1. “Big Mess” by Grouplove
Quirky, alternative-rock band Grouplove pours their heart into their newest album, “Big Mess,” to the point that it’s almost literal. The first song on the album, “Welcome to Your Life,” is about vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi welcoming their newborn daughter into the world — their hearts were pretty jubilant. Grouplove’s signature happy-punky-pop-rock sound carries through every jam.
2. “Sonderlust” by Kishi Bashi
In the beginning of his career, Kishi Bashi was mostly known for playing violin on Regina Spektor’s tours. With “Sonderlust,” and a review in The Wall Street Journal, he has proven himself to be a skilled musician, songwriter and vocalist. “Sonderlust” is a joyous and playful electronic exploration, yet still retains all the craftsmanship that Kishi Bashi flexed in their first album, “151a,” and “Lighght.” If you like Passion Pit, the Mario Kart Rainbow Road Theme and violin pizzicatos, you might want to give “Sonderlust” a try.
3. “The Altar” by Banks
With vocals that crush mostly in moody and low, Banks is your quintessential witchy thug grrrl artist. Songs on “The Altar” range from condemning to mourning to self-love, but Banks’ voice croons seductive power throughout. If you’re a fan of other witchy gals like Broods and FKA twigs, check out Banks.
4. “Signs of Light” by The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart has a sound that borrows from and amplifies the Americana revival that has been growing and gaining more spotlight. Names such as The Avett Brothers and Alabama Shakes now rock households across the globe. “Signs of Light” feels like driving in late summer with tree branches overhead, or like hanging out in your backyard with friends. You feel a mix of humble, happy and underrated.
5. “Sunlit Youth” by Local Natives
“Sunlight Youth” holds true to its name. It’s full of lively beats, energy and that slightly nasally vocal quality reminiscent of softcore-teen punk in angsty summers past. However, the songs don’t all meld together with the same sound as some albums unfortunately do. Rather, “Sunlit Youth” is an eclectic mix of songs and riffs that make the album interesting to listen to straight through.
6. “West of the West” by Goldroom
I’m not sure where exactly West of the West is, but it seems like a happy place. Listen to “West of the West” if you want sunny, pop beats that make you visualize a music video starring dancing Kardashians and pool floaties. If you like RAC remixes, check out Goldroom’s happy-go-lucky rhythms.
7. “Care” by How To Dress Well
Falsetto is damn sexy and I don’t care who thinks differently. If “Can’t You Tell” doesn’t make you feel some type of way, then you’re a liar. If you like to imagine Zayn Malik or Ed Sheeran serenading you, do yourself a favor and let Tom Krell have a turn to softly croon to you.
8. “Radio” by Sylvan Esso
Amelia Meath’s voice is almost raspy as she sings about the rewards and hazards of making it big on the radio. The vocals and lyrics combined with Nick Sanborn’s jarring, heart-racing electronic composition is enough to put you on edge, but in a good way.
9. “Trust Nobody (feat. Selena Gomez & Tory Lanez)” by Cashmere Cat
Norwegian deejay Cashmere Cat steps out onto the global popular music scene with this collaboration with pop star Selena Gomez. Gomez’s and Lanez’s breathy vocals add a sultry edge to Cashmere Cat’s light, mostly minimal, electronic composition.
10. “All We Know (feat. Phoebe Ryan)” by The Chainsmokers
It would be difficult to avoid “Closer,” The Chainsmokers and Halsey collaboration that blew up after their performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, but “All We Know” might have slipped under your radar. This is a similar single (even the tune of the choruses sound similar), and it will stick in your head just as much.
11. “Life Itself” (Roosevelt Remix) by Glass Animals
This remix of the first song off Glass Animals’ latest album release, “How to Be a Human Being,” struts and grooves. The minor yet dance-y chord progression reminds me of the disco tune in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but maybe that’s just Halloween around the corner talking. Regardless, make sure to queue this at your shindig (or hijack the aux cord) the last weekend of October.
12. “Signal” by SOHN
“Signal” mainly relies on percussion and a synth mix of Toph Taylor’s layered vocals. If you’re a Chet Faker fan, check out “Signal” and other songs by SOHN.
13. “False Alarm (Acoustic Version)” by Matoma and Becky Hill
Matoma steps back in this acoustic version of his recent EDM hit and lets Becky Hill’s vocals take the spotlight. Different from the amped up original, this version channels the same amount of energy, but in a more raw, emotional way.
14. “You’re Mine” by Phantogram
The banter between Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel combined with the rushing bass line keeps this song running. If you’re looking for a more aggressive, less folksy version of The Civil Wars, check out Phantogram.
15. “Cool” by Daya
If you like listening to Alessia Cara and Hailee Steinfeld, don’t forget to listen to Daya. She’s young and relatively new on the music scene, but her collaboration with The Chainsmokers for “Don’t Let Me Down” was the fourth most-played song in the world this summer, according to Spotify. Daya’s vocals are are smooth and assured. “Cool” feels like driving down a city highway at night, and feeling pretty cool about it.