Queen of Queens Riddim – Various Artists (Larger Than Life)

Solid reggae album.  Each song is upbeat and has a mellow sound.  A common criticism of reggae as a whole is that it tends to sound repetitive, and it is definitely true here.  A riddim album, like this one, is a collection of songs with different performers, but with the same instrumental on each track.  Every beat on this album is literally the same, but the vocals and the different styles of each performer keep it varied enough to stay interesting.  If you like reggae, chances are you will like this album.

Nanobots – They Might Be Giants (IdleWild)

That’s right. 25 tracks. TMBG make the most of this, their sixteenth album.  They’re back to making adult alternative music with their characteristic goofiness, but the silliness of their music seems to have been amplified by their time with children’s music.  Their sound is great and original, as always; despite celebrating their 31st year together, TMBG comes through with another fantastic and very new album.  It holds that characteristic 90′s alt sound (‘Circular Karate Chop’), but simultaneously reflects the recent trend toward indie and folk music (‘Black Ops’).  9 of this album’s 25 songs are small clips under 1 minute in length.

Matthew Heller – Matthew Heller (self-released)

Matthews Heller’s self-released, self-titled album is passionate, soulful, and grungy.  Heller brings classic rock sensibilities and structures to his songs, which vary from the fast-paced and yelloy to the slow and ballady.  With more exposure to this type of music, I could probably say more, but let’s say I enjoyed this album, found it entertaining and substantial, and recommend it.

12 Bit Blues – Kid Koala (Ninja Tune)

Kid Koala combines traditional blues chord progressions with all kinds of sound effects including turntable spinning, voice distortion, autotune-like voice parts.  All this makes for an interesting sound.