Albums of the Month: February 2016
Introducing a brand new series: Albums of the Month. Monthly, I’ll recommend to you, the reader, 5 or more records that have come out within the last 30 days that are worth your time.
Breakbot – Still Waters
Breakbot’s sophomore album is not something you need to think too deeply about. While other electronic records rely on the listener to pay close attention to fully appreciate the atmospheric tones and complex textures within their compositions, Still Waters demands just one thing of you: dance. While the 52 minutes runtime can run a bit exhausting at times, the French producer’s fun blend of Nu-Disco, French House, and Synth-funk that is prime for the dance floor.
Recommended Tracks: Arrested, My Toy, Get Lost, All It Takes, Still Waters
The Jezabels – Synthia
Numerous bands have tried this exact style over the years: misty, reverb-y indie pop and rock that tries its best to come across as euphoric and meaningful, but is really just really bland and superficial. With Synthia, Australian quartet The Jezabels are able to pull off this style with flying colors. Equally catchy and vast, Synthia is one of the most epic pop records to come out in years.
Recommended Tracks: Stand and Deliver, Smile, Unnatural, Come Alive, Pleasure Drive, Stamina
Animal Collective – Painting With
In tradition with other Animal Collective records, the Baltimore experimentalists have changed their sound yet again, this time for the better. While 2012’s Centipede Hz was a messy, unfocused mess of a record, Painting With is a much more stripped back effort. Their poppiest record yet, the band’s decision to ditch the ambient passages that were present even on their most popular release goes over relatively well, even if those passages will be missed dearly. Instead, were getting immediate tunes that waste no time to make an impression on the listener. Though this strategy isn’t pulled of successfully every time (“Spilling Guts,” “Summing The Wrench”), more times than not the band comes out triumphant. Painting With isn’t as emotionally gripping or as stunning as their earlier, but it’s not really trying to.
Recommended Tracks: Floridada, The Burglars, Bagels In Kiev, On Delay, Golden Gal
The Suffers – The Suffers
The type of soul music The Suffers play isn’t really groundbreaking. Harkening back to the older days of the genre, saxes and horns drive their sound with moderate success, with the occasional case of two tracks sounding a bit too similar. They’re able to differentiate themselves from other run-of-the-mill bands with their inclusion of reggae and Caribbean music influences melody wise. However, the core of the band and their self-titled debut is within their solid songwriting and the vocals of lead woman Kam Franklin. Throughout the record, her voice conveys tons of personality, and ballads like the stunning closer “Giver” are superb pieces of soul music that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Recommended Tracks: Midtown, Gwan, Good Day, Stay, Giver
Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge
If you were to base your opinions on Sarah Neufeld’s sophomore LP entirely on the first track, you wouldn’t be doing the album much justice. While “The Ridge” is a breathtaking epic of an opener and an album highlight, not every track reaches these soaring highs. Instead, many of these track give off a much more subtle form of delicacy using only some drums, Neufelds hypnotic vocals, and her skills as a violinist throughout the majority of the record. Never before has so little sounded so majestic.
Recommended Tracks: The Ridge, The Glow, A Long Awaited Scar, From The Animal, Where The Light Comes In