SPOTLIGHT: Javelin - Hi Beams [Luaka Bop]
In a world where DJ duos rotate in and out of relevancy at an alarming rate, Javelin has managed to instead grow and develop with their music. Capturing attention in 2006 with strange samples of dollar bin vintage vinyl, the cousin duo has since produced everything from long mixes of Southeast Asian vocals mashed on top of '80s pop to remixes of video game theme songs to a film score their own self-produced tongue-in-cheek western. On Hi Beams, their third full-length, Javelin opt for slightly higher production with more spotlight on the vocals and songwriting. Instead of sounding like a cut-up sound collage (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), Hi Beams is a more cohesive effort grounded in a more original sound. As every proper release has thus far been a pleasant surprise, it'll be interesting to see where Javelin decides to go next from here.
Bastille - Bad Blood [Virgin]
Jean-Luc Marsh writes:
It was a travesty when Bastille’s first track, “Flaws,” slipped under the radar in the summer of 2011. However, fast forward to the present, and the South London group, led by charismatic frontman Dan Smith, finds itself on the cusp of success. Bastille’s eighties-influenced, debut album, Bad Blood, is littered with soaring anthems and intimate ballads fueled alike by choruses composed of pure adrenaline. That excuse to shake off the winter doldrums and step into the spring sun is finally here.
Rhye - Woman [Loma Vista]
Woman is the solid debut by Canadian-Danish duo Rhye, comprised of producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of Quadron. The intoxicating combination of breathy vocals over a jazzed-up R&B beat make for a sensual release complete with poetically racy lyrics.
Suuns - Images Du Futur [Secretly Canadian]
The second full-length from Montreal quartet Suuns, Images Du Futur lives up to its name with more surrealist harmonies but still highlighted with the same subdued vocals. The title track itself is a good example of the subtle new friction that Suuns creates on this new record through slight dissonance in a murky, dreamlike state.
Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse [Fat Possum]
Whereas 2011's The Year of Hibernation captured the essence of nostalgic childhood in an innocent 8-song package, it sounds like Trevor Powers woke up from his deep sleep on the followup Wondrous Bughouse, an ambitious sophomore effort full of expansive orchestral swells and cinematic psychedelic progressions.
Benoît Pioulard - Hymnal [Kranky]
Blue Hawaii - Untogether [Arbutus]
Cave Singers - Naomi [Jagjaguwar]
Clinic - Free Reign II [Domino]
Helado Negro - Invisible Life [Asthmatic Kitty]
How to destroy angels - Welcome oblivion [Columbia]
Jamaican Queens - Wormfood [Notown]
Ólöf Arnalds - Sudden Elevation [One Little Indian]
Shlohmo - Laid Out EP [Friends of Friends]
The Men - New Moon [Sacred Bones]
Young Dreams - Between Places [Modular]