Why We ♥ NPR: New Albums From My Morning Jacket, Death Cab For Cutie, and Cults Now Streaming

It used to be we had to trudge over to Tower Records and put those germ-riddled and mostly non-fuctiohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifnal headphones on in order to check out new albums by our fave artists. Thankfully, while we do miss going to the record store, we no longer have to wonder how many people had worn those phones before us, NPR has picked up the slack with a steady diet of streaming upcoming new releases via their website.

Our first impression of the new My Morning Jacket record, Circuital, is that the band seems to have really found a laid-back groove that they decided to explore over the course of an entire record. While we've heard some minor grumbling from some of the diehard fans about this, we must remember that these were the same fans who didn't like Evil Urges because it was all over the place. There's just no making some people happy. We personally dug the last one the most of any MMJ record, but we also think this new one is gonna sound amazing live!

As for the new Death Cab record, Codes And Keys, we liken their past couple records to the progression R.E.M. undertook upon signing to Warner Brothers. In other words, we greet each new Death Cab record with a small measure of dread, hoping this isn't the album where they give us their "Shiny Happy People" and kiss all cred goodbye. Thankfully, no need to worry yet as the band continues to embrace slyly catchy hooks while also increasing the subtle dynamics and esoteric production flourishes. At times, the songs sound as if they're coated in gossamer, but the edges (both lyrical and musical) slowly reveal themselves with repeated listens. Deceptively genius.

In the case of Cults, I can't help but wonder if these Brooklynites had ever heard of a little band called The Cult. I mean, come on. "Let's just add an 's' then," must have been uttered in unanimous fashion and the rest, as they say is history. On their self-titled new album, slated for May 31 release, the duo shows just how adept they've become at effortlessly unleashing such summery sing-along melodies while, at the same time, embracing a sly dark side that is quite addictive. I was going to say "enchanting", but "addictive" felt darker. Give this one a listen and you'll see what I mean.

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