Why does every artist have to drop their album on the same day? For us listeners, it's a challenge to catch up with every new release, especially when it's several different releases from all really exciting artists. So to cut through the noise and make sure you have all of your ducks in a row, we're briefly rounding up the most important albums to listen to this week.
1. Lorde - Melodrama
Okay, okay… let's get right down to it. Lorde is out with a new album today. And it's incredible. It's as intricately produced, well-written, and passionately performed as you'd expect it to be after her critically and commercially successful debut, Pure Heroine
. Seriously, how can anyone listen to "Green Light" without the biggest smile on their face? Songs like "Sober" and "Writer In the Dark" feature production choices that are creative to say the least, and her voice sounds incredible as always.
2. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
The title of the new Jason Isbell album says it all, really. The respected singer-songwriter is back with an album that is awash in southern twang. Highlights include "Last of My Kind" and "White Man's World." His lyrics are as great as they've ever been.
3. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
Another near-masterpiece from modern-day folk gods, Fleet Foxes. Crack-Up
is simply magical at times. Robin Pecknold's writing on this record is some of his very best, and the instrumentation could not be more illustrious. From the close of the epic opening track, "I Am All That I Need/ Arroyo Seco/ Thumbprint Scar," you'll be hooked. They've come back from their six-year absence with a bang.
4. Kevin Morby - City Music
Indie-rocker Kevin Morby is also out with a new album today, and fans of last year's acclaimed Singing Saw
won't be disappointed. Tracks like "Crybaby" and "Pearly Gates" move along with catchy chord progressions and, of course, Morby's grounded lyrics. Be sure to check out the bluesy and atmospheric "Dry Your Eyes," as well.
5. Portugal. The Man - Woodstock
With highlights like "Keep On," "Number One," and "Feel It Still," Portugal. The Man is as infectious as ever on their new record. You'll be bopping your head to "So Young" against your will (I know from experience, because that's what I'm doing right now). This is for anyone who wants some new, danceable psychedelic pop. Oh, and we just released a killer new interview with them, where we talk about fighting bears and Infowars
6. Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?
The British garage rock duo is back after their well-received debut in 2014. They make some of the most compelling hard rock tracks out there at the moment (even Jimmy Page is a fan!
), and How Did We Get So Dark?
feels like a direct continuation of everything that worked on their first album. Mike Kerr's bass playing, for example, is incredible, especially on tracks like "She's Creeping." New listeners will be convinced, at first, that he's playing the guitar. But nope, Kerr is simply one of the most interesting rock bassists to come around since Flea.
7. The Drums - Abysmal Thoughts
New York-based pop act The Drums is back with a pretty great fourth album. Songs like "I'll Fight for Your Life" and "Rich Kids," with their synthy instrumentation and vocals doused in reverb, sound like they were ripped straight out of the 80s alternative-rock playbook. It's no wonder why frontman Jonathan Pierce sights groups like Joy Division and The Smiths as influences.