Summer is a time to relax, unwind and check out for a while. If you’ve been traveling, caught up in work or just plain not paying attention, here were the five premier releases of the season.
Starting out on the Bandcamp platform at 16 years old, Alex G penned cryptic and lethargic songs that would grab listeners and pull them into his complicated world. Seven years later, not much has changed aside from the addition of (Sandy) to his stage name and the perfection of his craft. Newcomers to (Sandy) Alex G’s work might be a bit overwhelmed by his adoption of several genres in one record, but those familiar with his work will find themselves captivated with his lo-fi interpretations of indie, folk and noise rock. The addition of orchestral instruments on several tracks bring an extra dimension to them, building out the luscious chords and highlighting the complexities within poetic lyrics.
After her smash hit Pure Heroine, Lorde was positioned to take the mainstream by storm and cash in on her pop fame. However, after staying silent for nearly four years, it became apparent that her second album would not be half-baked. Melodrama proved to be worth the wait by delving deeper into Lorde’s dark and introspective side, leaving the listener uncertain of what they may find. Paired with Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers, Lorde wrote elegant lyrics for this album that deal with the human condition and our understanding of the world around us. An album as explorative and lonely as it can be rhythmic and energizing, Melodrama makes the four-year wait for another Lorde project easily worth the wait.
Pairing just the right amount of quirky attitude and pure creativity, Flower Boy is easily Tyler, the Creator’s most impressive work to date and demands attention from both hip-hop purists and nonconformists. Prior to this release, Tyler’s records tended to dance around the line between legitimate representations of his psyche and mindless bangers. With his previous album suffering from overbearing drone machines and poorly mixed vocals, Flower Boy shows Tyler’s growth as an artist and producer, having finally found a way to realize his vision and create what could be one of the top albums of the year.
As one of the most experimental artists in rap, fans expected greatness from Milo on his newest LP and he most certainly delivered. Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?! is an extension of his sophomore effort, So the Flies Don’t Come, dabbling in abstract stream-of-conscience lyrics while incorporating jazz influence and additional influences of glitch hop and cloud rap. His music is for hip hop nerds, specifically the ones who enjoy looking up every lyric to figure out deeper meanings and allusions to other points in the album. Beyond Milo’s lyrics, the chaotic and trippy production of this record adds another barrier to entry, making it one of the most inaccessible but rewarding listens of the summer.
As one of the premier emo bands of the mid-2000’s, Brand New took the genre to new creative heights, those of which haven’t been matched since their radio silence after 2009’s Daisy. Frustration aside, Science Fiction makes the wait seem worth every moment. Whether it’s the genre-blending on “Same Logic/Teeth” or the on-edge feeling “Desert,” Brand New shows both their maturity over the past eight years and their thirst to conquer rock music once again. The fantastic guitar work pairs well with varied percussion and harmonious vocals, making Science Fiction the best record of its genre since the band took a break.