Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now

This week's curator: Kevin Bronson of Buzzbands.LA

By Kevin Bronson

Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Kevin Bronson of Buzzbands.LA, the blog he spun off the music column he wrote for seven years at the Los Angeles Times.

Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks

1) Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Anthemic rock is my comfort food, and few recent albums wrapped big metaphors into widescreen sonics quite like the third effort from this Scottish quintet. Frontman Scott Hutchison's big, hopeful voice — all aching and miserable on the band's well-regarded previous effort The Midnight Organ Fight — here soars over trembling and finger-picked guitars as he wrestles with his sense of identity and fear of isolation. Almost arena-ready.

Listen: "Nothing Like You"

Frightened Rabbit

Fitz & the Tantrums, Pickin' Up the Pieces

2) Fitz & the Tantrums, Pickin' Up the Pieces

Old-school soul gets a nifty makeover courtesy of skinny-tied frontman Michael Sean Fitzpatrick and his Los Angeles sextet. The brainchild of Fitzpatrick, a veteran studio hand, the Tantrums boast a guitar-less lineup, with backup singer Noelle Scaggs and saxophonist James King as not-so-secret weapons. Their deliriously catchy tunes are the stuff of shaking and shimmying and sweating your blues away.

Listen: "MoneyGrabber"

Fitz & the Tantrums

Baths, Cerulean

3) Baths, Cerulean

The nom de tune of twenty-one-year-old Will Wiesenfeld, Baths emerged this year as a rising star on the Los Angeles "beat scene," a loose collective of artists whose electronic music features forays into pop, hip-hop, funk, and a few other genres they're still trying to name. Baths' buoyant psychedelia stutters and soars on intricate beats, ornate instrumentation, and Wiesenfeld's boyish tenor. Somewhere in the young beatmaker's forested arrangements, you can even hear his classical training.

Listen: "Hall"


Sea of Bees, Songs for the Ravens

4) Sea of Bees, Songs for the Ravens

There's a story about Julie Baenziger — aka Julie Ann Bee, aka Jules, aka Sea of Bees — learning Pro Tools and self-recording her first EP all in one day. It's pretty much true. The twenty-five-year old from Sacramento made her debut album with a proper producer, though, and whether she is dabbling in folk, fuzzy pop, country, or electro, hers is a uniquely engaging voice, clear and guileless and exceedingly tender in its pleas for human connection.

Listen: "Marmalade"

Sea of Bees

Ride, Nowhere: 20th Anniversary Edition

5) Ride, Nowhere: 20th Anniversary Edition

Ride were better than My Bloody Valentine. There, I said it. Like the widely lionized Valentine, the Oxford, U.K., quartet Ride fashioned its wall of sound out of distorted guitar tones and reverb, but beautiful pop songs lurked beneath the noise. Later in their career, Mark Gardener, Andy Bell, Laurence Colbert, and Steve Queralt would go in a pop direction, but this debut album is a shoegaze classic. The anniversary edition (out Dec. 21 on Rhino) includes a second disc with a live recording from 1991 at Los Angeles' Roxy Theatre, a show I am deeply sorry to have missed.

Listen: "Vapour Trail"



Commentarium (15 Comments)

Dec 08 10 - 1:56am
James (in bloom)

Yep, I agree with you about Ride. In principle. When I drove my mom to chemotherapy a few years ago, I was able to make it through "Nowhere" on cassette without her complaining. But "Loveless" got shut down after "To Here Knows When."
Obviously, I'm a nerd.

Dec 08 10 - 7:42pm
just mike

Fitz and the Tantrums opened up for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Lots of fun, both groups!

Dec 08 10 - 8:08pm
Dr Teeth

Vapour Trail - favourite ever song.

Dec 08 10 - 9:21pm

baths is a pussy

Dec 09 10 - 10:34am

I always anticipate finding some good new music here but am afraid I never do. Gah!

Dec 09 10 - 5:30pm
Keagan Ilvonen

These are all awesome choices.

Dec 09 10 - 10:54pm

You should listen to OnCue

Dec 10 10 - 12:23am


Dec 10 10 - 12:32am

it all sounds ok, but none of these artists have anything significant to say. but so it goes these days.

Dec 10 10 - 7:58am
do me

nice selection!

Dec 10 10 - 9:45pm

Ah, the Ride music makes me miss high school. Holy cow, it's been 20 years.

Dec 16 10 - 1:29pm
Go To Bed Old Man

I like Ride a good deal, but better than MBV? In which alternate universe? Fuck off. Also this list is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Dec 26 10 - 8:28pm
Travis Lin

Its not really indie cause people know about it...........

Dec 26 10 - 9:11pm

A pile of boring garbage. I can only imagine this list doesn't suck if you are high? I wouldn't know.

Dec 26 10 - 10:03pm

Lol @ this hipster shit