SPIN’s 25 Winter Albums You’ve Got to Hear

Band of SkullsSweet Sour (Electric Blues/Vagrant)
Release date: Feb. 21
The second album by U.K. trio Band of Skulls is aptly titled. Sweet and Sour balances sleek, bluesy ’70s-rock swagger (title track, “The Devil Takes Care of His Own”) and softer, sweeter, more reflective tunes (“Close to Nowhere,” “Hometowns”), as guitarist Russel Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson share lead vocals, shifting from discordant smirks to poignant, nostalgic musings. The songs carry an unmistakable weight, but Band of Skulls also flash a sense of humor — see the video for “The Devil Takes Care of His Own,” which involves, yes, ninjas. Sweet and Sour is the rare modern-rock album that can span cliques or generations, uniting hippies and hipsters, kids and parents.
Fast Fact: Band of Skulls’ universal, slightly-retro appeal makes them prime licensing fodder, with songs already being used in The Hangover Part II21 Jump Street, and a Hugo Boss commercial. Look out, Black Keys! GABRIELLA GEISINGER