The sound of the Corner Laughers is, as its name implies, the sound of pure delight: quirky but focused harmonies, frenetic rhythms, plinking glockenspiel and lyrics that inspire like that first burst of cheery sunshine you've been missing all winterlong.
There's nothing reclusive about the elegant sound of Hermit's Victory. The new track "Night Owl" serves as a warm invitation to saunter and sway with the Charleston, South Carolina group through a jazzy, post-lounge nightscape.
Strummy, sunny and more than a little orchestral, "Portrait" by Breakfast in Fur sketches out a dreamscape somewhere between David Bowie in Berlin and psychedelic pop.
After going on a brief hiatus and putting down his guitar for the first time in 15 years, Horse Feathers' lead singer Justin Ringle realized he desperately needed to have more fun with music. The group's new album, "So It Is With Us" is Ringle's transition from sad and quiet to upbeat and spirited. The album is unlike any of their previous releases; it features stronger drums and bass, powerful violins and climactic tempos with intros that build energy.
"I hope you know this song is all I've got left," sings Matthew Squires on "Echo," and you almost believe him. "It's the final thread tying down my mind." But the song, while serious about the meaning of music, is also relentlessly giddy, even silly, with the quirkily rhythmic sound of his band the Learning Disorders suggesting that if this tune really is the end, they'll all go down smiling.
Distilling their earlier indie sound through a mild synth-pop filter, TV on the Radio release "Seeds," an album full of intricate and catchy tracks that have the face of radio-friendly indie pop and the heart of TV on the Radio.
While "This Is All Yours" is most notable for its standout tracks -- "Every Other Freckle," "Hunger of the Pine" and "Left Hand Free" -- the rest of alt-J's latest effort is much more than filler to round out the radio-friendly tunes. Rather, "This Is All Yours" is a slow-paced album of well-constructed, how to write an essay meditative synth-pop, punctuated by three standout tracks.
With layers of acoustic and electric guitars, Boston's Sleepyhead invokes classic guitar-chime bands like R.E.M. and twee-pop groups like Camera Obscura, but with a distinctively arch tone. "Liberation Theology" testifies to the band's melodic ambitions and lightly-worn influences.
With winter rapidly approaching, Allo Darlin's new album is a welcomed warmth. "We Come From the Same Place" is quiet, tender pop music, easy to overlook at first. Although the album is not a big production, it is both comforting and compelling.