• Jamie Lidell, 'Jamie Lidell' (Warp)

    He looks like Adam Levine's older brother, and for the past eight years, Jamie Lidell has sounded a lot like Adam Levine's older brother. Manning the dad-rock frontlines of R&B's umpteenth android invasion, the English aggressive-dance-music aficionado (via his work with turn-of-the-century duo Super_Collider) gone digitally inclined soul singer accomplished that transformation via three successively less interesting Warp Records releases: 2005's great Multiply, on which he cracked open his laptop-bashing cocoon to reveal a gawky Otis Redding homunculus; solid 2008 follow-up Jim, which tried to elbow Raphael Saadiq out of the Instagram-soul Starbucks register rack; and 2010's overstuffed Compass, which frustratingly split the difference between the first two.By all pre-release hints, this fourth album looked to continue the downward trajectory.

  • Grimes, 'Visions' (4AD)

    Claire Boucher has called her music "post-Internet," but perhaps a more specific view of Visions, her first LP for 4AD, would be "post-Tumblr." The blogging platform's brutally simple interface and feed structure urges users to post many more striking images and much less text, while engaging in fewer lengthy conversations and attempting more wordless visual curations. For many, the goal is an unceasing flow of oft-unattributed images, snatches of quoted text, and the occasionally bold bit of design porn. The 23-year-old Boucher loves all of it, telling one interviewer that Tumblr is "people just reveling in all the beauty that the Internet is bringing forth." Though her instincts were forged in Montreal's loft-art scene, it's clear that Boucher's brand of literate DIY pop arose in part from an immersion in this sort of endless audio-visual drift.

  • Caveman, 'CoCo Beware' (Magic Man!)

    Caveman, 'CoCo Beware' (Magic Man!)

    For the past couple of years, led by Arcade Fire and Animal Collective, indie has experienced a return to the '60s ideal of rock-as-communal-shoutfest. But Caveman follow in the gentler, soft-prog footsteps of Midlake, the first Yeasayer album, and Bon Iver. There are five dudes in this Paleolithically monikered Brooklyn band, and while drumming is at the core of their craftsmanship, there is no primal screaming in these catchy, rhythm-centric bro-downs. Hints of folksy revelry may abound, but the dynamics are strictly library-level, and the lyrical focus is decidedly inward.

  • Tycho, 'Dive' (Ghostly International)

    Tycho, 'Dive' (Ghostly International)

    Divesounds exactly like the music you'd expect from a San Francisco–based graphic designer who shares his pseudonym (Brahe) with the 16th-century scientist who revolutionized the precise measurement of astronomical phenomena. Scott Hansen's second LP as Tycho is full of sun-glinted electronic refractions of the world around him, yet nothing is out of place, as though he used iPhoto to sort and tag all the sounds from Boards of Canada's Geogaddi. Peaking with its eight-minute title track, Diveis a pretty and sturdily crafted collection of techno maybe-memories -- hypnagogic pop for a very discerning Ikea shopper.

  • Memoryhouse, 'The Years EP' (Sub Pop)

    Memoryhouse, 'The Years EP' (Sub Pop)

    Memoryhouse recall much recent New Age–influenced indie rock, though Denise Nouvion's matter-of-fact enunciation -- very early-'90s MTV Buzz Bin -- cuts through this EP's diffuse filter, adding a fresh female voice to the chakra-friendly resurgence's overwhelming maleness (Animal Collective, Dntel, Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never). Though the five songs here -- two have been added to the self-released version -- are dabbed with glimmering synths, the lyrics idly address dream states and the tempos are comatose. A sighing saxophone slithers under the bedroom door of "Lately," but it probably won't disturb anyone's nap.

  • The Weeknd, 'Thursday' (Self-released)

    The Weeknd, 'Thursday' (Self-released)

    Want to get effed up and hit an exclusive loft party, but need a creepy sex vibe to seal the deal? Abel Tesfaye has something he'd like to slip in your iPod. Thursday is the second of a planned trilogy of free albums that Drake's pal plans to release this year under his "The Weeknd" moniker, sliding a hand up your skirt with a woozy falsetto and sleazy sprechgesang, while his dense, gothic R&B tracks hover around and occasionally surpass the six-minute barrier. "Go downtown with the drugs in your body," Tesfaye breathes down your neck on "Life of the Party." He fails to mention how you should get home in the morning.

  • WU LYF, 'Go Tell Fire to the 
Mountain' (LYF)

    WU LYF, 'Go Tell Fire to the 
Mountain' (LYF)

    The hype-engineering? little shits in WU LYF ?have shrouded themselves in a cryptic marketing campaign of revolutionary swag, and on the Manchester quartet's first album, frontman Ellery Roberts shreds his vocal cords trying to stir us to action. Amid a haze of pipe organ,?guitar shimmer, and militaristic drumming, Roberts evangelizes like he's shouting off a cliff after a wake; or on "We Bros," like he's chanting feverishly at the pub. There is no political end game, and that's part of the appeal: These anthems could double ?as the desperate cries ?of boys fighting off the onset of adulthood.

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