Toro Y Moi
Anything In Return
Sounds like: South Carolinian Chaz Bundick’s third shows growth and good change; less chill-wavey, but more dance pastiche and inspired retro-learned funk.
Free association: Chillwave is done; he knows what’s what and is getting electric.
For fans of: Neon Indian/Young Magic, Koushik + Caribou, modern psych funk. (Bill Chenevert)
The Joy Formidable
Sound like: Excellent trio of Welsh anthemic guitar pop that feels inspired by Sleater-Kinney (via lead vocalist/guitarist Ritzy Bryan) but tempered by Stars.
Free association: At no point on this record do they sound emo—an accomplishment!
For fans of: Yeah Yeah Yeahs + Arcade Fire, Kooks/angry Rilo Kiley, female thrash. (B.C.)
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Sounds like: Great sophomore from L.A. ‘burbs natives and BFFs who got inspired by Dig! to play as many instruments as possible and mix it with classic rock
Free association: Hard to believe this is only nine songs. It feels like so much more.
For fans of: Zeus + Ducktails + the Stones, Sic Alps x Pink Floyd, buddy rock. (B.C.)
Ra Ra Riot
Sounds like: The Syracuse-born band’s third is a departure. Gone are hushed strings and baroque chamber pop; now it’s synths and polished electronics.
Free association: Tired of dwelling in obscurity, they polish commercial jingles.
For fans of: Vampire Weekend x Toyota, Passion Pit + Chrome, Owl City/Apple. (B.C.)
Esben and the Witch
Wash the Sins Not Only the Face
Sounds like: The goth creepfolk Brits’ second full-length is a pretty calmly weird collection of dark, vaguely unsettling and hushed ambient witchy rock.
Free association: These aren’t like The Craft witches—more like The Witches of Eastwick.
For fans of: Björk x Austra + Bat For Lashes, Kate Bush in Practical Magic. (B.C.)
Adam Ant is the BlueBlack Hussar Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter
Sounds like: The 58-year-old artpop legend and ‘80s icon’s first new solo LP in 13 years is long, all over the place, a little demo-y but not expected or weak.
Free association: There are zero tracks that sound remotely like “Goody Two-Shoes.”
For fans of: Dexy’s Midnight Runners/DEVO x Suede + T. Rex, Brit pop icons. (B.C.)
Time for a big Bang breakthrough?