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