by Eric Gossett
Adam Green & Binki Shapiro – Adam Green & Binki Shapiro
Adam Green is most famous for his first band, The Moldy Peaches, with singer Kimya Dawson. Their song “Anyone Else But You,” was featured in the popular indie film Juno and brought the duo into the national spotlight. Green has released several solo albums in the last decade, but his newest project is his most exciting. He is teaming up with Binki Shapiro for his latest endeavor. Shapiro is most notable for helping form the band Little Joy, with Stroke’s drummer Fabrizio Moretti. The sample tracks from Green and Shapiro’s album make me wonder why the two musicians have never teamed up before now. Green’s classically styled vocals blend perfectly with Shapiro’s elegant tone. The album reminds me of a Velvet Underground and Nico type of project.
The Lone Bellow – The Lone Bellow
Miss The Civil Wars? The Lone Bellow have arrived to fill the folk-shaped hole The Civil Wars left in our hearts when they broke up last year. The Lone Bellow are a folk trio from Brooklyn, although all members are originally from the south, that have every music critic and folk-lover buzzing. Their music is inspiring and most of the songs come from a very personal place. Lead-singer/guitarist Zach Williams began writing songs after his wife was involved in a near-fatal horseback riding incident. Williams used songwriting as a way to deal with his emotions during that time. The songs have such a raw emotion and stripped down nature that really makes this album stand out.
Local Natives – Hummingbird
Local Natives help kick off this year’s new music releases with the follow-up to their debut album, Gorilla Manor. Local Natives hail from sunny California, but they are by no means a surf-rock type of band. The sound that Local Natives creates is a collaborative flow of intertwining harmonies contributed by each individual band member. Overlaying vocal and instrumental parts on sample tracks like “Breakers” and “Heavy Feet” show that the songwriting of Local Natives is just as, if not more, complex and intricate as Gorilla Manor.
A$AP Rocky – LongLiveA$AP
A$AP Rocky returns to the spotlight after his 2011 debut Live. Love. ASAP. A$AP gained massive attention and internet buzz from his debut single “Purple Swag.” He then turned that popularity into the highest rated hip-hop album of 2011. The follow-up, LongLiveA$AP, seems to be doing the same. The album is A$AP in his finest form. For me, the collaboration tracks are what sets this album apart from his first. Some notable artists on this record are Santigold, 2012 breakout artist Kendrick Lamar, and yes, even Skrillex.
Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
Ra Ra Riot are probably one of the hardest working bands in the music scene today. It seems like they are always on tour and have released three albums in the last five years. Their 2008 debut album, The Rhumb Line, brought them into the national spotlight and was widely praised by critics. Although their 2010 follow-up, The Orchard, wasn’t as successful, Ra Ra Riot’s latest album will bring them back to indie prominence and make them one of the most beloved bands of 2013. Their latest release Beta Love takes all the classic sounds of Ra Ra Riot – stringed instruments with some light keyboards – and adds a new layer of pop and synth to bring them into the electronic age. Adding more digital aspects to songs seems to have exploded in the last year and there’s no end in sight. Members of Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend collaborated on a side project band, Discovery, back in 2009, and this album leans more towards the sounds of Discovery than the band’s traditional sound.