Time Warp Music: 5 Albums That Give Old Sounds New Life

Looking backwards for musical inspiration is nothing new, and some of the most interesting music can still come from fresh interpretations of styles that are decades old. What follows are five artists whose latest albums summon up eras long past, yet feel immediately vital. Prepare to make like Marty McFly and time travel from 16th-century Europe to 1970s London, and pick up five free (and legal!) downloads along the way.

ERA: 16th-century Europe

Clogs, The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton (Brassland)

The fifth album from the New York City-based new music group Clogs, led by composer Padma Newsome, is both their most accessible work and their most historically-minded. The baroque instrumentation heard on songs like “I Used to Do” seems designed to soundtrack a walk through the Cloisters, but associates of the group such as Sufjan Stevens and The National‘s Matt Berninger bolster a more pop sensibility through their vocal contributions. It’s My Brightest Diamond‘s Shara Worden who walks off with the album, however: her out-of-time vocals have never seemed so at home, and the overall effect is that of offbeat pop songs appealing equally to the early-music set.