Normally a month of hibernation, January absolutely overflows with every genre, generation and geographical location getting represented from analogue tape-manipulators IMBOGODOM’s celestial shaman found-sound synergies, “And They Turned Not When They Went,” to digital fidgeters FAUNA’s spicy electro-cumbias, “Manshines,” blues-rock soul-sister GRACE WOODROOFE’s roof-raising American debut, “Always Want,” and flaming Canadian folk-pop singer-songwriter KATHLEEN EDWARDS’ lean, serene, Justin Vernon produced, “Voyageur.” But first, six discs we shamefully overlooked last year
Cass McCombs - Humor Risk
Album title: Humor Risk
Record Label: Domino
Articulating repressed obsessions and quiet rivalry through cool rebukes and questioning hesitations, “Humor,” exudes sensitive everyman rock wrapping under-dressed quests and bare-knuckled troubles in swinging sixties mixes and loner-poet parcels. A slightly lighter companion to last April’s gloom-infused, “Wit’s End,” McCombs’ prolific mischief crushes heartfelt grit into folk-rock ruminations. Melancholy’s soft-spoken apostle, Cass plays Madison’s High Noon Saloon January 30th
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Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer
Album title: Last Summer
Record Label: Merge Records
From hepcat to hipster chick, Fiery Furnace’s Friedberger’s verbal mirth and squiggling riffs slide by bright funky hooks dodging retro-textured synths and post-bop bass for moon-dancing party-pop whose streaming subplots prop off-beat and foolishly groovy treats. Dabbling in schoolyard calypso, chic beatnik dreams and shuffling serenades, “Summer,” becomes a prize-filled grab-bag of flirtatious cadence, coy cathartic remembrances within laidback chitchat.
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Strange Boys - Live Music
Album title: Live Music
Record Label: Rough Trade
Wrangling gangly country-blues through barbed-wire honky-tonk, “Live,” whips bleary world-weary feelings into half-mumbled puzzles spun from boppy music-hall jaunts and growling carousing. Ragged haphazard screechers and grizzled hillbilly stompers howl, lurch and stumble around self-tortured portraits buoyed by cock-eyed twang. Glib, dilapidated investigators, SB’s riverboat-soaked roots prove surly seasoning to punchy moonshine crunches, plaintive hip-shaking impatience and tumbleweed cough-syrup doo-wop
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Robin Bacior - Rest Our Wings
Album title: Rest Our Wings
Record Label: Consonants & Vowels Recordings
Darting flocks of fleeting thoughts trot, wobble and swoon, “Wings,” brings refreshing delicacy to nomadic sadness. Reliable but pliable styles plucked from jazz, country and pop lift Bacior’s lilting bicoastal moments through rollicking waltzes, shy ballads and prancing chamber-folk flights. Swaying tempos surge and swell like woozy ocean waves rolling over crinoline-brushed piano, frisky gypsy strings and preening acoustic guitar.
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Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
Album title: I Am Very Far
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Modern grifter’s myths capture fierce evangelical gifts slinging forthright frustration beneath elegant exasperation; Okkervil’s full-throttled baubles rattle unchecked connections swinging between open-hearted pleas seeking immediate relief and gallant fact-gathering allies calling from nearby cells. Alt-rock buccaneers penning lyrical disbelief, “Far,” portrays pro-active characters; shadowy cafe castaways conjuring novels and slinky thinking vigilantes wrestling lingering vignettes, morose corrosions and undeniable appeals.
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Sam Phillips - Solid State: Songs from the Long Player
Album title: Solid State: Songs from the Long Player
The physical release highlighting her web-based music subscription, “Solid,” melts perceptive pop, melodic taunts and winning minimalism into brilliant cabaret. Illuminating danger in prowling purrs and captivating rasps, Phillip’s skimmed wisdom in foxy fandangos marry the matter of fact among the idiosyncratic, injecting smart, coquettish measures to warmly familiar frameworks for a magical match of willful guile and diplomatic craft.
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Taking advantage of a fifth Tuesday, January’s musical releases grow to avalanche proportions. The 31st alone brings American pop-rock ironists IMPERIAL TEEN’s sharp, chameleonic and dreamilysynthonic, “Feel the Sound,” alongside provincial story-spinner FIONN REGAN’s sweet pastoral lorries “100 Acres of Sycamores,” evocative and exotic EYVIND KANG’s seductive Arabian nights, “The Narrow Garden,” plasticine beat-queen GRIMES’ orgasmic head-trip, ”Visions,” and London knob-twiddlers THE 2 BEARS’ user-friendly party work-outs, “ Be Strong.” Hold tight, February holds promising recordings from FIELD MUSIC, SHARON VAN ETTEN, LAMBCHOP, SLEIGH BELLS, TENNIS and DIRTY THREE