Retribution Gospel Choir 2

Given Low's move away from the slowcore sound they helped pioneer to more standard guitar rock, Alan Sparhawk and Steve Garrington's side-project might seem a bit redundant. But just as their main gig shifts focus, the Retribution Gospel Choir's second disc finds the band in a state of evolution. On 2, the trio have upped the ante, production-wise, dropped the groovy riffing and embraced classic rock. The result is one of the best guitar rock albums to come out in years. Spacious production gives each track room to breathe, creating massive walls of guitar and drums, with vocals that reach for the sky. Each track is a mini-anthem that screams to be heard live. 2 is the kind of album bands like the Foo Fighters should be making: loud, sonically ambitious and full of hooks. (Sub Pop)