Music

Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now: Rachel Reynolds of KCRW

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This week’s curator: Rachel Reynolds of L.A. public-radio station KCRW.

Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Rachel Reynolds, Music Publicity Director and producer of the Guest DJ Project at Los Angeles public-radio station KCRW.

Even though KCRW (89.9 in LA and KCRW.com worldwide) is known for breaking bands, I didn’t want to solely pick a bunch of hot up and comers. Instead, I chose five albums that I think are perfect for the summer season. Some music just sounds better on a long drive with the windows down, at a pool party or on a beach with beer in hand. Enjoy!

1. Sia, We Are Born

Sia - We Are Born

Sia truly has a one-of-a-kind voice that is both beautiful and arresting. Her ballads have made her famous, particularly the track "Breathe Me," but her new album is all danceable electro-pop delivered just in time for summer! I’ve seen her sing in KCRW’s studios, with just a handful of other people watching, and she sent chills up my spine. This is the perfect album to throw on during a party or just while getting ready to enjoy the day. I dare you not to dance.

2. Delta Spirit, History From Below

Delta Spirit - History From Below

I’m a big fan of supporting local talent, and anyone who doesn’t think the L.A. scene is a serious contender hasn’t been here in the last few years — between the retro soul of Fitz and the Tantrums, the power-pop of Saint Motel, and Voxhaul Broadcast’s catchy guitar rock, we’ve got a lot to offer. I’ve been a fan of Long Beach’s Delta Spirit since their first EP and their newest release is their best work yet. It’s a thoughtful, bluesy, seductive set of songs that are bursting with energy and gorgeous harmonies. I can’t stop listening to this album. Here’s a clip of them performing at KCRW.

3. Black Keys, Brother

Black Keys - Brother

It feels weird to use the word sultry to describe music made by two men, but the Black Keys’ new album definitely shakes its hips while confidently walking down the street with its head held high. I was first exposed to the band during a live set at KCRW in support of their last album Attack & Release, and I was absolutely floored. I couldn’t believe these two guys from Ohio were making such powerful, moving music as a duo. The lyrics are what sucked me in even further. They have stories to tell and I couldn’t wait to hear more of them. Singer Dan Auerbach’s solo album held me over until their recent release Brothers, which was everything I hoped it would be.

4. Tame Impala, Innerspeaker

Tame Impala - Innerspeaker

Tame Impala take you on a dreamy, druggy, psychedelic trip. The four-piece from Australia immerse their tunes in a classic rock haze that sounds totally fresh, even though it references sounds of the past. This is an excellent album for speeding down the freeway with the windows down. It envelopes you in a hypno-groove!

5. Dr. Dog, Shame, Shame

Dr Dog - Shame, Shame

I fell madly in love with Dr. Dog’s Easy Beat and Fate upon first listen, but their latest disc took a few spins before I handed over my heart. All the Beach Boys-era harmonies, psychedelic whirls, and classic rock flourishes are intact, but their sound has evolved on Shame, Shame, their first CD for Anti-Records. My first run-in with Dr. Dog was when My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James played me some demos years ago. His outspoken support of the Philly band helped build them an audience in the early years, and they’ve returned the favor by continually producing music that proves them worthy. Check out this performance from the KCRW archives.