It’s highly probably Universe in Bloom will win over a lot of new fans for The Great Escape, because the band’s spirit and this album’s charm is ultimately irresistible.
Regardless of whether it will prove to be a transitory record or the end of one individual chapter in the band’s history, Relevant Noise will stand as the testament of Night Herons truly coming into their own.
A Sequence of Waves is no doubt a challenging listen that one can’t simply put on in the background, but it is a work of art that rewards the open-minded listener with close, repeated examinations.
The Empire of Deception builds significantly on Westward’s debut album, and sets them up to be the latest torchbearers of the power trio tradition.
Live at Lazybones captures something revelatory about Cullen, and it’s that as good as his studio albums may be, it’s very likely the best way to experience his music is live on stage.
It’s undeniable that Songs on Fire is more or less the artist’s debut album, and at times this naivety bleeds through, but it also remains a remarkably well-constructed product that is as catchy as it is dramatically produced.
Not About Nightingales has captured American folk music in a way that countless other musicians have failed to do, and with any luck, many of these songs will become standards in their own right.
If Wizard rock, and the proliferation of Harry Potter bands in recent years is anything to go by, one can only hope the successive Shrek-themed musical acts are at least as half as talented as Shrek is Love.
Only time will tell whether The Stangs are a band born in the wrong time or if they’ll lead the charg of a new revivalist movement, but American Sessions will nevertheless stand on its own merits.
Their second and latest album, Waltz to the World, is a strangely jazzy affair that combines various elements of both prog and left-of-center pop in a catchy yet artistic way slightly similar in vein to XTC.
To anyone, it is immediately clear that Weezer is a large influence on Lochness Monster, but the band’s slightly more progressive and serious than the pseudo-heavy metal pop punk lyricism of Rivers Cuomo.
Tonight We’re Alive isn’t music one can analyze endlessly, which is exactly why this record sits firmly in the long tradition of corporeal rock and roll.
The record occasionally slips into territory that hints at a purely cursory glance at 1984, but Power remains a fascinating first glimpse at a trilogy that can only be fully appreciated at its eventual close.
Veseria is entirely comfortable combining elements of punk, rock, and folk, and they have never sounded more confident and relaxed in the studio, while showing an attention for detail that, thankfully, doesn’t entirely erase the band’s scrappier edges.
Perhaps, it’s an album that would work best without the somewhat confusing concept, but the songs are strong enough to nevertheless stand up on their own.
Winn isn’t afraid to dig deep on tracks like “Better Friend,” and consequently, he comes out with something truly inspired and pure.
With any luck, Dirt Church will put Groupoem back on the map and introduce them to an even larger fan base than ever before.
Sonically speaking, the band effortlessly combines the folkier elements of The Grateful Dead with the power pop of groups like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and a harder blues rock edge à la The Rolling Stones.
American High still sound like a band just beginning, which makes this such an exciting and enthusiastic debut.
Late in the Night is a wonderfully fresh concept, if only a slight addition to the artist’s larger body of work.
Overall, Cooper’s goal is an energetic one, with the ultimate aim of getting the public to “start engaging with the problems around them in an attempt to make a positive change.”
One should hesitate in calling Theotokos a concept record, but drug addiction and how it effects both the user and those around them is a theme that repeats on many of the songs.
Arrival doesn’t show a tremendous amount of growth in Space Motel since their last full-length, but it does show them just as strong with no sign of slowing down.
Frame of Mind has a wonderfully charming home grown sound that perfectly suits Sam Levin’s quietly confident style, and should easily turn out to be surprise indie sleeper hit.
Although there exists definable cornerstones, the band thrives more in that vague no man’s land, that abstract Venn diagram where goth, cabaret, vaudeville, and the circus all intersect.
Flach’s Empty Mansions, is a concept album about division and confusion in the modern era, and is the culmination of a long series of attempts and experiments by Flach.
Breakthrough is an album easy to enjoy and hum along to what’s on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a work rich in complex emotional content.
The Long Dark Road may have too much shoegaze in it to satisfy traditional metal fans, but has enough merit to attract newcomers as well as those searching for something a little weightier than normal.
In many regards, California Torpedo sounds like a debut album. It’s the work of a band that is still searching for its footing, but it’s also a work of unquestionable merit when the pieces fall perfectly into place.
Their third and most recent album, Famous Monsters essentially follows the pattern of the previous two, but it finds a band at their peak, and if not, at least very close to it.
Listen to any song from White Oak & Kerosene, and you can immediately sense the dirt caked on Allen’s hands, and the cheap, hard-earned whiskey on his breath.
Singer Bonomo’s vocals have a timeless soulful quality; not designed to stun with prowess, but commune with an introspective intimacy rare today.
On their fourth full-length album, there’s no big shake ups in terms of style, but rather the band continues to explore the darkest corners of their own trademarked sound and expand the fullness of its production.
On their debut EP, Ocean Blues, this band from Bristol, UK manages to combine the sunniest of vocal harmonies with the gloomiest of Gothic melodies.
Music Under Sea has neither an entire foot in the music of the 60s or the pop today it inspired, but will nevertheless have fans who love either.
On his debut album, Too Close to the Noise Floor, released last year, Antony Walker effortlessly combines the weirdness and constancy of The Pixies with the larger-than-life pop of XTC.
Alien Angel Super Death doesn’t willingly give away much at first, but it generously rewards listeners who readily approach it with complete emergence.
King Ropes, an indie garage band from Bozeman, Montana, effortlessly couples the inventiveness of The Pixies and the alternative country twang of Wilco with remarkable results.
For a set of solo recordings, it certainly doesn’t play like the work of one individual, and indeed the studio polish gives it a lush, full-bodied feel to the record that only aids Olshefski’s keen pop instincts.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking or innovative on this record, Saul Losada erects the foundations on Energy to set himself firmly in the lineage of blues rock’s most individual guitarists.
Thirsty Hearts is an incredibly relevant and powerful record that speaks directly to the uncertain and transitory impasse in which we are currently living in.
A Little More Country just might be the perfect Christmas gift for the country fan longing for traditional Americana and country that doesn’t entirely sacrifice a modern sensibility.
While Taberner doesn’t as of yet have the most original of voices, it’s clear from the off that Fallen contains all of the makings for one, and all that remains to be seen is where he goes from here.
Dino Jag is a musician who has clearly cracked the code for pop songwriting, and he winningly replicates this formula six times over the course of the simply enjoyable Breakthrough EP.
Purposely recorded with limited technology, Rerun is as warm and tender as it is personal and intimate from a musician with an immediately identifiable voice deserving to be heard.
A concept like this is a heavy one to cover, and by no means easy, but Saint Blasphemer tackles the job with deftness and heart on Simon Templar.
Fallen Asunder occasionally gets lost in trying to sound too much like its influences, but it nevertheless remains a promising debut from a band who have clearly put everything into it.
The Grand Trine isn’t a perfectly cohesive effort, but it’s the sound of a band tightening up considerably since their formation, and truly beginning to find their own voice.