The Flower Lane – Ducktails (Domino)

Ducktails fires on all cylinders for its fourth album. Matt Mondanile (also of Real Estate) finds the perfect niche and gives indie pop its next great band. The Flower Lane starts off with two great Mark Foster-esque tracks (“Ivy Covered House”, “Under Cover”). Future Shuttle’s Jessa Farkas gives a great performance on Letter of Intent, one of the album’s best. The band’s grooves are great (Assistant Director”), and it’s incredibly hard to stop listening. This record hooks you from the start, and is a great ride from beginning to end. Ducktails seriously could be the next big thing in indie pop.

Austin Lyons 2/4/13

Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana (Carpark Records)

Speedy Ortiz has been getting a good deal of attention lately for bringing back the kind of angsty, well-written, female rock that artists like Liz Phair pioneered.  Although I don’t think the singer’s voice is as compelling as her predecessors, fans of this genre of music can still find something to enjoy here, as this album contains hints of other female-fronted rock bands like Rilo Kiley and has enough going on to keep it interesting. -N. Cotter            8/25/13

Smith Westerns – Soft Will (Mom + Pop)

While Smith Westerns broke out on their last album, “Dye It Blonde,” their follow-up shows that their sound hasn’t gotten stale.   Two excellent songs bookend what is otherwise a decent rock album, and its mixture of pop, rock, lo-fi, and other genres makes it an all-around enjoyable listen. -N. Cotter            8/24/13

She and Him – Volume 3 (Merge)

At this point, you probably already know whether or not you like She and Him.  Volume 3 is Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward at their She-and-Himmiest ever, and if you’re a fan, that’s definitely a good thing.  Catchy pop hooks from Deschanel’s distinct vocals blend with Ward’s breezy guitar work to produce a sound that everyone was making 60 years ago, but nobody is now.  If you’re not on the She and Him bandwagon, you’re just missing out on some good fun.                  -N. Cotter 8/24/13

Immunity – Jon Hopkins (Domino)

Extremely creative/enjoyable instrumental electronic music. The first four tracks are muscular techno soundscapes, with “Breathe This Air” adding a sprinkling of piano flourishes to the mix. The back half of the album scale the abrasiveness back, starting with a minimal piano ballad in “Abandon Window.” “Form By Firelight” (a personal favorite) lays consistent piano jabs over a futuristic bass-heavy electro-groove. “Sun Harmonics” is a slow building house track that layers simple guitar picks, shakers, and ethereal voices into a quietly uplifting composition. Recommended if you like Fuck Buttons, John Talabot, Jamie xx.

Zach Shealy 8/21/2013

The Delta Saints – Death Letter Jubilee (Self-released)

Our neighbors from Belmont, the Delta Saints, have created a distinctly Southern debut album.  Death Letter Jubilee is a rock album soaked in moonshine and served at some dimly lit Nashville bar.  The Delta Saints’ rollicking album results directly in foot tapping and head-nodding thanks to Ben Ringel’s soulful vocals and Dylan Fitch’s driving guitar.  Death Letter Jubilee should be blasted out of a Mardi Gras float, especially “Death Letter Jubilee” and “Boogie.”  The thumping Southern beats are cut by the haunting “Out to Sea” (think The Avett Brothers) and “River” (think a 1930s Mississippi porch front).  A little swampy, a little bluesy, and definitely soulful.  -Hillary Good 4/11/2013

Afraid of Heights – Wavves (Mom + Pop)

Mr. Nathan Williams has done it again. Wavves managed to create an increasingly clean, accessible sound while still proving to all of us that he does not give a shite. If you are used to Wavves’ poppy surf punk this album should not offer too many surprises, but some songs trade in their fuzz for good acoustic vibes (“Dog”) and it still works. You could even describe some of these tunes (“Everything Is My Fault”) as ambitious, which seems kind of rare for Wavves. Some highlights include single “Demon To Lean On” and “Paranoid.” All of it is pretty decent though.

P. Miller 04/13

Black Sea Royalty – EP (Self-released)

Nashville natives Sammy Mitchell and Jon Marc Winchester make some serious noise on their debut EP.  Black Sea Royalty’s sound, falling between traditional hard rock and mid-2000s alt-rock is both rough enough to appeal to Nashville’s underground music scene and accessible enough to find success in a general musical atmosphere.  The duo does a killer job of writing, performing, mixing, and producing this EP, and their work shows.  “Salvatore” is my personal favorite, but every song is good in its own right. -Austin Lyons 3/7/13 -