August exhausts so seek directional clues through music. Guidance and orientation arrive in beloved oddball-colloquialists THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS’ return to goofy, tuneful high-jinks with the chipper, encyclopedic, “Join Us,” leading to lovelorn underwater-pop coroner, WASHED OUT’s floating emotions and buoyant bedroom electronics, “Within and Without..” Finally, slick, modern Afro-Islamic pop griots FOOL’S GOLD advises and surprises with crackling Caribbean swing in, “Leave No Trace.” Right this way, wayward explorers.
Wooden Shjips - West
Album title: West
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
Churning, squirming murmurs battle seething feed-back and pile-driving percussion while slithering chainsaw blues cruise saturated flash in a combustible combination of mind-blowing bliss. “West,” masterfully plasters sulfuric solos over discordant storms, twisting fistfuls of fuzzed-out guitars and thick wicked organ. Seismic miners, WS’s sinewy squalor breech and buckle under scathing sonic séances, co-opting cross-wired chakras for absorbing amorphous phantasmagorical fibrillations,
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Brian Eno and Rick Holland - Drums Between Bells
Album title: Drums Between Bells
Record Label: Warp
Spinning vigorously digitized Afro-pop and mesmerizing New Age, Eno pairs mystical rhythms and primordial chorales against Holland’s calm truths and processed epiphanies. Manipulated palettes gallop as velvety ooze moves through synthetic stews, grouping moody mathematics around deprogrammed metaphysics. Integrating techno-speak from cyber-specters and vivid images from androgynous monologists, “Drums,” plummet crystal epistles past philosophical obstacles, scorching horns and jazzy patterns.
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Release the Sunbird - Come Back to Us
Album title: Come Back to Us
Record Label: Brushfire
Humble wonders, wistful intimacy and folksy tranquility highlight Rogue Wave front-man Zach Rogue’s new side-project. Friendly genuine vibes and idyllic upbeat rides, RTS’s unencumbered takes and minimal overdubs conjure sweet, unimpeded camaraderie within discrete, unassuming synergy. Effervescent messages bounce beside bright, pastoral chords from tight, tasty guitars and glazed, syncopated keys, “Come,” shines over softly-spoken joys infiltrating bucolic alt-pop ballads. RTS play Madison’s East Side Club August 25th.
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Maria Taylor - Overlook
Album title: Overlook
Record Label: Saddle Creek
Ragged touches undercut undulating Southern charm, cloaked in consoling sympathy and poised on sleepy, slippery slopes, “Overlook,” cooks coy counsel alongside lavender fascinations fashioning heavenly elegance from folk-pop heartbreak. Enlisting family and self-producing, Maria’s languid longings and demonic harmonics harness demure decisions and bushy-tailed benevolence for harlequin seductions ranging from wounded to willful, bathed in shimmering admissions and defiant self-reliance.
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Afrobeta - Under the Streets
Album title: Under the Streets
Record Label: Do IT!
Miami-based pulse hustlers, studio groovers and flashy scratch-masters, Afrobeta’s cougar moves, cooked hooks and DJ hearsay splices New Wave party-girl pumps, rapping disco rumbles and glossy trollop-rock poured over lubricated bass, stuttering synth-riffs, pinball beat-box and dishy, diva grievances. Edgy innovative dance-pop sizzles in polyrhythmic pleasures as, “Streets,” racks up sassy acid mash-ups, smart, tripped-out play-time and deliciously decadent get-downs.
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Portugal. the Man - In the Mountain In the Cloud
Album title: In the Mountain In the Cloud
Record Label: Atlantic
Blasting past glam-rock boogie, funky electric blues and Zen guitar furies, “Mountain,” amasses cosmic Pentecostal stomps amid narcotic rainbow gospel. Mega-ramped mantra rock crests, arrests and sets fire to spiraling psychedelia, cradling granola mellow soul between crashing surges of blazing impatience. Roving leprechaun pop accosting Gothic haunts, P.tM’s action-packed wisdom and wishes encapsulate zigzagging cascades of spotless lava lamp logic.
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Sly inside gobbly-gook or cryptic eclectic nonsense, this summer is full of CDs whose titles evade simple definition. Investigate brassy, acrobatic strutting tucked inside RUBBLEBUCKET’s fevered feel-good R&B hybrid, “Omega La La,” turbo-powered Japanese metalheads DIR EN GREY’s face-melting rip-roaring riff-pilfering opus, “Dum Spiro Spero,” or hip-swiveling neon-dramatists WHEN SAINT GO MACHINE’s lush soulful sequenced scenarios occupying, “Konkylie.” Underlying messages yield melodic treasures in sharp conscientious singer-songwriter PAUL BRADY’s, catchy, conciliatory and comforting, “Hooba Dooba,” and rambunctious Kiwi-prodigy LIAM FINN’s imaginative banquet of OCD rock and lavish bombastic pop, “FOMO”