Uncertainty rules as February album titles flutter in unpredictable predicaments and paralyzing possibilities. Tentative benefits from soft-prog twee-popped hipsters LEAPLING‘s phantasmagorical flourishes, “Vacant Page,” iconic indie-rock scruff-muffins JULIANA HATFIELD THREE’s fresh-pressed dream-jangle, “Whatever, My Love,” and twinkle-toed locomotives DUTCH UNCLES’ candy-coated praying-mantis dance-bop “O Shudder,” turn ambivalence into symphonies. Finally, enchanting chamber-pop princess VIA TANIA‘s self-titled collaboration with star-dusted THE TOMORROW MUSIC ORCHESTRA proves the future is up for grabs.
Schneider and Kacirek - Shadows Documents
Album title: Shadows Documents
Record Label: Bureau B
Unflinching ninja transmissions from dial-tone twilight zones, pinball-alley galleries sprinkled in dark, sparse cosmic larks, “Shadows,” scurry, merging sonic-purrs stamped with animated equations, sautéed in electro-galvanized tidal-pools and roasted in velvety analogue. Scholars of Kenyan beats, Schneider and Kacirek’s deft touch works sly, subtle tactics into galactic magic establishing unexpected stretches within impulsive outbursts, coaxing trans-dimensional gremlins from deep-space radio.
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The Black Ryder - The Door Behind the Door
Album title: The Door Behind the Door
Record Label: The Anti-Machine Machine
Vivid psycho-tribal simmering washed in haunting folk-goth simplicity, The Black Ryder’s starlit spider-web tapestries glow, draped in swamp-gas visions born from tumble-weed fevers. Finger-picked gifts rippling in slow-boiled riffs and disembodied choirs, “Door,” unlocks celestial textures, unleashing bare-boned moans from drowsy, drowning rapture; delicate treasures whose screeching, skyscraper-blues smolder, console and seduce through diaphanous passions, woefully floating below shark-infested loneliness.
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Breakfast in Fur - Flyaway Garden
Album title: Flyaway Garden
Record Label: Bar/None
Lined in hallowed art-rock harmonics, jazz-jam sandwiches and indie-folk tectonics, “Garden,” plants lush, buzzing hives alive with ghost-layered dream-pop baptized in coddling nautical washes and perched alongside rootless coos and precious egg-shell melodies. Effervescent alchemists, Breakfast In Fur color and cuddle, coasting on golden odes hosted by silver tongues; erecting escape-plan fantasies while manufacturing platonic blossoms and forming stormy choruses.
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Quiet Company - Transgressor
Album title: Transgressor
Record Label: Modern Outsider
Tender hearts and dry wit mix with rollicking pop-rock fits dipped in double-barreled alt-country sizzle; charming carny barkers Quiet Company serenade cowboy romantics with synth-synched roller-rink wisdom and scorching back-porch payback. Rousing shouts, Velcro hooks and sharp, smart anecdotes wake courageous dreamers, restless toe-tappers and gentle thieves as, “Transgressor,” prowls incessantly; alert to love’s dangers, life’s ironies and music’s power.
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Twin River - Should The Light Go Out
Album title: Should The Light Go Out
Record Label: Light Organ
Tough-chick blitzes decked out in barb-wired noise-pop, “Light” ignites thick, lipstick tiffs strangling mega-twang angles for reverb-drenched sentiments: secret-crush brush-offs from twisted pulp-fiction vixens. Initially a folk duo, the expanded Twin River retain their vocal-centric tendencies but add gnarly guitar-slinging armies to launch an avalanche of garage-rock power-ballads skilled in swooning Watusi maneuvers, booming tambourine-stacked hand-claps and hazy, shoe-gaze squalor.
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Gang of Four - What Happens Next
Album title: What Happens Next
Record Label: Metropolis Records
Spackled in crackling percussive patterns, squealing-wheel guitar and flagrant pavement-bass, Gang of Four’s well-executed confrontational abrasions cultivate brash, cyber-briar patches inhabiting rock-bionic labyrinths. Founding-member Andy Gill and company enlists high-powered cameos to hurtle post-punk thunder past punchy funky pile-drivers as the intrepid, “Next,” treks slithering across industrial deserts in scavenger caravans. The formidable Four play Chicago’s Park West March 13th.
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Seeking relief from winter’s stymied speculation, February releases possess pleasant affections. Whether cozy folk-composer and former Joyce the Librarian troubadour MARTIN CALLINGHAM‘s supremely serene solo debut, “Tonight We All Swim Free,” the piping-hot bayou-boppers REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND‘s rockin’ gumbo, “So Delicious,” or epic folk-metal connector MT. EERIE’s static-straddled goulash mythology, “Sauna,” comfort is here in abundance. Other brotherly sustenance comes from dance-paneled cannonball ANTHONY NAPLES’ loose, post-groove adventure, “Body Pill,” and hip, hurly-burly burgermeister FATHER JOHN MISTY‘s chiding folk-gospel fandango, “I Love You Honeybear.” Let the healing begin.