Arcade’s Picks for top indie albums of the summer

When school gets out – namely, after finals crush our hopes and dreams and we finally return home to our loving families, friends and pets – we clear our minds for that summer relaxation vibe. Summer’s all about laying low and recuperating, chilling with quality people and avoiding like the plague all forms of responsibility unassociated with internships. Courtesy of The Hullabaloo, Arcade has compiled all the new music releases you might’ve missed while you were laying low this summer.

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Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer

If you’re pretentious and you know it, take off your Birkenstocks. Everyone’s favorite evangelizing preacher of hipster gospel is back and just as saturated in self-aware existentialism and post-ironic soul as ever. Though still larger-than-life, Father John’s latest release is his most ostentatiously vulnerable work yet. Trading esoteric sociocultural musings for calculated personal candor, “God’s Favorite Customer” paints a vivid cross-section of the indie guru’s ever-evolving psyche. While tracks like ‘Mr. Tillman’ and ‘Date Night’ frolic and jaunt according to Father John’s characteristic self-deprecating wit, songs like ‘The Palace’ and ‘The Songwriter’ establish a sobering profundity that masterfully complements the album’s overarching themes of love, fear and contentedness. Long story short, the album is one hell of an auditory rollercoaster.

Standouts: ‘Hangout at the Gallows,’ ‘Just Dumb Enough to Try,’ ‘The Songwriter’

Wet – Still Run

If you’re not feeling Wet by the end of the summer, you aren’t doing something right. Landing on the genre spectrum near the intersection of alt, pop, and R&B, Brooklyn-based trio Wet are likely somewhat under your radar (if not, props to you). Spearheaded by the indomitable Kelly Zutrau, Wet produces dreamy, soulful tunes characterized by their versatility and accessibility, a trend the band maintains on their latest album. “Still Run” is perfect for nearly every summer scenario. Whether you’re catching up on summertime rest and recuperation, longing wistfully to see your school friends again, or racing along the highway with your windows down and the cool summer breeze in your hair, the album proves itself inexorably anthemic. Whether you’re bopping to the smooth and soulful ‘There’s a Reason’ or jamming to the pluckily disarming ‘Lately,’ the album never gets old. The Hull highly recommends that you get Wet this school year.

Standouts: ‘Still Run,’ ‘You’re Not Wrong’

88rising – Head in the Clouds

If “multinational Asian hip hop media collective” is a phrase you’ve never heard before, go ahead and check it off your bucket list. Consisting of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indonesian talents from across the world, 88rising is categorized more accurately as a record label or supergroup than simply a sole artist. The group’s debut album “Head in the Clouds” employs features liberally, enlisting Rich Brian, Joji, Keith Ape, the Higher Brothers, NIKI, and more. Despite its impressive star power, however, 88rising doesn’t take itself too seriously. Songs like ‘Peach Jam,’ ‘History,’ and a rework of Famous Dex’s ‘Japan’ are just as humorous and playful as they are fluidly catchy. Radio-friendly hit ‘Midsummer Madness,’ meanwhile, augments the album’s overall depth with its soulful, lilting chorus and relatively grounded lyrics, making “Head in the Clouds” an undeniably well-rounded and likeable debut.

Standouts: ‘Midsummer Madness,’ ‘Peach Jam,’ ‘La Cienega’

Florence + the Machine – High as Hope

On her fourth studio album, Florence Welch demonstrates yet again that she has the power to end the world with her voice. “High as Hope” soars and plummets, swells and crashes, builds and destroys as Welch introspects on her teenage years and intimates the regret behind relationships gone wrong. And while the album certainly pays homage to Welch’s previous work with airy and fiery power ballads galore, it fearlessly subverts expectations on stripped down tracks like ‘No Choir,”The End of Love, and ‘Grace.’ Songs like these – particularly the last, with its steadily mounting momentum culminating in a booming, mountain-leveling chorus before retreating into a breezy, sentimental outro – illustrate the singer’s astonishing versatility. On other tracks, Welch remains the familiar cataclysmic powerhouse, reflecting with a sober maturity on past decisions, hopes for the future and the mistakes that damaged her relationship with her younger sister. It’s an album refreshing in its new twist on a tried-and-true formula, distinct in the themes it addresses, and captivating as ever.

Standouts: ‘Hunger,’ ‘Big God,’ ‘South London Forever’

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