Michael Rault, “Living Daylight”
Best Coast, “California Nights”
On their third album as Best Coast, Los Angeles’ Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno get back to the secret sauce that made their debut, “Crazy for You,” such a runaway hit in 2010. For “California Nights,” the duo put the focus on muscular melodies, jagged guitars, and shiny choruses with sharp hooks.
“Do the Void” is an unlikely name for a summer jam, but there it is on Crocodiles’ new album: a fuzzy slice of garage-rock goodness begging for some dance moves. The same could be said of most of the new album from the duo of Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell.
Soko, “My Dreams Dictate My Reality”
Moving away from the lo-fi intimacy of her 2012 studio debut, this French singer, songwriter, and actress goes widescreen on this kinetic collision of new wave, post-punk, and ’80s dance pop. One listen to “My Precious,” and you’ll swear you’re hearing Chrissie Hynde fronting the Cure.
Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment, “Surf”
Donnie Trumpet is the performance name of trumpeter Nico Segal. On his latest album, featuring frequent collaborator Chance the Rapper and other contributors collectively billed as the Social Experiment, Segal works on the watery fringes of hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, and pop. The album is available as a free download on iTunes and at www.donnietrumpet.com.
Listen to the album now:
Tove Stryke, “Kiddo”
From Tove Lo to Tove Stryke, it’s a good time to be a Swedish electro-pop star making inroads in the US market. On Stryke’s new sophomore release, she bounds through warm-blooded dance-pop buoyed by rubbery beats, her steely voice, and anthemic choruses. It’s all there in the siren call of “Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking to You.”
Kings Dead, “Utopia Too”
MC-songwriter Sonny Shotz and producer Alex Mendoza, who make up the Boston duo known as Kings Dead, make alternative hip-hop sound intergalactic. On their new album, a follow-up to last year’s “Utopia,” they set the dial to space-age jams both moody and exuberant, landing somewhere between Kid Cudi and Drake.
Listen to the album now:
And now for something entirely different: a roadhouse country-rock record with a strong Tex-Mex flavor courtesy of accordion and horns. From Texas, Crooks draw heavily on the region’s many genres, including conjunto and mariachi, coming up with an album with no obvious provenance. (“Wildfire” will be released on July 10.)
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
Hyped as one of this year’s breakthrough stars, Bridges makes good on the buzz on his new debut album, which will be released on Tuesday. He’s been billed as a retro-soul artist, but his music actually builds on that of his forebears, from Sam Cooke to Bill Withers to Raphael Saadiq. (Catch Bridges in action at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24.)
Bomba Estéreo, “Amanecer”
Opening with a stuttering vocal and rat-a-tat percussion, Bomba Estéreo’s “Amanecer” is a party-starter from the moment the first song rumbles out of the speaker. The Colombian band is renowned for its mishmash of hip-hop, funk, and Latin rhythms such as cumbia. It’s no wonder the new album’s title translates to “Awakening” or “To Wake Up.”
STARRY, STARRY NIGHTS
The Weather Station, “Loyalty”
Tamara Lindeman, the singer, songwriter, and visionary behind the Weather Station, compels the listener to lean in. That’s the only way to fully savor her intimate, acoustic tales that recall fellow Canadian artist Joni Mitchell, circa the late ’60s. (The Weather Station performs at Great Scott on July 14.)
Listen to the album now:
Jacco Gardner, “Hypnophobia”
Without knowing Gardner is a young Dutch singer-songwriter, you’d never guess his songs are new. They often sound like long-lost classics from ’60s baroque-pop groups such as the Zombies. “Hypnophobia” is his latest collection of dream-like confections with pristine melodies and watercolor production.
Nao, “February 15”
In the wake of last year’s discovery and championing of FKA twigs, a new wave of British R&B is getting the attention it deserves. “February 15,” the new EP from an East London singer, songwriter, and producer who goes by simply Nao, simmers with songs best heard when the lights get turned off.
Listen to “Inhale exhale” from “February 15”:
Various artists, “Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton”
Dalton, a cult ’60s folk artist who got her due only in recent years, is the subject of this loving tribute in which a stellar batch of female singer-songwriters set her lyrics to music. Sharon Van Etten, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, Isobel Campbell, Julia Holter, and Boston’s own Marissa Nadler spin Dalton’s heartache into acoustic alchemy.
Rebecca Ferguson, “Lady Sings the Blues”
This year marks the centennial of Billie Holiday’s birthday, and a handful of new albums by the likes of Cassandra Wilson and José James have paid homage to the late jazz icon. Add Ferguson’s “Lady Sings the Blues” to the list, except her recent homage is a swinging, full-throated affair with vibrant interpretations of everything from “Fine and Mellow” to “All of Me.”