Uncharted territory – this month in new music

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By Jocelyn Cote
Reviews Editor

Fall is always a time ripe with new music. While many mainstream releases are talked about to no end, some lesser-known gems are hidden beneath the hype of these albums. Here are three new releases from the past few weeks that might have slipped under your musical radar, but are certainly worth a listen.

 

The Killers – Battle Born
Released September 17th, 2012

While The Killers are far from an indie band, most people know them for hits such as “When You Were Young” and “Mr. Brightside,” and fail to look into their entire catalogue. Battle Born is an excellent addition, filled to the brim with anthemic tracks such as the lead single, “Runaways.” The album’s sound is somewhat a blend of their soaring, synth-driven 2008 effort Day & Age combined with the bite of their second album Sam’s Town, with some U2-esque arena rock thrown in for good measure.

While it is not The Killers’ greatest effort, Battle Born is still a great album that exceeded my personal expectations. It has a similar structure to their previous albums – a high-energy opener to engage the listener, a body with a nice balance of faster paced songs and slower ballads, and a beautiful closing track. Lead singer Brandon Flowers’ voice is still in top form, and guitarist Dave Keuning continues to deliver soaring riffs throughout the album. Battle Born keeps the listener engaged from the opening keyboard riff of “Flesh and Bone” to the fading close of title track “Battle Born.”

For fans of: U2, Muse, Coldplay

 

The Vaccines – Come of Age
Released September 3rd, 2012

I personally have been following The Vaccines since their formation in late 2010. Over the past year, I’ve watched them transform from “nobodies” to one of the biggest indie bands in the UK. However, their popularity is only just coming across the pond to the US. Their 2011 debut album What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? is characterized by short and catchy morsels of indie rock, which somewhat carries over to Come of Age. The songs in general are longer than that of the band’s previous effort – sometimes a bit too long. However, lead singer Justin Young’s vocals as a whole on this album have gone through a vast improvement. His vocal range is stronger than ever.

The album kicks off with the bouncy lead single “No Hope,” sure to catch a new listener’s attention. Most of the songs on Come of Age are hit or miss – some of my personal favorites are the punky “Teenage Icon” and “Bad Mood” while other tracks such as “All In Vain” and “Weirdo” come off as a bit boring and slightly drawn-out to me.

For veteran Vaccines fans, Come of Age may take a few listens to get into, but it is an excellent starting point for those looking for some up-and-coming indie tunes.

For fans of: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club

 

Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Released October 2nd, 2012

Steven Ellison, better known by the stage name Flying Lotus, is currently one of the biggest music producers in the Los Angeles area. “Flylo” specializes in a unique fusion of experimental, jazz, and electronic to create the soaring soundscape of his latest effort.

Some might say Until the Quiet Comes sounds almost like a dream due to its ghostly tones and ambient production. While most tracks are instrumentals, a few feature guest vocalists, including Laura Darlington and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Altogether, the album blends together seamlessly to create 46 minutes of electronic bliss.

For anyone who would like to expand their electronic music library beyond genres such as dubstep, Flying Lotus would be an excellent starting point. Dupstep influences are apparent in a few songs, but he expands it into an art form rather than just a mash of “wub-wubs” and drops. Anyone interested in experimental music as well would be wise to check out a few tracks – Flylo incorporates various obscure instruments into his work to create a unique style all his own.

For fans of: Four Tet, Radiohead, Massive Attack

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