Making a difference, March albums stand up and push back. Taking charge, neo-soul vocalist JUDITH HILL’s intergalactic glam, “Baby, I’m Hollywood,” granular mechanic VISIONIST’s cognitive bog, “A Call to Arms,” and rhythmic dissidents FLOATIE’s jittery art-rock metronomics, “Voyage Out,” upstage and uncage. Step outside the line with reunited indie-hipsters DEPARTURE LOUNGE’s precarious scenarios, “Transmeridian,” cerebral beat-poets TUNE-YARDS’ glitch-funky slam-dunks, “sketchy,” or posh post-punks PALM GHOSTS’ malevolent magnificence, “Lifeboat Candidate.” Rise!
Middle Kids - Today We’re The Greatest
Album title: Today We’re The Greatest
Record Label: Domino
Touched in sorrow, bolstered by hope and celebrated with authentic pop-rock sincerity, Middle Kids’ subtly cuddly comforts turn universally felt confessions into warm-blanket anthems steeped in pliable vitality, unpretentious energy and exemplary empathy. Direct sentiments sent into gorgeous choruses, piercing lyrics dispensed with personal emphasis, “Greatest,” engages book-smart hooks, guitar-driven rhythms and disarming harmonies into building beautifully potent emotional connections.
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William the Conqueror - Maverick Thinker
Album title: Maverick Thinker
Record Label: Chrysalis Records
Boxcar heartache rumbling in weathered leathery roadhouse blow-outs, “Thinker,” swings in rustic shuffles rocking lonesome locomotion with gritty vision, slithering commitments and fleece-lined teases. Cool bruisers and Faustian roust-abouts, William The Conqueror chase steam-powered demons in roots-infused collusion, streetwise preachers blessed in pithy expressions and dressed in grinning brimstone shakedowns for rowdy congregations seeking greasy hobo poetry for stone-cold showdowns.
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Genesis Owusu - Smiling With No Teeth
Album title: Smiling With No Teeth
Record Label: House Anxiety
Fortified in rapid chatter, super-shiny hooks and rock-solid beats, Owusu feasts on plush hustles unfolding whip-smart soul, runaway funk and star-struck R&B, smoked, provoked and coated in suave pop-art. Rent-party kick-starters, sunshine jive and sweet molasses raps, “Smiling,” piles influences on innovations, reshaping familiar pillaging into fresh perspectives whose seamless grooves slide in stylish sci-fi boogie and revolutionary hip-hop voodoo.
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Rachika Nayar - Our Hands Against The Dusk
Album title: Our Hands Against The Dusk
Record Label: NNA Tapes
Fractured scratches running through mortared corridors, “Dusk,” thrusts stuttering fluctuations onto shredded meshes, saturated waves bending and blending through modulated vapors, discreet tweaks and knitted glitches. Tranquil guitar loops routed through ambient samples, Nayar’s electronic monuments crumble from static magic to stark mirages, morphing and contorting with phantom randomness beneath the repetitive sedative chemistry replenishing propulsive convulsions with disruptive ruptures.
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Painted Shrines - Heaven and Holy
Album title: Heaven and Holy
Record Label: Woodist
Longing songs lit in cross-stitched riffs, Painted Shrines’ night-riding nomads flit and shift in gossamer folk-rock floating on hollow-bodied jangle, wrangling bewitching innocence and soluble melancholy baptized in galloping ballads. Finely tuned tapestries spinning timid yarns from hazy Merseybeat, “Holy,” strums with wide-eyed wonder over growing corrosion, sparse remarks soaked in electric effervescence and six-string shimmer gripped in fleet-footed fevers.
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Sunburned Hand of the Man - Pick A Day To Die
Album title: Pick A Day To Die
Record Label: Three-Lobed Recordings
Wildly primal molten commotion meets marauder’s caution and hell-bound humor as, “Pick,” risks exploding myths, unraveling free-rock ragers alongside edible meditations; self-guided tours through cosmic-blues stews, deep-fried Krautrock and chilled twang. Sinister and surreal with dangerous impatience raising rootless moods, Jekyll and Hyde musical pirates SHOTM’s fiendish schizophrenia hides scintillating divinity inside flexing psychedelics reflecting insurgent births and alternative odysseys.
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Between sequential alchemist JANE WEAVER’s alt-pop frolics, “Flocks,” studio humanists LOST GIRLS’ electro-mesmerized diatribes, “Menneskekollekivet,” and British singer-songwriter BEN HOWARD’s inventive reflections, “Collection at the Whiteout,” March releases get lost in the crowd. Escape into introspective indie-rocker IAN SWEET’s transformative storms, “Show Me How You Disappear,” or deep-sourced sorcery from WITCH CAMP (GHANA)’s absorbing field recordings, “I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used to Be,” before melting into narcotic astronauts MINT JULEP’s cyber-sated complacency, “In a Deep & Dreamless Sleep,” and compassionate naturalist LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON’s stoic folk, “Theory of Ice.”