Prisoner of Conscious
Sounds like: A really mixed bag from Kweli’s fifth, and not in a pleasant, mixed-nuts kind of way—all over the place, too many guests, not angry enough.
Free association: Let’s be real: Dude’s almost 40. Maybe his venom’s drying out.
For fans of: Tribe/De La/Nas/Mos Def + Busta/Nelly/Miguel, conscious rap.
Fitz & the Tantrums
More Than Just a Dream
Sounds like: The L.A.-born retro and soul-inspired vehicle for Michael Fitzpatrick’s Stax and Motown worship’s sophomore doesn’t pop like their debut.
Free association: Did that whole retro soul thing already have its moment?
For fans of: Mark Ronson + Mayer Hawthorne, Hall & Oates on speed, trends.
Sounds like: The British electro diva’s second is a surprisingly sultry and complex dance music affair, despite its big producers, yielding nuance and depth.
Free association: Which song’ll burn up dancefloors all summer? It’s hard to pick.
For fans of: Annie + La Roux x LCD Soundsystem, Madonna/Robyn, ecstatic dancing.
Sounds like: Harmless, listenable country pop from the Nashville trio; their fifth may not win them awards like Need You Now did, but it’s still an easy listen.
Free association: This is radio country that makes us hate Taylor Swift more.
For fans of: Sugarland/Rascal Flatts x Miranda Lambert, FM twang, Tennessee.
Sounds like: A delicious debut of electronic dance music from L.A. best buds who clearly love some Italo disco, but also R&B, crafty production and beats.
Free association: Blast this on your way to the beach with windows open ASAP.
For fans of: Nico Jaar + Phoenix x Hot Chip, Erasure/Depeche Mode, sick grooves.