With dream-pop favorites and a randy R. Kelly, this week is both guilt-free and not-so-innocent. Fresh Cuts has selected the finest new records to blast at your next barbecue; the following truly sizzle.
Beach House: Bloom (Sub Pop)
Baltimore's dreamy pop duo Beach House flourishes this week with the release of new record Bloom. The easy, breezy album sees the pair doing what they do best: pretty melodies. Larger sounding than its predecessor on the Sub Pop imprint, Bloom picks up where Teen Dream left off.
The band's signature hazy and ethereal sound is more powerful this time around. With her distinct mid-to-lower register, singer and keyboardist Victoria Legrand's voice becomes an instrument that propels the music forward, asking the listener to both lean in closer and lie back.
Craft Spells: Gallery EP (Captured Tracks)
Craft Spells is a quartet from Seattle started by Justin Vallesteros, a musician from Stockton, Calif. who briefly lived in San Francisco. The band's new EP Gallery is now available for consumption and is a fabulous homage to new wave. Steeped in a deep love for '80s synth-pop, the record is reminiscent of all the greats: New Order, Pet Shop Boys, and Depeche Mode.
Violens: True (Slumberland)
Violens' sophomore effort True is an indie pop release with all the fixings. With smooth and polished vocals and heart-squeezing harmonies, True manages to both tap the toes and spin the head. Driving crescendos in songs such as "Microarc" and "Unfolding Black Wings" uplift while darker tunes such as "Lavender Forces" and "Lucent Cares" offer a reprieve from the atmospheric trip Violens is bound to take you on.
R. Kelly: "Feelin Single" (Jive/Sony Music)
R&B don Robert Kelly's latest single was released last week in anticipation of his new album Write Me Back on June 26, which was just announced Tuesday. The ladies man's 11th full-length record will be the follow-up to 2010’s Love Letter. Kelly garnered critical acclaim on his previous album for its retro sound, and if the disco-esque "Feelin Single" tells us anything, it's that Kelly intends for his new LP to follow suit.