Beach House - Bloom
This seems to have been one of the most highly-anticipated albums on the year and that anticipation is already paying off in some of the best reviews of the year, as well. The high reviews are well-deserved, it is an incredible album. They haven't strayed far from the distinctive sound they've developed over the past three albums, but there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
Best Coast - The Only Place
Lead singer Bethany Cosentino has promised that this album, influenced by Fleetwood Mac's Rumors, will present a more mature sound and lyric-content than their debut, Crazy for You. I don't know how much Fleetwood Mac I've heard in it, but it certainly is a matured sound for the band. Some songs still seem to harken back to a love of California and frustration with the opposite sex, but the approach is different and gone are all the references to smoking illicit substances and cats.
"Do You Love Me Like You Used To"
Black Tambourine - OneTwoThreeFour EP
If I had known about this band a couple of months ago when I wrote my best one-album wonders post, they would have been included. The band never technically released a full-length studio album, just two EPs during their tenure together. Two compilation albums were released about 10 years ago. This will be the first release of new material for the newly-reunited band in 20 years. It is comprised of covers of four Ramones songs.
"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
The Cribs - In the Belly of the Brazen Bull
The Cribs may be one of the better British indie rock bands still performing. They released one of my favorite songs of the genre, "Men's Needs", in 2007 on an album produced by Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos and including a song recorded with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Not a bad pedigree for a band that was still fairly young at the time. Even five years later, they've managed to hold on to the sound that made them great in the first place.
"Come One, Be a No-One"
Willie Nelson - Heroes
There are only a handful of musicians that have been around for six decades and still produce great music. Willie Nelson is an integral part of that elite group. This is his 76th (dang) album, and the artist is still going strong!