Milan Ring - I'm Feeling Hopeful
Ending 2021 on a high note, December albums revel in celebration. Start with bewitching mix-master MILAN RING’s shape-shifting synergy, “I’m Feeling Hopeful,” pass through trailblazer ADAM RUDOLPH’s all-star GO: ORGANIC GUITAR ORCHESTRA’s six-string pachinko, “Resonant Bodies,” then enter meta-pop rascal BEAUTY PILL’s, phantasmagorical EP, “Instant Night.” Top it off with liquid digital mystic TOR LUNVALL’s camphor-ambient, “Beautiful Illusions,” and moonstruck tunesmith ANDREW GABBARD’s rollicking roots-rock jabberwocky, “Homemade,” for maximum enjoyment.
No Rome - It’s All Smiles
Album title: It’s All Smiles
Record Label: Dirty Hit
Massaged in studio-scrubbed dub, curved reverb and tweaked hip-hop beats, “Smiles,” styles post-production seductions dipped in brawny fawning and shipped in glossy modulations; suave harbingers mixed with orchestrated hits, manicured fury and cyber fireworks. Dynamic stamina from rhythmic glitter, No Rome’s dazzling sonic Jenga sends heart-throb pop through switched-on glitch and pitch-shifted harmonies, unleashing fab attention-grabbing maneuvers with smooth retooling.
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The Lottery Winners - Something To Leave The House For
Album title: Something To Leave The House For
Record Label: Modern Sky
Sunshine rhymes hiding precocious emotions among whimsical optimism, The Lottery Winners’ finger-wagging swagger flexes smug intellect in catchy perplexities addressing time-tested messages with sly sing-along romps, snickering winks and saucy bopiness. Savvy candy-coated craft masks sincere inquiries with melodic positivity and earnest mirth turning, “Something,” into cabaret-flavored playdates housing tender defenses in spirited bounce, gallivanting anthems channeling muscular blockbuster busking.
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Pearly Gate Music - Mainly Gestalt Pornography
Album title: Mainly Gestalt Pornography
Record Label: Barsuk Records
Anecdotal episodes unfolding behind tall tales and savory fables, “Gestalt,” unlocks indie-folk heroics with tactful madrigals, deeply felt elegies and sage serenades circling face-to-face relationships in literate sympathies. Mid-tempo sentiments aligned alongside tasty innovation, PGM seeks human roots in sprawling novelty, delivering colorful apologies with shimmering images and educated rhetoric surrounded by gorgeous pedalboard accompaniments subtly layered in synthesized riffs.
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Marissa Paternoster - Peace Meter
Album title: Peace Meter
Record Label: Don Giovanni Records
Forthright and decisive, Screaming Females’ Pasternoster slays rock-gothic monsters and braves godforsaken pagans, shaping funeral wounds into ecclesiastical passion and marching attentive contentions beneath regal allegiance. A quarantine album created by long-distance collaborations with members of THOU, Snakeskin and Lung, “Meter,” feeds merciful dirges with never surrender destiny, feudal bootcamp truces circling devilish reveille with strong, calm call to arms.
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Sara Serpa + Emmanuel Iduma - Intimate Strangers
Album title: Intimate Strangers
Record Label: Biophilia Records
Compelling storytelling scored in neo-classical strategies where electronic auras and disembodied choirs elevate flowing prose into kinetic poetics, “Intimate,” stages performative tournaments through effusive muses pursuing haunted observations as multi-dimensional memories. Portuguese vocalist-composer Sara Serpa and Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma blend beautifully spoken moments with minimalist vision, transforming essential evidence into magical chapters fashioned from secret meetings and captured reality.
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The Brandy Alexanders - The Brandy Alexanders
Album title: The Brandy Alexanders
Record Label: Gypsy Soul Records
Bright, brazen consciousness-raising painted in blazing paisley, engorged power-chords and swinging rhythms, The Brandy Alexander’s molten alt-rock voltage twists haughty psychotics into perky flirtations with hook-filled thrills straddling calculated mayhem and familiar willfulness. Flawless plots grooving to restless get-aways, the Canadian five-piece’s self-titled album bursts with retro treasures washed in modern fondness, edgy yet friendly, surprisingly kind while unsparingly daring.
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From saloon-singing heart-wringer NICOLE ATKINS’ torch-song reimagining, “Memphis Ice,” to organic-sourced sorcerer HADI BASTANI’s generative granulated pathogens, “Cold Hour,” winter is coming and bringing long nights, hibernation, embracing layers and self-reflection. Get cozy with sound-harvesting harpist JACQUELINE KERROD’s looped Yuletide improvisations, “17 Days in December,” scene-stealing symphonic-pop chameleons SAN FERMIN’s adaptive indie-rock collaborations, “In This House Vol. 1,” or cyber-choir flash-master TEEN DAZE’s techno-matic mashups, “Interior.” Then bundle up and hunker down with exploratory accordionist MARIO BATKOVIC’s heady meditations, “Introspectio,” and grand romantic AEON STATION’s broad-shouldered opuses, “Observatory.” Season’s greetings.