1. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End
The promise of “Back to the Shack” was a little conflicting: while the last few Weezer records were certainly a clear departure from the alt rock roots of early projects, it seems that Rivers Cuomo is apologizing for doing whatever he wanted to do. It seems that fans were upset when Rivers decided to move from his nerdy, innocent voice into the goofy bravado (bro-vado). Here, Rivers succumbs to the wishes of long-time fans and reviewers and gives us a guitar-and-guitar-only album that rocks front to back. The weird lyrics are still there and the attitude is not dissimilar from recent times, but the rock’n’roll is in full force.
Standout Track: Cleopatra
2. We Were Promised Jet Packs – Unraveling
How’s that album cover hitting ya? A little bit Animal Collective, no? Anyway, the sounds on the otherrside of the record jacket are slow-burning rock tunes that hit for the heart first and foremost. Even the song “Piece of Mind” sounds like what M-83 would write if he traded in his pile of synths for electric guitars.
Standout Track: “Piece of Mind”
3. Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait EP
XXL’s Freshmen Cover may or may not be a big deal anymore, especially with the advent of Twitter and the success of self-promotion techniques (from Macklemore to Lil B to Death Grips and more), so spending time commenting on Staple’s “no thanks” to a spot on the cover might be a moot point. Staples seems to be a rapper who takes himself and his craft more seriously than his PR moves and displays his gifts for storytelling here in this new EP. There is a lot of bold, powerful statements, especially on tracks like “Hands Up” where recent police shootings come to the forefront of the narrative.
Standout Track: “Blue Suede”
4. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
If their 2006 hit “Hang Me Up to Dry” drove you a little crazy with leader singer Nathan Willett’s shrill vocal hook then maybe their new focus on rock dance beats will be a more palatable experience. Four-to-the-floor beats keep this record fun and will undoubtedly get stuck in your head.
Standout Track: “First”
Music Video of the Month (Just in time for Halloween):