Soundtracks to Heat Up the Semester
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 00:09
Haim - Days Are Gone
Los Angeles indie sweethearts — two sisters and their drummer friend — Haim ran the UK festival circuit this summer, finishing just in time for the release of their debut album, Days Are Gone, on Sept. 30. The album is a fusion of iconic California sounds such as bubbling beach pop, soft rock and hook-filled folk, and, if their festival success is any indication, the girls’ power-pop sound is something to be desired.
Holy Ghost! - Dynamics
Brooklyn electro-pop duo Holy Ghost! earn their name’s signature exclamation point with their sophomore album Dynamics. Expected Sept. 10, Dynamics oozes underground cool with futuristic disco beats and self-consciously deeper themes, often through glittering choruses and surprising instrument mixes. Holy Ghost!’s sophisticated range will keep you going whether you’re at Yates, powering through late-night work or out for a night on the town.
The Weeknd - Kiss Land
Already slated as one of Pitchfork’s most anticipated fall albums, Kiss Land, R&B artist The Weeknd’s first full length feature, promises his signature melancholic, misogynistic brand laced with dark electronics. Out Sept. 10, Kiss Land represents The Weeknd’s closest foray into mainstream, trading pining acoustics and sparse beats for techno play and guest appearances by R&B crooner Drake and remix king Pharrell.
Miley Cyrus - Bangerz
With her now infamous VMA performance, Miley Cyrus simultaneously shattered her Disney princess reputation and launched herself back into the spotlight. So it’s only natural that her newest album, the ridiculously titled Bangerz, due Oct. 4, will be the musical embodiment of Miley’s zaniness. “We Can’t Stop,” the first single, is already reigning at the top of the Billboard charts, while the balladesque “Wrecking Ball” proves Miley’s vocal chops. In classic Miley form, Bangerz is already being promoted with a slew of crotch-grabbing, half-naked photos. If her two singles are any indication, we may not want this party to end.
MGMT - MGMT
With 2010’s Congratulations, psychedelic pop duo MGMT took a turn for the stranger, creating a lulling drug-fueled dreamscape only distantly related to their grooving hits “Kids” and “Electric Feel.” Their new self-titled album combines Congratulations’ weirdness with the eccentric, kaleidoscopic pop for which they’re known. The album’s single, “Alien Days,” hones in on the band’s ethereal synth manipulation skills, while “Your Life Is a Lie” captures MGMT’s paradoxical farcicality with depressing lyrics and spunky beats. Like many great absurdists, MGMT creates the feeling that they know something more than the rest of us.
Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady
Janelle Monáe, with her black-and-white palette and signature pompadour, is new-wave soul’s current darling. The Electric Lady, in stores Sept. 10, thematically revolves around science fiction pieced together through R&B rhythms and vocal acrobatics. As a conceptually-driven album, The Electric Lady is pure art; it exudes the kind of creativity and gender-bending boundary pushing that many top artists lack. Monáe is a wunderkind, expanding the definition of what soul music means today. The funky “Q.U.E.E.N,” featuring Erykah Badu, takes a progressive step out of Monáe’s futuristic world to discuss real-world problems.
Arctic Monkeys - AM
Due Sept. 10, the Arctic Monkeys’ fifth studio album already has the music world abuzz. Sheffield, England’s hottest band first burst onto the scene in 2006 with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Since then, they have successfully matured their sound and broadened their scope, picking up countless accolades and playing in sold out arenas worldwide. AM maintains the Arctic Monkeys’ distinctive rock soundwhile adding hip-hop and electronic tunes. Frontman Alex Turner told NME, “It sounds like a Dr. Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.”