This year is slated to be a year of highly anticipated album releases. Here is a list of four new indie albums to kick off 2014.
L.A. based indie rock band Warpaint will soon be releasing its eponymous sophomore album, "Warpaint." Masterfully crafted, the album is an atmospheric collection of hauntingly beautiful recordings. A cohesive album, each song builds upon the previous one, taking listeners on a climactic journey.
The introductory song, simply titled “Intro,” sets the mood for the rest of the album with heavy, ominous percussion and melancholic guitar chords. Wistful vocals backed by an amalgam of synth beats and live instruments create a sad, psychedelic vortex into which the listener is swept.
Warpaint appears to have drawn from various musical sources to create this album. The track “Hi” has a perceptible hip-hop feel, while the vocals on “Teese” are reminiscent of 70's folk rock. Other songs that stand out include the darkly playful “Disco//Very” with its delightfully whiny female post-punk vocals set against an infectiously rhythmic bass and the menacingly seductive modern siren song “CC.” Artistic and refreshingly bold, this well-crafted album is definitely not one to be missed.
"Warpaint" is available for free streaming on NPR.org and its scheduled to be released on Jan. 21.
"Waking Lines," Patterns
Manchester-based band Patterns’ debut album, "Waking Lines," has both indie and commercial appeal. Foundational synth, guitar, and percussion sounds make up the background instrumentals and can be heard in each track. Echoing vocals create multidimensionality and establish the album’s overall mood. Together these elements create a distinctively organic sound. Still, each song has a clear, distinctive character.
The ethereal vocals on tracks such as “Our Ego” and “Induction,” have a hypnotic choral quality. Moodier tracks like “Wrong Two Words” and “Street Fires,” feature prominent percussion and are somewhat heavier, but equally affecting. The album winds down with the slow and purposeful “Climbing Out,” a solid conclusion to an impressive debut album.
"Waking Lines" is now available for purchase on iTunes.
"Dirty Gold," Angel Haze
Since releasing her 2012 EP "Reservation" and teasing the public with various mixtapes, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the release of Angel Haze’s debut album, "Dirty Gold." Despite its seemingly polarizing quality and dismal opening week sales, the album does showcase Haze’s undeniable lyrical talent.
The album aims to inspire listeners by way of Haze’s moving personal story. Haze communicates this story by including interview snippets and spoken reflections throughout the album. The opening track, “Sing About Me” is a fierce anthem of tenacity, while on the subsequent track, “Echelon,” Haze divulges her taste for luxury.
As for song composition, Haze does not hold back. She somehow integrates falsetto vocals, Native-American chants, and other interesting elements to create a distinctive collection of songs. Still, the stars here are Haze’s quick wit and knack for wordplay. Decidedly personal, "Dirty Gold" provides revealing insight into the life of this up-and-coming rap artist.
"Dirty Gold" is now available for purchase on iTunes.
"Post Tropical," James Vincent McMorrow
Irish indie folk artist James Vincent McMorrow’s sophomore album, "Post Tropical," is like a collection of ethereal lullabies. McMorrow’s gentle falsetto, supported by slow piano melodies and soft electronic rhythms, lifts listeners into a state of pure serenity. This album picks up where McMorrow’s 2012 EP "We Don’t Eat" left off. "Post Tropical" features ten original songs, each clearly crafted with care.
Woeful ballads like “Cavalier” and “Outside, Digging,” reveal McMorrow’s willingness to show emotional vulnerability, while tracks like “Gold” and “All Points” sound slightly more upbeat, even triumphant. Other tracks like, “The Lakes” and “Repeating” are soothingly melodic and serve to show McMorrow’s impressive vocal control. "Post Tropical" is the perfect album for winding down at the end of a long day.
"Post Tropical" is now available for purchase on iTunes.