DIIV—Is the Is Are (Feb. 5)
DIIV puts out infectiously wavey, dream-poppy tracks, which is why it's no surprise that sites such as Pitchfork and Stereogum included the band's upcoming LP, Is the Is Are, on their respective "Most Anticipated Albums of the 2016" lists. Frontman Zachary Cole Smith's lyrics are kind of indiscernible at points, but DIIV's rolling baselines and ethereal guitar riffs off singles "Dopamine," "Bent (Roi's Song)" and "Under the Sun" make up for it— the tracks will mollify even the most stressed listener. That's not to say the lyrics aren't worth paying attention to, though—listen closely, and Cole Smith will take you on an emotional ride, entailing how he climbed out of his heroine-fueled "spiral down," and clouded his "sun" (presumably his GF, Sky Ferreira, who also collaborated with DIIV on Is the Is Are.)
Is the Is Are is streaming now on AH.
PORCHES.—Pool (Feb. 5)
Porches., one of Aaron Maine's three musical personas, also accompanies DIIV on Pitchfork and Stereogum's "Most Anticipated" lists. Again, no surprise—Maine's textured vocals paired with Porches.' lo-fi bedroom sound make for great tunes. Pool seems to take a turn from the more ragged sound of 2013's Slow Dance in The Cosmos, but it's all good. Single "Car" has a beachy sound not usually associated with Porches., "Be Apart" breezily locks in on Maine's vocals, and "Hour" backs Maine's lyrics about needing to be alone "like a swimming pool" with classic lo-fi beats. Maine has been working on Pool for quite some time, so the rest of the album is bound to be good.
FOXES—All I Need (Feb. 5)
Foxes, AKA Louisa Rose Allen, is still a relatively new pop singer. She came into the music scene when she sang on Zedd's "Clarity" and dropped her freshman album, Glorious, in 2014. Foxes isn't really anything special–to me, at least. "Youth" was really catchy, I'll give her that, but "Wicked Love," "Better Love" and "Devil Side" off upcoming All I Need didn't really hit any high notes, aside from Allen's soprano range. They're basic, dance/electronica songs heard in the club that you don't really enjoy, but dance along to anyway. The rest of the album will probably follow this pattern.
LUCINDA WILLIAMS—The Ghosts of Highway 20 (Feb. 5)
To get it all out on the table now—I'm not the biggest fan of the country-folk type of music artists like Lucinda Williams put out. This aside, Williams has a grizzly, semi-monotonous voice that kind of lures the listener into a state of hypnosis—it's cool, though. In single "Place in My Heart," Williams sings a tune about (classic) bittersweet love, backed by crooning pedal steel riffs. Rolling Stone wrote the album encompasses "lovers, losers, leavers and landscapes" from Williams' home state of Louisiana, and encompassing the I-20 freeway. If "Place in My Heart" is any indication of the rest of the album's tone, The Ghost of Highway 20 will be an emotional, sentimental tale both lyrically and instrumentally.
Listen? Eh, maybe