8 Upcoming Albums to Get Excited About



    The punky, energetic rock band Sheer Mag has been a staple in the Philadelphia indie scene for years thanks in part to its reputation as a stellar live act. But the group’s recorded output is great, too — a streak it will hopefully continue on “Playing Favorites,” its third LP, out March 1. This jangly, driving title track showcases, among other things, the power of the lead singer Tina Halladay’s vocals. (Listen on YouTube)

    A few months ago, I recommended Brittany Howard’s blisteringly funky “What Now,” the title track of the Alabama Shakes frontwoman’s second solo album. The next single, “Red Flags,” delves into the moodier and more meditative side of her versatile sound — at least until she lets it rip and hits a screaming high note that takes the song ever higher. “What Now” comes out on Feb. 9. (Listen on YouTube)

    On Jan. 26, the Smile — the side project of the Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, along with the former Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner — will release its second studio album, “Wall of Eyes.” I like the subtle twists and turns of this piano-driven single, which features a yelpy but soulful Yorke vocal dancing around Skinner’s jazzy percussion. (Listen on YouTube)

    I’m a fan of just about every band that Mary Timony has ever been in: The spacey ’90s rockers Helium, the indie supergroup Wild Flag, the power-pop revivalists Ex Hex. In the more than 15 years since she’s released an album under her own name, though, I’ve missed her singular perspective as a solo artist, so I’m looking forward to the forthcoming “Untame the Tiger,” out Feb. 23. On “Dominoes,” in the form of a relatively straightforward pop song, she manages to explore a variety of textures and complex emotions. (Listen on YouTube)

    When you press play on a new album by Julia Holter, you know you’re about to embark on an odyssey. Maybe it’s a double album that uses bird sounds to approximate the squawking cacophony of modern life (like her 2018 release “Aviary”); maybe it’s her own extended interpretation of the MGM musical “Gigi” (“Loud City Song,” from 2013); maybe it’s a surprisingly accessible collection of chamber pop (“Have You in My Wilderness,” released in 2015). “Sun Girl” is a kaleidoscopic track from her next album, “Something in the Room She Moves,” out March 22, and it sounds like the beginning of another immersive and unexpected sonic journey. Consider my bags packed. (Listen on YouTube)

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