I buy a lot of new music. Well, as much as my budget will allow. I buy music for the feeling it creates within me and the thoughts it inspires. You should know I have no musical talent. When I say I play music, I literally mean I’m hitting “play.” You should not take this to mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about. My taste rules. Here’s what I’ve picked up recently:

ALBUMS:

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto -¬†Coldplay and I have had an on again/off again relationship over the years. I’ve never understood the hate they engender, but there is a quality to some of their songs that does tend to grate on me. Translation: they can get whiny. I’m happy to report that with their latest effort they’ve gotten decidedly more cheery. There’s a real joy that permeates Mylo Xyloto. Unfortunately, I’d say this is their weakest effort melodically. With the exception of Every Teardrop is a Waterfall and the Rihanna part in Princess of China, it’s hard to identify a standout moment. There’s no Viva La Vida or Clocks or Kingdom Come here. All that said, I play it through about once a day. I like cheery. Grade: B-

Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song - This band came out of nowhere for me. Lead single Colours does a neat trick where certain words get repeated like they’re stuck in a grove on a record and it never gets not fun. Every track sounds like a single from a different era of music, but all filtered through Grouplove’s particular sensibility. A fun, fun record that I could not recommend more. Other standout tracks: Love Will Save Your Soul (Elora’s current favorite song), Itchin’ on a Photograph, Tongue Tied. Grade: A-

Angels & Airwaves – Love Pts. 1 & 2 - It’s hard to not love AVA. They rock, but their message is all positive. If you need darkness and sadness in your music, best to move along. These guys are looking to inspire you and they will. not. stop. until they do. This two-part release suffers from a bit of sameyness, but when it works, it works. Single Surrender is a stand out, as are tracks The Flight of Apollo and We Are All That We Are. Honestly, there’s so much here that I’m still digesting it. I admire it more than love it right now. Grade: B-

Mates of State – Mountaintops - I love Mates of State, but this record just kind of fell flat for me. They’re a husband and wife duo, and, honestly, sometimes I wish the dude would just shut up. His voice can get super annoying, but usually the melodies win out. I loved this record the first two times I heard it, but after that I’ve been getting diminishing returns. Sad, that. Stand out tracks include: Palomino, Desire. Grade: C

SINGLES:

Mumford & Sons – Hold on to What You Believe - Not a single so much as a new song I grabbed off their new live album. They lyric is what sells it for me, which includes the lines Hold on to what you believed/In the light/When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight. As a person of faith, that’s a powerful message. It doesn’t hurt that the song is pretty awesome. Grade: A

The Rifles – Long Walk Back - A fun stomper/hand clapper that will make you get up and move your feet to it’s rootsy backbeat. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this one. I’m not a huge Rifles fan, but this is what great singles are made of. Grade: A

R.E.M. – We All Go Back to Where We Belong - This is R.E.M.’s final single and while I appreciate the appropriateness of the lyric, the Burt Bacharach horns and vibe makes this song feel out of place with the rest of their catalog and not a great capper to a fantastic career. I’m even one of those weirdos who thinks late period R.E.M. is pretty great and I can’t really recommend this song to anyone buy die hards like me. Grade: C+

Real Estate – It’s Real - Real Estate is the new IT band. A mix of surf and indie sensibilities, this is the kind of music that just puts me to sleep but that gets hailed by critics as amazing. I don’t get it. Grade: C-

Fun. – We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae) - I don’t know how this isn’t all over the radio. Maybe it is, actually. I don’t listen to the radio. One of the catchiest singalong choruses to come along in a while. It’s kind of dumb, but I can’t deny how great it is. Grade: B+

Have you heard anything great lately? Tell us about it!