Beach House, Teen Dream
It’s been a long time since I played an album this obsessively. And it’s weird, because I usually find anything that scores a 9.0 from Pitchfork to be totally impenetrable. But this Baltimore band’s third album is dreamy, moody pop of the highest order. Victoria Legrand’s voice is rich and soulful, but it’s the warm, woozy noise from the guitars, keyboards, and miscellaneous electronics that makes these songs such huge winners.
Shout Out Louds, Work
This album fits more firmly in my wheelhouse: straightforward, immediately likable pop from Sweden. After a sophomore record that veered too far into maudlin, almost Cure-like territory, this latest record, out February 23, is stripped-down and serious, yet simultaneously more accessible than anything they’ve done before.
The Whigs, In the Dark
Like the Kings of Leon, but without the grandiosity. Immensely satisfying Southern-fried rock that soars and crunches in all the right spots. Out March 16th.
Freelance Whales, Weathervanes
You can hear echoes of the Postal Service on this New York City band’s inaugural release, out March 6. They pull off the neat trick of doing thoughtful, falsetto-topped electro-pop without sounding too precious.
I expected these guys to swing for the pop fences on this album, but they opted instead for something entirely different: a raw and sometimes twitchy record with no easily discernable hit singles. While it’s less instantly charming (although more pronounceable) than Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, it’s definitely a grower. Also, having just met and interviewed the band after buying literally everything they’ve made for seventeen years, I can happily report that they’re extremely cool.