March albums appear to embody contrasts and double down on dichotomy. From stratospheric synth-wiz CHRISTOPHER SKY‘s palatial palpitations, ” What It Is, It Isn’t,” to urban sound-painter ZEBRA KATZ‘s athletic trap, “Less is Moor,” opposites attract. Add soul-kitchen magicians WHISKERMAN‘s frontier medicine-show, “Kingdom Illusion,” exorbitant punk-pop extortionists PORRIDGE RADIO‘s scorching score-keepers, “Every Bad,” and robo-narconauts PHANTOM POSSE‘s satin lava-lamp synaptics, “Forever Underground, ” and self-inflicted contradictions soon prove inscrutably immovable.
The Black Watch - Brilliant Failures
Album title: Brilliant Failures
Record Label: A Turntable Friends Records
Combative ballads locked in flinty indie-rock battles, “Brilliant,” thrills in morose maelstroms and chill with jangle-cradled fables, a diligent intelligence distilling urgent evidence into existential tempests with guitar-centric tendencies. Discontented sentries railing against unlimited insignificance and metaphysical ennui, The Black Watch’s Trotsky moxie roars with authority, swiping decisively with furious swerves, cooked in psychedelic vibrato and hand-delivered with professorial calm.
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Activity - Unmask Whoever
Album title: Unmask Whoever
Record Label: Western Vinyl
Schizophrenic alchemists blending unhinged inventions into mesmerizing tension, Activity’s dicey nightmare divinity spins agitated mind-games keen on twisted mysticism into heavenly ectoplasmic traps luring meaning from steamy post-punk riddles and Krautrock dream-journals. Tasked with passive catastrophes encroaching tantric mechanics, “Unmask,” wraps tight-rope soap-operas in shadow-world poetry, drenching deliberate suspicions in careening micro-industrial feedback nourished by brooding bass and underwater drums.
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U.S. Girls - Heavy Light
Album title: Heavy Light
Record Label: 4AD
Tropical exotica transplanted into modern-diva chic, ‘Heavy,” levies midnight galas slithering between sassy and savvy; bold, mobilized street parades strutting among sound-collage conversations and socio-political glitter. Dazzling deviations circling worldly flirtations, U.S. Girls’ poly-rhythmic sizzle and feather-boa flow cavorts and exhorts. Designer cool oozing through gumbo jungle trysts, mastermind Meg Remy brings her vivacious vision to Madison’s Majestic April 6th.
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Moaning - Uneasy Laughter
Album title: Uneasy Laughter
Record Label: Sub Pop
Dark, manic phantoms dragged down dance-floor drainpipes, Moaning shapes delicate elegance over monumental New Wave anxiety; swirling, searching specters caught in restless dread’s headlights, resisting dismissive disappointments and withstanding abandoned grandeur. Daring escapes chased by runaway synths, “Uneasy,” seizes subdued confusion caught in calculated rhythms, subverted verse and mountain-king chords while polite moonlight shines on sleek beasts wrestling misdirected intentions.
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Marie Miller - Little Dreams
Album title: Little Dreams
Record Label: Tone Tree Music
Wise to the world, “Little,” kindles nimble Americana flickering in candle-lit arrangements for neighborly banquets where trusted country roots wear their Sunday best. Galloping gracefully over tender reflections and unresolved promises, Miller evokes heartfelt folk buffed to a gentle, sophisticated luster; authentic sentiments wrapped in crackling tapestries weaving banjo, mandolin and guitar between velvet strings, desolate melodies and church-yard harmonies.
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Jim Andralis &The Syntonics - My Beautiful Enemy
Album title: My Beautiful Enemy
Record Label: self-release
Sly irony hides behind upfront hungers, exposing emotional strangleholds in well-composed odes as home-grown straight-shooters Andralis and company introduce natural narratives to casual analogies for root-cellar novellas ripe with redemption. Traveling country-folk balladry cast in novel plots exacting tragic costs, “Enemy,” cements spent identities to scrappy tabernacles and spirited fierceness for punches to the gut in the kindest way possible.
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Jim Andralis &The Syntonics online:
March takes a shine to exalted authorities from shark-tooth chanteuse CAROLINE ROSE‘s lip-gloss dance-offs, “Superstar,” and effusive muse WAXAHATCHEE‘s sauntering coffee-shop prophecies, “Saint Cloud,” to generalized idols like electro-poet HALF WAIF‘s candid family examinations, “The Caretaker, ” untethered electric jesters DISQ‘s cattle-prod pop, “Collector,” and ex-Klaxons, sunshine superman JAMES RIGHTON‘s groovy hula-bop, “The Performer.” Adding to the adoration, country-blues soothsayer LILLY HIATT‘s full-moon, “Walking Proof,” Glasgow’s power-pop hooligans CATHOLIC ACTION‘s trippy rubber-room raves, “Celebrated By Strangers,” and collegiate chameleon MARGARET GLASPY‘s literate mischief, “Devotion,” become key ingredients for cultish consultants.