Sorting through the mire, it’s hard to see what’s what. From brilliant brooding mood-producer LEON VYNEHALL’s gorgeous amorphous stereo scenarios, “Nothing Is Still,” to indie-pop philosopher NIK FREITAS’ epic recollections, “Day & Dark,” obtuse ambiguity consumes June. Run amok around wry, chamber-rock pop-star GRUFF RHYS’ monumental, “Babelsberg,” while unraveling synth-funky satellites MAPS AND ATLASES blue-eyed cyber-soul, “Lightlessness is Not New.” and intriguing bohemian STUART A. STAPLES’, enigmatic jazz-folk experiments, “Arrhythmia.”
Kevin Krauter - Toss Up
Album title: Toss Up
Record Label: Bayonet Records
Soft-spoken odes to eternal summer loves spun from jazzy shadow-dancing fantasies, Krauter allows sophistication to seep into his sun-soaked sweetness, pastel-colored questions leaking into seamless allegiances glide beside subdued poolside ruminations and glazed seventies radiance. Unburdened journeys tackle personal concerns with untapped passion catapulting, “Toss,” into radio-ready romance delivered in serene heart-shaped daydreams, dizzy gee-whiz sympathies and waltzing wind-tossed confidence.
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Here Lies Man - You Will Know Nothing
Album title: You Will Know Nothing
Record Label: RidingEasy Records
Chugging jungle thunder plants head-banging chants among high-strung drum-lines weighing, “Nothing,” with festival heaviness whose rich rhythms spin rattle-snake earthquakes and ravenous Saturday Afrobeat raves. A thick stomp-rock stew cooked in psychedelic underbellies, Here Lies Man construct riff-rich rituals around bluesy boogies and heavy-metal head-butts, combining power, grit and agility to scoop hallucinogenic get-downs from tribe-inspired parties celebrating iron-clad madness.
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Lump - Lump
Album title: Lump
Record Label: Dead Oceans
Tentative, sensitive, LUMP packs stark, art-rock taunts into seductive sci-fi sighs for a sumptuous future-pop playground where polished polyphonic concoctions peppered in fretless solos and brittle twists unfold untold synth-folk soul. Soaring in floral choruses and flirtatious hepcat verse, Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay’s imaginative self-titled collaboration delights with perfectly surreal zeal; poltergeist flights rearranging strange mazes inside fiendish machines.
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The Milk Carton Kids - All The Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do
Album title: All The Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do
Record Label: Anti-
Blessed in delicate finesse and flinty wisdom, the warm, meticulous, “Things,” swings in crisp singing and stinging pickin’ depicting modern Americana harboring tested faith among battered hopes. Melancholy follies find kind hindsight inside late-night cantinas and boomtown hotel lounges. Recorded with a full band, the crooning duo gently elevate embattled ballads embroidered in subtle Tex-Mex twang and cozy home-fire harmonies.
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Jim James - Uniform Distortion
Album title: Uniform Distortion
Record Label: ATO Records
Earthy, spirited rock unrolls in raw six-string howls and scruffy, fuzz-plucked hallelujahs as a reinvigorated James wrangles dreamy behemoths in bemused grooves and family jams. Blown-fuse crunch munching on double-dipped echo, bull-rushed percussion and swampy bass, “Uniform,” joyfully storms in well-informed blues-soul bliss with optimistic visions anchored in level-headed enlightenment, a bangin’ banquet flanked by grateful anguish and militant commitment.
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Sleepy Zuhoski - Better Haze
Album title: Better Haze
Record Label: Palo Santo Records
Lonesome hobo folk-pop dressed in platonic wanderlust, “Haze,” shape-shifts between dark, bewitching invitations and get-along songs rustling catchy chameleon appetites hungry for bendable intentions. Crafted narratives navigating haphazard happiness, Zuhoski waxes and wonders in carousel melodies voicing hypnotic thoughts following far-flung orbits; woozy acoustics perusing loose upbeat truths while road-tested electrics send tender regards from sparkling guitars and serpentine keyboards.
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Too much? Simplify. Reducing confusion, choose mesmerizing song-writer JULIANA DAUGHTERY’s pure, nourishing, “Light,” folk-rock revolutionaries RIVER WHYLESS’ pro-active compassion, “Kindness, A Rebel,” or elaborate mastermind MELODY’S ECHO CHAMBER’s space-paisley cabaret, “Bon Voyage.” Pinpoint problems with slick minimalists IMMERSION’s nanobot-rock ambiance, “Sleepless.” or fierce rouge-rockers DOTT’s girl-group reboot, “Heart Swell.” Minimize what you visualize in precious baroque-folk messengers THE INNOCENCE MISSION’s enchanting, “Sun on The Square,” alt-pop songstress TANCRED’s edgy pleasures, “Nightstand,” or musical fusionist ARP’s analogue-stocked, “Zebra,” Finally, cut to the chase in courageous rock-troubadour RICHARD EDWARD’s incisive reprisals, “Verdugo.”