Impatient for change? Shake those winter blues with brash Nashville boogie-rockers NATURAL CHILD’s twang-framed jukebox bop. “Dancin’ With Wolves,” or post-pop jitter-rock commandants PLUS/MINUS’ heavily leisurely New Wave-frayed, “Jumping the Tracks.” Meanwhile hopeful antidotes are extended with dream-pop renegades SHY HUNTERS’ moody interludes alongside crusading shadow-plays, “O That I Had Wings,” and exquisite romantic miniaturists EARLY WINTERS’ poignant well-informed pop, “Vanishing Act.” Still feeling stuck? Delight in these ennui-themed releases.
Fanfarlo - Let’s Go Extinct
Album title: Let’s Go Extinct
Record Label: Blue Horizon
An orchestral collection bridging melodic-pop odysseys and blue-eyed space-age soul, Fanfarlo’s gloriously cordial morsels dissolve in sugar-coated opuses dipped in bittersweet majesty. A merciful circus rich in handsome anthems, debonair fanfares and suave hurrahs, “Extinct,” unflinchingly mixes tender indulgences tumbling from charismatic waxing against muscular pulses racing in sumptuous runs. The London-based quartet plays Madison’s High Noon Saloon April 8th.
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Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Album title: Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Bruised crooning draped around unfettered coffee-shop garage-rock, “Burn,” churns and spurns with a raw, jagged backdrop of unvarnished electricity surging through crackling guitars and curdling words; unapologetic suggestions lapping brimstone ballads as haunted hearts feast beneath quivering lips and furrowed brows. Poised between salvaged salvation and tenuous redemption Olsen’s dreamy bohemian turns warrior-poet, courting sandpaper rampages and hypnotic rag-doll revenge. Angel plays Madison’s Revelry Fest May 3rd.
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Lost in the Trees - Past Life
Album title: Past Life
Record Label: Anti-
Translating deeply personal soul-searching into universal yearning, LITT’s sparkling narcolepsy dances beneath shimmering electro-rock canopies; placid packages wrapped in dire desires, secret allegiance and graceful favors whose luminous loneliness circles broken hopes, stirring simmering images from carpeted martyrs. An unraveling labyrinth, “Past,” maps earnest journeys through uncertain currents, navigating gilded will with glowing vocals and solemn involvement through intimate instruments.
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Cymbals - Age of Fracture
Album title: Age of Fracture
Record Label: Tough Love
Brisk, posh, pick-pocket dance-rock spray-painted in pop-laden brain-candy, “Fracture,” gleefully manufactures giddy clubhouse bounce among shuffling bundles of cyber-jungle pounces. Flirting in perky serpentine pantomime and slurping from elastic ghost-rattled carafes of synth-rinsed glibness, Cymbals’ nimble hall of mirror lyrics slither around fidgety rhythms for half-laughing passions collapsing in fashionable traps; cosmopolitan monsters dressed in ballroom logic and post-modern panache.
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Neneh Cherry - Blank Project
Album title: Blank Project
Record Label: Smalltown Supersound
Teaming up with Four Tet and Rocketnumbernine, sultry counter-culture suffragette Cherry weaves a stream-lined feline beat-street suite around mechanical-animal minimalism. Plain-spoken emotions splintering in forth-right insights and commanding semantics, the free-style rapper’s restless messages become prowling scowls caging unadulterated conveyances. Sparring in jarring techno-funky adventures, “Blank,” maintains an unwavering flame of jazz-punk jive; tough, gutsy hustles peppered in teasing clichés.
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New Bums - Voices In A Rented Room
Album title: Voices In A Rented Room
Record Label: Drag City
A well-massaged barrage from time-tripping minstrels baptize proto-folk notions drifting in fancy meandering tangents; “Rented,” channels dueling acoustic blues through unfolding doldrums, tangled jangle and subtle Spanish trances. San Francisco’s NB quietly pilots sad, casual mind-benders through intricate kismet as languid macramé precision meets slow to mid-tempo mementos, drizzling weary, wilted heartache among sharp, smart guitars and drowsy still-water harmonies.
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As the shortest month February seems to attract albums with succinct titles. Encapsulating far-ranging pains and widespread beliefs, strong-willed songwriter DAWN LANDES’ fine-feathered honky-tonk, “Bluebird,” seductive studio illusionists PHANTOGRAM’s diabolical dream-rock, “Voices,” rambling folk-blues story-teller SUN KIL MOON’s wry autobiographical song-atlas, “Benji,” and perceptive connector MARISSA NADLER’s belladonna-spawned, “July,” cut to the chase. Narrowly defined but exceptionally broad-minded, synth-ministers GARDENS AND VILLA’s glittery pop-funk filigree, “Dunes,” gypsybilly rabble-rousers BUTCHER KNIVES’ rip-roaring, “Misery,” magical mix-master CEO’s polymorphic playground, “Wonderland,” and modern-rocker DOUGLAS KEITH’s solid, confident confidences, “Pony,” pleasantly condense expansive events.