Friday, March 22, 2013

QMJ: 4 Rad New Under-the-Radar Albums You Need So Hard

Lord above, please let someone create a comic book version of me someday.  Amen.

We're not even to the end of March yet and the overwhelming sense that 2013 is already a better music year than 2012 is hard to ignore.  With such prominent (and generally high quality) releases at the "top end" of the attention spectrum from artists such as Atoms For Peace, Nick Cave, David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, etc., it's a sheer numbers game thus far in 2013 that's allowing some truly amazing releases to fly slightly under the radar.

While bands like Foxygen, Autre Ne Veut, and Phosphorescent aren't exactly household names, they're getting a considerable amount of that super-special and fuzzy "indie buzz" and aren't really what I'm talking about here--though I'd strongly recommend any of these albums.  Instead, I give you four albums from artists you may or may not be aware of whose excellent new work has been largely "undercovered" thus far in a jam-packed new year.

1.  OutRun by Kavinsky: Daft Punk's carefully-crafted frenetics meets Glass Candy's retro sheen and style.  An digitally-flush journey full of revelations both subtle and dramatic.  Hot-blooded nocturnal escapism of the highest order.

Click HERE to listen to OutRun on Spotify

2.   Specter At The Feast by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: The coolest band name in music today returns with a big bad noise-rock creation full of ambition and some real tenderness.  The work here is at once muscular but never hard to listen to.  Many of the songs are long but never feel aimless.  There's so much heart here and it's great to see BRMC's re-energized climb back from their middling days (think Baby 81) continuing in 2013.  Post-punk made with classic rock elements.

Click HERE to listen to Specter At The Feast on Spotify

3.  Images du Futur by Suuns: The words "hypnotic" and "haunting" are used far too much in music critique and I know this.  But damn if there aren't two better words to describe this band, their sound, and their overall tone.  There's a cocktail of talent, vision, and likely psychotropic drugs at play here that continues to draw me back in--but it's an inclination I'm all too happy to indulge.  Electric pulsating waves of audio interference.  But in a good way.

Click HERE to listen to Images du Futur on Spotify

4.  Us Alone by Hayden: Look, I'm not gonna bullshit you.  This is indie folkie (occasionally sad bastard) music and there's plenty of that out there.  But Hayden--as he has for years--possesses the ability to make it exceptionally well.  His firm yet vulnerable voice can teeter, but endearingly so and it never starts to beat you (ahem, Bon Iver).  Hayden transcends other folkie compatriots with his layered harmonies and his adventurous instrumentation that never feels like an aping.  Personally, I love an artist who can use both a piano and an organ in the same song so very well.  There's a gentleness here that is never weak and with repeated listens it becomes genuinely magnetic.  Those of you loving on the new Phosphorescent album for it's delicate yet sweeping and skilled musing will enjoy this album thoroughly.

Click HERE to listen to Us Alone on Spotify

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