Courtney Barnett, “Tell Me How You Really Feel” (Milk!/Marathon) The lyrical force of nature follows her breakout debut — and a subsequent collaboration with Kurt Vile — with a new set of 10 songs. Breeders principals Kim and Kelley Deal guest here, an absolutely fitting detail when you consider Barnett is the rightful heir to the throne of wry, shaggy, sublimely melodic ‘90s alt-rock.
Ray LaMontagne, “Part of the Light” (RCA) When the gravel-voiced New Englander is on his game, he can find the beautiful pathos in any turn of phrase. Early tracks suggest LaMontagne will join various sides of his sound — soulful, psychedelic and straight-ahead — on his latest.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, “Sparkle Hard” (Domino) Whether creating his own legend in Pavement or backing it up with the Jicks, Stephen Malkmus has made a career of writing pop songs that are as pristine as they are idiosyncratic. The latest Jicks record sparkles hard, rocks hard and will put smiles on faces.
Parquet Courts, “Wide Awake” (Rough Trade) This New York City band has evolved from boilerplate hipsters to an indie band making terrific use of guitar tone and melody. Working with the man, myth and legend Danger Mouse should only raise the stakes — and the band’s stature.
Kelly Willis, “Back Being Blue” (Premium/Thirty Tigers) An artist of consistent quality, the Oklahoma native returns with a new album a few months out from her gig at this fall’s Roots N Blues N BBQ festival. Willis’ sound finds the funkier, harder edges of country and roots music.