Spring brings music going the distance. On our way from here to there positive hip-hopper GIFT of GAB’s spiraling, inspiring, “The Next Logical Progression,” follows aerodynamic DJ MORGAN PAGE’s varnished, vacuum-sealed vamps, “In the Air.” Sonic Youth’s LEE RANALDO’s brawny moxie surrounding invigorating sophistication, “Between the Times and the Tides,” plus slow-burn, space-rockers CONDUITS’ epic segues trampling quicksand dams, “Conduits” suggests flexible means collect disconnected ends. The ride’s already happening.
Nanci Griffith - Intersection
Album title: Intersection
Record Label: Thirty Tigers
Uncovering long-forgotten gems and producing rousing originals, feisty folk-singer, troubadour humanist and starry-eyed archivist Griffith reflects pro-actively, learning from spurned lovers and turning everyday adversity into affirming portrayals of grass-roots salvation. Respect and regret mingle in sing-along story-songs strong in sympathy, social conscience and down-trodden decency, “Intersection,” questions countless doubts and nurtures worthy mercies, touching lives and trusting in people.
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Elephant & Castle - Transitions
Album title: Transitions
Record Label: Plug Research
Cellophane arrangements leap from dream-fragmented memories to deeply sleepy doldrums as E&C’s recombinant collage of opaque retakes, ethereal appeals and random phantoms feed pre-natal fables with shape-shifting glyphs and cosmopolitan cool. Sonic shards carved from ragtag blips, cosmic blobs and gravity-defying grace, “Transitions,” roams combing kamikaze origami into amorphous contortions, a slithering vision siphoning groove-filled ambience and liquid, back-tracked quadratics.
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Greenpot Bluepot - Ascend at the Dead End
Album title: Ascend at the Dead End
Record Label: Greenpot Bluepot
Exotic concoctions drawn from noisy orchestras of wheezing reeds, Thai beats and tinkling cymbals, “Ascend,” sends rampaging rhythms around feral spells from tarot card choirs. Twisting ethnic traditions resisting conventional wisdom, GPBP’s outlandish mannerisms stampede in haunting microtonal hypnosis, unleashing fearlessly multi-cultural boomerangs for swirling dervish curses chasing snakes and making faces from ruthless Kabuki spookiness and choreographed cyber-tribal kookiness.
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Greg Laswell - Landline
Album title: Landline
Record Label: Vanguard
Moving cross-country and recording in an isolated church in Maine, Laswell’s soul-searching concerns blend soaring gorgeous rejoicing and candid candied choruses into complicated relations, casual kiss-offs and boldly open-hearted charges. Forthright emotional songs enhanced by co-ed cameos, muscular melodies and perceptive connections, “Landline,” redesigns romantic advances while sumptuous production camouflages terse wordplay conveying bittersweet bravado, therapeutic subterfuge and self-reliant defiance.
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Lightships - Electric Cables
Album title: Electric Cables
Record Label: Domino
A mellow masterpiece of poignant jangle, Teenage Fanclub’s Gerald Love delivers a transcendent stew of effervescent restlessness and sparkling tenderness, painting embraceable odes over buzzing, cuddly, twang-filled tranquility. An immaculate pageant of meticulous pop-rock lullabies bathed in cooing beauty, “Cables,” cradles velvety synths, squirming drums and fidgety guitars in sinfully winsome innocence, sun-soaked hope skimming daydreaming secrets and soft-spoken smiles.
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Young Prisms - In Between
Album title: In Between
Record Label: Kanine Records
Drenched in brittle sizzle and droning overtones, “Between,” streams hot pop ditties from subterranean caves; smothering heartache and deep-seated longing in turbulent solos amidst thorny storms. Clanging post-industrial frames hung around vulnerable understandings, lovesick ambitions and slow-dance heaven, the San Francisco quintet pummels and funnels raw electric vibrato into phosphorescent gloss and smoldering buzz-saw fodder into fantastic plastic shoe-gazing contraptions.
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From gateways to detours April holds all the cards. Whether diverted by the wild-honeyed harmonies of brother/sister quintet THE VESPERS’ tousled folk-gospel accosting sharecropper apostles inside, “Fourth Wall,” or T. Rex/Beach Boys lovechild and former Apples in Stereo percussionist WHITEJACKET’s snarky piano-driven chamber-pop odyssey, “Hollows and Rounds,” crooked streets certainly yield wicked treats. Add iconic bayou barista DR JOHN’s funky swamp-rock stomps cooking sugary brimstone blues within some soul-replenishing medicine in, “Locked Down,” and sly, sardonic garage-rockers THE HIGH STRUNG’s thundering fun flooding,“?Posible O Imposible?” and obstacles become almost hospitable.