The Gods Themselves
Whether siding with garage-pop space-ghosts SLOPPY HEADS’ grassroots, “Useless Smile,” shell-shocked gloss-rockers THE MODERN SAVAGE’s vixenish visions, “Unwilling Participants,” or party-crashers THE GODS THEMSELVES’ beat-driven New Wave, “Be My Animal,” January inaugurates album titles suspicious of power-hungry mischief. Lobby for mojo-stoked SOUL SCRATCH’s brass-mashed R&B anarchy, “Pushing Fire,” then cast your vote for kamikaze blacksmiths UNIFORM’s industrial concussions, “Wake in Fright,” before bowing before digi-pop siren AUSTRA’s ethereal, “Future Politics.”
Tim Cohen - Luck Man
Album title: Luck Man
Record Label: Sinderlyn
Warm and fuzzy wonder washes over Cohen’s cozy notions, trippy sympathies and jocular journeys, elevating quasi-narcotic concoctions from hippie-dipped simplicity to epic medicine for psilocybin sentimentalists. Narrative clarity surrounding whimsical kismet propel, “Luck,” constructing a rich, ramshackle tapestry from home-grown pop-rock options whose welcoming tones and elemental metaphors navigate uncertain times with winsome wisdom captured in shining pearls of self-assurance.
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Allison Crutchfield - Tourist In This Town
Album title: Tourist In This Town
Record Label: Merge
Sweetened in synths and reinforced by lean, muscular percussion, “Tourist,” empowers and devours with life-affirming urgency, plunging into epic alt-rock with beguiling folk-pop honesty, confronting psychological obstacles in uninhibited descriptions and first-person certainty, Branded in animated hindsight, unapologetic conjecture and level-headed revelations Crutchfield’s enlarged heart reveals a restless edginess that takes no prisoners while liberating desperate efforts with infectious messages.
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Bash & Pop - Anything Could Happen
Album title: Anything Could Happen
Record Label: Fat Possum
Lo-fi tigers colliding in double-barreled rockabilly benders and smarmy garage-rock raves, Tommy Stinson’s Bash & Pop demolishes by swinging rhythms attacking deranged twang while trolling a rip-roaring Rolodex of snarling roadhouse blues. A rollicking, rocketing joyride, “Anything,” swerves with curve-ball assaults heralding feral melt-downs primed in street-wise desires and con-artist barn-burners. Bash & Pop play Milwaukee’s Cactus Club January 13th
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Mark Eitzel - Hey Mr. Ferryman
Album title: Hey Mr. Ferryman
Record Label: Merge
Elegant exercises whose effortless lyricism cruises through lush chords into electric solos with sophistication, grace and finesse, “Ferryman,” basks in emotional grandeur cultivating introspective reflections within romantic abandon. An unguarded bard turned aloof crooner, Eitzel alongside producer Bernard Butler distill despondent correspondence from consoling souls slow-dancing to stolen hopes and sumptuous despair; earthly mercies stirring transcendental penance with monumental tenderness.
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Fred Thomas - Changer
Album title: Changer
Record Label: Polyvinyl
A modern chronicler with the gift for gab, Thomas’ uncommon commentaries nail contemporary life with supple wit whisked into frenetic sketches and melodic observations crammed inside ambling tangents. Offering heavenly synth instrumentals and rabid minstrel binges, “Changer,” ranges from solemn indie-rock to sly punk-pop for a petulant session compiling vital DIY spunk from shredded op-eds, savvy caveats and peanut-gallery rallies.
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Joan of Arc - He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands
Album title: He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands
Record Label: Joyful Noise
Freaky future-pop jams move to amuse overactive catalogers as, “Hands,” slams sonic oddities against free-verse curses; cunning puns tumble over rickety riffs while loopy grooves boogie beneath jigsaw monologues. Making tasty tunes from haphazard patterns by weaving intriguing collegiate seizures into unpredictable art-punk missiles, Chicago’s Joan of Arc build science-blinded ironies from eclectic intellects, coordinating disordered oratory around deadpan mechanics.
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As the unthinkable happens everyday, January reveals gaps between subjective perceptions and cold, hard facts. Close calls greet folk-poet and intricate minimalist JULIE BYRNE’s breath-taking acoustic-brewed open-book, “Not Even Happiness,” and British alt-rock imagineers MENACE BEACH’s tangy, changeable, “Lemon Memory.” Between intense existentialists CLOUD NOTHINGS’ ear-shattering catchiness, “Life Without Sound,” fierce jangle-bopper STEF CHURA’s insightful, “Messes,” and ambidextrous art-pop showmen LANDLADY’s vibrant kaleidoscope, “The World Is A Loud Place,” reality’s causalities are everywhere. Cloud Nothings play Madison’s High Noon Saloon February 9th while Ms. Chura visits Madison’s Rathskellar February 10th.