If you’re in need of new music for this month, look to these albums to brighten up your album collection. Our contributors Jason Hortillas and Paul Castillo complied these eclectic selections of six albums to get you through the month of May. A few of their choices include hip-hop, DJ blends, and a few new independent and pop-worthy bumps. Continue after the jump to check out the rest of their reviews.
Picks by Jason Hortillas
DJ Neil Armstrong – Sweeet Part 2
It’s a great ice-breaker to introduce Neil Armstrong as Jay-Z’s tour dj. But if you remove the glare that the title encapsulates, you quickly realize Neil is damn good at what he does. Armstrong’s creativity allows his mixes to stand outside of novelty. I mean come on, who mixes The Bee Gees to Bobby Brown so well? Rather than flexing his record catalog Armstrong is more about an emotional congruence with the listener. This results in a Nick and Norah play list but with a dash of soul and the polish of professional.
Chester French – Love Is The Future
Hip-Hop royalty such as Kanye West, P. Diddy, and Jermaine Dupri have given Chester French so much praise yet
the duo of Harvard grads sound nothing like their famous fans. With obvious Beatles influence and with subtle Hip-Hop song composition the result equals Pop perfection. Notable tracks like “She Loves Everybody” and “Jimmy Choos” add in front man’s D.A. Wallach’s self-deprecating yet playboy bravado. Although one album deep, I wouldn’t immediately pass on the Hall and Oates torch but they’re well on their way. Unlike their predecessors, Chester French delivers a purer Rock sound like on songs such as ” C’mon (On My Own). With clever songwriting and easily charming personalities, I expect only good music to come.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
If you can go back to the groups 2003 hit single, “Maps” you can tell they had the chops for Pop mastery. With singles as “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll,” the YYY’s are fulfilling the potential they were initially praised for. Although their roots in Garage Rock and Punk are not as prominent, their fourth effort should prove that the change was for the better. Lead singer Karen O’s charismatic persona remains while the synthesized dance friendly tracks are reflective of New York in 2009. Luckily songs like “Skeletons” provide an epic ballad experience while “Dull Life” does the opposite injecting life into already great album.
Picks by Paul Castillo
Esser – Braveface
Ben Esser’s self-produced debut album Braveface is a prime exercise in modern British pop and does not lack in creativity or depth. The Fred Perry wearing 23 year old does not mind being labeled a “pop” artist as he explained in an interview with Clickmusic.com “I don’t like elitism. Pop music can be fascinating, the way it makes you feel, and the way it can capture a moment in time.” His love of various musical styles is evident in the ten-track melting pot, which ventures into R&B, dub, electro, tango, ska, and garage rock. Overall, Braveface is a strong debut album for the Essex native who seems poised to make a name for himself with his catchy hooks, nonchalant delivery, and eclectic musical style.
The Kid Daytona – The Daytona 500 EP
The concept for The Kid Daytona’s new EP is very simple: Take the famous Bob James Nautilus sample and have five of his favorite producers put their own spin on it. The end result is what The Kid Daytona calls his “machine” which will take his listeners on a journey with his aptly titled forthcoming debut album “Come Fly with me”. The Daytona 500 EP is an excellent appetizer to the main course, a must listen.
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
The highly talented Brooklyn quartet known as Grizzly Bear are back at it again with their highly anticipated third release entitled Vekatimest. The buzz around this upcoming release is evidenced by their slew of recent T.V. appearances including Late Night with Conan O’Brian. Each track on Veckatimest delivers pleasing layers of melodic folk-pop that are both intriguing and infectious. Unlike their previous release Yellow House, Veckatimest carries a distinctive grittiness in production, which set it apart from its predecessor. This is another great album from Grizzly Bear that will surely end up on many top album lists for 2009.