Blood Orange
Cupid Deluxe
Known predominantly as a man who works for other artists, Devonte Hynes sure knows how to make music that is without a doubt his own. After providing the vital character for Solange’s True and writing tracks for Britney Spears new album that won’t see the light of day, Hynes has branched out on his own to create his second solo endeavor under the moniker Blood Orange. This isn’t to say Cupid Deluxe is entirely a solo record – each song features collaboration with a multitude of familiar names in the music scene. This use of particular artist selection is what gives the album its abundance of character and varietal depth. Even though the two guest MC’s feel like placeholders for Hynes’ immaculate production skills to shine, the guest vocalists are an essential part to the record’s charm. Tracks such as “Always Let U Down” and “Chamakay” are unimaginable without their female counterparts who drive the song into being the powerful midnight grooves they are. This is all taken into consideration that Hynes’ vocal output and production are noteworthy on their own. The real brilliance of Cupid Deluxe, however, lies in Hynes’ knowledge of how to fill the gaps of his own weaknesses with artists who can add character to his solid ideas that may not be executed as well on his own. – Jonny Williams

Los Campesinos!
No Blues
This is the six piece so-fun-it-hurts indie pop act’s fifth release. As usual, it is snarky, biting and tongue in cheek sophisticated. Gareth Campesinos! [everyone in the band adopts the same last name, exclamation point and all] sings all about heartbreak but in his own overly high strung and sarcastic way. You can almost understand why it never works out for him. Lovely, catchy and littered with European soccer [football?] references it’s a worthy successor to their previous albums. Perhaps they’ve settled down a bit, the screechy, grating shout-along-in-your-car songs are few and far between. “Avocado, Baby” is the only song that comes close to the franticness of say, “My Year in Lists”- with the last chorus of the song shouted by a pack of cheerleaders. “Let it Spill” is probably the definite hit, “Glue Me” is lowkey and slower [while still sharply angry and antagonistic] and “Cemetery Gaits” wins points for being an obvious winking Smiths allusion. Like the Smiths, the album mixes naval-gazing moroseness with self-aware snark but nlike the Smiths, Los Campesinos! are flashy and poppy and easily danceable. However, while albums described as fun and catchy are often forgotten in a few months, LC!’s turns of phrase and obscure asides and allusions make No Blues an album to keep coming back to. – Brett Bennett

Title Fight
Spring Songs EP
Revelation Records
Beautiful. No other word can simply describe how Title Fight have evolved as both a band and a figurehead of modern punk rock and hardcore. The album starts off with “Blush” and it’s the most traditional sounding song on the EP. Pounding drums, thumping bass and driving guitars all echo around the indescribable howl of lead singer and bassist Ned Russin. The EP begins to stray away from their melodic hardcore sound and into something more akin to Jawbreaker or Dinosaur Jr. in the second track “Be a Toy.” This song is built around an instantly nostalgic riff that never gets old as it is played again and again over Jamie Rhoden’s vocals which foil Ned’s angsty howl with a mid-toned slacker drawl that fills the track with a fuzzy and warm mood.The last two tracks, “Receiving Line” and “Hypnotize” both add to the fuzzy, nostalgic feel of the album with droning yet punchy basslines mixing perfectly with Jamie’s mild vocals and singing guitar leads. It’s a wonder to me how Title Fight are able to meld the intensity and dynamism of hardcore with emo’s sincerity and thoughtfulness so perfectly and still be able to write some of the catchiest tunes of the year. If you have loved the past two Title Fight LP’s prepare to see your favorite Philly Punks continue to be one of the most innovative and beautiful bands in modern punk rock. Viva la Revelation. Viva la Hardcore. Viva la Title Fight. – Lucas Carver

Edited by: Nathan Kerce