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