Bogg Jazz Quartet
Early winter albums bestow golden hopes hiding inside glad tidings, cordially warming frosty days with the gift of song. From effervescent jazz practitioners BOGG’s simmering musical escapism, “Summer Harvest,” to wiry Chicago indie-rock kick-starters ZKPR’s, invigorating, “Tall Men with Feelings,” monster pomp-rockers SIMPLE MINDS’ evocative promises, “Big Music,” and bionic boogie-master MARSHALL APPLEWHITE’s, tight robo-erotic electronics, “Leave Earth,” dreamy believing unveils desirable idols. What did you wish for this year?
Malcolm Middleton and David Shrigley - Music and Words
Album title: Music and Words
Record Label: Melodic
Twisted vignettes whose surreal appeals and subtle rebuttals serve bittersweet treats within dark comical commentary; “Music,” favors sly diary recitals drawn from loony-bin lullabies and glib tales of modern horror for ominous operettas authoring grim karmic-carousel parables. Hazardous savages lie beside civilized psychopaths as Middleton and Shrigley’s minimalistic madrigals blossom into electro-pop melt-downs, lop-sided chamber-goth fantasies and zany rib-tickling fiction.
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Thompson - Family
Album title: Family
Record Label: Fantasy Records
Captained by brother, son and uncle, Teddy, several talented Thompson tribesmen wrote two songs each cobbling accompaniments from spouses and siblings for a collaborative tag-team breeding top-notch folk-blues swaddled inside headstrong harmonies atop wickedly fidgety guitar-licks. Spinning cynical sing-alongs against co-dependent sentiment, the clan bands together giving, “Family,” a fierce independence, hoppin’ and sobbin’ over rocky relations and tender-hearted sanctions.
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Alexis Hightower - Girl Next Door
Album title: Girl Next Door
Record Label: Big Finish
Jump-rope jive, smoldering ballads, relevant reflections and soothing Afro-Cuban moves lift feet, seduce ears and raise spirits while, “Girl,” gurgles and surges in languid refrains, painting satin captions beneath fiery desires and unnamed pains. A strong, luxurious voice supported by smart solos and solid playing, Hightower soars in classy soul-sister poses, sultry, poised and ripe in casually fashionable emotional fortitude.
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The Singer and the Songwriter - What a Difference a Melody Makes
Album title: What a Difference a Melody Makes
Record Label: Self-Release
In a swish of delicious retro-pop gossamer, TSATS’ modern take on romantic banter adds tangy flames to cozy taffeta jazz basking in attractive bop, savvy appetites and enamored glamour. Primed in sophisticated mischief, “Difference,” polishes posh thoughts into bewitching whimsy for a suave hurrah to witty simplicity, effectively selecting choice chords steeped in breezy, matriarchal sparkle and cavalier, chandelier swing.
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Marc Marzenit - To Love Until We Say Goodbye
Album title: To Love Until We Say Goodbye
Record Label: Natura Sonoris
Smooth tubular moods melt icy cyber-prog into vacuum-sealed Ferris wheels as, “Until,” splashes classical sass alongside boggling ping-pong marathons rich in modulated waterfalls and oceanic tantrums. Filling half-life labyrinths with computer-generated vertigo, dazzling urban ambiance and finely-knitted glitch, Marzenit’s inquisitive rhythms slither in slinky lava-lamp stampedes, half-Lamborghini, half-lamprey, picture-perfect sport for dance-floor courts and tube-way stations dipped in sci-fi head-trips.
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Trash Kit - Confidence
Album title: Confidence
Record Label: Upset the Rhythm
Deliriously fearless, gate-crashing Brits, Trash Kit’s combustible punk crunches lob punchy girl-powered telepathy into shuddering bungee lunges spiked in gangly harangues aboard runaway trains. Dodging and dislodging toppling monopolies with twisted anarchist’s bliss, “Confidence,” scrambles estranged scatterbrained funk around elastic ska-rattled catastrophes strung from caterwauling pinball logic and sweetly teetering ricochet rallies for impassioned caffeinated gymnastics and quivering, contrasting mathematics.
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The year ends in a flourish of final titles. Check out confessional messengers MATTHEW SQUIRES AND THE LEARNING DISORDERS’ literate alt-country conundrums, “Where the Music Goes to Die,” and monastic avant-garde lutenist JOZEF VAN WISSEM’s immaculate catalysts, “It Is Time for You to Return,” and conclusions seem imminent. Pile on humble tumbleweed bohemians SEMICIRCLE’s edgy electric sleep-folk, “Blown Breeze, Grown Grass, and We are Part of the Earth,” tumultuous swamp-blues floozies SMOKE FAIRIES’ non-traditional holiday offering, “Wild Winter,” and care-free cosmopolitan pop-singer VIOLETTE’s velvet-lined, “Falling Strong,” and completion appears inevitable.