Culture staff recommends: Five albums to listen to this week

“Sunflower” by Briston Maroney Keagan Lafferty

This past July, I met 24-year-old singer-songwriter Briston Maroney after he played an opening set for Rainbow Kitten Suprise at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. Ever since that night, his debut album, “Sunflower,” has served as my personal soundtrack. 

It was released April 9th, 2021 and is a visual concept album. It includes a short film titled “Sunflower: Where to Aim When Taking a Stab at Beauty.” The original album includes ten tracks and the deluxe version, which was released a year later, has six extra songs. 

The short film is composed of music videos for each song and reflects on the idea of beauty, how to find it and how to create it. 

The music falls in the genre of alternative and indie and sounds like a mix between Backseat Lovers and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. 

The lyrics and overall vibe of the album center around the idea of feeling truly alive: the joy and chaos that come with it, as well as expressive and emotional freedom.

Whether you listen to the album in the car, while doing homework or while watching the short film, it is a unique experience that is definitely worth checking out.

“It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” by Maroon 5 Brooke Burns

In your self-pity era? Devastated by the Adam Levine cheating scandal and want to return to a simpler time? Try Maroon 5’s “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” released in 2007 and, in my opinion, their strongest album top to bottom. 

I didn’t fully appreciate the album when it came out because I was five, but I have grown to love it upon rediscovery. 

To me, it’s undeniable that Maroon 5 has only released garbage music after 2012’s “Overexposed,” but it’s also undeniable that their early music is certified bangers only. 

The whole album consists of Adam Levine crooning through a collection of self-loathing and longing for a woman who left him, and for another who didn’t even know he existed.

The sound is funky and electric and is cohesive without being too boring, oscillating between upbeat dance tracks and devastating ballads. 

It’s perfect for a tough semester where all you want to do is feel sorry for yourself but also need a nice bop to walk to class to.

“The Car” by Arctic Monkeys Will Hamilton 

Released earlier this October, “The Car” solidifies Arctic Monkeys’ continual shift away from the fast-paced rock that first garnered them popularity in the early 2000s. 

Instead, it embraces a more theatrical sound, mixing the guitars and drums familiar to the band alongside more orchestral elements such as pianos and thick layers of violins. 

On top of the rich instrumentation, lead singer Alex Turner styles his heavy Yorkshire accent into that of a crooner, inflecting the songs with a unique richness not present on the band’s other records. 

I found “The Car” to be an excellent accompaniment to my walks through campus, particularly alongside the deep fall colors. There’s an etherealness to the album that lends itself to aimlessly walking through the Andrew Harris Commons or past the looming dementor statues behind Central Campus Residence Hall. 

The album itself is certainly a slow burn, but it’s the perfect noise for all the quiet and mundane moments of your day.

“Out of Sorts” by Atta Boy Ashna Hille

The band Atta Boy has been one of my favorites for a couple years now, both for their comforting sound and their story. 

Composed of vocalist Eden Brolin, guitarist Freddy Reish, keyboardist Dashel Thompson and drummer Lewis Pullman, the band started playing when its members were in high school. 

Their first album, “Out of Sorts,” was released on Dec. 20, 2012 with the help of a Kickstarter they created. The group fell off the grid following the release as members went on to attend college, find spouses and start their adult lives, according to a June 19, 2012 article by

Despite their absence, the group gained a sizable listener base and the audience wanted more. 

The band resurfaced in 2020 with “Big Heart Manners,” an album that beautifully encompassed the maturity they had gained over their eight-year hiatus, both in their sound and in the themes of the project.

Most recently, Atta Boy released “Crab Park,” a new album and a new take on the Atta Boy sound. The album consists of 10 songs and has some grooves for your fall playlist such as “Boys,” “Deep Sea Ladder” or “Crab Park.” 

My favorite thing about the album is that the band has seemed to slow down a bit and re-harness the delicate and nostalgic sound of their first album. You’ll find this particularly in the closing track and in my favorite, “Twin Flame.” 

I’d definitely recommend a listen to “Crab Park,” but like any good story, you have to start at the beginning. 

“Gravedigging” by The Buttertones Kailey Shea

I believe ‘80s new wave music constitutes the official soundtrack of autumn. The air grows crisp, the leaves pop into color and I switch out the yacht rock for something I like to consider a little more sophisticated. 

However, it’s hard to haul it to a chem lab with Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” blasting in your ears. 

In “Gravedigging,” The Buttertones maintain the luscious, velvety vocals that I like about Depeche Mode and New Order, but set it to a groovy, upbeat background reminiscent of The B-52’s and The Sonics. 

The electricity of “Neon Cowboy” packages you with the emotional muscle required for the day, the suspenseful surf-rock banter of the first half of “Gravediggin’” delivers you to where you need to be and the vocal echoes and sonic swirls of “Ghost Safari” provide the angst necessary for this time of the year.