January album releases

As 2014 begins, the world turns in anticipation of the unknown. For those of us passionate about the arts, this means an exciting year full of new music waiting to make its way to our ears. In order to serve its readers who share in this passion, The Cluster has provided reviews of this month’s latest releases covering a wide variety of genres. With every issue, we will work to introduce enthusiasts to a multitude of artists, some familiar and others unfamiliar.

Looking back on January, the industry saw an influx of predominantly alternative music. Many of this month’s releases provided only a small taste of future albums to come, however there were a number of impressive records that made their way to the airwaves. Here is a brief look at the best of music in January:

 

Foster the People / "Coming of Age"
Foster the People / “Coming of Age”

Foster The People – “Coming of Age”

After a brief hiatus, Mark Foster and company have reemerged from the silence. On Jan. 13, the band dropped the first single, “Coming of Age,” off of their imminent sophomore release. The band has decidedly stepped away from the synthetic, piano-centric dance grooves heard on “Torches” in favor of driving guitar riffs and reverberated bass reminiscent of indie-pop icons WALK THE MOON. Die hard fans of the debut album need not worry about the change in motif, however; the single delivers all too well the characteristics of the well-worn radio hits. Their complete album, “Supermodel,” is slated for a Mar. 18 release date, and can be pre-ordered on the band’s web page and iTunes.

 

NEEDTOBREATHE – “The Heart”

If you are a follower of the alt-folk movement, now is the time to tune in to NEEDTOBREATHE.  The South Carolina rockers have been recording amidst their rather hectic 2013 touring schedule, and have released a taste of things to come in April. “The Heart” features two tracks from the new record entitled “Rivers in the Wasteland.”  From first listen, the single is stripped of all excess noise, and delivers very simple tunes with dense lyrics that wax theological. The band has promised the new album will be a fun divergence from the previous discography, which covers an already diverse variety of genres.

 

Young the Giant- “Mind Over Matter”

2010 left indie-rockers Young the Giant on top of the world. With hits like “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” rattling the windows of cars nationwide, the band struck a chord with the music community-at-large. This fame was further exaggerated by several groundbreaking tours with Minus the Bear and Neon Trees.  After a period of rest, Young the Giant has released its highly anticipated second offering, “Mind Over Matter.” The album was received well, debuting on the iTunes charts. The raucous single, “Its About Time,” quickly made its radio debut, with a resurgence of old hits as well. The album is remarkably heterogeneous; there is quite a mix of soundscapes, ranging from the organ swells of “Camera” to the more familiar Caribbean rhythms of “Crystallized.” Only time will tell how well the recordings will hold up against the rest of the industry. Young the Giant will begin their headlining tour in February, with a show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta on Feb. 22.

 

The Districts – EP

The Districts are newcomers from Pennsylvania who have recently emerged onto the alternative scene. Their tracks feature a unique style that calls to mind a variety of influences. Songs such as “Rocking Chair” and “Stay Open” bring to mind the chaotic garage rockers Cage the Elephant, while “Lyla” nods to the more southern anthems of The Alabama Shakes. The group is embarking on a U.S. and Canada tour, making a stop in Athens, Ga., at the Green Room on Feb. 17, and then bringing the tour full circle to the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, where they will join the likes of over 50 bands. Be sure and give their EP a listen; you might be surprised at what you’ll hear.