Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 2.42.08 PM.pngHow to Dress Well
What is This Heart? (Weird World)
Tom Krell's third album as avant-R&B guru How To Dress Well is spirited and coolly beautiful, building on the chilly emotional devastation of 2012's Total Loss while cautiously looking toward a future of love and redemption. Krell's compositions are now tighter and less impressionistic. The searching, smoldering lead single "Words I Don't Remember" and the airy disco track "Repeat Pleasure" are both more than capable of slipping into Hot 100 radio rotations.

bigfreedia_justbefree.jpgBig Freedia
Just Be Free (Queen Diva Music)
Big Freedia is America's queen of bounce music, and her latest album is a goddamn neutron bomb of merciless 808 beats, machine gun rapping and production flourishes. Album opener "Turn Da Beat Up" is a master class in how to be your own hype man, with Freedia demanding that you "Move your feet! / You gotta feel the beat! / You gotta shake it for free!" Beautiful in its simplicity, Just Be Free is Freedia doing what she does best. All hail the queen.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 2.41.24 PM.pngThe Antlers
Familiars (ANTI-)
Over the course of five records, Brooklyn-based indie rock trio the Antlers have burned slowly and deeply, layering an experimental version of noodly '70s soft rock with emotional self-immolation. Familiars remains in their wheelhouse with tracks like second single "Hotel," a syrupy groove replete with wavelike guitar crescendos and lead singer Peter Silberman's quiet falsetto desperately trying to hold it together.