Between seasons, March albums tackle impasses. Choose from late winter’s post-rodeo songbird LAURA STEVENSON’s luscious, precocious, “The Big Freeze,” crafty tunesmith ROSIE TUCKER’s slippery, whip-smart, “Never Not Never Not Never Not,” and pliable pedal-board voyager DELICATE STEVE’s streamlined extra-crispy, “Til I Burn Up,” or early spring’s tender-hearted starling LUCY ROSE’s stirring, sterling, “No Words Left,” and swinging LA FILLE’s paisley power-pop, “Alright Already.” Either way, there’s no getting around it.
Hand Habits - placeholder
Album title: placeholder
Record Label: Saddle Creek
Spotlessly evocative waif-pop folk-rock, “placeholder,” sprinkles whole-grain psycho-twang glitter over well-fed bohemian beds blessed in wall-to-wall melancholy and polished in life-learned mercy. Aching in patience and woozy with rumination, Hand Habits’ appetite for mellow magic produces tasty licks, condensed sentiments and caressing chords; wind-tossed willow wisdom refracting passive windowsill considerations into water-nymph symphonies where sparkling downstream daydreams become sun-ripened masterpieces.
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Ten Fé - Future Perfect Present Tense
Album title: Future Perfect Present Tense
Record Label: PIAS America
Subtle, nudged percussion bubbles beneath plush, baritone buskers; Ten Fé‘s somber cosmopolitan optimism crafts cool, hatchet-burying hooks wrapped in romance-enabled danger and cozy ear-candy allure. Muscular seductions tucked inside tender censure and tempting exceptions, “Tense,” consents to tuxedo-clad attitudes, vetted etiquette promising safe havens for part-time players, cat-walk majors and dawn-breaking trainers. Ten Fé plays Milwaukee’s Back Room March 28th.
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E.B. the Younger - To Each His Own
Album title: To Each His Own
Record Label: Bella Union
A traveling troubadour’s suitcase packed in friendly, good-time rhythms, whose casual crooning blooms beneath anecdotal hopes and good-neighbor fables, “Own,” intones gentler times where intelligence brought cleverness and differences came with benefits. A pseudonym for Midlake’s Eric Pulido, E.B. cushions his personable concerns in electric chamber-folk overtures tumbling down soft-pop rabbit-holes with swelling melodies carrying earnest verses to beautiful conclusions.
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Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs
Album title: Beware of the Dogs
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Modern folk-punk chronicler and attentive connector, Donnelly’s tidy just deserts and sturdy straight-talk cockiness mix dry-wit feminism alongside pop-tart earth-angel bliss for saucy possibilities served over cheeky, breezy themes. Half coy, half boisterous, grounded in tight, understated arrangements, “Beware,” out-stares clever revelations with playfully upfront charms; criss-crossing gender politics through bright bouncy tunes while grooming jump-rope grooves espousing revolutionary truths.
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Turning Jewels Into Water - Map of Absences
Album title: Map of Absences
Record Label: FPE Records
Indigenous intermissions splicing dark jungle twitches into crack manufactured happenings, “Map,” uncaps globe-trotting trances ramped in cyber-industrial tribalism; pumped drum-circle glitches casting powerful incantations cut into funky, digitized reductions. Smooth-glass balderdash orbiting beyond ambient tampering, TJIW’s precisely positioned fractal catapults make remixable trips for eternally recurring contortions, future-pop art-museums beamed back to Earth in slick, rhythmic linguistics and shape-shifting kismet.
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Strand of Oaks - Eraserland
Album title: Eraserland
Record Label: Dead Oceans
Cavernous rapture riding twilight-bitten blues through fog-bound ballads, Strand of Oak’s embroiled scuffles muscle shuttered moods mounted in hounded folk-emo majesty; serrated raves paved in brave self-doubt. Birthed in melodramatic surges and contemplative fates, “Eraserland,” draws gritty vision-boards from pendulum-swinging cliff-hangers, amending tender reflections into glorious reforms then sending fond remembrances sullied ultimatums. SoO plays Madison’s High Noon May 2nd.
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Emerging from winter, March welcomes pop-punk folk-poet ROBERT FORSTER’s, curt, percolating, “Inferno,” and six-string king BILL MACKAY’s field-hand jams, “Fountain Fire,” yearning for fashionably aristocratic TEEN’s computer-groovy, “Good Fruit.” and underwater rockers LIVING HOUR’s gossamer, “Softer Faces,” while dreaming of bicoastal country-bluesman VICTOR KRUMMENACHER’s unharnessed flea-market, “Blue Pacific,” and electro-bliss system-analysts HIGH TIDES luxurious, “Paradise Daze.” Add post-punk time-bombs GANG OF FOUR’s elastic bombast, “Happy Now,” doe-eyed indie-folkies THE WILD REED’s vibrant, “Cheers,” and old-school soul apostles DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS’ roof-raising, “American Love Call,” and spring is sprung.