A moody, off-shore weather system of an album consisting of early ‘90s R&B melodies and atmospheric, washed-out effects, this is the sophomore effort of How to Dress Well, a.k.a. Tom Krell. At times, the vocals are tenuous, but for the most part they do a good job at evoking a myriad of artists and groups — TLC, Aaliyah and even Dangerous-era Michael Jackson. Here, they collide with a very contemporary style of Indie R&B — characterized by organic-sounding beats and ethereal reverb effects.
Standout Tracks: “Running Back,” “It Was U”
For Fans Of: Michael Jackson, SALEM, P.M. Dawn
Sam Flax – Age Waves
One of the cool things about our nostalgia-addicted culture is how many fresh, innovative sounds are now being created by combining different influences from each decade. In just the first few tracks of Sam Flax’s debut album, one hears ’80s new wave filtered through ’60s garage rock scuzziness, ’70s power pop revamped through early ’80s funk. What you get with this album sounds simultaneously like a worn record and a document from the future. It is perfect for adventurous minds that don’t mind a bit of space and time travel along with their pop sensibilities.
Standout Tracks: “Fire Doesn’t Burn Itself,” “Another Day”
For Fans Of: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Cars, Fleetwood Mac
Tame Impala – “Elephant”
A relentless glam-rock stomper from this Aussie rock outfit of recent years whose brand of pop psychedelia and pitch-perfect John Lennon-style vocals has earned them a steadily increasing following.
Lost Midas – “Love Undone”
At three minutes, this sparkling gem of instrumental hip-hop and layered vocals feels far too brief. It would fit well with any taste and belongs on every iPod this late September, and although similar tunes seem to be flooding the music universe at the moment, one can’t help but be taken in by this track amidst the falling leaves and good vibes of early fall.
ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.