To help celebrate my son turning eighteen, May provides musical titles reflecting the transitory disorder known as adolescence. From cozy show-stoppers THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART’s cavalier, “Days of Abandon, to indie-rock iconoclasts “SLEEPY HAHAS’ unbridled thrill-ride, “Dull Days,” childhood’s end send conflicting signals. Add sharp-witted PAPERCUTS’ civil pillow-pop missiles, “Life Among the Savages,” and multifaceted jazz stylist BRIA SKONBERG’s encyclopedic, “Into Your Own,” and growth promotes hope.
PAWS - Youth Culture Forever
Album title: Youth Culture Forever
Record Label: FatCat
Frank cantankerous angst from rambunctious punks whose brawling odysseys turn meaty hooks, mammoth jams and contagious outrage into harsh cathartic brilliance; Glasgow’s cavernous mavericks tunnel through thundering dungeons with heavy-handed candor capturing ravishing guitar-powered howls through raw, honest squalls churned in tactical smack-downs. Convincingly succinct, PAWS’ steely zeal propel, “Youth,” into non-conforming storms of jagged gonzo-pop and incorrigible, uproarious rock.
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Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
Album title: Are We There
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
The patiently restrained and bewitchingly intimate sophistication exhibited with, “There,” wears its dawning longings, waking aches and compelling compulsions beneath a seething spirit bound and determined to find fulfillment through indie-folk hopes swaddled around chamber-rock promises. Possessing a deep dusky voice to administer her full-throttled melancholy, Van Etten’s sweeping needs and tireless desires relish delicate emptiness poised beneath bittersweet completion.
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Chappo - Future Former Self
Album title: Future Former Self
Record Label: Rouse Records
A bubbling broth fostering blossoming optimism, Chappo’s swirling blue-eyed psychedelia sails over spring-loaded emotions slathered in curlicue grooves and refreshing crescendos. Coated in power-pop pastels and space-funk tastiness, “Self,” melts into smooth jubilant communion; moving through sneaky beats on tricked-out riffs, past brainy strains of dance-rock pizzazz and relaxed half-jazz for hip trips whipped into playful waves and splashy flashes.
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Nikki Lane - All or Nothin’
Album title: All or Nothin’
Record Label: New West
Stoked in rogue rockabilly-folk and straight-talk country-pop, “All,” falls smack-dab between hard-bitten drifters smitten by smart, tart hearts and no-nonsense honky-tonk dressed to kill. Dan Auerbach’s bold, retro production booms and swoons in boot-scootin’ tunes tinged in vintage organ fills and lively laptop steel as romance wrangling Lane’s bruised moods deliver irresistible tips for extended stays at the Heartbreak Hotel. Nikki plays Madison’s High Noon Saloon June 16th.
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Beaty Heart - Mixed Blessings
Album title: Mixed Blessings
Record Label: Nusic Sounds
Magical catalysts mash jittery collisions brimming in African rhythms into clownish bounce embellished with Beach Boys harmonies; British magicians Beaty Heart spark jungle percussion tied to melodic knots for spongy rainbow lunges whose tangled tempos mold elastic catastrophes into groovy cartoon lunacy. Dreamy calliopes, whimsical kalimbas and manic chanting make, “Blessings,” a chattering prog-tropical masterpiece fit for feverish cantilevered demons.
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Sex with Strangers - You Know Something We Don’t?
Album title: You Know Something We Don’t?
Record Label: self-release
The impetuous head-rush rock caught, locked and brandished in, “Know,” glows in chrome-plated Romeos fashioning rabid slabs of carnal sparkle from savvy passions; a debonair affair fueled by jack-hammered glamour carving bullet-train refrains from tongue-wagging sagas. Drizzled in svelte velvet synths and seasoned with succulent scorn, Canada’s brazen Sex with Strangers unleash jaded New Wave engraved in shiny nightclub snubs.
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Adolescence can be confusing, but often beneath the puzzles lay incredible treasures. From ancient names to foreign phrases and English riddles, this spring’s albums bring several curiously obscure and wonderfully mysterious titles to light.. From poetic specters and tender recollections, BEN WATT’s calm, splendid, “Hendra,” instills willful resilience while playful pantheistic feasts from beat-crazy Bathsheba TUNE-YARDS’ wild junkyard-funk, “Nikki Nack,” confounds in boundless imagination. Unravel circular percolators YOUNG MAGIC’s lofty synth-envisioned witchcraft, “Breathing Statutes,” then decipher inquisitive world-pop wizard RODRIGO AMARANTE’s globe-trotting, “Cavalo,” and modern klezmer wildcats GOLEM’s raucous, “Tanz.”