Imperial Teen "Now We Are Timeless (Merge)"
As a people, we’ve been lucky enough to be listening to Imperial Teensongs for over 20 years now. I mean, you HAVE been listening to Imperial teen, right? After all, their confessional, frank, indie-leaning electro-pop tunes are the stuff late-nights are made of. Now We Are Timeless(Merge) is exactly what you want it to be (and that is a very good thing to be after all). Total songwriting magic–with an emphasis on the craft of pop songwriting that is (ahem) all too absent from a lot of music these days (damn kids and their Soundcloud…). In fact, we should make this album a masterclass in songwriting chops that should be mandatory for all bands 30 and under. Professors Roddy Bottum, Will Schwartz, Jone Stebbins, and Lynn Perko Truell will be handing out your syllabi soon! You like earworms? Who doesn’t (besides dogs), well don’t you dare walk away from “Walkaway”!
Walker Lukens "ADULT (Modern Outsider)"
Walker Lukens’ unique funky, soulful rock sound is back in full effect on his latest release, ADULT (Modern Outsider). There is a reason he has been referred to in the press as a “non-sexually intimidating version of Prince,” and that’s because it’s a rather apt comparison to make. His songs are–like I said before–soulful and funky, but still reside in the rock area of the record store if you are hoping to find one of his releases on your next crate digging expedition (don’t forget the dollar bins, there are always treasures in there!). Full of crooning vocals, synths, danceable beats, quirky touches, it really is a sound like no other. Check out the singular “Tear It Out My Heart.”
Hembree "House On Fire (Thirty Tigers)"
Mixing some hip-hop production with ‘70s and ‘80s beat rock bands like Blondie and Talking Heads and modern danceable bands like St. Vincent and LCD Soundsystem, Hembree have landed on a sound all their own–though it did take me like 20 minutes to figure out who Issac Flynn’s vocal stylings remind me of. Spoiler alert: its Kenny Loggins. Not a striking resemblance or anything… just where my ear’s brain went for some reason. You can make your mind up for yourself by checking out the danceable and slightly sinister “Culture.”
Helms Alee "Noctiluca (Sargent House)"
Everybody: Rock and roll is dead. Nobody likes guitars anymore.
Sargent House: Wanna bet?
Hot off the heels of the release of one of the best rock albums in years is last month’s Brutus release, Sargent House has done it again with the release of Helms Alee’s Noctiluca. The melodic metal-esque band (post-something I’m sure?) are back with more riffs and melodies than this month’s issue of Guitar Player Magazine. The trio’s angular riffage and drum beats combine to sound a bit like if Sleep forgot their weed at home mixed with Sleater Kinney. Yeah. This is a fun one. Check out the dramatic shifts of “Spider Jar.”