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It's spring, and along with throwing out your pilliest sweaters and KonMari'ing your random knickknacks, it's also the perfect time of year to spring clean your music habits as well. Here's a list of 22 new albums BUST is listening to this spring, featuring Goldfrapp, Boss Hog, Michelle Branch, Imelda May and more. We've also put together a Spotify playlist to make this easy:

  

Boss Hog

BOSS HOG
Brood X
(In The Red)

If you follow Boss Hog, then you know Brood X is their first album in many years. In perfect rebellion style, the punk-blues fivesome continues to throw everything into their musical blender and turn it on high. The album opens with the raucous “Billy,” which could be your new resistance soundtrack. Songs like “Signal” and “Rodeo Chica” demonstrate the groups’ range, with elements of funk and rockabilly. “Elevator” is a standout with its scary, hell’s sermon chorus. Boss Hog’s sound has matured, but they’re just as defiant as they’ve ever been. Brood X has arrived right on time. (5/5) –Whitney Dwire

 

Michelle Branch

MICHELLE BRANCH
Hopeless Romantic
(Verve)

Michelle Branch’s early ’00s mainstream success solidified her as a pop-rock singer/songwriter. Hopeless Romantic, co-written and co-produced by Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney, marks Branch’s first LP in 14 years, and it showcases a songwriter ready to explore more mature territory. Bluesy lead single, “Hopeless Romantic,” is stripped back, vulnerable, and full of candid lyricism, while “Knock Yourself Out” is a charming acoustic throwback to Branch’s earlier hits. The pop palette is colorful here, but tracks like “Best You Ever” and “Living a Lie” play around with electronic hooks and sultry guitar lines that mark a deeper shift in Branch’s style. (4/5) –Sammy Maine

 

Gabriella Cohen

GABRIELLA COHEN

Full Closure And No Details
(Captured Tracks)

The sounds of Full Closure and No Details change from track to track, with the exception of Gabriella Cohen’s ’60s throwback surf-rock vocals. On this re-issue, the Australian indie rocker has a piano ballad (“Piano Song”) and lo-fi garage rock (“Alien Anthem”) on the same track list. The album is full of songs about breakups, heartache, and healing, all with a sunny disposition. Selections where Cohen branches outside of the breezy, beachy vibe that best suits her vocals are less successful. “I Don’t Feel So Alive” and “This Could Be Love” are where Cohen’s confidence shines, making them standouts. (3/5) 
–Kathryn Hensch

 

Goldfrapp

STAFF PICK:
GOLDFRAPP
Silver Eye
(Mute)

Goldfrapp (aka the glam-pop duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) have returned with a vengeance. Silver Eye is their first spin around the block since 2013’s ethereal and organic Tales Of Us. Since then, they’ve traded in natural imagery for a more disco and lounge feel. Get ready to dance, and to chill out.

“Anymore” gets the party started with a quintessentially Goldfrapp, post-modern, electronic dance beat and dreamy, sensual lyrics. When Alison declares, “I can’t wait anymore!” you know she’s gotta have it now! “Systemagic,” “Become The One,” and “Tigerman” keep the energy high, as does “Everything Is Never Enough,” which has almost a Stereolab vibe. Everyone needs a break from dancing to regroup and relax, and luckily, there are a few ambient tracks which provide just that, in “Faux Suede Drifter,” “Zodiac Black,” and “Ocean.”

Through it all, Alison’s expert songwriting skills remain sensual and strong, with powerful lyrics wrapped in futuristic vocals. Meanwhile, Will keeps things fun, interesting, and moving with his metal machine pop and hard-edged rhythms. Silver Eye is most definitely Goldfrapp’s strongest album to date. This is electronica done right! (5/5) –Michael Levine

KValentine

 

K’VALENTINE
Here For A Reason
(Javotti Media)

On Here For a Reason, newcomer K’Valentine taps into various life moments with subject matter that could speak to us all. From the empowering undertones of “She,” to her letter of dedication, “Family,” K’Valentine makes a strong case for relatable rap. Top-notch cameos include her mentor Talib Kweli on “Us,” Scotty ATL on the seductive “Foreplay,” and a welcomed return from Tweet on “Too Much.” Sure, some themes are a bit rehashed from artists past, but what K’Valentine lacks in originality, she makes up for in delivery. There’s plenty of proof that she’s here for a reason. (3/5) 
–Kathy Iandoli

 

Little Dragon

LITTLE DRAGON
Season High
(Loma Vista Recordings)

A three-year hiatus from Little Dragon felt like an eternity. 2014’s Nabuma Rubberband showed the group’s evolution into experimental territory beyond the confines of electronic music. On their new record, they continue the experimentation. Their woozy single, “High,” showcases breathy vocals from frontwoman Yukimi Nagano, while cuts like “Pop Life” and “Strobe Light” deliver upbeat vibes. Other songs like the downtempo “Don’t Cry” are an exercise in Nagano’s diverse octaves, hitting highs and lows with ease. Then there’s “Push,” which is downright otherworldly. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait as long for the next Little Dragon album. (4/5) –Kathy Iandoli

 

Samantha Crain

SAMANTHA CRAIN
You Had Me At Goodbye
(Ramseur)

Samantha Crain’s fifth album, You Had Me at Goodbye, is a perfect amalgamation of freak folk, electronic fun, and whip-smart lyrics that display the musician’s deep emotional intelligence and blithe wit. Album opener, “Antiseptic Greeting,” is a sarcastic apology for resting bitch face, while Crain’s husky, delicate voice shines over the subtle swell of strings on “Betty’s Eulogy.” “Red Sky, Blue Mountain” is a lullaby tribute to Crain’s Native American heritage, written in her tribe’s Choctaw language. “When the Roses Bloom Again” finds Crain at her softest, leading into the stunning album closer, “Wreck,” which leaves the listener with a bittersweet longing for more. (4/5) –Melynda Fuller

 

The Shins

THE SHINS
Heartworms
(Aural Apothecary/Columbia)

With their fifth album, the Shins say to hell with the naysayers as they venture into new musical territory. “What’s in a name?” James Mercer sings on opener “Name For You,” a jangly anthem by an indie dad encouraging his daughters to seize the world and make it their own. Mercer is at his most introspective, defending his life choices on “Half A Million,” and yearning for a do-over on “So Now What?” The Shins have always put out consistently strong music, but on Heartworms, they show that even an old band can learn new tricks. (4/5) –Shannon Carlin

 

Sneaks

SNEAKS

It’s A Myth
(Merge)

Squeezing 10 tracks into just 18 minutes of music, Sneaks’ latest album is an exercise in minimalism. The D.C.-based post-punk artist (aka Eva Moolchan) collaborated with Jonah Takagi and Mary Timony (Ex Hex, Helium) for It’s a Myth, and Timony’s knack for big, melodic hooks pushes Sneaks into more accessible territory. Much of the album consists solely of Moolchan’s soft, half-whispered vocals, a drum machine, and a big, thumping bass line, like the Fugazi-style “Look Like That,” or “Inside Edition,” which features the barest of harmonies. It’s a Myth is an intriguing new chapter from an exciting D.C. artist. (3/5) –Liz Galvao

 

The New Pornographers

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

Whiteout Conditions
(Collected Works)

A New Pornographers album is always a treat, both because they’re hard to put together—it’s difficult to get all those geniuses in a room at the same time—and because everyone always sounds like they’re having so much fun. The Canadian indie band’s seventh album, Whiteout Conditions, offers another hit of the high gloss power-pop they’ve perfected over the years, complete with catchy melodies and gorgeous harmonies. Neko Case’s singular voice really shines on “This is the World of the Theatre” and “We’ve Been Here Before,” but the super-upbeat “Juke” and “High Ticket Attractions” are worth more than a few replays. (4/5) –Eliza E. Thompson

 

Spoon

SPOON
Hot Thoughts
(Matador)

Don’t count on Spoon to indulge your 2017 despondency—the Austin art-rockers are determined to kick off the year on a high note. Hot Thoughts, their first release since 2014’s They Want My Soul, is all strut and energy, and the effect is magnetic. The title track is a sexy, danceable number, while “WhisperI’lllistentohearit” has a hypnotic, driving beat that demands you shut out the world and groove to the rhythm. On “Can I Sit Next To You?” the refrain is hypnotic: “Been down so long, I gotta get lifted.” Yup, this album will do that. (5/5) –Camille Collins

 

Kelly Lee Owens

KELLY LEE OWENS
Kelly Lee Owens
(Smalltown Supersound)

Londoner Kelly Lee Owens’ self-titled, freshman album feels like a senior album—a solid, chill-pop, otherworldly, electronic journey. The tone is immediate with the beautiful “S.O” and spectral “Arthur,” an homage to Arthur Russell, a musician who “stayed true to his vision,” which is exactly what Owens has done here. The first half of the album gradually builds you up, so that by the time “Evolution” hits your headphones, you’re ready to hit the floor. Owens transports you and makes you forget where you are. And just when you think you’ve had enough, she’ll tell you to “Keep Walking.” (5/5) –Whitney Dwire

 

 

Tashaki Miyaki

TASHAKI MIYAKI
The Dream
(Metropolis)

If the future is a long, long road, L.A.-based Tashaki Miyaki are along for the ride. The reverb-heavy indie rock band’s debut album, The Dream, is stunning, perfect for trips through a desert or hiking through a forest. But, like with any spur-of-the-moment caravan trip, hidden plotlines can reveal themselves. Running away, finding oneself, and attempting to answer the big questions: these are the tales Tashaki Miyaki tackle on songs like “Girls On T.V.” and “Cool Runnings.” Carried by the honey voice of the band’s lead singer, Paige Stark, Tashaki Miyaki’s debut is sentimental like a first love. (4/5) –Claire Mckinzie

 

Tei Shi

TEI SHI
Crawl Space
(Downtown/Interscope)

Argentina-born, Brooklyn-based Tei Shi lets us into her world on Crawl Space. The Grimes-endorsed alt-R&B singer (aka Valerie Teicher) intersperses her cool, modern, heavily electronic music with clips from childhood tape recordings where she dreams of being a pop star like Britney Spears. It’s fitting; songs like “Keep Running” and “Say You Do” are dreamy pop ballads worthy of a diva. A highlight is “Como Si,” a Spanish-language nod to Teicher’s bilingual childhood, full of angelic harmonies. Teicher’s breathy soprano vocals steal the show; Aaliyah-like, they’re the strongest instrument on the album. (4/5) –Liz Galvao

 

Tennis

TENNIS
Yours Conditionally
(Mutually Detrimental via 
Thirty Tigers)

On their fourth album, indie pop husband-and-wife duo Tennis remains true to the shimmering, nostalgic sound they’ve been perfecting since their 2011 debut, with a few changes. The Denver, CO-based pair’s seamless blend of ’70s AM radio and buoyant doo-wop remains intact, but they’ve lightened up on the fuzz so Alaina Moore’s vocals ring more clearly than ever. This newfound clarity stands out most on songs like “In the Morning I’ll Be Better,” and “Fields of Blue,” two lovelorn anthems where Moore harmonizes with herself in arrangements sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. (3/5) –Eliza C. Thompson

 

 

Sylvan Esso

SYLVAN ESSO
What Now
(Loma Vista)

With their sophomore record, indie electronica duo Sylvan Esso asks, What Now?, a fitting name for their highly anticipated follow-up to 2014’s eponymous breakout album. The band explores their anxieties about success and being a “slave to the radio” on their first single, “Radio.” And Amelia Meath’s folksy vocals add an organic quality to these heavily electronic tracks. “Kick Jump Twist” crackles with a robotic bleep-bloop beat and a heavy bass line, and “Just Dancing” will have you doing exactly that with its addictive energy. With What Now, Sylvan Esso have answered their own question, and provoked one more: when’s the next show? (4/5) –Liz Galvao

 

The Wild Reeds


THE WILD REEDS
The World We Built
(DualTone)

File the Wild Reeds’ latest under “records that instantly give you goosebumps.” The World We Built is full of immediate pleasures: that plucky folk, those easy guitars, and three-part vocal harmonies that careen from hushed to forceful in seconds. Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva, and Mackenzie Howe are all about the dynamic punch here. Whether it’s the fuzzed-out chorus of “Fall to Sleep,” the surfer slide of “Not An Option” or the visceral folk-garage mix of “Catch and Release,” each track bubbles with cinematic tension. It’s anxious and chill, brooding and California cool, all wrapped in an irresistibly potent package. Get in now. (5/5) –Mollie Wells

 

Xiu Xiu

XIU XIU
Forget
(Polyvinyl)

Forget, the 13th release from experimental rock mainstays Xiu Xiu, is their most accessible album to date—but it’s not exactly an easy listen. Prolific frontman Jamie Stewart blends everything from no wave to chiptunes to ’80s goth in eccentric, dark sound collages. The result is a challenging, brutal album with surprising moments of beauty and levity, like the catchy and almost danceable “Wondering,” and the delicate “Get Up.” While Xiu Xiu is often considered a niche group, this album should appeal to fans of witch house and synth-pop musicians like Crystal Castles, Gary Numan, and the Knife. (4/5) –Sarah C. Jones

 

Diet Cig

DIET CIG
Swear I’m Good At This
(Frenchkiss)

Diet Cig may be from New Paltz, NY, but frontwoman Alex Luciano is really writing from Anytown, USA, with a modern answer to early-2000s emo-pop. The duo’s new album, Swear I’m Good at This, is charismatic, balancing rage and rebellion with a poppy lightness. Songs like “Sixteen” and “Link in Bio” have the intimacy of a suburban bedroom, while tracks like “Bite Back” sometimes feel frustrated, frenetic, and filled with longing. Luciano breathes life and space into these traditionally closed-off feelings, and her twee pop voice will have listeners tapping their feet and leaning in for more. (4/5) –Mary Kinney

 

Diamanda Galas

DIAMANDA GALÁS
All The Way
(Intravenal Sound Operations)

For All The Way, her first full-length release in nine years, Diamanda Galás has assembled an eclectic collection of traditional songs and jazz standards to cover. Material such as “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” are all plucked from the Great American Songbook, written for the crooners of the early 20th century. Galás’ versions of these songs, as well as her covers of traditional pieces like “O Death” and country icon Johnny Paycheck’s “Pardon Me I’ve Got Someone To Kill,” showcase her otherworldly vocal talents. Only one person dares to be Diamanda Galás. (4/5) –Michael Levine

 

Imelda May

IMELDA MAY
Life. Love. Flesh. Blood
(Verve)

Following her recent divorce, Irish rockabilly singer Imelda May found herself looking for a new start and a new sound. Her latest album, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, has May trading in her iconic sound for something fresh, heavily influenced by old blues. “Black Tears” is a slow-paced number on which May laments about hiding her inner pain. On the gospel-influenced “When It’s My Time,” May sings the backing choir vocals herself, but the showstopper is “Leave Me Lonely,” in which May powerfully excavates her emotions from the end of her marriage. On Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, May’s soul searching pays off. (5/5) –Adrienne Urbanski

unnamed copy copy copy

SEVDALIZA
Ison
(Self-Released)

Sevdaliza’s ISON is a non-stop ride into the art of chill. From the melodic hums of the lead single, “Human,” to the intensely emotional vibes of “Bluecid” and “Underneath,” the Iranian-Dutch artist leaves no stone unturned in her pursuit of multi-layered electro-soul. Transported by Sevdaliza’s intoxicating voice on standouts like “Lovesway” and “Replaceable,” listeners travel to parts unknown as she continues to experiment with sound. While many try to limit their art to the confines of genre, Sevdaliza examines the depths of her voice and boundless production flips on ISON, where there’s a song for every mood. – (4/5) — Kathy Iandoli

 

Top image: Detail of a 1968 record player ad

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