Heavy, yet restless. Capable, but captive. From THE BRAVERY’s commanding, “Stir the Blood,” to COLD CAVE’s haughty, infectious, post-synthetic, “Love Comes Close,” it’s all about November’s tilt towards winter. While the industry wraps up another year before sleeping beneath a sheath of reissues and compilations here are six instances of saving the best for last.
Brazos - Phosphorescent Blues
Album title: Phosphorescent Blues
Record Label: Autobus Records
Brazos’ alt-folk affectations give way to minimalist chamber pop; textural confections fostering poetic ambitions, ceaseless free verse tumbling over cascading counterpoint. Twittering figures build sensuous tensions while, “Phosphorescent,” generates images and visions bound to exultant beats, hobo hopes stitched with hippie mantras seething beneath solemn streets, a stage-struck bohemia of everyday opulence and casual insight.
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Los Cenzontles with David Hidalgo & Taj Mahal - American Horizon
Album title: American Horizon
Record Label: Los Cenzontles Records
A bump and grind banquet of sumptuous Tex-Mex, spooky barrio blues, joyful party tunes and soul-searching serenades, this hearty collaboration proudly parades squeeze-box cumbias, spicy folk-rock and intimate audio scenarios. Detailing the migrant worker’s plight, “Horizon,” is anchored by tradition but flowers through invigorating rock-blues fusions.
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Curtis Harvey - Box of Stones
Album title: Box of Stones
Record Label: Fat Cat Records
Gently genuine, the congenial, nimble-fingered troubadour whose multi-instrumental skills also include a talent for understated lyrics parlays a childhood affection for bluegrass to fuel his long-awaited solo debut with rich, melodic charms. “Box,” crafts tightly-woven tomes offering immediate relief, imposing subtly constructed rocking chair thoughts to crisp, swinging, altogether calming, fireside desires.
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Curtis Harvey online:
Joao Orecchia - Hands and Feet
Album title: Hands and Feet
Record Label: Other Electricities Records
Processed layers welded into seamless streams of jittery digital fidgeting, Joao’s overstocked toy box simmers alongside bantering banjos, wheezing concertinas and listing violins. Blue Man boogie for beats, blips and purring whirligigs, “Hands,” juggles cuckoo clock rock, cyber-fried lullabies and pump ‘n crunch electro-funk for effusive musical Sudoku and groovy, geo-synchronized synergy.
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Joao Orecchia online:
Carolyn Mark & N.Q. Arbuckle - Let’s Just Stay Here
Album title: Let’s Just Stay Here
Record Label: Mint Records
Frank, beautiful heartache captured inside barnstorming story-songs, “Stay,” chases modern tales down darkened alleyways as Mark shoots sparks fronting Canada’s premiere bronco-busting frontier band. Reflective and revved-up, the group’s boot-strap rebuttals are grimy reminders taken for a spin then drinks, good times flowing over toasty twang and rodeo riffs.
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Project Skyward - Moved By Opposing Forces
Album title: Moved By Opposing Forces
Record Label: Rocket Girl
Steamy dreams and writhing twilight flights glow through molasses valleys; unearthly curtains of smoldering, windswept synthesizers and narcotic bass. PS’s celestial grandeur engages galactic techno through floating ghosts and flickering twitches. Cosmic free-falling within oceanic fantasies, “Opposing,” operate pneumatic factories, crossing boundaries into alien electronics, drowsily resurfacing inside thick, moody atmospheres.
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Project Skyward online:
Postpone your hibernation. Three artists with newly-released gems visit Madison this month. High Noon’s Nov. 6th include THE MOUNTAIN GOATS who channel real-life faith, challenging wavering skepticism and destiny’s accidents on, “The Life of the World to Come.” Keen and stylish ERIN MCKEOWN wrings twisted folk-pop gems from, “Hundreds of Lions,” performing a literary cabaret of sparkling art songs at the High Noon Nov. 9th. Finally, MILES ANTHONY BENJAMIN ROBINSON plays UW Nov. 14th; his sprawling, “Summer of Fear,” paints rambling gambles around intimate kinships.