HÆLOS appeals to the divine.
Full Circle opens majestically, sampling philosopher Alan Watts on the power of love and religion. Throughout their debut, UK trio HÆLOS exudes an obsession with the sacred (and our fallen nature), combining their questioning, often-anguished laments with music that evokes the most revered artists of the trip-hop era: Moby, Portishead, Massive Attack. –Party Ben
Un Conjunto En Plena Descarga
Bambulaye, the second effort from Los Hacheros, is the sum of its parts, which, in this case, are countless little touches that elevate the date beyond the standard. Inventive arrangements of sones, guarachas, guaguancó, rumba danzones and bomba are highlighted by dynamic instrumentation, boasting violin, flute, baritone sax, trombone and Arsenio-esque tres. Brooklyn sí, tiene swing! –Marcos Juarez
INDIE SUB OF THE WEEK
Cult of doomed rifflords worships fuzzed-out psych and retro-heavy blues.
On High Plains, Youngblood Supercult erects a mysterious sonic obelisk, which looms ominously over whatever Midwestern ghost town they call home (Topeka!). The sound evokes a wasted, occulted otherworld of stoner swagger and Sabbathy groove, with nods to Black Mountain, Uncle Acid and classic rock heavies Blue Oyster Cult. –Andee Connors
California vibes pervade Sonny & The Sunsets.
The new single “Well But Strangely Hung Man” features a lusher sound than their usual stripped down garagey tones, thanks to Merill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs’ production. A Blondie meets Beach House groove complete with synth stabs and a chorus-heavy bass underpins the song with Sonny’s idiosyncratic obtuse storytelling floating on top. –Diego Gonzalez
The bud doesn’t fall far from the bush.
You can hear Willie Nelson’s DNA in his son’s voice. But Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real plays a different kind of Americana. Vintage San Francisco haunts Something Real. It was recorded in Janis Joplin’s old house and Neil Young cameos on a cover of the 1967 Scott McKenzie flower-power hit. –Eric Shea
Esperanza Spalding defies genre, fusing jazz, funk and prog on her stunning new album.
Presented under the alter ego of Emily and co-produced by Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, each song off of Emily’s D+Evolution has its own world, its own planet, opening with a fiery funk-rock groove on “Good Lava” and continues to get wonderfully weirder from thereon out. –Michelle Solomon
Original vocalist Jesse Leach is back for his second post-hiatus outing with Killswitch Engage, and for their seventh album Incarnate, the band worked as a unit throughout the writing and recording of the album for the first time since 2002. The result is the most solid metalcore album of 2016 thus far. –Mat Bates
Put Whitney on your radar right now!
What do you get when you intersect members of The Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra? A sick ass band called Whitney, that’s what. Principle release “No Woman” is a charmingly retro hybrid of folk and country soul. Singer Julien Ehrlich’s falsetto vocals will haunt your dreams (in a good way). –Crystal Lowe
Crossing borders with Poirier
Poirier continues to tread the outer limits of reggae-infused compositions on Migration, his latest on Nice Up! Records. With support from Red Fox and Face-T he maneuvers myriad vox-digital stylings throughout, but intrepid instrumentals like “Kypoli” and “Cobra” best illustrate the artist’s sure-footed travels through a landscape of spacey riddim-driven productions. –Diego Herrera
“Don’t Worry” about Frances.
22-year-old Frances’ talent has been recognized in the UK, receiving nominations for the Brit Critic’s Choice and BBC Sound of 2016. Her latest ballad, “Don’t Worry About Me,” is a tearjerker in all the best ways. She pleads with a lover: “I’ll do anything I can to make you comfortable.” You’re gonna need some extra tissues. –Jordan Davidoff