Bastille, Bad Blood
What’s not to love about this band or their overdue debut? “Pompeii” was a smash single, “Things We Lost In The Fire” can go toe-to-toe with anything on the Alt charts right now and “Weight of Living” is one of the best hidden tracks of the year. Think of Bastille as the Brit version of Imagine Dragons, minus all those religious undertones. — JEFF KATZ
Ciara’s often introduced as the R&B heiress to a long-expired rap subgenre. So here she seizes control to show only and exactly who she is now: a singer who coos through her gleeful innuendos, a dancer well aware of how her body pivots to any beat, a woman who knows how to glance over her shoulder as she struts away (and knows when to walk
away, too). Or, as noted in the tracklist: Ciara, featuring Ciara. — CHRISTINA LEE
Happy Hollows, Amethyst
I first heard lead single “Endless” at the movies, which seems fitting since the atmospheric Amethyst
would beautifully round out the soundtrack to Twilight 8: Sparkle, Edward, Sparkle!
That’s a compliment — the dreamy darkness of tracks “Galaxies” and “Hawaii” evokes the soaring melancholy of The Sundays and Mazzy Star at their night-sky-gazing best. — JONATHAN RIGGS