- Though Illinois band Fall Out Boy might forever be associated with the soaring emo of "Sugar, We’re Goin Down" (which is no bad thing, as it’s a certified belter), their recent output has seen them veer away from the more straightforward end of pop punk-tinged rock. Instead, like most of their fellow original emo bands (we’re looking at you, Paramore), Pete Wentz and co. have been getting poppier with each release. Mania is their seventh studio album, and is full of high energy EDM-tinged tracks — in interviews, they’ve described the record as “a big palette cleanse” and, as with most great pop albums of our time, Pharrell is credited as a producer. From Under The Cork Tree often feels worlds away on Mania, but if you want k-pop influenced theatrical bangers then you need to check this out.
- In a world where Fleet Foxes have basically started making post-rock, and Devendra Banhart has embraced gleaming Tropicália, First Aid Kit are now among the forefront of artists we talk about when we talk about the mantle of contemporary folk. Ruins is the Swedish duo’s fourth album, and finds them delving once more into wispy, silken vocal harmonies and engrossing melodies with an often country-pop lilt (think early Angel Olsen and, say, Julia Jacklin doing soaring duets). The music is smooth, rich easy-listening and, while lyrically there remains that dreamy, wide-eyed romanticism, there’s a jaded feeling underpinning proceedings as well (“Send me a postcard when you get to where you’re going, send me a line to everything you’ve left behind”, on "Postcard"). For gorgeous invocations of spirited woodlands and magical sunsets, you’ll want to put this one on a loop.