Stuck in flux, December albums find fate’s tidal wiles curating dynamic dialectics. Between impact and react, the world connects, corrects and reinvents. Link into century-old public domain songs transformed by an eclectic indie roster in the red-hot melting-pot, “Transference,” then balance prog-pop offspring GEORGIO THE DOVE VALENTINO’s vicarious scenarios, “The Future Lasts A Long Time.” against earthy art-rock dance-jammers FOVEA’s lo-fi spirals and balmy harmonies, “Pencil Me In.” Your move.
Cindy Wilson - Change
Album title: Change
Record Label: Kill Rock Stars
Plush, techno-lounge crowning heavy-petting jet-setters with wistful twists of psychedelic dreaminess; “Change,” unchains gorgeous synth-pop torch-songs padded in satin purrs and swaddled in slow-dance swirls. Experience shows as Wilson easily eases between patient innovation and electric celebration, substituting the former B-52s singer’s zing with sultry, shimmering invitations to create vixenish mid-tempo magic which radiates modern-rock options and emulates retro-hipster charm.
(293) Page Views
Uncle Meg with MC John Debt - Can’t Stay The Same
Album title: Can’t Stay The Same
Record Label: self-release
Dapper rappers stashing impassioned theatrics inside glowing flow and autobiographical bravado, Debt and Uncle’s flyweight-boxer bounce throw potent punches at social conventions, ill-informed norms and uneducated pre-conceptions. Schooling in cool fluid grooves brewed in styled vibes and double-timed rhymes, “Same,” enflames the game in tamed anger, arranging smart hearts with sincere feeling and laying down astounding rounds with swinging opinions.
(514) Page Views
Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno - Finding Shore
Album title: Finding Shore
Record Label: Dead Oceans
The tranquil migrations surrounding, “Shore,” layer wayward raids over methodical odysseys; a gaggle of tadpole wiggles seeking leap-frogging cosmic frequencies through exploratory detours massaging delicate tensions. Pondering wand-waving improvisations, Rogerson’s instrumental solos split into prismatic passages beneath Eno’s manipulating minimalist impulses as one’s ideas grow into another’s paint-box playground where multi-colored themes blissfully drip on planetary canvases in swarming non-conformity.
(326) Page Views
This Pale Fire - Alchemy
Album title: Alchemy
Record Label: Tone Tonic
A graceful sage lost in thought, This Pale Fire builds bittersweet pangs from estranged language nestling soft-spoken consolations in emotional moments with cordial metaphors supported by crisp description. Nebulous webs of brittle electric and nimble acoustic guitars unravel open-hearted departures lifted in wind-blown keyboards and punctual percussion as, “Alchemy,” wrestles and rises around anchorless melodies pirouetting beneath gleaming folk-pop streams.
(287) Page Views
Monster Rally - Flowering Jungle
Album title: Flowering Jungle
Record Label: Gold Robot Records
Looped grooves from Cuban big-bands mash hip-dipping cha-cha-chas to Hawaiian sunsets and moon-lit cocktails as lush, revisionist kitsch bewitches an inquisitive, “Flowering,” with vintage crate-digging synchronicity. Remixing exotica with hip-hop beats, Monster Rally’s balalaikas, marimbas, slack-key guitar and congas infuse the nostalgic scavenging with lavish backing for tasty sound oases, green bygone Edens spritzed in glitchy mystery and stereophonic harmonics.
(353) Page Views
Blush - Blush
Album title: Blush
Record Label: Arrowhawk Records
Skulking in delectable doldrums while mermaid-zombie waltzes pounding out dour downbeats go from salty to sweet; Blush’s slithering alt-pop grinds swing, binge and fall fast asleep to wake in earthquake-rock raves where fun lunges in reverb-soaked vocals. Empowered by girl-group coos and street-corner cool, the self-titled debut pits thrifty riffs against power-chord fortitude to personify conjugal longing and slow-dance romance.
(422) Page Views
A tumultuous year closes with a few remaining musical releases reflecting this strange age we inhabit flushed with subjectivity and gilded in over-saturated facts. Be it seething digi-beasts AZAR SWAN’s hyper-industrial muscle, “Savage Exile,” or fiery folk-blues ramblers BARTEE COX AND THE STRANGE FRUITS’ disenchanted candor, “Magic Boy,” personality cults were this year’s model. So, if you are closer to mega-melodic pop-philosopher ALEX BLOOM’s earnest interpersonal circus, “Blue Room,” than fractal-synth visionary AHNNU’s zero-gravity appetizers, “Special Forces,” fear not. Next year is another chance to try it all over again.