Full Colour – Paper Lions
I’m not going to sit here and argue that this is an undeniable masterpiece of the twenty-first century, but hell, simply put, this is just a good damn album. It provides a pop, even disco, sound reminiscent of the 80’s combined with some slick chord progressions of more modern rock. I’m no hell of a dancer, but if this album doesn’t get you off your ass and on to the dance floor, I don’t know what will!
How To Be A Human Being – Glass Animals
If I had been asked a year ago who Glass Animals were, I would have not had an answer. I got the opportunity to see these guys live in 2016 and they blew my mind. With the release of their second studio album How To Be A Human Being, Glass Animals bring beats I can only describe as chill, mixed with some meaningful lyrics and slick guitar rifts. After one listen, you’ll be singing about pineapples in your head for days to come.
Need Your Light – Ra Ra Riot
In 2013 I saw Ra Ra Riot open for The Shins at Rebel (formally known as Sound Academy) and they were outstanding. Three years later, they released their fourth studio album Need Your Light and boy is it a good one. Lead vocalist, Wes Miles, has a seemingly limitless range (and yes, he can hit those notes live). Violinist Rebecca Zeller provided a unique sound you just don’t hear very often in modern alternative rock bands.
Hope – The Strumbellas
I know it’s a little premature to be talking about sitting around campfires at the cottage in January, but if there was ever a perfect album to sing along to around the fire, this would be damn near the top of that list. It brings melodic acoustic guitar together with nearly impossible to resist sing-along choruses. You’re going to want to grab your acoustic guitar and play along to this one.
Fitz and The Tantrums – Fitz and The Tantrums
A ridiculously catchy pop album, Fitz and The Tantrums have struck gold with this self-titled album. This is their third studio album and it provides electric beats similar to Glass Animals’ How To Be a Human Being, but with a completely different outcome. It’s difficult to grasp the style this album brings to the table, but after the first listen you’ll have this album on repeat for quite some time.
Home of The Strange – Young The Giant
Young The Giant are a talented bunch of individuals, there’s no denying that. In the past they’ve had some solid tunes and decent albums, but I never found that their albums entirely came together. Home of The Strange is a different story altogether. With hit singles Something to Believe In and Silvertongue, we all knew this album would feature a few good tunes. Well, as it turns out, that’s an understatement to say the least. This album is their deepest album yet. What are you waiting for? Check it out… Now!
Cleopatra – The Lumineers
We’ve been waiting quite a long time for this one. The Lumineers released their first self-titled album way back in 2012 and it was a huge success. I wondered if they could do it again, and man did they ever. Cleopatra brings us the good old acoustic sounds we loved from the first album, with an extra dose of the black and white keys. If you’re looking for something uplifting and melodic, look no further.
“Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino
My initial reaction to hearing that Childish Gambino’s newest album would not be the same hip-hop/rap sound we’ve come to expect from Donald Glover was slight disappointment. I did my best to listen to “Awaken, My Love!” with an open mind. Regardless of your mindset going into this album, the result will most likely be the same: holy shit, this is good. “Awaken, My Love!” brings soul and R&B together to create something completely new. Mr. Glover, you are quite a talented man.
Touch – July Talk
July Talk’s first self-titled album was one of the best alternative rock records of the past five years. Being an extremely difficult reputation to live up to, their follow up album Touch does an excellent job. This album brings us the familiar back-and-forth dialogues between Peter and Leah that defines July Talk, while staying true to their roots of heavy percussion and nifty guitar licks. Keep doing what you’re doing, July Talk.
Morning Report – Arkells
The Arkells have never been ones to shy away from experimenting with new sounds. Their fourth studio album Morning Report was no exception. Right out of the gate, with the opening song Drake’s Dad you’ll hear what I’m talking about: A sort of soul/gospel sound in the chorus that brings us background vocals and some horns mixed together in one big pot with the good old guitar and keyboards we’ve come to love from the Arkells.