Friday Album Reviews | Eight New Records You Need To Know

As every Friday brings new music, Tomorrow's Verse brings you our top picks for the week. Here are our favorite records from 3/9.

By: Alex Wood

David Byrne – American Utopia

The first solo album from the Talking Heads frontman in 14 years, American Utopia is everything one could ask for from Byrne. A set of quirky but thoughtful songs that feel both modern and like a continuation of his old, established sound, the record is packed with infectious melodies and resonating lyrics over a shimmering electronic sound. Taking a decidedly positive tone, American Utopia surveys the political and social climate of the modern world through attention to details, delivered in a way that only Byrne could, making it another great addition to the songwriter’s catalog.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats – Tearing At The Seams

Retro-soul revivalists Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats obviously benefitted from the endless touring following the success of their self-titled, 2015 debut record. Their follow-up, Tearing At The Seams, has a larger, full-band sound, leaning less on Rateliff growling vocals and more on the soulful performances of his horn-laden backing band. It’s an immediate and massive sound that covers a wide range of emotions without simply repeating the formula of his older work. At Rateliff continues to play larger venues, his music continues to grow to fit them.

Of Montreal – White Is Relic / Irrealis Mood

In recent years, prolific psychedelic and glam rock band Of Montreal have ditched the live-in-studio recording format in favor of a writing process centered around Kevin Barnes, the singer using his mastery of production and creative tendencies to craft each song primarily on his own. This is a return to older, beloved records like Hissing Fauna, and helped the band find a new sense of direction. White Is Relic features six songs that wander with a driving force, combining dense layers of percussion and synthesizers into a collage-like whole. Undeniably unique, it’s a record that only Barnes could produce, and absolutely deserves your attention.

Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now

Canadian four-piece Nap Eyes boast a clean indie-rock sound built around the distinctive drawl of vocalist Nigel Chapman. Their third full-length, I’m Bad Now, is a wonderfully cohesive set of songs where simplicity draws attention to the songwriting. With little use of effects on instruments or in production, the no-frills recording style gives an organic feel while leaving nowhere for the musicians to hide. An impressive record from start to finish, I’m Bad Now finds Nap Eyes at the top of their game.

Albert Hammond Jr. – Francis Trouble

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. continues his solo career with Francis Trouble, a new full-length of garage-rock tracks that capture the same energy as his original band at their best. The songwriting remains compact and easily digestible, with only one track crossing the four-minute mark, underlining the punk mentality Hammond has always maintained. Catchy, energetic and extremely entertaining, Francis Trouble is a fun record that will certainly please fans of The Strokes and the garage scene as a whole.

August Greene – August Greene

A new supergroup consisting of prolific rapper Common, jazz pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Karriem Riggins, August Greene blends hip-hop, jazz and R&B into a cohesive whole as a means of defining and celebrating black culture. Released via Amazon Music, the record finds all three players of equal importance, Common’s lyrics packed with just as many ideas as Glasper’s and Riggins’ musicianship. It’s creative projects like this that justify the idea of any supergroup’s existence.

Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides Of The Sky

The most recent posthumous Hendrix release, Both Sides of the Sky, continues to find enticing, unheard recordings from the guitarist’s short but prolific career. Featuring tracks backed by Band of Gypsies as well as the Experience, the album sticks to aggressive blues jams throughout, including an incredible cover of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy.” Though it’s easy to dismiss posthumous releases when one seems to pop up every few years, there’s really no excuse for not checking out new Jimi Hendrix recordings, right?

Oneida – Romance

Brooklyn quintet Oneida are known for their ever-changing and unpredictable sound, having remained a pillar of the underground psych scene for the last decade. The band’s newest release, Romance, is a fairly difficult listen, blending psychedelic overtones with krautrock and experimental noise, the songs built around beating pulses and a simplistic, driving energy. It’s often aggressive but at times reserved. It’s wandering yet concise and conscious. It’s defies any specific labels or genres, and, perhaps, this is exactly what Oneida are best at after all.

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