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23 New Albums You Need To Get In Your Earholes This Fall

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THE BUST GUIDE

MUSIC REVIEWS OF OUR FAVORITE NEW ALBUMS!

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AGAINST ME!

AGAINST ME!
Shape Shift With Me
(Total Treble/INgrooves)
BUST Rating: 3/5

Following up their critically acclaimed album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, punk band Against Me! is back with their seventh studio release, Shape Shift With Me. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace discusses the death of relationships on tracks like “Boyfriend,” while demanding her authentic self be recognized with screaming vocals on “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be.” In “Norse Truth,” she discusses a “practiced detachment” regarding a dead relationship, raging, “I wanted you to be more real than all the others.” But does the end of a great love mean that it was never real to begin with? Grab this album, and process along with Laura Jane. – Meg Zulch

 

ALLAH-LAS

ALLAH-LAS
Calico Review
(Mexican Summer)
BUST Rating: 3/5

California dreamers Allah-Las are back with their third LP, Calico Review. The garage-surf quartet is known for mining a vintage, “Ruby Tuesday”-era sound, replete with jangly guitars, chain-gang rhythms, and flawless Beach Boys harmonies. The crazy-catchy “Could Be You” will inspire you to drop everything and dance, while fresh experimentation with strings adds richness to wistful numbers like “Famous Phone Figure.” The band’s lyrics could use some work, as they are mostly lacking. But with tight musicianship and a retro ’60s sound, Calico Review is like a cool vintage convertible you’ll want to flag down for a ride. – Camille Collins

 

ANN MAGNUSON

ANN MAGNUSON
Dream Girl
(AnnMagnuson.com)
BUST Rating: 5/5 *HEAVY ROTATION*

Actor/singer/performer Ann Magnuson’s third solo album, Dream Girl, is billed as “a surreal dreamscape of spoken word and song,” and that’s exactly what she delivers. Tracks like “Bromance Nightmare,” “The Enchanted Forest,” and “Cobras In Love” are spoken, telling hysterically funny tales inspired by the entertainment industry, while Magnuson breaks out her singing chops on “Cat in the Sun” (with the B-52s’ Kate Pierson adding vocals), the chanteuse-inspired “Relieved To Be Irrelevant,” and the Glen Campbell cover “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.” Magnuson has produced another neo-psychedelic gem, and you’ll have a great time tripping along to it. – Michael Levine

 

BROOKZILL!

BROOKZILL!
Throwback to the Future
(Tommy Boy)
BUST Rating: 4/5

BROOKZILL!’s debut album Throwback to the Future is all about links: between the future and the past, between Afro-Brazilian rhythms and New York hip-hop, and between four very different musicians and DJs, including producer Prince Paul (De La Soul) and Ladybug Mecca (Digable Planets). The result is a genre-blending album made of a rich tapestry of sonic influences that rarely feels muddled or overwhelmed. Vocals are in both Portuguese and English, sometimes in the same song, such as in the street chic “Saudade Songbook.” It’s not all smooth bossanova, though; “Raise the Flag” and “Mysterious” pack fierceness. BROOKZILL! will expand your musical borders—and get you dancing in the street. – Liz Galvao

 

DEAP VALLEY

DEAP VALLY
Femejism
(Nevado Music)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Pop music is great for dancing, but sometimes, you just need to shred. Los Angeles duo Deap Vally is here for you in those times, with their new album Femejism, the follow-up to their excellent 2013 debut Sistrionix. Femejism maintains the heavy-metal spirit of that record, but with the distortion and snarl levels turned way, way up. “Smile More” is a slinky rejection of any man who’s ever told you to give him a smile, honey, while “Little Baby Beauty Queen” is a sinister, head-banging stomper. If anyone ever tries to tell you that rock is dead, just hand them Femejism. – Eliza C. Thompson

 

DIE ANTWOORD

DIE ANTWOORD
Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid
(Kobalt Music)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Die Antwoord is the South African rap-rave trio of Ninja, Yolandi Visser, and DJ Hi-Tek, and their latest full-length album, Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid, builds on their high-energy take on “zef” culture. This time, Ninja goes all natural, rapping in his own voice for the first time. The opening tracks are aggressive, peaking with “Gucci Coochie,” which features whispered words from Dita Von Teese, while the second half is more chill, caboosed by the almost-pretty “I Don’t Care.” With other songs featuring cussing children, Jack Black singing about rats, and an ode to Cypress Hill inspired by collaborator DJ Muggs, Mount Ninji is packed with surprises. 
– Whitney Dwire

 

EL PERRO DEL MAR

EL PERRO DEL MAR
KoKoro
(The Control Group)
BUST Rating: 4/5

El Perro Del Mar’s Sarah Assbring conceived of her latest release, KoKoro, as a “borderless album,” and the destruction of boundaries has served the Swedish indie pop musician well. This album, her sixth, was heavily influenced by a host of world music traditions, from Ethiopia to India to Southeast Asia. Yet the lush polyrhythmic orchestration manages to bring these influences together in a singular, unique vision. Assbring has created her most danceable album yet, without compromising the sensitivity that is her hallmark. Standout tracks include “Clean Your Window,” “Hard Soft Hard,” and the title track. Make no mistake—KoKoro is a leap forward in all ways. – Julia Bembenek

 

IAN SWEET

IAN SWEET
Shapeshifter
(Hardly Art)
BUST Rating: 5/5 *HEAVY ROTATION*

Ian Sweet’s debut album, Shapeshifter, is aptly named. Each track is distinctly different from the one before it, making for a delightful listen from start to finish. Frontwoman Jilian Medford sings about sadness over fuzzy guitars and hard-hitting drums; “There is nothing wrong with me, but everything is wrong with me,” she sings on “Cactus Couch.” The band shines on the album’s longer tracks, like “2soft2chew” and “Knife Knowing You.” With nostalgic lyrics that touch on Michael Jordan (“#23”) or Nickelodeon (“Slime Time Live”), Medford’s raspy voice is playfully hypnotizing. The Brooklyn rock trio’s first full-length album is pretty damn sweet. – Kathryn Hensch

 

JAYMAY

JAYMAY
To Tell The Truth
(Self-Released)
BUST Rating: 3/5

Nine years after releasing her debut album on a major label, Jaymay has returned with To Tell The Truth. This time, she’s releasing the record independently, giving her greater creative control. While her pared-down folk sound is still here, some of the tracks venture into darker emotional terrain. “I Was Only Lovin’ You” is a sunny song with a catchy chorus, while “Never Weep” adds a tinge of melancholy, and “I Stand Up for Me” offers rousing vocals, bringing to mind Regina Spektor and early Tegan and Sara. Jaymay’s evolution as an artist continues, as she excavates her emotional pain for artistic fuel. – Adrienne Urbanski

 

JENNY HVAL

JENNY HVAL
Blood Bitch
(Sacred Bones)
BUST Rating: 5/5

Yes, Blood Bitch is Jenny Hval’s vampire album—she says so on “The Great Undressing”—but it’s also the Norwegian singer/songwriter’s “investigation of blood” in its purest feminine form: menstruation. “Untamed Region” is a solemn spoken word track about a woman’s cycle, while the demonic droning of “The Plague” (code, perhaps, for unplanned pregnancy) has Hval taking birth control with rosé. The play on words of the tribal “Period Piece” stresses that even in its multitudes, it’s still only blood we’re talking about, no reason to be scared. Hval’s point? The struggle is real, whether you’re a female vampire or a human woman. – Shannon Carlin

 

JOJO

JOJO
Mad Love
(Atlantic)
BUST Rating: 4/5

JoJo’s highly anticipated third album, Mad Love, delivers on the promising talent that once gave the R&B singer a No. 1 record at just 13 years old. Now 25, JoJo has managed another unlikely accomplishment: going from teen-pop star to mature musical talent. Lead single “F*ck Apologies” is a defiant pop song about knowing you’re in the right, while “High Heels” is an anthem for leaving your man to go out with your girls. Overall, the album is delightfully mainstream, though tracks like the minimalist “Music” and soulful “Mad Love” showcase the singer’s pipes. Now that JoJo’s back, we hope she never leaves. – Liz Galvao

 

KATY GOODMAN & GRETA MORGAN

KATY GOODMAN & GRETA MORGAN
Take It, It's Yours
(Polyvinyl)
BUST Rating: 5/5 *STAFF PICK*

Take It, It’s Yours is an album of covers that features the dynamic indie-rock duo Katy Goodman (La Sera) and Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore/the Hush Sound) giving new life to songs from punk and New Wave icons like the Replacements, Blondie, Billy Idol, and more. Goodman and Morgan capture the emotion of the original songs, yet make them their own with feminine harmonies. Tracks like “Bastards of Young,” “Over The Edge,” and “In The City” remind us why we first fell in love with these timeless tracks. Take It, It’s Yours celebrates the joy of nostalgia, with a girl power punch. – Claire McKinzie

 

M.I.A.

M.I.A.
AIM
(Interscope)
BUST Rating: 4/5 *HEAVY ROTATION*

It’s fortuitous that M.I.A. is actually A.I.M. when flipped, since that’s what the outspoken artist is clearly doing on her fifth studio album: taking aim. A.I.M. finds her continuing to make poignant points with aggressively bumping beats. “Borders” and “Go Off” are calls to action, “Visa” and “Bird Song” recall the M.I.A. we know and love, while other tracks like “Freedun” are surprisingly pop-friendly. Sure, “Fly Pirate” isn’t—but it will find its way into a rap sample soon enough. If M.I.A.’s aim was to once again craft party-starting message music, then mission accomplished. – Kathy Iandoli

 

NORAH JONES

NORAH JONES
Day Breaks
(Blue Note)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Norah Jones turned mainstream pop music on its head in 2002 with her debut album, Come Away With Me. Her new album, Day Breaks, sees the singer and pianist returning to her jazz roots, but with a new confidence that’s got her bending genres and belting out some of her best vocal performances to date. “Flipside” is particularly playful, while the title track is a moody, experimental showcase of Jones’ talents, sounding like her own personal version of a James Bond theme. With arrangements that are undeniably her own, Day Breaks reminds us that Jones is a musician who takes chances. – Sammy Maine

 

NOTS

NOTS
Cosmetic
(Goner)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Cosmetic embodies anticipation. The second full-length album from Nots, the four-piece, all-female noise-punk band from Memphis, is full of songs that build up to an attack. “Entertain Me,” the first single and the album’s closer, is definitely Nots at their most experimental. With scratchy, dissonant guitar taking up the first minute of the seven-minute track, it plays with No Wave, alongside riffs more reminiscent of ’60s psychedelia. Cosmetic as a whole feels twitchy and urgent, especially “No Novelty” and “Blank Reflection.” The album is a force to be reckoned with, grounded in dystopian imagery and unadulterated rage, shaking us awake. – Mary Kinney

 

PHANTOGRAM

PHANTOGRAM
Three
(Republic)
BUST Rating: 5/5 *HEAVY ROTATION*

Phantogram’s Three is a hypnotic album, filled with lyrics that project haunting images. A “Funeral Pyre” becomes a “light in the sky” and “Run Run Blood” pleads, “Sew up your eyelids.” However melancholy the lyrics are, though, the most unsettling thing about them is how beautifully they’re presented by this electronic duo. The gospel-style opening of “Same Old Blues” is meditative. The drumbeat in “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” is otherworldly. The juxtaposition of organic and synthetic sounds heard throughout the album is next level, and the melodies are face-meltingly good. Three is a five out of five. – Alexa Tietjen

 

RACHAEL YAMAGATA

RACHAEL YAMAGATA
Tightrope Walker
(Frankenfish/Thirty Tigers)

On singer/songwriter/pianist Rachael Yamagata’s fourth studio album, the tightrope walker is a recurring character in a series of complexly textured, elegant pop songs. Yamagata’s arrangements are poised and deliberate, much like the tightrope walker who carefully considers each step. “I’m Going Back” is a theatrical, waltz-like ballad with a sweeping orchestral opening. The album balances Yamagata’s formal arrangements with candid in-studio banter, giggling, and background noise. On the languid “Ez Target,” Yamagata’s gritty voice flows from sultry, hushed speak-singing to swooning refrains. With Tightrope Walker, Yamagata has crafted a soundscape that’s both mellow and intimate, contemplative and complex. – Cindy Yogmas

 

REGINA SPEKTOR

REGINA SPEKTOR
Remember Us to Life
(Warner Bros.)
BUST Rating: 4/5

“Enjoy your youth/sounds like a threat/but I will anyway.” If one moment could sum up the laidback tension on Remember Us to Life, it’s these parting words from “Older and Taller.” This record—Regina Spektor’s first since 2012—doubles down on duality: sugar to acid, cool to anxious, symphony to bedroom. Still, despite the wider scope, it’s classic Spektor, in the best way. “Bleeding Heart” and “The Visit” are natural extensions of What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, but “Small Bill$” and “The Trapper and the Furrier” recall 11:11’s brooding edge—with a hyper-modern spin. Life is a gorgeous (and crazy-satisfying) homecoming. – Mollie Wells

 

SARGENT

SARGENT
Sargent
(Self-Released)
BUST Rating: 3/5

Sargent is the L.A.-based duo of session musician Jake Blanton and Gretchen Lieberum, the singer/songwriter best known as the other half of the Maya Rudolph-fronted Prince cover band Princess. Sargent diverges from the dance-floor sensibilities of the Purple One in favor of melancholic chamber pop. Overall, the album needs focus, but lush, thoughtful orchestration makes an impression despite the economical running time. The melodies in the standout opener, “Echo Hill,” and woozily appealing surf-rock tinges on “You Always Hurt The Ones You Love,” particularly shine. Sargent is a pretty, fuzzy wash; a promising primer with, we hope, more to come. 
– Kathryn Bembenek

 

SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE, JESSE PARIS SMITH, AND PATTI SMITH

SOUNDWALK 
COLLECTIVE, 
JESSE PARIS SMITH, AND PATTI SMITH
Killer Road
(Sacred Bones)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Cutting-edge art/musical group Soundwalk Collective has teamed up with keyboardist Jesse Paris Smith and her mother, rock legend Patti Smith, for Killer Road, a musical and visual tribute to Nico. The album features one original track and eight covers of songs by the Warhol superstar. When Patti Smith sings, as on “Fearfully In Danger” and “I Will Be Seven,” she lifts and successfully reinterprets the material. On most songs, however, she whispers the lyrics, giving the effect of an affirmation tape that one might use to fall asleep. Nevertheless, these songs will hopefully inspire new listeners to seek out Nico’s body of work. – Michael Levine

 

TEETH & TONGUE

TEETH & TONGUE
Give Up On Your Health
(Dot Dash/Captured Tracks)
BUST Rating: 4/5

Teeth & Tongue’s debut album, Give Up On Your Health, should come with a warning: album contents might be painfully relevant to your life. Inspired by heartbreak and a trip to Iceland, Aussie musician Jess Cornelius leads a band with synths, guitars, and drums to produce her unique brand of emotional electro-pop. Cornelius’ Kate Bush-style vocals accompany electronic rhythms set against an ’80s backdrop, prominent in the title track, “Are You Satisfied?,” and “Do Harm.” And sneaky lyrics like, “Pain can be a strange relief/You think you want it gone, but you don’t really mean it,” will grab you and put you on Cornelius’ level. – Whitney Dwire

 

WARPAINT

WARPAINT
Heads Up
(Rough Trade)
BUST Rating: 4/5

On Heads Up, Warpaint picks up where it left off with the band’s 2014, self-titled release. Although this album is a little more upbeat than the indie-rock band’s previous work, fans of their moody, complex, and dense sound will not be disappointed. Because Warpaint melds so many different sounds, lovers of diverse genres including trip-hop, alternative R&B, industrial goth, and even chiptunes (featured on the standout track “New Song”) will find something to love on this album. However, be warned that you need to have a high tolerance for jam-band-style guitar noodling to enjoy this album—heads up! – Sarah C. Jones

 

Y LA BAMBA

Y LA BAMBA
Ojos Del Sol
(Tender Loving Empire)
BUST Rating: 3/5

Y La Bamba’s fourth album, Ojos Del Sol, continues the Portland band’s marriage of traditional Mexican music and modern folk. Frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza takes inspiration from her Mexican heritage, strict Catholic upbringing, and the three-part harmonies of the folk songs she heard growing up to tell stories about family, self-exploration, and expanding her definition of faith. Harmonies shine on tracks like “Orca,” which recalls ’90s girl bands like Sleater-Kinney, the upbeat “Ostrich,” and “Nos Veremos,” a nearly a cappella fight song. Mendoza’s personal brand of “Mexifolk” distinguishes Y La Bamba from being just another PNW folk band, but there’s still room here for growth. – Liz Galvao

 


This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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