Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar)
Why you should listen: The fallout from a polyamorous breakup inspired frontman Ruban Nielson to write this album, which may just be reason enough to give it a go. Add its lush, soul-inspired arrangements and nods to 60s pysch-rock, and you’ve got a gorgeous album that nestles into place with each listen.
It might not be for you if… You’re too busy snorting with laughter thinking about how much the album’s backstory resembles a Portlandia skit.
What we said: “The Auckland/Portland band’s multi-love is multi-coloured, too, taking soul music as its template but splashing the canvas with futurist synths and trippy vocal effects,” wrote Tim Jonze, in the Guardian. Read Kitty Empire’s similarly enthusiastic review from the Observer.
Various artists – Empire Season 1 Original Soundtrack
Why you should listen: Producers Timbaland (Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott) and Jim Beanz write the original music for this American hip-hop soap – now on E4 in the UK – and strike gold with R&B tunes and an unexpected Courtney Love appearance.
It might not be for you if… The weak points, namely character Hakeem Lyon’s rap tracks, aim to parody pop/hip-hop tropes but don’t make it funny enough to justify listening to the entire soundtrack.
What we said: “And [the show’s creators] got [the hits] – although, listening to the Empire soundtrack, you do occasionally wonder if that was more to do with the sheer amount of exposure the music got on telly than its actual quality,” wrote Alexis Petridis, in his lead Guardian review.
The Vaccines – English Graffiti (Columbia)
Why you should listen: Once hyped quartet have opted for meaty riffs, distorted guitars and a touch of lyrical dystopian malaise.
It might not be for you if… You think the Vaccines fall into the generic guitar band abyss - plus you regard them as a band relentlessly pushed on you by the music press.
What we said: “Dreamy pop tunes reverberate with unlikely influences, from ELO to Duran Duran”, wrote Dave Simpson, in the Guardian.
Du Blonde – Welcome Back to Milk (Mute)
Why you should listen: The Newcastle musician we once knew as folksy artist Beth Jeans Houghton has overhauled her image, taken on a new name and enlisted the talents of Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds, Grinderman) to produce this punky and personal album of scuzzy guitar-led tunes.
It might not be for you if… Her take on brazen, guitar-pop starts to wear thin after a few songs, in your opinion.
What we said: “While metal and punk rip throughout (one track is even named Black Flag), sleaze oozes from its pores, too”, wrote Harriet Gibsone, in the Guardian.
Nocturnal Sunshine – Nocturnal Sunshine (I/Am/Me)
Why you should listen: House producer Maya Jane Coles returns to her Nocturnal Sunshine stage name, slipping from midtempo dubstep to gently thumping house.
It might not be for you if… You recoil at the mere mention of the word dubstep, even when it’s presented in a manner as low-key as this one.
What we said: “From the scratchy beats and murmured vocals of Intro, to the melancholic two-step of the closing Hotel, it’s an album to soundtrack the grey folds of early morning,” wrote Michael Cragg, in the Observer.
Last week, commenters expressed their interest in hearing the new Torres and Faith No More albums. What are you looking forward to listening to this time round?