloggers are into music like this, but a lot of "Five Albums" pieces have been a whole fuckload of airy indie. I love it just as much as the next person, but where's the hip-hop, the metal, the rock, the pop, the electronica? (the country?)

I just feel like variety's been a little lacking is all.

Nov 02 11 - 4:18am

all i want are some baroque acid-jazz fusion recommendations.

Nov 02 11 - 10:19am

@ Ryan -- that's fair, and honestly, I don't even really love it as much as the next person. That said, there were some great international picks a couple weeks' back -- Cyril Diaz Orchestra still sticks out in my memory.

Nov 02 11 - 3:50pm

Give me some punk country disco! :-)

Nov 02 11 - 10:49pm

Where's the psycho thrash hillbilly?

Nov 05 11 - 11:48pm

Agreed, this all seems like a narrow vision into the music scene. It's as if this blog was done by musicists, refusing to accept, acknowledge or give credit to anything outside their small minded knowledge of music.....Light and airy indie music is fine, but to make every single list a compilation of such seems too much of a push to discount anything that is actually progressive in the music world right now....You guys are stuck in 2002 LIVE IN THE NOW!!!

Nov 06 11 - 5:41am

this is a "5 recommended airy indie albums", not a "5 best albums evar!!1" list. learn how to read.

Nov 07 11 - 7:00pm

@nn ...maybe learn to spell before you go telling people to learn how to read.

Nov 08 11 - 2:09am

@tonyO's okay, not everyone gets internet slang by proxy of purposely misspelled words.

Nov 08 11 - 9:00am

...or how about Country-Rap - or CRAP, for short. LOL

Nov 08 11 - 5:46pm

But it's the Indie artists and albums that need the exposure.

Nov 10 11 - 12:19am

I don't care for any of this. =/ Tool, ftw.

Nov 10 11 - 10:44am

If you don't mind me asking: if there were people who actually wanted to blog/write/post about rock, rap, electronic, pop, etc., then I guess more people would right? But since this tool of "blogging" hasn't reached the hillbilly thrash demographic yet, I'm not sure we'll be seeing a lot of that. Which makes my heart happy because admittedly, I think I'm going to try these bands out now because everyone is hating on their "indie airy" sound.

Nov 10 11 - 2:47pm

Or maybe the people who listen to rock, rap, electronic, pop etc. aren't blogging because they have other, more important things to do? Or perhaps there are blogs on other types of music, but you've yet to explore that option? That's just my hillbilly thrash opinion.

Nov 02 11 - 2:35am

Ah, I love the High Highs

Nov 02 11 - 7:21pm

Yellow Ostrich, YES! I think Hold On is their track I cannot get tired of.

Nov 17 11 - 9:27pm

agreed my favorite by far was yellow ostrich :]

Nov 02 11 - 7:32pm

2 and 4 are intense and that last one is a pop genius. Yellow ostrich remind me more of Tokyo Police Club or Born Ruffians than the two mentioned though. I've been enjoying the new Wilco album!

Nov 05 11 - 4:05am

intense? really? compared to what? this is some of the lightest music ive heard and not very good music at that. give me the silversun pickups or kaiser chiefs, better yet make a "five albums" for post-hardore please

Nov 08 11 - 11:19pm

not good music are you deaf

Nov 09 11 - 1:30am
Jacques L'Ours

Maybe not deaf, just not exposed to a whole lot of diverse stuff.

Nov 15 11 - 9:13am
Poe Herring

Love me please

Nov 02 11 - 7:59pm

5 albums you should be listening to, right now! (The little more musical variation version)

"Dive" - Tycho
"In the Pit of the Stomach" - We Were Promised Jetpacks
"Believers" - A.A. Bondy
"Audio, Video, Disco" - Justice
"Empros" - Russian Circles

Nov 06 11 - 5:29am

fuck do we really have to listen to justice? again!?

Nov 02 11 - 8:30pm
G lu

And "Mono Solo" by Shane Alexander

Nov 06 11 - 11:49pm

nice try, shane alexander

Feb 14 12 - 9:20pm


Nov 02 11 - 8:42pm

Zola Jesus is next to goddessness!

Nov 09 11 - 3:11pm

She sort of sounds/reminds me of Florence and the Machine though...

Nov 03 11 - 4:12am

I love this Gauntlet Hair track. Nice picks. You should hear the new Tom Waits album.

Nov 03 11 - 11:49am

sounds like a lot of these bands like BEACH HOUSE ;)

Nov 03 11 - 8:09pm

So I've check out the songs and no... and no.. and no and no... , especially Cough Cool... with their instrument drowning out the vocal, its like an indie picture being indie for the sake of being indie. This selection of Cough Cool is no better than the soundtrack of Eraserhead.
I don't think any of these people, except for possibly one, will make if any further than a small college club.

Nov 06 11 - 11:40am

"This selection of Cough Cool is no better than the soundtrack of Eraserhead."

You just made me want to check out the rest of the Cough Cool album.

Nov 03 11 - 8:12pm

Oh and I absolutely agree with Ryan, there is a serious lack of any other genre here, so therefore I cannot take this list unless there some sort of disclaimer saying the five indie albums/cds you should be listening.

Nov 07 11 - 3:01am
Xolodnyj + grammar

Oh, and I absolutely agree with Ryan; there is a serious lack of any other genre here. I cannot take this list seriously, therefore, unless there is some sort of disclaimer saying, "these are the five indie albums/CDs you should be listening to."

5th grade English?

Nov 07 11 - 5:19pm

Have you even taken 5th grade English? Come on broskisaurus

Nov 03 11 - 11:12pm

@ Boomer sounds like you want David Axelrod's Songs Of Innocence, Songs of Experience and Earth Rot.

Nov 04 11 - 10:17pm

This is a good example of how NOT to make music. It's an awful indie mess with zero attention paid to the MUSIC and a bunch of annoying lyrics sung on top.

Does it have three notes? Do the lyrics pretend to be deep? Does is sound the same as all the other indie bands? Sounds like a top five competitor to me!

Nov 04 11 - 10:30pm
John Goodman

top five albums you should listen to if you're hearing impaired

Nov 05 11 - 12:22am

Why is it, every single one of these Indie blogs have nothing but "LISTEN TO MY GOD DAMN SHITTY MIXTAPE YOU FUCKS!" for posts? all i ever find is people telling me to listen to their soft funk rock whatever BS nothing is ever "mainstream" Most of it isnt even good. Hence i just laugh post shit like this, and move on.

Nov 05 11 - 4:58am

As mentioned, why are these things of full of generic sounding indie/hipster music? All of these selections are actually over engineered into oblivion - drenching stuff in so much reverb the natural tonality is almost lost does not make for good music.

It makes me wonder what the dry sound is actually like, and leads me to think that it is very bad!

Nov 05 11 - 8:50am
not a hipster

five albums...

Megadeth - 13

Anthrax - Worship Music

Arch Enemy - Chaos Legions

Cradle of Filth - Evermore Darkly

Motorised - The World is Yours.

there ya go hipsters...

Nov 07 11 - 11:12am

We actually interviewed Anthrax a few weeks ago. Worship Music was great.

Nov 07 11 - 1:15pm

Motorised? You mean Motörhead.

Nov 05 11 - 1:01pm

who ARE these people, and HOW did they sneak in the back door of musicianship? i know i'm old and out of touch, but really, this crap is a stench in the nostrils of music in general...

Nov 05 11 - 2:53pm

no loutallica?

Nov 05 11 - 6:18pm

Good to see a local band from Denver get some recognition that isn't an embarrassment to Colorado (3oh3, Flobots) Hooray for Gauntlet Hair.

Nov 13 11 - 4:43am

Agreed bra and D town is the steeze.

Nov 05 11 - 7:48pm

God damn upper middle class WASPy garbage

Nov 05 11 - 8:57pm

Why do you guys care? Isn't Justin Bieber the real enemy here?

Nov 13 11 - 4:41am
Reading swell posts

J Beib is a dream boat sonny. Just fall in love like the rest of the world please...please.

Nov 06 11 - 9:22am

"Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now"

Ain't that just a lound noise? Listening to 5 albums at once?

Nov 07 11 - 3:50pm

No. If you listen to all five albums at once, it turns into music.

Nov 06 11 - 10:56am

What the fuck is this horse shit?!? You people can't seriously listen to this right? I listened to all 5 of those sample tracks and feel like I should go on a murderous rampage. This is not even's more like a few teenage stoners got together with acoustics and a bong and said "Whoa man, this is mind-blowing". That crap has no soul and no heart. Helen Keller could've made better music than this.

If you listen to this shit, for real, you should probably contemplate suicide...'cause it's over for you.

Nov 06 11 - 12:28pm

this crap is so indie the internets don't even have it for downloading. and no way am i gonna pay for it on itunes if that's even a choice (bc so far i haven't EVER had to install itunes) thanks to someone for the heads up about a new wilco album atleast. that i would buy before even a listen. yay, go established talent!

Nov 06 11 - 6:17pm

Hipster turds on cd format

Nov 06 11 - 9:27pm
Mikey A

Meh, it's all a bunch of washed-out grainy quiet droning music with no real, I don't know how to put it, ambition? I like a lot of obscure music, but every one of these songs started out cool and then left me waiting for something to happen...

Nov 07 11 - 4:40am

Just from seeing the first band picture with the guy showing the other guy a flower, I knew I should NOT be listening to this hipster crap. The rest of the pictures are horrible too and THE BAND NAMES!!

Nov 07 11 - 10:05am

Just Stumbled here,, and I prefer what I've got playing right now: Godot - The Fragrance of Dark Coffee. This version has saxophone! And no lyrics! I can't imagine anything w/ lyrics being more, or even as, soothing as this. All it needs is RainyMood, and I'm relaxed enough to slide off my chair into a puddle on the floor. It's the musical equivalent of a full body massage.

What's that? Oh, the link. Here you go:

Nov 07 11 - 10:53am
Not cooler than you

Wow, all the people on the Internet who actually believe in people being 'cool' and are afraid that hipsters might be cooler than them found this article and feel the need to troll it with incredibly ignorant opinions.


Pro Tip: No one is any cooler than anyone else. Most music is pretty lame, especially Zola Jesus, but if it weren't for people who like weird music you would still be listening to only Classical music.

Nov 07 11 - 5:24pm

ignorant? wouldn't they be ignorant if they made their opinions without listening to the bands, which would be unfair to assume? also, i did not see a single person claim to be "cooler" than hipsters, etc.

Nov 28 11 - 11:02pm

A couple of these songs are good. Not all, But everyone has an ear for something else. Im not much one fore streamline music that everyone knows and is always singing, I like a change of things and thats exactly what some of these songs are. Music is constantly changing and we have a new genre on the rise (dubstep) which I know for sure had some debby downers but then it started to become popular and they grew to like it. (sad that people cant have a mind of there own) In my mind the beatles are unbeatable so dont make comparisons or judgements on people for having different characteristics than the rest of the world.

Nov 07 11 - 2:51pm

This is crap. It's all crap.

Nov 07 11 - 3:56pm

Pretty sure this should be on here.

Nov 07 11 - 4:52pm

its just liek one simple fucking beat on a keyboard repeated to mindless singing for 3 minutes
wheres the originality? wheres anything that took more than 20 mintues to create the beat
haha alright seriosuly tho this sucks

Nov 07 11 - 5:22pm

Some Indie music isn't indie anymore; I've heard way over-produced "Indie" bands. The industry got a hold of 'em, I guess. So mainstream now. All the hipsters are going to have to find even more obscure music.

Nov 07 11 - 10:02pm

If you don't like it, don't listen to it?
Or is that too mainstream...

Nov 07 11 - 10:42pm

Wow. These selections are not good at all. THEY ARE ALL INCREDIBLY BORING. There is nothing to them. Cough Cool, Clausen sounds like an old man mumbling into a cloud of dull boring awfulness. Just because people don't listen to crap like this doesn't mean they listen to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. Nice try.

Nov 07 11 - 11:04pm

i really like this, so good job.

Nov 09 11 - 5:38pm

Hey, someone else who actually likes this. Just becauase this music isn't your style doesn't mean nobody should like it. Stop trying to influence others by the hatred youre breeding

Feb 15 12 - 6:53pm


Nov 08 11 - 1:49am
c j dubs

listen to this guys, its some really good rock & roll that won't bore you to sleep like these songs..

Nov 08 11 - 1:49am
c j dubs ..i recommend 'brief snake' and 'this bed is a rock'

Nov 08 11 - 6:30am

You want me to listen to what?

Nov 08 11 - 7:45am

Again, enough of this, this... whatever you call it. Indie? As a semi-pro muso myself, I can appreciate trying to get new bands out there and all, but THEY ALL SOUND THE F*CKING SAME! Sleepy, misty hipster crap.

How about "5 Ol' School Cool Heavy/Progressive Rock Tracks You Probably Should Know" - fill it up with stuff like Steppenwolf's Your Wall's Too High, Hawkwind's It's So Easy, Deep Purple's Hallelujah etc etc. Actually, why stop with 5? "Shitloads of Ol' School..." you get the idea

Nov 08 11 - 12:55pm

After reading the comments I should be blamend to like it

Nov 08 11 - 2:26pm

muito bom

Nov 08 11 - 5:13pm

NOBODY CARES about how musically knowledgeable you think you are; so many of you sound either obnoxiously pretentious or uneducated that it makes me sick.

"As a semi-pro muso myself,"
"...with their instrument drowning out the vocal, its like an indie picture being indie for the sake of being indie."
"Meh, it's all a bunch of washed-out grainy quiet droning music with no real, I don't know how to put it, ambition?"
"this crap is so indie the internets don't even have it for downloading."
"What the fuck is this horse shit?!? You people can't seriously listen to this right?"

Nov 08 11 - 5:21pm

Hipster shite strikes again.

Nov 08 11 - 5:56pm

I think "Black Veil Brides - Set The World On Fire" should be up there

Nov 08 11 - 7:19pm
Your Favorite Door

Christ god almighty: are you people all HIGH or what? This music sucks like a ShopVac....

Nov 08 11 - 11:28pm

my goldfish seemed very fond of Yellow Ostrich, she was going crazy.

Nov 09 11 - 12:31am

Ben Howard! love him!!!!

Nov 09 11 - 1:28am
Jack the Bear

All in all a pretty sophmoric bag of noise - there's not a musician in the bunch - some nice pipes but not much in the way of development or, dare I say, maturity.

Nov 09 11 - 2:51am
not cool at all

I was going to listen because I was afraid of being out of the loop on some new cool stuff, then I read the comments and decided that I would not like what I heard because most of the comments were against listening to this stuff, so I figured that wouldn't be cool either. I split the difference, and played each one and walked out of the room to guard against anyone walking in and witnessing me listening to them. My dog didn't seem to mind any of them, so I can only go by her opinion. I did like the Tom Waits recomendation though. Consistancy.

Nov 09 11 - 3:00am

All these songs suck and each one of them pissed me off a little :\

Nov 09 11 - 6:13am

SHOULD?!?!! What a horrible, horrible, evil word.

Nov 09 11 - 9:21pm

The only good part about this was the obscene replies to listening to this mediocre music.

Nov 10 11 - 9:51am

High Highs sounds almost exactly like Grizzly Bear

Nov 10 11 - 6:11pm

Terrible music. You should actually be listening to Hisingen Blues by Graveyard, The Hunter by Mastodon and Scurrilous by Protest the Hero

Nov 11 11 - 3:59pm

i'm goin to pass on these. i don't enjoy light and airy music. doesn't do it for me.

Nov 11 11 - 4:01pm

I hate black people

Nov 11 11 - 11:29pm

Ugh, yeah, I live in L.A., and KCRW is the main public radio station around here; it's kind of considered the "tastmaking" station for whatever reason, and all they play is this crap, day in and day out. Nngh. It gets bad, guys. It gets real bad.

Nov 12 11 - 6:42pm
Listen to

The RPs - The RP EP

Nov 12 11 - 11:55pm

Probably with Indie fans is when they say "incredible vocal harmonies" they mean two guys going "Oh oh" in unison (not really harmony if it is the same pitch), while one other guy sings entirely differently. Most of the stuff on this list was described so vividly I was thoroughly let down. "Operatic with industrial influence" nope that's just indie female vocals Operatic would imply singing like early Nightwish and industrial would imply grinding sounds like you know... an industrial band. Why not say "it sounds like simple singing over redundant guitar chords" and be honest...

Nov 12 11 - 11:55pm

Problem not probably* I'm drunk and didn't catch autocorrect.

Nov 13 11 - 4:26am
uncle gazza

Christ. What a load of undiluted bollocks.

Nov 14 11 - 1:30pm

dudes, people dig all kinds of tunes, don't hate just because you see it in a different light. Start your own dang blog then.

Nov 14 11 - 11:13pm

I wonder if the vocal harmonies of Yellow Ostrich have been influenced by The Dirty Projectors

Nov 17 11 - 11:26pm

i like the new master p album more

Nov 20 11 - 11:44pm

I cnnaot tell a lie, that really helped.

Nov 24 11 - 2:11am
Well this is awkward

....because I really enjoy all of this. I think it's beautiful.

Nov 24 11 - 5:05pm

You need to listen to Ila and the happy trees !!
Check them out !

Jan 02 12 - 1:31am

the only one i enjoyed was high highs.

Jan 02 12 - 4:30pm

no good music in here. some sound manipulation that fits your tastes? ok.
but you can keep on trying because good music is something that people around the world do very often...

Jan 08 12 - 10:41pm


Jan 21 12 - 9:05pm
But Seriously...

Nobody really cares about any of your opinions.

Mar 24 12 - 2:32pm

...It's music--the one thing left that connects the fruitless life of humans.
Some will hate it, others will identify with it.
What you think smells like shit, can be pleasure to others.
Don't be a simple minded fuck. If you think what you listen to is better share it with the world, instead of just talking so much shit.


Aug 24 12 - 9:54am

Thank you for the enlightenment. Now I know how wrong I was for wanting to punch a baby after listening to these tracks.

May 09 12 - 1:28pm
a singley

this is what i found after i googled "too much reverb in modern indie".

the lyrics to the song "i guess i just wasn't made for these times" by the beach boys comes to mind...

i am going to assume these tracks rule and i am finally just old.

Jun 21 12 - 9:38am
a person with ears