Ariana Grande – My Everything
As a follow-up to her debut album Yours Truly, Ariana Grande’s latest pop delight package employs her brand of R&B chart-pop to decidedly lukewarm reception from critics. I can’t say I don’t disagree – the sexy and breezy “Love Me Harder” is my standout, but then so much of the album is made up of songs like “Break Free” – forgettable and inoffensive soaring EDM pop. Tis a shame because I really love some of her Yours Truly tracks.
“Love Me Harder”
Rustie – Green Language
Sadly another case of sophomore slump. Rustie’s debut Glass Swords was a lightshow of vibrant beats and expansive scenery that had a way of flowing super smooth-like and effortlessly. Green Language feels rougher on the ears, and though the colorful imagery and crystalline production remain in full force, it gets the job done in a clumsier manner than its predecessor. It also doesn’t help that most of my experience with the album was rolling-pinned into my head through this frustrating, Mindcraft-ish promotional game that I couldn’t finish (or be bothered to):
Opeth – Pale Communion
Depending on how you felt about 2011’s Heritage – a loving homage to 70s progressive rock, or a fluke in their menagerie of death metal behemoths – you may be pleased to know that Pale Communion finds Opeth following suit of this idea. I’m not super keen on 70s prog and much prefer their death metal era, but if you fit into the description above, then go for it.
Kimbra – The Golden Echo
Eager to hear this still, since Vows was a fantastic album filled with lush hooks and competent alt-pop songwriting (“Settle Down” anyone?). Of the songs I have heard, “Miracle” was a sweet, glitzy disco-dance-whatever track brimming with good vibes, and “Nobody But You” had the kind of moody melody that you could have a crush on for weeks, so it certainly sounds promising. Either way, everyone else seems to be loving it, so check it out.
“Love In High Places”
FKA Twigs – LP1
By FAR the best thing I can recommend on this list. Second Life DJs take note: every track on FKA Twigs’ debut full-length is a legitimate contender for your venue’s banger of the night, if her style of music tickles their fancy – that being hot, dreamy trip-hop/art pop. Okay “banger” is misleading, since this is the sensual late-night stuff, rather than the blood-pumping “make you dance in real life” shamanism, but whatever aesthetically correct term you can think of that means “excellent”, it applies to LP1 in spades. Seriously, expose yourself to this.
Aphex Twin – Syro
Though he has been quiet, he hasn’t been dormant, having allegedly been sitting on several albums worth of unreleased material since his last album came out in 2001. This is where Syro, the long-awaited sixth LP from the IDM mastermind Richard D. James, seizes its claim to fame as potentially the best thing to happen to electronic music in years, with so much sitting between this and his last album, Drukqs. You won’t see this album until late September, but hopefully it’ll be greeted with yet another sexy lime green blimp in the sky.