Fresh music: best new albums for spring

Emma Dahl

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Indie music fans, rejoice! This spring has been huge for quality indie releases, from small artists releasing their debut album to household names recovering from hiatuses and re-emerging on the scene. But which albums are most appropriate for this time of year? Which can provide the best soundtrack for the season? For me, spring is warm, light, thoughtful and reflective, full of fun but also brimming with hard work and productivity. Without further ado, here’s my list of newly released albums that I think best reflect the mood of spring:

1. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut is light and fresh, simple and beautiful. This album is characterized by orchestral instrumentation, soulful ballads about tenuous young love and Natalie Prass’ delicate voice that occasionally reminded me of Corinne Bailey Rae (whatever happened to her?). The gentle flute melodies, staccato trumpets and smooth integration of blues and indie rock will have you dreaming of relaxing summer days as the weather slowly gets warmer.

Best tracks: “My Baby Don’t Understand Me,” “Why Don’t You Believe Me,” “Bird of Prey”

2. Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter

Simultaneously both sad and celebratory, heartbroken and yet resilient, The Firewatcher’s Daughter reflects the turbulent dichotomy of spring. Carlile’s expert songwriting and soulful expression will help you grind through those long hours at the library and help you enjoy the weekend. If you’re a fan of indie folk duo First Aid Kit’s latest effort Stay Gold, you’ll definitely need to check out The Firewatcher’s Daughter. Carlile won’t disappoint, I guarantee you.

Best tracks: “The Eye,” “Wherever is Your Heart,” “Mainstream Kid”

3. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Kind of melancholy, kind of sexy, but always thoughtful and carefully crafted, Father John Misty’s newest effort is pleasing to the ear and sensitive to the heart. It reminds me of those rogue rainy days in the middle of March where all you want to do is stay inside and ignore the world. The former Fleet Foxes member has this voice that kind of reminds me of a sad Cat Stevens, and combined with his unique narrative style, the music easily pulls you into his world of dark emotion.

Best tracks: “Bored in the USA,” “I Love You, Honeybear”

4. Vetiver – Complete Strangers

Colorful and bright like spring foliage, but relaxed like sunny Sunday afternoons, Vetiver’s yet unreleased LP (out March 24) is an album I’m really anticipating. Their sound has always been crisp but chilled, perfect for weekend afternoons. Someone once described Vetiver as very talented and under-appreciated, and I’d have to whole-heartedly agree. Keep an eye out for this one.

Best tracks: So far, only “Current Carry” has been released, and it’s a great characterization of Vetiver’s classic style.

5. Laura Marling – Short Movie

Set to be released on March 24, this is British singer-songwriter Laura Marling’s fifth LP. Over the years Marling’s music has really grown and developed from the simple folk structure she started with in 2008’s Alas, I Cannot Swim. It’s my personal opinion that she’s the heir to Joni Mitchell’s throne; her songs are relatable and heartfelt and full of truth; they speak to the complexities of relationships and to the strength required to keep pushing through life’s hardships. I’m sure that Short Movie will be no exception.

Best tracks: Only the title track and “False Hope” have been released at this point, but if those songs’ quality is any indication of what to expect from the rest of the album, I’m really looking forward to hearing it.