Cutesy garage rock recalls a nostalgic ‘60s sound.
The Madridian four-piece Hinds are back with their best work yet. Leave Me Alone plays like a pop laced lo-fi mixtape fueled by heartache and all the idiosyncrasies found in modern day relationships. This charming album perfectly mixes hazy garage rock with just enough soul to give you the feels for days. –Crystal Lowe
Don’t bogart that lipstick.
Seth Bogart’s fans know him from Gravy Train!!!! and Hunx & His Punx. “Eating Makeup” is the first single from Bogart’s eponymous album. It features Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. Equally informed by The Julie Ruin’s lo-fi dance production and Hunx’s spazz-punk flirt-pop, this infectious song begs for the return of Sassy magazine’s Cute Band Alert column. –Eric Shea
INDIE SUB OF THE WEEK
Friends are electric.
Brave Baby’s brand of woozy, psychedelic indie-pop is part of a lysergic lineage that includes groups as disparate as The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Flaming Lips, M83 and Foster The People. In fact, Electric Friends’ coulda/shoulda-been hit “Plastic Skateboard” sounds a lot like FTP’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” but with a heaping helping of “Don’t Fear The Reaper!” –Andee Connors
Un trovador en el Nuevo milenio.
Silvio Rodríguez delivers re-workings of compositions from the ‘60s and ‘70s, the golden era of the nueva trova movement. Amoríos separates itself from that formative époque by situating his iconic voice and guitar in the company of a piano trio. The result works beautifully, without sounding forced, highlighting the melodic elegance of his songs. –Marcos Juarez
The LA-based comedian and cofounder of humor magazine The Higgs Weldon shines on her first EP. Whether bragging about her “never have I ever” skills, choosing Tim “The Toolman” Taylor over Ryan Gosling or finding love while sitting in traffic, her deadpan delivery and sharp writing makes Weldon one to watch. –Kelly Anneken
Live-in-the-studio songs of old and new get reimagined.
Irish dream-folk troupe Villagers revisit songs from the last few years, weaving a sonic spell of heartfelt melancholia; simultaneously spare and minimal, lush and lovely. Where Have You Been All My Life? abounds with subtle textures and hushed, crystalline songcraft driven by the stunning, intimate vocals of Villagers main man Conor O’Brien. –Andee Connors
Anderson .Paak is the one to watch this year.
Collaborating with multiple artists and producers has given Anderson the opportunity to show off his unique voice and style. An expert at singing classic soulful vibes while rapping fast enough to keep up with the LA streets, Malibu sounds like the lost member of The Soulquarians sparked one in outer space. –J Boogie
Gentle uplifting yoga tunes.
With a background in jazz and hip hop, Ben Leinbach has been producing high quality yoga and kirtan tunes for a few years now, often in collaboration with major voices of the scene like Jai Uttal and Deva Premal. Soothing and polished, Yoga Soundtracks, Volume 1 is a perfect companion to home practice or meditation. –Diego Gonzalez