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Bad Bad Hats :: Walkman

A strong, sometimes raspy female voice in front of a very clever power indie band can be the equivalent of beige wallpaper after all these years, but this outfit rises above that with a generous dose of unique hooks and singalong rhymes.

Stranglers :: Dark Matters

When you’re closing out your fifth decade as a band, you might be expected to rehash all your tired tropes and package them as brand new nostalgia. Instead, this sounds like a lost album from the band’s golden era.

Sleigh Bells :: Texis

Glittery pop vocals fronting a relentless barrage of digital soundbites, shy loops emerging from behind percussive blasts as guitars interrupt with fuzzed yelps or delicate strums… it’s a little bit of everything, and sometimes just enough.


A series of alien transmissions, ready for your fascinated decoding. A layering of sounds that are salty, sweet, savory. An incomprehensible message competing with a carnival across town and your roommate blasting Led Zeppelin through muffling walls.

Elvis Costello + The Attractions :: Spanish Model

This takes backing tracks from “This Year’s Model” and adds new Spanish-language lyrics and vocals on top. It’s a bewildering mix of the extremely familiar and the completely new, and if you speak the language, the lyrical translations are top notch.

Death Valley Girls :: Street Venom

The reissue of the band’s 2014 cassette debut shows a clear trajectory for this garage-delic outfit that constantly wanders through the dirtiest of musical territories and comes out the other end looking perfectly disheveled.

The Mommyheads :: Age of Isolation

The lush instrumentation and arrangements carry the incisive lyrics like a deep blue velvet cushion holding a surgical scalpel. The songs on this concept album seem to be coming out in real time, making more sense tomorrow than they did yesterday.

The Llamps :: The Llamps

Really, this review only needs five words: Francophone spaghetti western rock songs.