From twee indie-rock dreamer CHARLIE FINK’s dandy biographical theatrics, “Cover My Tracks,” to footloose dancehall cruiser J BERHARDT’s laidback attacks, “Running Days,” June albums dine on disappearing and denying. Breaking from the pack, tender, ephemeral folk-ghost composer HOLY OAK’s interconnected still-water reflections, “Second Son,” dashing, compassionate NATHAN OLIVER’s lyrical jangle-bangers, “Head In The Sand,” and storm-riding guitar-charmers SLEEPY SUN’s tranquil anguish, “Private Tales” suggest it’s best working outside the spotlight.
Alison Moyet - Other
Album title: Other
Record Label: Cooking Vinyl
Heart-felt swells among spectacular swoons, “Other,” discovers heaven-sent eloquence inside synthesized magic-carpet rides. Swinging from stern urban grit to selective introspective affection, Moyet’s regal details, smoldering diction and choir-quiet interludes offer fearless, clear-eyed soul inside morning-after ballads and midnight minimalist’s techno-symphonies; adventurous experiments in story-telling soundscapes where funky skulking runs among poised rejoicing and ominous taunts tangle with sinful intimacy.
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Kacey Johansing - The Hiding
Album title: The Hiding
Record Label: Night Bloom
Bright, feathery jazz pirouettes spun in curious flurries from gossamer longing and carefree teases, Johansing’s creamy coos and rippling guitar bask in masterful afternoon-cafe dream-pop as airy arrangements sweep caressing suggestions into thoughtful possibilities. Immersed in warm massaged chords , “Hiding,” guides and confides; ethereal sun-bleached weariness gliding and aligning gentle sentimental melodies, transparent romantic semantics and blushing, air-brushed pageantry.
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Two Inch Astronaut - Can You Please Not Help
Album title: Can You Please Not Help
Record Label: Exploding in Sound Records
Stretching reckless leads around bounce-house percussion, steeple-chasing bass and baited statements, Two Inch Astronaut’s cobra-brokered roller-coasters design sole-survivor idylls from mosh-pit pillage riding quick-draw pile-drivers into falling-down-the-staircase riffs. Capsized catapults swing cathartic slingshot catechisms to conquer doubts, expose fear and avenge offenses, helping, “Help,” delve deep to reap woeful social stingers, wringing impending send-offs with ecstatic bashes and infectious kvetching.
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Marika Hackman - I’m Not Your Man
Album title: I’m Not Your Man
Record Label: Sub Pop
Wary, unsparing post-modern fairy-tales gilded in silky will and sugar-coated thrills, “Man,” fans cozy smoldering love-potions into rampant vampire fires; sensuous gender-politics slipped into breezy indie-pop hospitality explores coy detours enticing ulterior queries from brazen phrases. A fertile mind bursting with intrepid methods, Hackman tactfully reels from servant to serpent, engaging both sides to pit and outwit her divided desires.
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Dougmore - Outerboros
Album title: Outerboros
Record Label: self-release
Tasty woodland fables laid out like chamber-Celtic banquets, Dougmore’s florid feast serves hopeful banjo opuses where cantering chanteys skip in delicious mythical chivalry sweetened by lush chorales and song-bird sonnets sprinkled with baroque notions tell spry, pastoral stories dipped in wishful minstrel kismet. Cinematic maps cataloging the home-sick and lovelorn, “Outerboros,” prances with intoxicating revelry, foolhardy artistry and whimsical innocence.
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Noga Erez - Off The Radar
Album title: Off The Radar
Record Label: City Slang
Succulent grime plops dollops of basement sound-polyps atop, “Off,” to skitter in coin-roll rhythms, punching grungy gunshot-drums under flinty zip-line synths while slinky banshee samples unfold around probing split-screen vocals. From needy mediator to temptress messenger, Erez prowls through clairvoyant clamor; sending sassy trap-beat panache and solemn art-pop calm through broken post-millennial prisms focused on escape-plan precision and street-wise conviction.
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Whether perplexing questions or civil quibbles, summer albums unite our isolationist tendencies over common problems. How does counter-cultural fountainheads PSYMON SPINE’s multi-faceted gonzo-rock, “You Are Coming to My Birthday,” graduate into power-blues duo ROYAL BLOOD’s monstrous, “How Did We Get So Dark?” Consider modern-pop co-opters KANE STRANG’s insightful ironies, “Two Hearts and No Brain,” fab rabbit-hole rockers WALRUS’ cosmic-ashram blues, “Family Hangover,” or idiosyncratic party-crashers THE DRUMS’ electro-retro, “Abysmal Thoughts,” before appreciating soft-hearted pop-rocker DAVE DEPPER’s air-tight Cassanova overtures, “Emotional Freedom Technique,” or knob-twiddling synergist MUX MOOL’s robo-programmed, “Implied Lines.”