February album titles concede we are works in progress; from catty, bratty powerhouse FREDERICK THE YOUNGER’s precocious back-alley cabaret, “Human Child,” to brimstone sob-rocker LOUISE BURNS’ sizzling kiss-offs, “Young Mopes,” nobody’s perfect. Consider goading global-folk balladeer ALASDAIR ROBERT’s princely jigs skedaddling within, “Pangs,” brazen symphonic-pop ensemble EINAR STRAY ORCHESTRA’s lavish, immaculate passion-play, “Dear Bigotry,” or unambivalent singer-songwriter ALI SPERRY’s retro-pop country-hybrid, “Crooked Feelings,” and unlimited limitations sing late-winter songs.
Crushed Stars - Displaced Sleepers
Album title: Displaced Sleepers
Record Label: Simulacra
Rainy-day tranquility steeped in soft-spoken elegance, “Sleepers,” keeps secret dreams shrouded in patient, complacent guitars, jazz-brushed percussion and swaying bass. Slow, suggestive solos from liquid synths drip beneath cymbal-less rhythms while gossamer flotsam flounders and lounges extracting existential penance from lost romantics. A quivering equilibrium between mild-mannered melancholy and candle-lit bitterness, Crushed Stars’ beautifully mired mirages disappear into twilight hindsight.
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Deep Throat Choir - Be OK
Album title: Be OK
Record Label: Bella Union
Surging voices bobbing in undulating choruses, Deep Throat’s triumphant collection of women singers apply warm, organic harmonies nurturing hardy folk-gospel raves among communal indie-rock hymns. Removing traditional instruments from the group’s eclectic selection of contemporary covers, “OK,” lovingly blends gorgeous home-cooked roars and tender, buoyant chorals into a lively, largely a capella affair marked by generous spirits and kind hearts.
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Sallie Ford - Soul Sick
Album title: Soul Sick
Record Label: Vanguard
Surf-twang spit mixed with skiffle-riddled blues and punk-country gumption laced in boardwalk organ grinds; Ford subtly incorporates soul-sister back-up singers and braying hepcat horns to leverage vintage signature sounds into bawdy solace, howling accounting and smoldering testimonials. A rootsy groovy rock ‘n roll rodeo, “Sick,” whips juke-joint jive into revivalist pile-ups brimming in tart, razor-sharp whimsy and smarmy, charming camaraderie.
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Hand Habits - Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void)
Album title: Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void)
Record Label: Woodsist
Nodding cosmic odysseys bottling wide-eyed sighs, gently picked riffs and cyber-guided lullabies, “Idle,” drives prime prairie-land fantasies adrift in intoxicating promises spritzed with feathery innocence and foggy prophecy from banshee-teased feedback. Delicate chamber-rock shredder and pliable dream-pop diver Meg Duffy leads Hand Habits down cozy, fur-lined rabbit-holes, roping glowing psych-folk with heavenly six-string lassos, wrangling persuasive angels in alluring reverberations.
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Los Campensinos! - Sick Scenes
Album title: Sick Scenes
Record Label: Wichita Recordings
Charging into civil frays rinsed in slippery wit, poet-soldiers Los Campensinos’ clever dismembered indie-pop memoirs brew effusive mulligan stews. Ladling beat-driven battle-cries into polysyllabic analysis, “Scenes,” reconvenes riot-act culture-wars with unruly punk execution and breathless intrepid reflections while lyrical volleys pitched to educated punks and literate misfits engage name-dropping brains and gyrate bohemian bodies for pro-active chitchat from socio-political riffraff.
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The Orwells - Terrible Human Beings
Album title: Terrible Human Beings
Record Label: Atlantic
Gunpowder prowlers scarred in charred blues-rock scorchers and hot-wired wise-guy tirades, “Terrible,” bangs and boogies in snarky bar-room blarney. Partnered in tarnished guitar-slinger garnishes and slathered in wicked pithy wordplay, The Orwells’ gloriously sordid shenanigans pack feisty double-barreled rapture into cackling anthem-tantrum magic. Tireless renegades on record and on stage, the dizzying quintet swings into Milwaukee’s The Rave March 17th.
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Despite humanity’s relentless imperfections February albums pursue oddly philosophical optimism. Contemplate sound-sculptor MIND OVER MIRRORS’s tectonic chakras, “Undying Color,” and art-pop cubists DUTCH UNCLES’ sophisticated English-funk, “Big Balloon,” while applauding squalling rock-squadron THE GODFATHERS’ wonderfully blunt conundrums, “Big Bad Beautiful Noise,” and lo-fi confider VAGABON’s touching, head-rushed, “Infinite Worlds.” Finally February suggests staying in the present with post-folk innovator and sheepish tumbleweed JESCA HOOP’s prancing pan-handler incantations, “Memories are Now,” muscular pop sensualists TEN FE’s golden, smoldering, “Hit the Light,” and world-beat soothsayer SINKANE’s groove crusade, “Life and Livin’ It.”