High Waisted - photo by Ryan Vestil
During these locked-down times some May albums appear eerily prophetic. Iron-willed jackhammers GHOST WORK‘s bulletproof head-bangers, “You’ll Be Buried With,” and collaborative country-blues balladeer NICK KIZIRNIS’ roadhouse noir, “The Distance,” suggest quarantined worlds while folk-singing sophisticate JOHANNA WARREN‘s therapeutic musings, “Chaotic Good,” panoramic phantoms I BREAK HORSES’ electro-symphonic, “Warnings,” and rad retro-sirens HIGH WAISTED‘s bouffant romps, “Sick of Saying Sorry,” tap into our pandemic paranoia. Stock up and hunker down.
Car Seat Headrest - Making A Door Less Open
Album title: Making A Door Less Open
Record Label: Matador
MIDI-triggered sizzle bolsters throaty indie-rock neuroses inside the bipolar, “Open;” whose plastic masks cast throbbing insomnia born from troubled struggles and societal trials. Half rash reactions to impatient paralysis and half obsessively clever kvetching, Car Seat Headrest channels manic challenges through cathartic artifice, taming stinging instincts in articulate schizophrenia, a language-filled meringue connecting tart emo-slacker jive to convulsive digital digressions.
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Diet Cig - Do You Wonder About Me?
Album title: Do You Wonder About Me?
Record Label: Frenchkiss Records
Clear-eyed slop-pop misfits balancing emotional avalanches and knotted logic, Diet Cig twist, bop and swoon bouncing from earnest word-salad ballads to headstrong bittersweet love-songs; perceptive punks crunching irrepressible face-melters among soft-spoken alt-folk heartbreakers. Rummaging among complicated feelings with percussive fuzz and relentless tenderness, ”Wonder,” plunges in tattletale details, defeated sleepers and upstaged players song-journaling from bedroom outposts and carpeted garages.
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Chicano Batman - Invisible People
Album title: Invisible People
Record Label: ATO Records
Sun-baked funk itching and flinching in lazy summer rhythms, “Invisible,” reveals ticklish metaphysical epiphanies and polyester flower-power philosophy squirming under candy-coated soul. Sweet-talkin’ sonic saunas whose pliable grooves sashay in bottom-heavy euphoria, Chicano Batman’s slow pastel jams, beach bodega boogie and glittery street carnival vibe light bright R&B breezes beneath psychedelic seaside flights; a slick, frisky discothèque dispensing sensuous transcendence.
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Houses of Heaven - Silent Places
Album title: Silent Places
Record Label: felte
Whirlwind warlocks, fallen hobgoblins and metallic talisman circle hard-wired bonfires as Houses of Heaven’s drugged spark-plugs ride reckless techno-pagan waves sprayed in rattling factory malice and etched in rampant interplanetary anvils. Subterranean synths pinned in solemn robo-pulses dance around thunder-dome percussion piloted by glacial masons, plummeting, “Silent,” from elusive pursuits to ambient panic, half-cocked stalker-rock wrapped in urgent, nervous worry.
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Man Man - Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between
Album title: Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between
Record Label: Sub Pop
Flamboyant stories whose core reinforces simple human flaws in buoyant poignancy, zany complaints and zinger wisdom, “Hunting,” guns, puns and stuns reassembling baroque folk, circus klezmer and power-pop lounge into marimba-driven whimsy and sinister loony-bin precision. Cheeky uber-musical court-jesters, Man Man tackles cackling theatrics, creating dazzling magic stitched in acerbic wit and curried wordplay; idyllic mischief riddled with smart-ass panache.
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Deathlist - You Won’t Be Here For Long
Album title: You Won’t Be Here For Long
Record Label: Xray Records
Armored martyrs reincarnated, wedged between midnight insights anchored in severed memory’s embers and thick rich cyber-rock fissures, the deliciously demonic Deathlist manifest gothic operatives dredged from granite trances and refined in grinding mindfulness. Flood-gates tease check-mates with industrial maelstroms washing ”Won’t,” in rigid insistence and cataclysmic opinions, mountain-climbing caution scaling skyscraper impatience with gritty riffs, cloaked vocals and crooked hooks.
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Who knows what tomorrow brings? Change remains the only constant in mercurial indie-singer EVE OWEN‘s, unfettered questions, “Don’t Let The Ink Dry,” and diaphanous synth-whisperer KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH‘s sparkling chakras, “The Mosaic of Transformation, ” while psych-folk shamans WOODS’ rhythmic kismet, “Strange to Explain,” and straight-shooting chanteuse DEAU EYES’ voluptuous gusto, “Let It Leave,” roll with the punches. Alternative endings include wonk-pop concoctor ARTHUR‘s squishy visions, “Hair of the Dog,” lo-fi surrealists DEERHOOF‘s groovy alt-rock hi-jinks, “Future Teenage Cave Artists,” and haunted song conjurer KATIE VON SCHLEICHER‘s, perplexing confessions, “Consummation.”