January’s gems can be imagined but not captured. From effervescent J-pop maestro SHUGO TOKUMARU’s intricate infant symphonies “In Focus?” to innovative excavator, cyber-miner ROBERT DELONG’s glitch-riddled dance-pop, “Just Movement,” ideas trump objects. Additionally, backed by live club dates, cheeky glam-rockers FREE ENERGY premiere the addictive, “Love Signs,” at Madison’s FRZN FEST followed by socio-political, folk-soul songstress ERIN MCKEOWN’s February 7th visit to Madison’s High Noon Saloon promoting her gumbo-funky, “Manifestra,”
Yo La Tengo - Fade
Album title: Fade
Record Label: Matador
Willful tranquility distills delicate treasures marked by exquisite twists, “Fade,” paves turbulent curls into placid passages, working sublime jive, old-school cool and orchestrated mayhem into remarkable art whose coiled pastorals solicit distinguished consistency within poised, buoyant synergies. Restrained masons dispensing effusive grooves, YLT’s subtle post-rock muscle flexes unquestioning messages from talented masters. The intriguing trio plays Madison’s Barrymore February 5th
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Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
Album title: Light Up Gold
Record Label: What's Your Rupture?
Kinked-up and callous, PC’s barbecued ballast blasts upfront punk bristling in casual swagger. Side-swiped, hot-wired and sand-blasted; the band’s scrawny garage-rock blues produces greasy treats from shearing lyrics and lightning-bolt solos weaving tight-fisted riffs from unvarnished carnage. Abrupt cuts rustle up whiplashed balderdash within grinning six-string fingering, rolling, “Gold,” over knotty white-water subplots into brawny honesty wrapped around devilish merriment.
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She & the Sun - She & the Sun
Album title: She & the Sun
Record Label: The Outlet Collective
Whether covered in weepy, mountain-stream steel, smoldering electric guitars or sunny, tumbling mandolin an agreeable filigree lifts, “She,” in sly, beguiling heartache and eloquent benevolence. The sharp and stylish brother and sister graft laid-back jazz licks, soft-rock quips and country-folk notions onto hip, delicious pop topped in honky-tonk jaunts filled with tender resignation and sophisticated trade-offs frosted in upbeat embroidery.
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The Capsules - Northern Lights and Southern Skies
Album title: Northern Lights and Southern Skies
Record Label: Vespera
China-doll cosmonauts dressed in intergalactic glamour propel The Capsules’ fashionable, air-brushed ballads from jet-set epilepsy to android chic. Thick, swirling synths, sizzling shotgun drums and poltergeist guitars launch tundra-crunching caravans, tweaking sleek space-pop into lofty dream-rock for enchanted vamps from cozy hostesses. Fueled by feathery dancing fantasies packed with post-romantic mechanics, “Northern,” paints New Wave caves papered in heaven-heavy luxury.
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Ex Cops - True Hallucinations
Album title: True Hallucinations
Record Label: Other Music
Blanketing fuzzed-out power-pop beneath plush harmonies, multi-layered jangle and two-ply pile-drivers, “Hallucinations,” craves scathing escape cradling patient conveyance inside stormy formulas. Reverb-laden sages blazing between infectious directness and blinding hindsight, Cops cushions breathy addresses in frothy melodic waves of corrosive cocktails. Fog-bound boppers rockin’ narcoleptic pep, these deep-shag masterminds unleash roofied Cupids pitching headstrong monologues buried in soft, glimmering stimulants.
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Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory - Elements of Light
Album title: Elements of Light
Record Label: Rough Trade
Swimming images of Zen railroad crossings, Sunday churchyards and midnight clock-shops; electronic artist du Prince and Norwegian ensemble The Bell Laboratory embark on a symphonic odyssey exploring pure radiant tone against restless synthetics. Evocative hypnotics float, soak and coax as, “Light,” underscores translucent beauty, evolving organic trances while diving deep into beat-friendly meditations bolstered by ethereal ambience and subterranean splendor.
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From the abstract to the actual, intangibles yield to the real; whether people places or things, January has solid musical titles you can sink your teeth into. Visit sumptuous shadow-caster NIGHTLANDS’ ghostly, “Oak Island,” before exploring avant-garage provocateurs PERE UBU’s wonderfully deranged dance deconstructions, “Lady from Shanghai,” Catch Scottish folk-singer, story-teller ALASDAIR ROBERTS’ wicked mythical piccadilly, “Wonder Working Stone,” then drink in booty-shakin’ analogue rocker RENNY WILSON’s skin-tight, “ Sugarglider;” Lastly, vibrant sonic scientists LOCAL NATIVES’ free-wheeling appeals and soaring celestial festivals ground, “Hummingbird,” in ravishing apparitions and twinkling precision.