Leader of the band By Divine Right, José Contreras has resurfaced this year with his first solo album. On it he revisits his substantial catalog and peels back the songs, like first single "Past the Stars," to a spare but haunting essence.
The brooding, figurative lyrics of "Long Night" -- "Can't unsee the things I saw, fallen devils, false gods" -- hints at where Boston band Guster has been and where it's headed. Back with its first album in four years (due out officially in early 2015), the band worked with producer Richard Swift (well-known as keyboardist for the Shins) for a dark, intensely atmospheric sound.
Washington D.C.-based band Empresarios and Colombia-born artist Ephniko fuse the fiery sounds of salsa with the rhythms of hip-hop and reggae to create "Canto a La Vida," a reworking of Héctor Lavoe’s well-known song, "El Cantante."
Fresh off his first new album in 13 years via Luaka Bop (David Byrne's label), Brazilian musician Moreno Veloso embraces the light, elegant sounds first embodied so well by his father, Caetano Veloso, in "Em Todo Lugar."
Electronic producer Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum, combines the worlds of glitch and chillwave and laces it with dreary, pop-driven vocals in the almost nine-minute song, "Hazel Ash."
Soulful UK-based house duo Anushka brings the sweetness with their infectiously bright, bouncy and melodic tune, "One More Time."
Tom Vek tempers the downtrodden story of "Pushing Your Luck" with a danceable fuzz-bass groove, and though the cautionary tale may be a bit tongue in cheek, who hasn’t known days where everything feels like fisticuffs with the world’s strongest man?
There's nothing quite like the spice of Latin-funk music, rich in vitality, infectious in beat. All Good Funk Alliance manages to capture all of those musical pleasures in a remix of Samba Soul's classic song, "Mambo #5."
Through layers of emotionally charged (albeit autotuned) vocals and a steady beat, Los Angeles-based R&B artist Chris Batson promises to build a better life out of a dark world when he returns on the appropriately titled track "Come Back for You."
Pop music is so many things to so many people. To the Rosebuds, featuring the core of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, it means working with Justin Vernon as producer for a sound as bright as the late summer sun, jangling your guitars till they sing along with you on the big, irresistible chorus of "Blue Eyes."