Every month Uproxx Cultural Critic Steven Hyden compiles a playlist of his favorite songs from new albums.
This St. Louis quartet is commonly lumped in with the emo scene, but their forthcoming album Nearer My God (out Aug. 10) resists reductive genre distinctions, nodding toward electronic music, contemporary R&B, and star-gazing ’90s indie rock (especially Radiohead’s OK Computer and Perfect From Now On era Built To Spill) for inspiration. You can hear all of those influences squeezed together in surprisingly organic fashion in “Slapstick,” the album’s gorgeous lead single.
Restorations, “The Red Door”
It’s been four long years since this criminally underrated Philadelphia band has released an album. Thankfully, Restorations will finally rectify this situation on September 28 with the release of LP5000, which finds them once again producing a series of powerful, Springsteen-meets-Fugazi style rockers that will delight fans of the Gaslight Anthem and Constantines.
Flasher, “Sun Come and Golden”
This Washington D.C. indie outfit released its debut album, Constant Image, earlier this month, and it couldn’t have been better timed. Loaded with 10 jangly, snappy songs that breeze by in just over a half hour, Constant Image is the musical equivalent of a great beach read — immediate, addictive, and perfectly paired with sunshine and sandy sandals.
Culture Abuse, “California Speedball”
On this San Francisco band’s deliriously fun 2016 debut Peach, they cultivated an infectiously snotty pop-punk vibe, which made them naturals to tour with Green Day the following year. The new Bay Dream takes more of a power-pop turn, pushing the band’s bubblegum melodies (and even a reference to the Marcels’ doo-wop classic “Blue Moon”) to the forefront, though not at the expense of all that wonderful fuzz.
The 1975, “Give Yourself A Try”
This song dropped on the last day of May, right after I made my mixtape for that month. It’s still in my regular rotation. I suspect that Brandon Flowers hasn’t heard it yet — if he had, he would’ve probably broken up The Killers immediately afterward.
Phantastic Ferniture, “Gap Year”
On 2016’s Don’t Let The Kids Win, Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin hewed close to a hushed pop-folk sound. But with her band Phantastic Ferniture, she turns up the amps and blows out her songs with garage-rock verve, a stirring transformation that’s evidenced in fine form with “Gap Year.”
Wild Nothing, “Letting Go”
Jack Tatum started recording as Wild Nothing almost a decade ago, during the heyday of that evocative (if unfortunately dubbed) synth-rock subgenre known as chillwave. So many of the groups lumped under that umbrella have since faded, but Tatum has continued putting out new records and honing his craft. The fifth Wild Nothing album, Gemini (out Aug. 31), might be the band’s most accomplished effort yet, spinning off a series of beautifully lush pop songs like the lead single, “Letting Go.”
Tony Molina, “Wrong Town”
A devotee of Guided By Voices and Teenage Fanclub, Molina is a perfectionist and a miniaturist, focused on writing perfectly constructed pop-rock songs that come and go in the space of 60 or so seconds. Which means that a fingerpicked gem like “Wrong Town” ends before you really want it to, though you also won’t get sick of it if you play it five times in a row.
I’ve had a soft spot for these Swedish pop-metal goofballs since 2010’s Opus Eponymous, which quickly made Ghost an essential band for Eddie Trunk and dudes who look like Eddie Trunk. The recent Prequelle has some reliable pleasures for those of us who still like to play Blue Oyster Cult albums after drinking too much whiskey, including “Rats,” which doesn’t skimp on the creamy backing vocals or the harmonized guitar solos.
These British post-punk kids released their debut album, Songs of Shame, back in January, but it didn’t connect with me until recently. Perhaps it’s because, for all their attitude, the best parts of Shame are those huge, howling riffs, which pair surprisingly well with summer barbecue season. Put this one after dinner, when the sun is setting and it’s time to get a little rowdy.