The list continues with some rock, some roll, and everything in between!
Death Cab For Cutie‘s Benjamin Gibbard made his solo debut this year with Former Lives, an inviting record that feels like you’ve known and loved it for years. Gibbard’s flair for experimentation can be heard on the a cappella ‘Shepherd’s Bush Lullaby’, as well as on the mariachi influenced track ‘Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke)’. The reverb soaked vocals and production on ‘Duncan, Where Have You Gone?’ make the track sound like a long lost John Lennon tune. Aimee Mann guests on ‘Bigger Than Love’, a bouncy ode that will, much like all of Former Lives, keep you smiling from start to finish.
Former Lives is not available for streaming, but you can preview tracks at iTunes and Amazon
Grand statements about a band’s catalog are always debatable, but taking that into account, Battle Born may just be The Killers best record to date. Many of the bands previously explored influences find a comfortable home on Battle Born. ‘Flesh and Bone’ begins the record with an electro pulse that gives way to an exciting track that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the record. Single ‘Runaways’ has all the pomp and power we’ve come to expect from a Killers single, but boasts a magic all its own. The driving ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ grabs a hold of the listener and does not relent for its near five minute run time. If at any point you felt The Killers to be over hyped or played out, the band makes a strong case for their continued relevance with Battle Born.
Listen on Spotify: Battle Born
The Glorious Dead
The Heavy have taken all the best elements of rock, blues, and early Motown R&B and created an epic sound on The Glorious Dead. Heavy, fuzzy riffs and thundering percussion are met with exhilarating String, Horn, and Choral arrangements that enhance each track without feeling unnatural. This is a record that was meant to spin on a turntable in between your Otis Redding or Ray Charles records as well as your Black Keys and White Stripes. Big tracks like opener ‘Can’t Play Dead’,’What Makes A Good Man’, and ‘Don’t Say Nothing’ pop and wail, while the haunting ‘The Lonesome Road’ simmers along at a more measured pace. The one thing this album doesn’t feature is a dull moment. Every tune is worth getting lost in, so grab your best set of headphones and let The Glorious Dead take you over.
Listen on Spotify: The Glorious Dead
Minus The Bear
Minus The Bear channel every influence they have ever had on Infinity Overhead, and the result is a stunning pop infused Prog/Math-Rock record. The post hardcore meets 80’s pop of ‘Steel and Blood’ begins the record in stellar fashion, foreshadowing the kind of sun drenched genre hopping that the listener will be treated to throughout the disc. ‘Lies and Eyes’ and ‘Diamond Lightning’ feature the kind of big hooks, chunky riffs, and surprises that can bring hipsters and hardcore rockers together (for a while anyway). Infinity Overhead“ is forty-one minutes of pure delight, and a classic addition to the band’s repertoire.
Listen on Spotify: Infinity Overhead
Yellow & Green
Baroness‘ double album Yellow & Green will take you all over the rock and roll map. The band fine tunes shades of Metal, Misfits style broad Punk, and Prog-Rock sensibilities to craft a sound that is uniquely theirs. Any of these tunes could fit on your Warped Tour playlist or your Metallica megamix without feeling out of place. Though each disc has its own theme and sound, the two fit together seamlessly, without ever feeling bloated or over the top. Look to the strong charge of Yellow‘s ‘Take My Bones Away’ or the gentler ‘Mtns. (The Crown& Anchor)’ for a taste of what these two discs have to offer. If you love hard rocking guitars and thematic riffing in your records, you need to spin “Yellow & Green”.
Listen on Spotify: Yellow & Green