2017 has been a banner year for new music. From fast-rising young talent proving their viral fame is no mistake, to legacy acts further cementing their place in music history, not a single week has passed without at least a handful of albums being release that are worthy of your time. In fact, there has been so much great music released in recent months that even our team has had a hard time keeping up. By the time we get through the records we have to cover for one reason or another there are four or five more we’re told we need to hear. It’s overwhelming, but in the best possible way.
In response to this (good) problem we have launched a new, weekly column highlighting five albums our team feels everyone should hear. These records will feature Substream regulars, as well as artists we hope to work with in the future. We know not everyone will enjoy every album we choose, and that is perfectly okay. All we ask is that you give these records a chance because the people behind them are passionate and talented musicians speaking their truth through art. They are innovators and originators who we believe are shaping the future of music for all artists. We support their efforts and we hope you will too.
So without further ado, here are the five new releases you need to hear this week:
Circa Survive – The Amulet
Not all musicians are known for their hit singles. Even now, when streaming has made singles more important than albums for many areas of music, a few select acts have audiences who seek a longer, deeper connection to the talent they enjoy. The Amulet, Circa Survive‘s sixth studio album, raises the bar with an emotionally-driven creation that demands listeners to surrender their control and lose themselves in the music. It’s less of a traditional record, with song after song serving as an individual piece to a bigger work of art, and more of an all-consuming experience that tightly wraps itself around your heart and slowly plucks each string. That may sound a bit painful, but it’s the kind of pain you need in order to find relief. When songs like “Premonition of the Hex” and “Rites of Investiture” play, you become immersed in a space where you can shake off the worries of the world and realign yourself with the things that really matter. (This review originally appeared in Substream #58).
TOP TRACK: “At Night It Gets Worse”
Lights – Skin & Earth
Lights‘ fourth full-length studio album is being released just a tad too late to serve as 2017’s perfect summer soundtrack. Luckily, though, there’s so much staying power on the massive, hook-laden Skin & Earth that it can hold that honor for summers to come. With arena-sized choruses on tracks like “Savage,” “We Were Here,” and lead single “Giants,” Lights has upped the wattage tenfold, cementing herself atop the pop pedestal and shining bright for all to behold. The pure ebullience of radio-ready earworms like “Kicks” and “Fight Club” will have you dancing, untroubled, well into the new year while the ultra-cool smoothness of slower tempo cuts, “Morphine” and “Magnetic Field,” will give you a respite fromthe incessant energy emitted from the majority of Skin & Earth. Lights has strengthened her sound and focus from past successes into a cohesive set of glowing pop gems that fans will no doubt be thankful for. (This review – written by Brian Leak – originally appeared in Substream #58).
TOP TRACK: “Kicks”
Enter Shikari – The Spark
Fans of Enter Shikari never expect the band to deliver the same album twice. Their entire career has been built through constant evolution that challenges both themselves and their listeners, but it’s unclear if anything could prepare the group’s followers for what awaits with The Spark. In a time where political commentary is riddled through alternative music, Enter Shikari couple their views with deeply personal stories of struggle and loss as told by – and based upon the experience of – vocalist Rou Reynolds. “Airfield,” for example, attempts to convey the role we each play in determining what is important in our lives. Where other creatives may look into the void and offer a false sense of hope, Enter Shikari searches inward and out to find good reason to remain optimistic in bleak times. If any album out this week has the ability to completely change how you see the world around you, The Spark is it.
TOP TRACK: “An Ode To Lost Jigsaw Pieces”
The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
There are very few modern rock bands who have found a way to attain and maintain arena sized crowds wherever they choose to roam. The Killers may be the biggest of the bunch, and Wonderful Wonderful – the band’s first album since 2012’s Battle Born – further proves their staying power. Songs like “The Man” and “Run For Cover” remind you why the band became household names in the first place with infectious rock that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what’s currently popular in the top 40 marketplace. Whether or not this is their biggest album yet remains to be seen, but it certainly stands out as one of 2017’s finest rock releases to date. Do not miss it.
TOP TRACK: “The Man”
Sleeping With Sirens – Gossip
After years spent working their way through the alternative underground Sleeping With Sirens are taking a step into the mainstream with their Warner Bros. debut, Gossip. The record may find the band calling a new label home, but their penchant for relatable rock songs that could spark Warped Tour mosh pits has not changed in the slightest. If anything, this album represents the best version of SWS we have heard to date. The group uses this record to place focus on the talents of vocalist Kellin Quinn, and through doing so they have crafted a collection of anthems sure to melt hearts and capture imaginations for many months to come. Sleeping With Sirens has always been a beacon for hope, and because of this their every success is a success for their fans as well. If they continue to deliver as they have up to this point we see no reason they shouldn’t be the next big thing in rock worldwide.
TOP TRACK: “Trouble”
If you would like to suggest an album for a future column, feel free to email [email protected].