From intergalactic prog-rock minimalists MONO’s gargantuan phantoms slow-dancing around delicate silhouettes inside, “Nowhere Now Here,” to contemporary country-folk songbirds LULA WILES pointed, coin-toss philosophy, “What Will We Do?” January albums suggest everyone make plans, seek solutions and get organize. Discover undercover structure in angel-winged guitar-slinger STEVE GUNN’s mythic Americana, “The Unseen In Between” or crack open honest pop-harmonic ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE’s effervescent treasure, “Tomb,” but wake up and do something.
Frances Cone - Late Riser
Album title: Late Riser
Record Label: Thirty Tigers
Lifted in smooth blue-eyed soul flowing in bold dream-pop composure and courageous harmony-rich exposure, Frances Cone’s sumptuous air-brushed heaven blends solemn compositions into tumultuous wonders, inspiring choir-spiked hindsight fortified in evangelical groundswells exploding over cagey rhythms. Drenched in sensitive strengths and generous intentions, “Riser,” nurtures positive urges, enraptured baptisms countering drowning struggles with dramatic auto-tuned beauty from commanding synth-kissed witnesses.
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Dani Bell & the Tarantist - Wide Eyed
Album title: Wide Eyed
Record Label: The Redwood Music
Alley-cat sass slinks past B-movie flashbacks letting pulp-fiction vixens spin, “Wide Eyes,” around empowered prowlers sparring with open-hearted targets. Sensual empathy emptied into beatnik quips at after-hours night-clubs, Bell’s dream-boat vocals twist coy joys into tempting remedies, whip-smart whispers nestled in grind-house rock as contagious danger lures uncertain mercies into smoky, fire-escape soirees sound-tracked by hip-swiveling doo-wop from doomsday sock-hops.
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You Tell Me - You Tell Me
Album title: You Tell Me
Record Label: Memphis Industries
Silky knots dissolve in gorgeous flourishes fluttering among angular bangers; Field Music’s Peter Brewis and Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes fuse trifling delights into luminous movements and glossy posturing. Poignant chords explore sharp-cornered rapport in the duo’s self-titled debut, with fussy luxuries gracing pliable pop through posh pantomimes, ornamental contentment painted in sophisticated refrains, charismatic ballets laced in lush metropolitan crushes.
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Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
Album title: Remind Me Tomorrow
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Languid entanglements make moody mazes for the indomitable, “Tomorrow,” whose manipulated sounds, melodramatic melodies and methodical percussion exhume funeral gloom into cutting rebuttals; newborn scorn knitting distant intimacy into proud alt-rock shrouds. Combative reactions, glorious abandon and self-assured purges flavor Van Etten’s psychological toffee, churning obscure cures into elusive proofs to assist hard-bitten victims sweeping romantic debris from bittersweet secrets.
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Tim Presley's White Fence - I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk
Album title: I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk
Record Label: Drag City
Gritty, jittery surf-twang dirges crash irrational art-punk passions into casual goth-pop pathos as Presley’s baroque-folk mojo floats unhinged flings past refracted realities with eerie calm and devilish delirium. Rocked in cock-eyed ironies, analogue anarchy and supernatural theatrics, “Larry’s,” packs fractured twilight torch-songs around tender demented wig-outs; slow-drip trips shaking off memory-lane mind-games with trans-dimensional calliopes, flubber-toughened bass and ricochet-rattled guitars.
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William Tyler - Go West
Album title: Go West
Record Label: Merge
Gentle eloquence greased in free-wheeling, scene-stealing versatility, the panoramic, “West,” never rests, whether fashioning magical cinematic road-trips from Celtic-country melting-pots or stitching backwoods minuets from placid Bluegrass jazz. An international tapestry of radiant runs resonating in unquenchable curiosity and serene execution, Tyler’s stylish sleigh-rides dash and skate, polishing off quicksilver passages whose soft-spoken approach shine swift licks onto nimble riffs.
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Between perceptive roots-rockers TRAPPER SCHOEPP’s cheeky, ” Primetime Illusion,” transcendent heavyweights SWERVEDRIVER’s unnerving alt-rock curveballs, “Future Ruins,” and sideshow surrealists DEERHUNTER’s, imaginative, “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” January starts the year dark. Then again, paisley groovers SEANCE CRASHER’s rainbow-washed soul, “Gentle Cycle,” psychotropic mythmakers THE EARTHLY FRAMES’ sky-high, “Light Reading,” and clever hook-heavy party-animals FIDLAR’s uproarious, “Almost Free,” offer brighter alternatives. Who knows, maybe indie-pop PAVO PAVO’s intriguing, “Mystery Hour,” indie-rock story-tellers HAWK AND DOVES’, “Our Childhood Heroes,” or hepcat EERIE WANDA’s low-key retro-pop, “Pet Town,” will light your way.