1. U.S. Girls, In a Poem Unlimited
Release date: February 16
Record label: 4AD
Why it's great: Half Free, the last album from songwriter Meghan Remy's Toronto-based U.S. Girls, featured a song called "New Age Thriller" that turned a shuffling beat and spooky guitar riff into a black-and-white noir film. It was barren, chilly, and terrifying. The second song off Reamy's new album, In a Poem Unlimited, is a cover of Canadian singer Simone Schmidt "Rage of Plastics," and it's a similar act of cinematic alchemy, but it seeks to put you in a sunnier location: The loutish saxophone, the slinky guitar, and the playful keyboards are straight out of a sweltering Miami mystery. "It was the rage of plastics," sings Remy. "I was 24/I was doing my time on the dance floor." Sweat drips throughout. The tales of desperation and revenge on this record call to mind modern crime writers like Megan Abbott, Laura Lippman, or Gillian Flynn, but the music is artful, Bowie-tinged disco. It's the perfect zone for an artist as curious and cutting as Remy to experiment in. When the reels change, it's impossible to know what's coming next.