January 23, 2013 | Shay M.
This week's top rock releases could arguably double as the list for the top indie projects hitting shelves. The following artists aren't necessarily mainstream, but your ears should already be acquainted with their sound.
Ra Ra Riot, Beta Love
Ra Ra Riot will release their third album, Beta Love, this week. A follow-up to The Orchard, the project is the band's first in three years. It also marks their first official LP since they parted ways with cellist Alexandra Lawn. On Beta Love, the quintet attempts to break free from the constraints of their past baroque pop sound and include more approachable synthpop. Beta Love is at its best when the songs offer a glimpse of Ra Ra Riot's past. Check out "When I Dream" and "Dance With Me."
The Joy Formidable, Wolf's Law
The Joy Formidable deftly avoid the sophomore curse with their second album, Wolf's Law. The project, a follow-up to 2011's The Big Roar, was composed while the band was on tour and then recorded at the beginning of 2012. Powerful, loud and just plain good rock 'n roll, this album will definitely create a lot of new Joy Formidable fans. You don't even need to be a rock fan to appreciate this LP; it is simply good music. Check out the album's lead single, "This Ladder Is Ours," and "The Leopard and the Lung." The title track is hidden in the tail end of "The Turnaround."
Reborn is Trapt's fifth studio album, their last with guitarist Robb Torres and their first to be released independently. Known for the single "Headstrong," the band attempted to step out of their comfort zone with this LP. Free from major label control, they created an impressive collection of aggressive alt-metal songs. "The lyrics are the deepest and [most] honest of what we've done so far. I think people are going to be surprised," said leader/singer Chris Taylor Brown during an interview with Poll Star.
Local Natives, Hummingbird
Local Natives dropped their debut album, Gorilla Manor, in 2009 and went from being a relatively unknown quartet to new stars in the burgeoning indie folk-pop scene. Four years later and one original member gone (bassist Andy Hamm), Local Natives comes back to serve up their sophomore offering, Hummingbird. The record reveals the band as tour-tested and more mature. Overall, it's everything that its predecessor was, only better conceived and arranged. Be sure to check out lead single "Breakers" and stand-out song "Columbia."