You/Sonata – Ellen O

This album perfectly captures the feelings of the aimlessness and dull anxiety that hangs over the heads of millions of twentysomethings like a fog. You/Sonata is not the most inaccessible release of the year in terms of style or harmonics, but the songs are arranged in such a way that can come off as a little disorienting. The majority of the album is composed of skittering beats and sparse electronic basslines suspended in multiple layers of cloudy synths and no less than two different vocal elements happening at any given moment. Lyrically the album tackles tried and true subjects such as love lost and general disenchantment with life. Even the album’s most upbeat moments, such as highlight “Dark + Stormy,” are delivered in Ellen O’s sultry voice, each sweet word being covered in a thick malaise. This is an incredibly stylish album that is very much of the zeitgeist. – Peter Melero


Show Me How You Want It To Be – Slothrust 

This album is definitely one of the most random compilations of covers I have ever come upon, but I absolutely love it.  From Sam Cooke to Black Sabbath to Britney Spears; it’s like Slothrust somehow discovered my favorite songs (even the guilty pleasures like “Baby One More Time”) and made an album just for me. They covered each song exquisitely, in the fact that the original song is crystal clear but they all contain Slothrust’s flawlessly restless alt-rock aura. The best track is “Happy Together,” mainly because the way in which the song is covered completely twists the original message of unconditional love into this saga of quasi-mutual destruction. I definitely hope to hear more covers in the future. – Sarah Braddock


Mr. Finish Line – Vulfpeck 

This fall album truly embodies change in the seasons and all new groove releases. Michigan-based funk group, Vulfpeck, channels their trademark positivity in this lively and wild piano boogie that encapsulates their unique brew of electronic, jazz, and funk. It’s brand new and such a unique sound that anyone would go crazy for. While four of the album’s tracks were pre-released as singles, the remaining six present new sounds and quirks we were waiting for. It was also notably recognized that the catchy clarinet solo from Vulf’s most popular jam, “Back Pocket” was used in “Mr. Finish Line” and “Business Casual” on the new album, creating a feeling of a consistent band sound while adding new depths to the mix. This was such a great album for the group and I’m excited to see what 2018 holds for up-and-coming, Vulfpeck. – Jordan Abrams

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