Ra Ra Riot
“The Orchard” follows up Ra Ra Riot’s debut album “The Rhumb Line,” which garnered a lot of praise and attention in the indie pop scene. The new album experiments with an upbeat and catchy sound in “Boy,” an ’80s feel in “Too Dramatic,” and a bit of a jazzy sound in “You And I Know.” However, it still remains true to the band’s core style – orchestral pop with violin and cello arrangements fused with somber tunes and vocals. “Do You Remember,” mixed by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, is one of the album’s memorable standouts with its rich and intricate melody. While it takes several listens to warm up to, “The Orchard” is definitely not a sophomore slump.
by Christina Oriel
Matt & Kim
The third studio album from this indie rock duo is sure to please their strong fan following. Matt & Kim stay true to their synth-pop sound but change things up a bit on certain tracks like “Block After Block” by adding a strong Southern hip-hop beat. Between the catchy chorus on “AM/FM Sound” and the bouncy electronic sound of “Where You’re Coming From,” it is impossible to not be in a good mood when listening to any song on this album.
by Marissa Driscoll
While this album was not received with much acclaim, it is a very impressive creation by M.I.A. The sounds are rather abstract and cacophonous, but they grow on you. She is still making her signature political statements, like on the track “The Message,” which is about her thoughts on Google’s connection to the government. “Space” is slower than usual for M.I.A., while “Xxxo” offers an upbeat and accessible sound. While “Maya” is definitely a departure from M.I.A.’s previous music, the album is still worth a listen.
by Katie Donham