Seattle's Tullycraft blends pop and punk sensibilities to create a catchy hybrid perfect for a summer day at the shore. With nods to both '60s surf music and '80s new-wave, the set's slower tracks' laid-back singing and simple keyboard hooks will evoke smiles and head-bobbing, but the band gets even better when it picks up the pace. Infectious opener "Twee" is
Phantom Planet's sophomore album neither broaches any pressing world issues nor copes with any particularly heavy emotional experiences, but what it does is present 12 tracks of fun, lighthearted rock tunes that are each instantly hummable.
Last year, under the moniker Har Mar Superstar, indie-rock smart aleck Sean Tillmann mixed elements of Prince and Stevie Wonder to produce a collection of caustic and sometimes humorous R&B tracks. Now operating under the Sean Na Na moniker and backed by a four-piece band, Tillmann combines Morrissey and Elvis Costello influences on a collection steeped in candy-coated angst-pop. Underneath sunny melodies and bom-bom-boms that would make Bowser proud, Tillmann virulently rails against rejection ("Double Date," "Spread the Good Feelin' "), those who steal his women ("I Hate Saxophones"), and his inability to find the perfect girl ("I Need a Girl"). There's nothing revolutionary here, but Tillmann shows a knack for quirky lyrics and solid
From the minute "Out for Me" kicks off this debut disc, it's clear that Ultrapull is ready for the radio. The quartet's music is filled with power chords, catchy refrains, and easy harmonies—instantly likeable tunes ideally suited for a party in a friend's basement or a top-down drive in a convertible. On tracks like "Lose It," "Boomerang," and "Breathe," Ultrapull hits the nail on the head with an accessible rock sound akin to a sunnier Green Day or a less flippant Blink-182. Unfortunately, the set is uneven: Several harder numbers are fine but lack a certain punch, and the handful of quieter near-ballads feel like they're trying too hard. Overall, vocalist Dale Everett and guitarist Gerard Garcia have done an admirable job writing
If there's ever proof that an act doesn't need radio or MTV support in order to thrive, it's the enduring team of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray (aka Indigo Girls). For more than a decade, the Girls have consistently sold millions of records, as they've undeniably tried less and less to court industry sectors that will likely ignore their smarter-than-average brand of pop. Instead, they've wisely opted to simply follow their creative muses. With Becoming You, they offer their strongest set in years, as they also revisit the lean, acoustic sound of their salad days. That said, gorgeous, finely crafted tunes like Ray's "Moment of Forgiveness" and Saliers' "Hope Alone" are not retreads. Rather, these songs are far more complex than the artists were capable of 10 years ago. When you have an act that never stops growing, it's no wonder that countless fans follow their every move—without the urging
Jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval's piano debut—a mix of a broad range of standards (from "Esta Tarde Vi Llover" to "Stella by Starlight")—arrives after years of writing on the instrument and of playing it at numerous live shows.