November zeros in on albums camped outside the box, countering boundaries by floating far beyond life’s cross-hairs. Leading the spree, introspective folk-singer SUMIE’s authentic sentiments, solitary apologies and subtle rebuttals, “Lost in Light,” navigates towards soothing humanity. Classic country craftsmen, THE CONTENDERS’ galloping, “Laughing with the Reckless,” throw caution to Southwestern winds with swinging, well-picked pleasures while sleep-walking overlords COCK & SWAN’s perilous cyber-journey, “Dream Alone,” dispenses attractive synaptic relapses.
Karl Blau - Out Her Space
Album title: Out Her Space
Record Label: Bella Union
Bright, infectious island vibes bob between bouncy Tex-Mex boogie and sweet Memphis soul for a beautiful bouillabaisse brewed in the chill, accommodating, “Space.” Original, well-informed, generous and modest, multi-talented Blau’s cavalier curios, impertinent excursions and lyrical larks fall together in jazzy, imaginative patchworks; liberating songs graced with natural logic backed by spry observations, sassy brass, gypsy strings and ambidextrous guitars.
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Friendship - Shock Out of Season
Album title: Shock Out of Season
Record Label: Orindal Records
Tweaked in sneaky steel-guitar whose tranquil coos harbor casually rhymed lines from still-water conversations, the candid, low-key Friendship sails over electronic prairies with chill skills suspending bendable endings in calm, transcendent intensity. Winding mindfulness spoken over slippery smooth grooves, “Shock,” quivers in quiet writer’s revelry rippling among passive analysis, methodical plots and hazy persuasions offering simmering glimpses into early-morning memories.
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Pauline Anna Strom - Trans-Millenia Music
Album title: Trans-Millenia Music
Record Label: RVNG Intl
Lofty cosmic pomp playing among enlarged mirages, sorting organics from mechanics; “Trans-Millenia,” enslaves laser-show oscilloscopes, staging vague whale-song dreamscapes where jellyfish kiss monoliths and switched-on songbirds teeter between grand banshee vortices and serene subterranean drapery. Piloting incandescent star-ships through spider-web Shangri-las, Strom’s eerie New-Age occasions seek nocturnal pearls from magical algorithms, calculating swooning illusions within bold opuses and satiny pageantry.
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Autobahn - The Moral Crossing
Album title: The Moral Crossing
Record Label: felte
Sensitive engines mixing post-punk menace with night-club medicine, indie-synth revisionists Autobahn construct hypnotic Krautrock highways with over-driven distortion coursing through shadow-battled tunnels, dredging lush crushes from curried fury while mounting corrosive campaigns against faceless rage. Glazed, serrated micro-managed calamities probe svelte, self-contained anarchy throughout “Crossing,” as swirling urges surge, merge and purge, churning cathartic rebel yells beneath grinding assembly-line timing.
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Angel Olsen - Phases
Album title: Phases
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
A compilation of demos, b-sides and unreleased songs, “Phases,” blazes in old-school croons; unvarnished rag-doll pop baptized in smoky Appalachian prayers and roasted over plugged-in indie-folk. A spiritual will manifested in swamp-gospel taunts from broken-hearted ghosts infiltrating tear-choked letters home; Olsen’s emotions whittle things to a fine, almost fragile point, presenting graveside love-songs to entice stony testimony from twilight revivals.
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Gun Outfit - Out of Range
Album title: Out of Range
Record Label: Paradise of Bachelors
Free-range jangle wrangling electric post-rock Americana, cattle-driving Longfellows, Gun Outfit, corral back-alley allegations with ripped six-string fences hanging handcuffed shuffles over box-canyon reverb and lazy-river rhythms. Rainy-day vibes yield foggy trots whose storming contortions pour down hard while the warm and inviting, “Range,” untangles stainless-steel tumbleweed from dreamy full-moon fevers, drenching hound-dog harmonies with rambling riffs jamming beneath starry skies.
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As the year winds down albums look up finding new things everywhere, from synth-wizards BITCHIN BAJAS’ phantom ocean ambience etching interstellar textures around, “Bajas Fresh,” to fringe-swinger Lambchop alumni COUPLER’s, abstract throb-rock metamorphoses, “Gifts from the Ebb Tide.” Refreshed perspectives suggest opulent optimism with tiple-playing folk-hobo ED ASKEW’s, lo-fi literary innocence, “A Child In The Sun,” and hi-tech mosaic-making manipulators DIGITAL RELEASE’s, phantasmagorical found-sound synthesis, “Positive Approach,” while Scottish story-teller LOMOND CAMPBELL’s orchestrated troubadour travelogue, “Black River Promise,” and chamber-pop artisan CAMERON BLAKE’s sophisticated hallelujahs, “Fear Not.” seal every deal.