DJDS, "You Don't Have to Be Alone" (Body High/Loma Vista). The Los Angeles production team formerly known as DJ Dodger Stadium had to tweak its name for obvious reasons, but the moniker switch hasn't affected the mission: to explore human (non-trademark-infringing) emotion through textured, evocative house music.
Its previous album, "Friend of Mine," explored L.A.'s isolation but did so through rhythms that suggested sweaty dance floors. The first song and video from DJDS' second studio album, which will arrive in late fall, takes the opposite tact: an argument against isolationism called "You Don't Have to Be Alone." The up-tempo rhythm track, whose titular lyric loops through the song like an argument, was crafted by producers who record separately as Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy.
Something gels when they work together. Whether through music or their output as founders of the Body High label, the pair thrive when exploring universal human thrills. Best, the inspiring video for "Alone," by directors Daniel Pappas and Nick Walker, explores canine thrills: Specifically, it follows a lonely dog as it unites with a pack of kindred spirits.
Christian Rich, "FW14" (Luck Number Music). Over the last decade, the Nigerian-born, Chicago-raised twin brothers Tai and Kehinde Hassan have co-produced memorable beats as Christian Rich for artists including Drake, Earl Sweatshirt, Childish Gambino and Vince Staples while simultaneously building their own roster and sound. Those tones permeate "FW14," which mixes hardened, synthetic R&B and future soul with a dozen-odd singers and rappers. It too features dogs.
Accents and counter-melodies dance around in the headphones during "Forever Ever (feat. Jack Davey)," which is punctuated by a sampled dog bark. "High" also stars a barked beat, as well as rave-synth diversions and a rumbling bottom end. "Bells" wobbles and flows, with the producers manipulating singer Niia's voice until it sounds like Sade after a few bottles of Sauvignon blanc.
Beach House, "Depression Cherry" (Sub Pop). Having a so-called signature sound can be both a blessing and a curse. The music of Baltimore duo Beach House, for example, is immediately recognizable because of singer Victoria Legrand's textured voice and guitarist Alex Scally's tones. The downside, though, is the risk of artistic retread. How many mesmerizing, beguiling minor-key gems can one duo have in them?
For the record: An earlier version of this article misstated Beach House's album title as "Depression Queen."
Turns out a lot, especially with a fearless willingness to add in new tones and rhythms while further mastering the art of songwriting. The dozen dynamic songs on "Depression Cherry," their fifth album, are dense with organs and echoed electric guitar. The subtle, velveteen beauty that swirls through "10:37" unfurls like a stop-motion flower blossoming. This languid beauty, due in no small part to Legrand's distinctive voice, is central to "Depression Cherry."