Dunedin trio Males might dispense a pop payload with almost ruthless efficiency, yet this is a unit equally adept at sitting in the pocket and ruminating a while, a dual approach facilitated by frontman Richard Ley Hamilton's combination of deft guitar playing and helium vocal dexterity aligned with a rare sense of melody.
The '70s loom large on Kevin Morby's third solo album, but his strength is making the Americana canon of singer/songwriters seem fresh and vital.
Formerly known as Antony Hegarty, transsexual musician Anohni's most recent metamorphosis has been from intimate chamber-pop explorer to political protester via electronic dance anthems.
An award-winning global entertainment company, better known for its stage productions around the world than its 10 studio albums, the Blue Man trio has released a propulsive, tight collection of 14 instrumentals that reflect the urgent, urban energy of its Manhattan base.
Toronto-based Allie, Jaclyn, and Trevor Blumas follow up their reverberation-soaked debut, Kalaboogie, with a similarly ethereal effort - albeit one that derives its cool, affected distance via a combination of electronic noodling and pulsing bass-heavy rhythms, a mood the trio signalled on last year's EP, Pageantry Suite.
Weezer's grip on the heart-on-sleeve power-pop crown seemed tenuous in the early part of this decade due to dalliances with Flat-Earth rappers and oppressive EDM flourishes.
In a career spanning nearly three decades and nine solo albums, PJ Harvey has barely had a dud. In fact, quite the opposite and so it is on The Hope Six Demolition Project.
The man behind the restrained acoustic ministrations of Iron and Wine, Sam Beam, has teamed up with fellow American (now Manchester-based) singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop in an earthy collection of songs that might do little to advance the folk pantheon, yet demand notice by way of attention to detail and in-your-face performances.
The first Car Seat Headrest album to be released on a major label (not counting last year's Teens of Style, effectively a compilation), Teens of Denial finds Will Toledo in gloriously ragged form.
Having attended to the songwriting ambitions of a range of Kiwi country-inclined folk, Christchurch drummer Will Wood again reveals he has talents beyond a sympathetic ear and slick stick technique.
Aided by The Phoenix Foundation's Luke Buda and Sam Scott and other members of the Wellington-based band, Dave Dobbyn strikes fine form on the aptly named Harmony House.
"I'm going to break into your heart and crawl under your skin,'' Iggy Pop croons on the opening track.
It's clear from a cursory glance at the cover that Santi White's third album takes a not-so-sly dig at the world of day-glo fake plastic pop - a budget commodity, shrink-wrapped and airbrushed for our pleasure.
With a huge assortment of influences and styles to call on from their 30-plus years of making music, Bobby Gillespie and co have opted for a trip back to the early '90s and acid house for their 11th album.
For their seventh album, the focus for these Massachusetts nu-metal pioneers seems to be the synergy of having original vocalist Jesse Leach present for the whole writing process.
The seventh album from Sia Furler is a fascinating, yet unrewarding, lesson in the pop music machine as the Australian artist runs through a dozen tracks intended for others (including Adele, Rihanna, Kate Perry, Beyonce and Shakira) but were either rejected or withdrawn from offer.
Recording with the XL label's in-house producer Rodaidh McDonald has proved to be something of a masterstroke for British singer Holly Lapsley Fletcher, who has blended a typically spare approach with widescreen textural washes, taut yet celebratory grooves and various takes on current, electronica-tinged R&B.
Wolfmother, which is essentially just Andrew Stockdale these days, is so gloriously Sabbath-derivative that you have to admire it.
"Name one genius that ain't crazy'' is the sort of pronouncement not wholly unexpected from the dilettante with the world's healthiest sense of self; yet on his seventh album, there is overwhelming evidence of the latter - witness the minimalist Wolves, where his wife is compared with the straightest of faces to the Virgin Mary, or that scandalously crass Taylor Swift-related prognostication on Famous, which suggests an artist teetering on the precipice.