(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Originally intended as a multimedia performance art project combining photography and music, Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion of Guelph, Ontario, have evolved into more of a fully realized band—a move that's paid off with the release of one of the best albums of 2012 thus far. Memoryhouse's The Slideshow Effect unleashes lush, richly imaginative arrangements and sharp lyrics that lend themselves to the photographic aesthetic of memory and time; but it's the collision of nostalgic meditation and melody on songs like "Punctum" that burrows into your whistling regimen for an entire day. These songs are simply timeless, pretty, sad, and ambitious—a pristine indie-pop record that ought to transfer well over to the live setting just as easily as it's become my plaintive go-to listen. RYAN J. PRADO

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) In addition to being a magnificently passive-aggressive way to wreak vengeance upon an ex, releasing a breakup album on Valentine's Day is guaranteed to garner some press. Especially an album made by Islands shape-shifter Nick Thorburn. Over the course of four albums and frequent personnel changes, the only consistent thing about Islands has been Thorburn's unwillingness to embrace a specific sound or style, skipping among synth-pop and various flavors of indie. A Sleep & A Forgetting was allegedly written with only the aid of a piano and heartbreak. This could be why it's the best Islands record to date, with an overarching mood of intimate authenticity rather than unfocused experimentation. And with a garage-pop aesthetic, it's certainly not a downer. The lyrics do tend to be about having your heart ripped out, but the hooks feel like pure sunshine. REBECCA WILSON