Frankie Cosmos, Bat for Lashes and Lower Dens with the new and noteworthy 

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Frankie Cosmos
, Close It Quietly (Sub Pop Records) – Greta Kline attracts a fervent Colorado fanbase for the wry and lighthearted vignettes her band churns out. Her one- and two-minute earnest pop tracks mirror lo-fi works from Kimya Dawson or Hatchie. The new album adds a hint of wise gravity in tracks like “Wannago” or “Last Season’s Textures,” without losing Kline’s famous sparkles of innocence.

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Bat for Lashes
, Lost Girls (AWAL) – Natasha Khan, recording as Bat for Lashes, revels in concept albums and eerie storytelling, as 2016’s The Bride displayed. While that work described a wedding gone horribly wrong, the new album is a looser affair, based on imaginary 1980s and ’90s sci-fi film soundtracks, no surprise given that Khan is moving into screenplay writing. Tracks like “Jasmine” and “Kids in the Dark” recall the direct passion of earlier songs such as “Sunday Love,” but the heavier synthesizers and fadeouts in many tracks take Khan in a more ethereal direction, resembling Imogen Heap at times.


Lower Dens
, The Competition (Ribbon Music) – Jana Hunter claims that modern capitalism and personal overconsumption are on trial in the fourth album from Baltimore dreampop band Lower Dens, but the topics are addressed through sweeping surrealism and subtle moods. Hunter has told interviewers he’s concerned that fans may not warm to his lower-octave singing since his gender reassignment, yet a bigger concern is whether anthemic tracks like “Empire Sundown” resemble U2 at times — a comparison that can be as problematic as it might be flattering.


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