Released: March 3
Don’t you just want to throw up when someone proclaims your favorite young, British rockers “might be the next Beatles”?
Yes, Temples is from England. Yes, it specializes in psych-rock. But is it the next Beatles? No, it’s not, and that’s exactly why you should start listening to it.
It released its first album, a psychy and otherworldly 12-track, in 2014, via Fat Possum, and Friday it’ll drop its latest piece of work, “Volcano.” Judging by the two singles it’s already released, “Certainty” and “Strange or be Forgotten,” its work is only getting more focused, yet more experimental at the same time. Both tracks sound somewhat like what one might hear in a kid’s cartoon under the influence of layered vocals, guitar and synth. “Volcano” is set to please fans and gain Temples some new followers, as well.
Anna Wise “The Feminine II”
Released: Feb. 17
Whereas Anna Wise’s last album was her answer to a sexist society, “The Feminine II” is her self-manifesto. In her track off the new album titled “Boss B***h,” Wise states, “I’m not asking for their respect; I am who I am whether they respect me or not.”
In her first album, Wise forced listeners to acknowledge women’s issues — the discomfort of common catcalls, the wage gap problem (“Decrease my Waist, Increase my Pay”) and the matter of beauty and body image. Wise, who collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on three of his albums, proves she’s a musical force to be reckoned with.
In “The Feminine II,” Wise takes a deeper approach into the realm of empowerment with songs like “Boss B***h,” “Stacking that Paper” and the sunny, jazzy “Coconuts.”
Casey Golden “Casey Golden”
Release: March 10
Get in on this easily digestible indie-Americana record with “The Waiter,” a single by the Tuscon, Arizona, musician, before his show in Oxford next week. For Oxford label Muscle Beach Records, Golden’s release is a milestone. His self-titled is also its first album release on vinyl. In an interview, Muscle Beach co-founder Graham Hamaker called it “gourmet.” For its ease of listening, Golden’s album doesn’t lack complexity or texture. Take “Casey Golden” with a cup of coffee and a desert sunrise. And once the album drops next Friday, listen to tracks “Lost in The Space,” “The Corners of My Song” and “There You Go.”
Hanni El Khatib “Savage Times”
Released: Feb. 17
Hanni El Khatib might have chosen the most fitting album title (both in musical substance and in its connection to current events). Compared to some of Khatib’s other releases, “Savage Times” glides more into the realm of punk-rock. In the song “Born Brown,” Khatib proclaims his own existence and racial identity over a pulsing guitar and drum. There’s not much you won’t hear from Khatib, however, who seems to have his own brand of garage rock but can offer listeners bouts of blues and disco. The album, at 19 tracks, ranges in genre and style but remains cohesive. Listen to “Gun Clap Hero,” “This I Know” and “Paralyzed.”
Released: Feb. 24
The bass-loving and funky Thundercat returned Friday with a brand new album called “Drunk.” He teased to the album with singles “Friend Zone” and “Show You The Way,” both of which shine on this album. It’s stitched together by a chorus of “oohs,” “ahhs,” and bouts of stream-of-consciousness lyrics. While “Drunk” stays light and even humorous throughout (there’s a song called “A Fan’s Mail [Tron Song Suite II]” about how cool it is to be a cat), Thundercat doesn’t shy away from touching on race issues, like in “Jameel’s Space Ride,” where Thundercat questions his safety while driving. “I want to go right, I’m safe on my block/ Except for the cops/ Will they attack?/ Would it be ’cause I’m black?” Thundercat questions. The album is not short on notable collaborators, with songs featuring Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus and Wiz Khalifa. Listeners will want to experience the full album, but songs like “Friend Zone,” “Tokyo” and “Lava Lamp” will persist on people’s playlists throughout the year.