From pop-rock confidant OLD SEA BRIGADE’s emotionally open, “Motivational Speaking,” to sky-bound sound-designer TOMAS NORDMARK’s granular ambience, “Exit Ghosts,” May albums are inside your head. Sublimate glossy love-robbers HAERTS’ luscious, “Dream Nation,” exorcise magnetic imagineer PENFRIEND’s smart, sharp-toothed, “Exotic Monsters,” exalt iconic songsmith LOU BARLOW’s metaphorical folklore, “Reason to Live,” then negotiate chamber-jangle ensemble LAST DAYS OF APRIL’s hopeful coping, “Even the Goods Days are Bad.” Unbox those chronic thoughts.
The Chills - Scatterbrain
Album title: Scatterbrain
Record Label: Fire Records
Ghostly poetry blows past defiant dock-side rock, sheepishly creeping between boardwalk organs born from medieval cathedrals, The Chills’ analytical shanties channel quizzical expeditions churning murky turbulence into grand firebrand anthems. Melodic pop plotting nautical nocturnes launched into fearless lyricism, “Scatterbrain,” combine drama and delight; mysteries and revelations written in literate myths dipped in flaming echo-chambers, ballads capturing bathyspheres and bonfires.
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John Hiatt with the Jerry Douglas Band - Leftover Feelings
Album title: Leftover Feelings
Record Label: New West
Character-driven parables, honky-tonk sonnets cruising through bayou blues, “Leftover,” throws wistful wanderlust inside family celebrations, relaying fateful escapes and well-traveled nostalgia with rockabilly twang and moon-lit licks. Southern chronicler Hiatt lays campfire jams inside motorized daydreams placing the Jerry Douglas Band’s doleful dobro and slippery fiddle in the driver’s seat; low-riding revivalists revving heavenly melancholy beside sly Cajun boogie reprisals.
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Anchorsong - Mirage
Album title: Mirage
Record Label: Tru Thoughts
MIDI maestro and mood sleuth, Anchorsong operates exotic robotics replicating gleaming dream-states, multicultural orchestras spin winsome limbos over itchy rhythms for animated fantasies whose joyous choreography chase radiant parades sizzling in rain-forest journeys to sun-soaked beaches. Layered in playful polyphony, silky smooth grooves and bright blithe dynamics, “Mirage,” marries scholastic magic to global locomotion, circling worldly circuitry in elastic mashups.
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Lindsay Ellyn - Queen of Nothing
Album title: Queen of Nothing
Record Label: Queue Records
Raw, refined, sassy and sublime, “Queen,” commands candid empathy with daunting economy, road-tested confessions hijacked in packed analogies ride solid rock-gospel while everyday fables bathed in rhinestone pop and astute conclusions bloom from ordinary portraits and classic country backing. Gifted in succinct writing wringing singular wisdom from fierce experiences, Ellyn’s naturally savvy talents impress, balancing brave statements alongside perceptive tenderness.
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Hide - Interior Terror
Album title: Interior Terror
Record Label: Dais Records
Banshee street-preachers and industrial-accident outcasts, Chicago’s harrowing HIDE harnesses sputtering ruptures performing metallurgical surgery with visceral incisions, swift insistent precision harboring harsh sonic carnage and bowery embattled cataclysms. Teletypes, iron spikes, crackling static and shattering glass become primal time-keeping creatures groaning and grinding beneath the distressed, “Terror;” edgy dread fed deafening existential polemics, looming pariah gloom and controlled psychic erosion.
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Gruff Rhys - Seeking New Gods
Album title: Seeking New Gods
Record Label: Rough Trade Records
Dear ideas swing in embraceable rock-pop opulence whose enchanted amps and deep toe-tapping beats prod, “God,” to camouflage transcendental themes in boppy comments, flashy catchphrase runarounds drawn into winged singalongs sparkling in marvelous artistry. Studio guru and grateful sage, Rhys’ wise, kind surprises take sneaky leaps over torqued chords with humble hummable summaries melting cheeky teases with hardy starry-eyed bravado.
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Some spring albums advise to get outside yourself. Join lyrical realist CURRENT JOYS’ self-exploratory, “Voyager,” cinematic landscapers NOUS ALPHA’s alien-planet pathfinders, “A Walk In The Woods,” or sequential professor THEO ALEXANDER’s dialectical textures, “Sunbathing Through A Glass Screen.” Get real with punctual post-punks N0V3L’s flinty, hypno-ghost cool, “Non-Fiction,” or weighty saviors ICEAGE’s anti-angst uprising, “Seek Shelter.” Mingle among art-punk game-changers SQUID’s lysergic mergers, “Bright Green Field,” walk inside wind-stroked folk-weaver WILL STRATTON’s sleepy Eden, “The Changing Wilderness,” and visit synth-pop chanteuse CLAIRE GEORGE’s meticulous wishes, The Land Beyond the Light.”