Dartmouth Soundoff: Recent Releases

By Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff | 5/23/14 4:00am

I'm not giving Coldplay any more attention. While they did release an album this past term, there are 10 other albums from the past term that you probably should hear. Happy half-reading period!

Mac Demarco,“Salad Days”(April 1)

Despite bearing the hipster hallmarks of recording in his Brooklyn apartment and hailing from Canada, there is something more palatable about Demarco with his release full of easy, springtime music. The single "Salad Days" sounds like something we've all heard before but haven't yet become sick of.

Iggy Azalea,“The New Classic”(April 21)

Between being mentored by TI and an ex-girlfriend of A$AP Rocky, Iggy Azalea was bound to blow up eventually, which happened this past year as she took the stage with household names like Robin Thicke and Beyoncé. Even though she cultivated her career in the South (that's where that accent is supposed to be from), she's better known for being Australian, which sells better anyway. The album was the highest charting album by a female rapper since Nicki Minaj's “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” (2012).

Neon Trees,“Love in the 21st Century”(April 22)

The first three tracks are titled "Love in the 21st Century," "Text Me in the Morning" and "Sleeping with a Friend," in that order, setting the album up for a host of clichés. The release received mixed reviews from critics, but Neon Trees never really seemed to be as highbrow as they were just fun dance-rock music that played in the fitting rooms at Gap.

Ray LaMontagne,“Supernova”(April 29)

The fifth studio album from a relatively reclusive LaMontagne received positive critical reception, even if he doesn't fit the formula for commercial superstardom. His sound has gained a little bit of electricity and drifting trippy-ness since “Gossip in the Grain” (2008), and it suits him surprisingly well.

Michael Jackson,“XSCAPE”(May 9)

What is there even to say here? This is MJ's second posthumous release, and at this point it’s all about the money. The album’s eight original tracks come in at just under 35 minutes, but the release is jazzed up with both original and reproduced versions, not to mention a Justin Timberlake cover of the leading single co-written by Paul Anka.

The Black Keys, “Turn Blue”(May 12)

Still on their anti-Spotify grind (only "Fever" was available), The Black Keys took to alternative means for announcing their latest release with mediums like bizarre music videos and Mike Tyson's Twitter.

Afrojack: “Forget the World”(May 16)

A house scene staple who’s seen increasing amounts of radioplay, Afrojack has finally released a major label debut with“Forget the World.”His tracks feature regulars like Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Lion, alongside EDM-infrequent Sting.

Conor Oberst,“Upside Down Mountain”(May 19)

Best known for his work in Bright Eyes, Oberst has his foot in a lot of projects. While his previous work has been releasedunder the name "Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band," Mystic Valley Band seems to have fallen by the wayside, even though there is some overlap betweenthis album's personnel and the Mystic Valley Band.

The Roots,“...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin”(May 19)

The concept album from the alternative hip-hop veterans brings their studio album count to 11.Receiving moderate to positive reviews from critics, the album "seems fueled by a moody, circa-1961 record collection, re-contextualizing life before funk," said Rolling Stone.

Cherub,“Year of the Caprese”(May 27)

Cherub — or their label — is milking "Doses and Mimosas" for all its worth. The song appears as the sixth track on the major label debut despite appearing on previous releases from as far back as 2012. Love these guys, but it’s time to let some of their other tracks have some exposure. Technically this is being released in a few days, but lucky for us it’s already available on Spotify for streaming.


Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff