Girlpool – Before the World Was Big
This “sparse, stoner punk duo reminds me of high school. I love the lazy guitars, the slacker vocals, and tight harmonies between the two vocalists. Rolling Stone describes them as “raw, minimal, yet emotionally fierce” and they couldn’t be more on point. love adding a third harmony!
Leon Bridges – Coming Home
I love Leon Bridges for the same reason I love St. Paul & the Broken Bones. Just as Paul Janeway gets compared to Wilson Pickett, you’re definitely going to get the Sam Cooke references when talking about Leon Bridges. He’s the new kid on the block when it comes to the neo-soul movement. Perfect melodies combined with elvety vocals, and a kick-ass horn section. What else is there?
Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
A saving grace when it comes to the shit pile state of country music right now. More Kacey & Sturgill, less bros. I love everything about Kacey’s campy style, lyrical quips, and simple story-telling. The fact that she’s a bombshell that doesn’t take her self seriously won me over forever. This album is pure and simple fun.
Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
A combination of Randy Newman, Henry Nillson, and Burt Bacharach on a cloudy & sad day. This guy knows how to tug on your heat strings with melodies that Paul McCartney would sit up and notice.
Muse – Psycho
Muse is probably one of the most polarizing bands out there. People either really love them or really hate them. I happen to be on the “love them” side and those on this side have been wishing for an album the reminded us why we fell in love in the first place. Another “Origin of Symmetry” of sort. Well, this is it. Muse is for those of us that like a bit flare and drama with our rock & roll. This doesn’t disappoint. Also, someone I know said Muse was just like Radiohead and that I couldn’t not like Radiohead and like Muse at the same time. False.
I haven’t listened to the new Florence & the Machine album enough, but it could be a contender for my final list. Others on my list for the year are new albums from Dawes, Bully, and Miguel.