1. Phoenix Bankrupt! (April 30)
French indie-rock juggernaut Phoenix returns to album-crafting after their mainstream breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in 2009. Though there are no insanely catchy singles such as the earworms “1901” and “Lisztomania” of 4 years prior, Bankrupt! stands strong as an expertly produced and consistently satisfying pop record, dazzling the listener with the sounds of high-living in the entertainment world.
2. !!! Thr!!!er (April 30)
Sacramento’s own dance-punk/disco heroes, !!! (commonly pronounced chk-chk-chk), deliver their most crisp and danceable record to date. Stylistic echoes of LCD Soundsystem, the Happy Mondays and late 70s/early 80s Ze Records can be heard, but some of the material is good enough to beat out all three in terms of groove and showmanship.
3. Snoop Lion Reincarnated (April 23)
Whether one is a devoted Snoop fan or not, his new album will satisfy the curiosity of hearing an iconic figure completely switch up his aesthetic along with his persona as he continues a long and illustrious career journey from South Central to Hollywood and finally Jamaica. Featuring production from electro-dancehall group Major Lazer.
4. Primal Scream More Light (May 6)
The UK’s most eclectic stadium fillers take yet another turn after nearly three decades of genre-shifting; after traversing everything from 80’s jangle-pop to 90s acid house and 00’s electroclash, their 10th album adheres to a brighter, more orchestral template as they make an anthemic statement about culture today.
5. Young Galaxy Ultramarine (April 23)
Clear, straightforward indie pop paired with heavy synth tracks seemingly retrofitted from some of the best ‘80s singles. Catherine McCandless’ echoing, earnest voice sound somewhat removed from the new-wave dance numbers, as if transmitted from a mountaintop or cathedral; nevertheless, this mixture of icy beats and romantic vocals are worth repeated listens.
1. Iron Man 3 (May 3)
The amount of non-stop Marvel Comics films may have reached a critical danger level, but one of it’s more rewarding franchises may have a thrill or two left in it. Ben Kingsley enters the series as a new villain to contend with, the Mandarin, and directorial duties are handed from Jon Favreau to Shane Black, who also directed Robert Downey, Jr. in the well received thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).
2. Kiss of the Damned (May 3)
The first dramatic feature by Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of acclaimed director John Cassavetes. Initial trailers suggest a tale of vampire/human romance with sharp indie flair. Vampire Djuna becomes involved with the human Paolo; after initiating him into her community, her younger sister arrives to cause trouble and draw blood.
3. Greetings From Tim Buckley (May 3)
An independent music biopic of the late Jeff Buckley, who struggles to find his own musical voice in the early 90s while outgrowing the shadows cast on him by the legacy of his father, singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, who died when Jeff was still very young. A touching story of two singular talents, including musical performances of their material.
4. From Up on Poppy Hill (May 3 at The Varsity)
The Varsity will screen Studio Ghibli’s latest animated feature, directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of the acclaimed and well known Hayao Miyazaki ( Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro). The plot follows two young students in 1963 Yokohama, Umi and Shun, who intend to renovate their high school’s clubhouse. Their efforts are challenged by the school chairman, who plans to have the building demolished.
5. The Iceman (May 3)
Big names such as Michal Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco and Ray Liotta abound in this independent thriller concerning the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a prolific American serial killer turned mafia hitman who may have murdered upwards of 200 people over a span of nearly 40 years.
ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at email@example.com.