It’s Friday! And you know what that means…you’re being rewarded with Fresh Friday tunes to get you out of that mid-summer slump. Celebrate the conquering of another work week by blasting new music louder than your AC.
This week boasts an eclectic array of artists led by power-pop and punk, but also extending to folk, electronica, and R&B. Crank it up to 11 and don’t even sweat it when your neighbors complain…you’ve already been sweating plenty.
Billy Talent – Afraid of Heights
The emo-punk outfit has bounced back from their critically panned 2012 release Dead Silence with a more voracious, lyrically succinct album that layers a melody of power chords over angsty social commentary.
Cotton Mather – Death of the Cool
Another band with unconventional lyrics and musical technique, Cotton Mather was established by Robert Harrison of Austin, Texas in 1990. Named after a New England Puritan minister who supported the Salem Witch Trials, the power-pop band (think a poppier Guided by Voices) is releasing their first LP in 15 years. The album will be the first of a four-part anthology seeking to cover 64 songs, one for each of the I Ching’s 64 hexagrams.
Death Spells – Nothing Above, Nothing Below
It took the duo of Frank Iero and James Dewees three years to concoct this full-length LP, a follow-up to their 2013 Demo album, and it’s definitely not for the weak. Aggressive, experimental anti-harmonies define each track, and fans of the hardcore genre will revel in the musical mutiny.
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
This seasoned group of punk rockers from Manhattan Beach has been making music since the late ’70s, and they still exude plenty of grit, attitude, and a perpetually youthful spirit on their seventh studio album.
Fantasia – The Definition Of
American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia has been consistently making music that often falls swiftly under the radar, but still manages to top the charts and warrant collaborations with artists such as R. Kelly and Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child). Her most recent album is marked by more ornate and elaborate soul ballads, perhaps inspired by her recent foray onto Broadway, with turns in The Color Purple and After Midnight.
Lori McKenna – The Bird & The Rifle
Lori McKenna is huge in the world of country, even if she may not exactly land on your radar. She earned a GRAMMY for her contribution to 2016’s country song of the year on a Little Big Town track, and now she’s put out an earnest, intimate country-folk album that explores relationships past and present.
Nao – For All We Know
Nao, the pseudonym of London’s Neo Jessica Joshua, may be this year’s FKA Twigs, putting forth an earthy, eclectic mix of R&B, soul, and electronica on her debut LP, For All We Know.
Owen – The King of Whys
Singer-songwriter Mike Kinsella, who goes by the moniker Owen, gives listeners crisp, atmospheric folk ballads with lyrics so sharp and biting it feels like he’s pouring out the darkest parts of his psyche to people who shouldn’t be listening.
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel
The prolific jam band releases their fourth album in four years, with psych-infused Americana and windy, meandering instrumental arrangements.
Titus Andronicus – S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera
Arguably the most authentic punk band on the list, Titus Andronicus knows how to revitalize old-school punk such as The Ramones and Sex Pistols with a contemporary sound that commands head banging. To promote their 2015 album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, the band recorded a five-night residency at Shea Stadium last year and compiled the tracks into a ferocious live album.