If you’re anything like us, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust’s weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don’t have to. Every Friday, we’ll tell you what’s worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
The Hold Steady, Open Door Policy
Indie veterans The Hold Steady recorded their eighth album, Open Door Policy, in late 2019 with an intention to create a project that felt like one grand composition rather than a collection of individual songs. By the time the band finished the album, social distancing regulations set in, creating an unreliable environment to put out a record.
After nearly a year of keeping Open Door Policy on the shelf, The Hold Steady finally settled on releasing it, and it marks some of the band’s most sprawling work yet. “The songs on Open Door Policy are about power, wealth, & mental health,” the band explains on Bandcamp. “They’re about technology, occupation, consumerism, freedom, fandom and escape.”
Wild Pink, A Billion Little Lights
After years of writing songs about emotional turmoil, Wild Pink’s new album, A Billion Little Lights, is an ode to internal peace. Here, bandleader John Ross has matured both lyrically and musically; A Billion Little Lights is adorned with wurlitzers, saxophones, accordions, pedal steel guitars, and other instruments to create an opulent, textured rendering of rock and Americana.
Adeline Hotel, Good Timing
Good Timing is the latest mostly instrumental album from Dan Knishkowy, the New York-based guitarist known as Adeline Hotel. He created most of the album by layering improvised guitar parts over each other, resulting in an experimental ambient project that feels more free-flowing and boundless than fractured. “I feel like all records are approximations of your creative process, in a way,” Knishkowy says. “But with Good Timing, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to the source.”
Another Michael, New Music and Big Pop
New Music and Big Pop, the new full-length from Philadelphia trio Another Michael, is aptly named. While the band’s sound is focused in soft rock, vocalist Michael Doherty cites a lifelong appreciation for radio pop that shifted into an obsession with music discovery. New Music fuses all those forebearers — everything “from Damien Rice and Bright Eyes to Usher and Kanye West to Radiohead and Dirty Projectors” — into an incredibly focused project that offers an atmospheric take on folk-rock.
Katy Kirby, Cool Dry Place
Cool Dry Place is a debut album nearly a lifetime in the making. “hillarious [sic] prank,” Katy Kirby tweeted upon her record’s release. “Record an album over multiple years and be bad at school because writing songs is all you care to be good at and then drink half a glass of wine 30 minutes before it’s released and then just see what happens and what you feel and how close you get to crying.”
The Texas-born musician clearly has a penchant for vulnerability and humor, one that permeates the twisted, folksy bedroom pop of Cool Dry Place. It wasn’t until graduating college in Nashville when Kirby was finally able to flesh out her band with like-minded peers. The final product is a true labor of love and worth the wait.