Friday Album Reviews | 10 New Records You Need To Know

As every week brings new music, Tomorrow's Verse brings you our top picks for the week. Here are our favorite records from 3/2. 

By: Alex Wood

Jonathan Wilson – Rare Birds

Los Angeles songwriter Jonathan Wilson returns with his first solo album in four years, Rare Birds. Combining the Laurel Canyon sound with heavy psychedelic influences, the record captures Wilson’s songwriting and production abilities in perfect harmony. Packed to the brim with ideas and dense instrumental layers, the songs never grow dull yet never sound out of place. A terrific set of songs from a hugely underrated musician and songwriter, Rare Birds is a must-hear and a record that will stand the test of time.

Lucius – Nudes

Singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig have had a busy year backing Roger Waters on his Us + Them tour, but still managed to record a new Lucius record between dates. Musically, Nudes is a soft, acoustic endeavor, a drastic change from the band’s last record, the poppy Good Grief. In addition to featuring the band’s always-impeccable songwriting and vocal performances, the record features Waters on a track, his bassist throughout the record and Nels Cline on guitar. The delicate songs features layers of soft, acoustic picking, vocal harmonies cutting through and adding emotion to each track. While the originals remain the highlight here, a cover of Tame Impala’s “Eventually” certainly doesn’t hurt.

Kyle Hollingsworth – 50

As String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth turns 50, he celebrates with a new full-length solo release. The record largely flaunts the same funky, jam-centric sound that String Cheese fans have come to love, and is all the better for it. Featuring contributions from TAB’s Jen Hartswick, the Motet Horns, Andy Hall of Infamous Stringdusters, DJ Logic and more, the album’s vibe seems both exploratory and celebratory, Hollingsworth consistently proving that he’s still got it. With top notch musicianship throughout, these clean, smooth jams will need to make it into your life.

Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt

After a pair of intense, punk-inspired record with his band The Void, Moby returns to his classic, electronic sound with Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt. Perhaps intended to be seen as a somber reflection on the state of the modern world, especially politically, the album is full of pulsing grooves and dense, hypnotizing, electronic backdrops, songs dropping from massive climaxes to silent meditations in a moment’s notice. Perhaps best seen as Moby simply doing what Moby does best, EWBANH is a fantastic return to his 90s sound, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen throughout.

The Breeders – All Nerve

Long-standing alternative rock band The Breeders, which initially served as a side-project for the Pixies’ Kim Deal, is back with a new record, the band’s first in a decade. All Nerve is classic Breeders, with skuzzy electric guitars, pounding beats and a real sense of energy throughout. Often dark and edgy, the piercing songs benefit from their simplicity and raw production. It’s pure rock ‘n roll, and a guest spot from Courtney Barnett never hurts.

The Men – Drift

Brooklyn-based four-piece The Men are the kind of band that refuse to sit still. Since their formation in 2008, the band has released seven records, and not a single one sounds like another. Ranging from bombastic punk to country to garage to sludgy metal, each album has offered a completely different musical palate. With Drift, the band primarily explores a number of psychedelic influences, cleaning up their songwriting for an easily digestible and highly enjoyable set of tunes. From gentle acoustic ballads to heavy, distorted freakouts, the record maintains a consistency without running out of new ideas. For a band always willing to take risks, it certainly paid off here.

Mt. Joy – Mt. Joy

Mt. Joy very well may be the next big thing. The band, consisting of two high school friends who quit their California jobs to pursue a music career, just released their self-titled debut, which has the infectious indie-folk sound that bands like Lumineers play to large stadiums. Fleshed out with a five-piece band, the songs are extremely well written, each benefitting from a refusal to stay in a single space, growing ever larger into jazz-inflicted jams or massive, multi-tracked sing-alongs. It’s the kind of music you expect to hear on the radio, and a name you should expect to hear a lot more often in the very near future.

Sonny Smith – Rod For Your Love

The endlessly productive mastermind Sonny Smith leaves the Sonny & The Sunsets moniker for a solo release, Rod For Your Love. The record may be his most streamlined set of songs to date, stylistically, falling somewhere between quirky indie-rock and breezy pop-rock. Smith has a knack for hooks and a great sense of melody, vocally, while each song seems to have some sort of production trick or kooky instrument spilling into the mix, musically. The songs feel organic and natural, making them perfect examples of what Sonny Smith does best.

Titus Andronicus – A Productive Cough

Artful punk-rock Titus Andronicus have remained endlessly prolific over the past deacade, continuing to morph their aggressive sound into a new and highly varying styles and ideas. Their latest release, A Productive Cough, channels older styles ranging from 50s rock ‘n roll to traditional folk ballads, still channeled through the energetic and often political style fans have come to expect. Collaborative and flowing with endless ideas, songs introduce multiple singers, horns, and a variety of instruments often foreign to punk bands, making it another risky but rewarding release for the band. If nothing else, you need to hear the incredible cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Lucy Dacus – The Historian

A 22-year-old songwriter from Richmond, Virginia, Lucy Dacus has released some of the most memorable songwriting of 2018 yet with The Historian. With the title referencing her tendency to write about specific people or events, the record ranges from songs about her early love life to sitting with her grandmother on her death bed, each spun poetically and thoughtfully. Musically, the songs remain simplistically within the indie realm, thin electric guitar strums, skuzzy, distorted guitar noise and a thin-sounding rhythm section backing her vocals. Yet each song seems to eventually bloom into something more, matching the high points of the stories Dacus tells. The Historian is an intense and extremely deep record, and absolutely worth your time.

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