Friday Reviews | The Best Albums Out March 13

Circles Around the Sun - Circles Around the Sun

Supergroup Circles Around the Sun return with their third full-length record. The self-titled album marks a stylistic shift for the band, leaning harder on funk and dance music to create their most fun work yet. The record also contains the final recordings of guitarist Neal Casal, made just a week before his tragic passing in August. Casal asked that the band finish the record and continue in his absence, leading to Circles Around the Sun and an upcoming tour. Mixing a jam aesthetic with disco and funk, the heavy circumstances surrounding the recording certainly doesn’t come through the music. 

Dead Lips - Dead Lips

Restlessly prolific psych-rockers The Flaming Lips team up with rock duo Deap Vally for a new release under the name Dead Lips. The two bands are a surprisingly great fit, combining the driving rock ’n roll energy of Deap Vally with the spaced-out, dense, trippy web of sound in which Flaming Lips specialize. The most direct and mature release from the Lips in years, this is one that fans of psychedelic music won’t want to miss.

Various Artists - Songs For Australia

Though everyone’s heard of the devastating bushfires that have crippled Australia recently, there couldn’t really be enough charity efforts to try to rebuild the nation’s ecosystem. A new covers compilation aims to raise funds for Australia, featuring The National, Damien Rice, Kurt Vile, Nick Cave and more. The compilation hits streaming services today, and is absolutely worth your time.

Dungen - Dungen Live

Swedish psychedelic band Dungen collected live recordings from 2015 to create this flowing, instrumental set. Ranging from short song fragments to exploratory and lengthy jams, the record is astonishing for both the individual members’ musical abilities and the band’s cohesiveness as a whole. Soaring guitars, trippy organs, splashing drums and ripping saxophones all share the creative space, one slowly overtaking the other. It’s a great piece of psychedelia, and one you won’t want to miss.

The Districts - You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere

Energetic rock band The Districts had practically perfected their brand of infectious rock ’n roll, but after finding themselves creatively fried following relentless touring, decided to change it up. Frontman Rob Grote wrote more than 30 songs for the new album in isolation, and the band helped whittle the record down to 11 tracks. The resulting album is much less streamlined than their past work, allowing new techniques of production and performance to seep into the still-solid songwriting. 


Chicago band Rookie have been gaining a lot of hype over the last year for their energetic live shows and Bloodshot Records signing, and their debut record delivers on it all. With a vintage 70’s-rock vibe combining with a punk energy and aesthetic, the band delivers catchy, punchy songs that are, above all else, fun. With typically short run times, they don’t seem to jam as much as they probably could, but you can tell the musicianship is there. For a young band, it’s a terrific debut and most certainly a local band to be watching. 

Grouplove - Healer

Indie-pop staples Grouplove are back with their first album in four years, Healer. The five-piece band continue to write insatiably fun pop-rock packed with melodic hooks, spread over 11 tracks on the new record. Anchored by male and female vocalists and live instrumentation, Healer doesn’t change the band’s formula, but will satisfy a fanbase craving new material. 

Peter, Bjorn & John - Endless Dream

Indie veterans Peter, Bjorn & John return with Endless Dream, their second new release in two years and best album in a while. The songs return to the wistful and whimsical sound that made them famous to begin with, with bright melodies and catchy hooks. A positive energy and upbeat vibe flows through the songs, but the record never feels too cheeky or poppy. It’s simplistic for the better, and great set of songs. 

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