1 NATURAL CHILD Dancin’ With Wolves Burger
This follow-up to 2012’s Hard in Heaven has been a long time coming. At least it’s felt that way for me, a hopelessly devoted and childishly obsessed Natural Child fanboy. And goddamn if Dancin’ With Wolves is not every bit as groovy and hopped-up as you could hope for. From the angsty drunken twang of “Saturday Night Blues” to the downright Brazilian glow of the loungey “Bailando Con Lobos,” Dancin’ With Wolves is quite simply a pleasure. Who needs Kevin Costner when you’ve got Natty Chile?
2 TACOCAT NVM Hardly Art
These jangley palindrome and internet lovers are quite a bit more than meets the eyes and ears. Singing about everything from the surfy joy that can be your period to a quinciñera on acid, Tacocat seem to always find the perfect catchy melodies to fit their playful and distinct sense of humor. From overdriven riffage to playful lyrics about toxic shock syndrome, Tacocat have a distinct and endlessly enjoyable personality that the polished NVM showcases so well.
3 CHERRY GLAZRR Haxel Princess Burger
There is something doubtlessly pretty and oddly spooky, it seems, about every song on Haxel Princess, Cherry Glazrr’s sophomore release on Burger records. Cherry Glazrr’s brand of guitar pop is uniquely unsettling, continuously shifting, and really really impressive. It’s impossible not to mention that these guys still have one more year left of high school. It’s certainly a part of their identity. But Haxel Princess is a seriously cool and great record regardless of any condescendingly “cute” assumptions of age and talent. One thing’s for sure; these weirdos are here to stay.
4 ETERNAL SUMMERS The Drop Beneath Kanine
Equal parts shimmering and fuzzy, Virginia’s Eternal Summers are reminiscent of their good buds Bleeding Rainbow as well as a plethora of scuzzy ’90s guitar bands, all of which comparison with is purely flattering.
5 MICHAEL KIWANUKA You’ve Got Nothing to Lose 7″ Third Man
Unfortunately for the clearly talented English soul singer Michael Kiwanuka, it’s quite impossible to mention a release like his on Third Man Records without talking about Jack White. Kiwanuka’s Richie Haven’s -esque spirited voice is undeniably sweet, reminiscent of the may rallying crys of singers of his musical ilk during the ’60s, but White’s production on both the A side single and the backing Townes Van Zandt cover is rich, spectacular, and absolutely necessary.
– Ethan Hill