March’s top three new releases

Andrew Critchelow mug

Andrew Critchelow

1. “Talk Tight” by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: 

Melbourne-based rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever sure know how to make a debut record. Opening up the gate with their mini-album “Talk Tight,” the quintet manage to deliver a compact yet powerful record with just seven songs in its repertoire. From the glistening Dylan-esque opener “Wither with You” to the Americana-meets-punk closer “Career,” “Talk Tight” is a promising debut that refuses to meander.

2. “Untitled Unmastered” by Kendrick Lamar:

It’s a testament to the overall prowess of Compton-based rapper Kendrick Lamar that he can unexpectedly release an odds-and-ends record that blows most serious efforts out of the water. Though it’s apparent throughout “Untitled Unmastered” that these nameless songs are probably outtakes from Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” sessions, the mastery of production and lyrical chops demonstrated here make you wonder how these songs ever missed the cut. All the aspects that made “Butterfly” a landmark record are present here; jazz-influenced beats and socially conscious lyrics combine once again to create a record that is purely K-Dot. Sure, this batch of songs isn’t entirely new innovation from Lamar, but it’s hard to be disappointed with a record as good as this one.

3. “Next Thing” by Frankie Cosmos: 

New York-based singer-songwriter Greta Kline has released more than 20 records in just a four-year span under the moniker Frankie Cosmos. If that’s not impressive in itself, Kline has somehow managed to keep things interesting from fragmented release to fragmented release. Usually opting for lo-fi production and short track lengths, Frankie Cosmos makes music that has a charming lack of focus sharply contrasted by a disciplined control over endearing songwriting. On “Next Thing,” Frankie Cosmos seamlessly transitions from songs about taking pictures of dogs to songs about utter alienation. Don’t let the quirkiness discourage you; this is a refreshing record that warrants a good listen — just like her 20 other ones.