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New Life Is Beautiful music: listening to six recent albums from festival artists

Annie Zaleski
    • Kings of Leon, Mechanical Bull

      The sixth album from the veteran rockers too often resembles watered-down Pearl Jam, although the bass-heavy boiled funk of “Family Tree” and’80s alt-rock homage “Coming Back Again” are highlights.

    • Danny Brown, Old

      The Detroit hip-hop upstart isn’t beholden to scenes or styles on his gloriously manic third album. Collaborators like Freddie Gibbs, A$AP Rocky and Purity Ring ensure the record expertly combines dank electro and grimy rap.

    • Haim, Days Are Gone

      The long-awaited debut LP from this trio of California sisters is an irresistible ’80s Fleetwood Mac fever dream (glossy production! acres of synths!) shot through with multi-part harmonies and the occasional hip-hop flourish.

    • Pretty Lights, A Color Map of the Sun

      EDM superstar Derek Vincent Smith ups his creative game on this fourth LP by crafting his own hip-hop, stoner-psych, soul and blues samples, resulting in a mesmerizing stew of groove and intrigue.

    • Earl Sweatshirt, Doris

      The beloved Odd Future member remains a laid-back, literate bulldog on his first proper artist album. Minimalist beats, bass and muted textures (including a Can sample) add to the murky chronicles.

    • Capital Cities, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery

      The project of two ex-ad jingle writers, Capital Cities excels at Chromeo-meets-Miami Vice-style electro-pop on this debut record. It’s frothy, fun dance music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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