From electro-wizard UNDO’s calm time-bomb countdowns, “Disconnect,” to synth-pop globe-trotters RAINBOW ARABIA’s peppy, “L.A. Heartbreak,” November albums call it a day. Whether heavy modern-rocker NINA DIAZ’s machine-tooled adieu, “The Beat is Dead,” novel sonic-salvagers JUNK SON’s seductive, beat-sweetened, “Beginning Ending Pretending,” steel-string history buff SHANE PARISH’s tangled twang-wrangled instrumentals, “Undertaker Please Drive Slow,” or dark-pop starlets LOLAHIKO’s vacuum-tubed gloom, “The Year We Died But Stayed Alive,” parting brews musical manna.
Ian Fitzgerald - You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone
Album title: You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone
Record Label: self-release
With a Shakespearean ear for fated turn-abouts and karmic comeuppance. Fitzgerald’s wry asides and respectable skepticism turn back-storied morality plays and tongue-twisted parables into stainless-steel honky-tonk detailing small-town heart-break, self-destructive desires and guilty-pleasure complications. The strong, wiry, “Gone,” present pithy ditties in philosophical scuffles with double-dipped wit fitting crafted, diplomatic passions encapsulating everyday characters with crossroad anecdotes and daring narratives.
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Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads - EX/EX
Album title: EX/EX
Record Label: self-release
Scoffing operas taunting two-act theatrics with elastic extravaganzas, the nefarious, “Ex/Ex.” splashes social catastrophes into sinful bingeing cinematics featuring ravenous lip-smacking tragedies. Plastering gossamer-rock gossip onto randy banter through catchy New Wave soul, Kristopher and company’s saucy scorn unfurl street-parade cabaret littered in prancing fantasies; lizard-king flings with glam-pop bell-hops dissecting delectable medleys painted in broad strokes and trifling vices.
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Martha Wainwright - Goodnight City
Album title: Goodnight City
Record Label: PIAS
Possessed with reliably pliable inflections directing casually jazzy gallops, Wainwright nurtures in purrs and bickering rebukes. Rock-banshee shrieks among soul-kissed convictions weave warbling stories stroked and coaxed with autobiographical swagger and withering midnight delivery. From delicate tenderness to red-flag daggers, “City,” sits pretty, offering refined pining through post-modern torch-songs while upholding bold uncensored declarations resurrecting unconditional love and world-weary wisdom.
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Wolf People - Ruins
Album title: Ruins
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Ancient pagan vibes ride cosmic prog-rock thunder to exhume spooky druid maneuvers from gilded warlock tombs; “Ruins,” fumes and swoons, slathered in psychedelic blues churning with epic, dark magic. Spellbinding titans lacing ravaged pageantry around ornate tornadoes, Wolf People’s scorching orchestral redemption gallantly balances meticulous riffs inside heavy-metal avalanches for a seething stampede of chivalry and revenge, nobility and rage.
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American Wrestlers - Goodbye Terrible Youth
Album title: Goodbye Terrible Youth
Record Label: Fat Possum
Vigorous pub-rock lullabies served in matter-of-fact rallies coat street-wise hope in staunch confidence as American Wrestlers’ muscular wonder feeds a needy hunger for earnest courtesies and compassionate actions through guitar-fueled power-ballads and sage, patient anthems. Cruise-missile crusades offer mighty tidal-waves of good-will, bonded fellowship and energetic connections, turning “Youth,” loose through layman’s lyrics to rouse powerful harmony within iron-clad camaraderie.
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Mr. Universe - Everything’s Good/It’s Not Working
Album title: Everything’s Good/It’s Not Working
Record Label: Moderate Fidelity
Armed with a Roland Rhythm 77 beatbox, expressive guitar and vagabond spirit, “Working,” marinates plain and simple longing in clear, sincere choruses and humble, observant verses. An emotional foot-soldier wielding laidback garage-pop scholarship, Mr. Universe peels back deep-seated concessions to brew self-reflective alt-folk nods to nomadic regrets, inevitable missteps and pitiless visions which explore ordinary ironies beneath ill-timed, half-defined kindnesses.
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In the midst of so many farewells, November releases deliver multiple messages of positive thoughts. Case in point, the year’s final flush of albums include post-skiffle choirboys MONOMYTH’s blissful shindig, “Happy Pop Family,” and dream-pop sisters TASSEMACY’s luminous caresses, “Do Easy.” Whereas heady hepcat JIM JAMES’ astral-splashed serenity, “Eternally Even.” and techno-temptress DIANA’s dance-floor persuasions, “Familiar Touch,” sides with life’s silver linings, both lyrical chamber-folk rocker MATT POND PA’s joyous boyhood remembrances, Winter Lives,” and heavenly art-pop harmonists PAVO PAVO’s glistening wistfulness, “Young Narrator in the Breakers,” salute courageous optimism.