1. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend- With highly varied influences and obscure cultural references sprinkled throughout, Vampire Weekend’s third album is musically and lyrically interesting, lending itself to being played on repeat for weeks on end. The often serious lyrical content and overlying themes of death, aging and religion juxtapose the upbeat, catchy music that makes you want to loudly sing along, allowing you to ponder your existence while getting turnt at the same time. The album takes a slight dip in quality towards the end, with Hudson and Young Lion, the last two tracks of the album, being completely skippable; however, the first ten songs make up for it. Actually, the last minute of Hannah Hunt alone makes up for it.
Standout tracks: Unbelievers, Hannah Hunt, Step, Ya Hey, Everlasting Arms
2. Repave by Volcano Choir- The sophomore release of the indie band fronted by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon finds a common ground between the unfocused experimentation of the band’s first album Repave and Bon Iver’s refined, borderline boring sound. Repave is good as both background music for an all-night study session or for a more active listen, as it somehow manages to be both interesting enough to pay attention to and calming enough to tune out.
Standout tracks: Acetate, Byegone, Tiderays, Dancepack
3. Pure Heroine by Lorde- Don’t judge Lorde based off Royals, the annoying Top 40 hit that dominated your radios for way too long, and her slightly off-putting public persona because her debut album is actually really good. Like, surprisingly good. The lyrical content, though redundant at times, marks a refreshing shift from the glamorous, exciting lifestyle depicted in other pop albums, and it highlights Lorde’s maturity and self-awareness despite her young age. Her unique vocals and experimentation with different sounds makes the album solid from start to finish. Just ignore Royals.
Standout tracks: Ribs, 400 Lux, Buzzcut Season, A World Alone
4. 180 by Palma Violets- The debut album from this English garage rock band clearly draws its influence from other English rock bands such as the Libertines, and will make you want to head bang while wearing a leather jacket. The songs are relatively unstructured, bordering on just sounding like noise at times, but its part of what makes the album so fun to listen to.
Standout tracks: Best of Friends, Last of the Summer Wine, Johnny Bagga Donuts, 14
5. The 1975 by The 1975- Yet another successful debut from England, The 1975 is a catchy alternative/indie rock album that, although gratuitously long at 16 tracks, captures your attention for (almost) the entire time. Though this is only their first album, the band has been together since 2002, and thus seem very confident in themselves, even borderline narcissistic at times (the first track on their self-titled album is a self-titled song… The 1975 by The 1975 off the album The 1975…), which comes through in their unique sound. However, I can’t comment on their lyrical content because I literally do not understand a single word the lead singer is saying.
Standout tracks: Chocolate, The City, Girls, Menswear