[exclaim]ation points

Willy Mason

If the Ocean Gets Rough(Astralwerks)

An artist capable of being the much-needed voice of a generation, Mason’s sophomoric effort is a folky, melancholy coming of age album – a complete departure from his industrial, experimental first album. Yet Mason stays true to his Martha’s Vineyard folk roots, as “Ocean” is the best kind of song for a cloudy New England beach day.

Panda Bear

Person Pitch(Paw Tracks)

The third solo LP by the Animal Collective’s drummer, comprised solely of samples and voice, this record solidifies his position as one of the most important artists in contemporary music. Imagine if Phil Spector and Brian Wilsonstayed up all night listening to Ricardo Villalobos records, made love at dawn and had a reverb-sodden, “experimental” baby. Yeah, it’s that good.

Andrew Bir

dArmchair Apocrypha(Fat Possum)

Bird’s indie-folk sound blends violin, guitar and vocals along with his custom, flute-like whistling. Bird collaborates with percussionist Dosh, adding his experimental sound and electronic touch. “Armchair Apocrypha” fulfills that poised, tranquil hum only Andrew Bird can resound.

The Locust

New Erections(Anti)

“New Erections,” the follow-up album to the group’s 2003 debut album, “Plague Sounds” is a huge improvement from the band’s earlier stuff. The Locust describes their album as “free of limitations, form, or shape,” and the result is just noise. But, if you’re into the scream-o, nonconformist sound, it could be the album for you!

LCD SoundsystemSound of Silver(Capitol)

LCD Soundsystem’s latest blends their usual classic melodies with an upbeat and very danceable edge. The album begins with “Get Innocuous” and builds up like an early Daft Punk hit, entrancing you until “Time to Get Away” and “All My Friends” break loose. The album stays fresh, but feels like home almost instantly.