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The Beths

Expert in a Dying Field

The endearingly brash-but-melodic New Zealand indie power-pop rockers the Beths provide listening comfort and joy on their third full-length. Recorded at guitarist Jonathan Pearce’s Auckland studio, further patched together remotely in quarantine, and ultimately finished in L.A., Expert in a Dying Field pairs joy with well-executed sonic chaos. Vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes shares the impact of an array of relationships, picking them apart and underlining the maddening symptoms that stress and anxiety unleash. Stokes’ vulnerably relatable writing never seems too heavy, though, and is securely cradled in the capable arms of catharsis-amped, scuzzed-up guitar rock. This is one that will help get you through to the other side. – Erin Wolf



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The Bobby Lees

(Ipecac Recordings)

For their third album, the Bobby Leesreturn with a vehemently noisy axe to grind and an ever-expanding DIY sound. The imaginative quartet leans heavily into experimental grit on this one, slyly softening their reckless blows with borderline ballads and well-timed toe taps, all fused together with punk-forward playfulness. Tracks are conceptually heady, with an overarching theme of mental health (the album’s title is a nod to both the famed N.Y.C. mental hospital and to vocalist/guitarist Sam Quartin’s state of mind at the time of writing). Melodically uncontainable, Bellevue is stark, sinuous, and delightfully discombobulating throughout. – Rachel Reed


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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Let’s Turn It Into Sound
(Ghostly International)

Experimental composer and ambient artist Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is known for imaginative synthesizer-driven soundscapes, but this release may be her most emboldened yet. She single-handedly recorded it at her home studio over a few months as a way to explore and process feelings about these uncertain times. As the album title suggests, KAS used her tools and ingenuity to channel those emotions into elaborate layered arrangements. On “Is It Me or Is It You?” her processed vocals soothe over each unexpected twist while the song boisterously builds upbefore droning off. “Pivot Signal” combines neoclassical nods with pops of pop. It’s an album that’s complex, creative, and beyond classification, much like the artist herself. – Cindy Yogmas

 This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today! 

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