Trapped in winter’s embrace the New Year’s cabin fever albums brew themes of dislocation. Whether allying yourself to Irish songbird SUSAN MCKEOWN’s literary-minded mediation on madness and creativity, “Singing in the Dark, cosmopolitan cross-pollinators THE PICKPOCKET ENSEMBLE’s stylish café pathos, “Memory,” world-beat seekers TELEPATH’s swinging, “Crush,” or heartsick pop-rockers GOLDENBOY’s rousing, unrequited, “Sleepwalker,” the season’s musical moods suggest we are all just looking for a place to call our own.
Tapes 'n Tapes - Outside
Album title: Outside
Record Label: Ibid Records
Grunting funk and grizzled sizzle creep, reap and compete against ballistic wit in caustic waltzes; turpentine Valentines combining impertinent compulsions and sputtering madmen mambos. Self producing, “Outside,” on their own label, Tapes’ quirky, murky cock-eyed maelstroms concoct intoxicating rhythms given to shaggy-dog shuffles and crackling indie-rock dipped in agitated majesty. The Minneapolis quartet play Madison’s High Noon Saloon January 28th.
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British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
Album title: Valhalla Dancehall
Record Label: Rough Trade
Razor sharp post-punk rumblings dissecting gun-barrel ballads into flickering, splintering sympathies; Brighton’s glory-seeking rockers slip ripped riffs, beseeching speeches and steamy ennui into cosmic canyons of epic gestures and earnest curses. Blistering encouragement paired alongside drenched repentance keep the dynamics fresh and the feeling electric as, “Valhalla,” bends and blends, stormy surrenders catapulting urgent cataclysms and sanctifying moody, brooding catechisms.
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Fujiya & Miyagi - Ventrilloquizzing
Album title: Ventrilloquizzing
Record Label: Yep Roc
Chilled hip-swivelers practicing trained disdain, F&M’s cool, re-tooled, frequently seething, sequined struts bluff and chuff haughty, naughty vamps. Intriguingly pristine, anxiously apathetic, the restlessly suave students of clinically sinister catwalk Krautrock carefully enunciate puzzling instructions encased inside pharmaceutical funk. Aloof and predatory, “Ventrilloquizzing,” courts haute couture, laying riffs super model cool over well-greased soul, window-shopping mannequins grazing jaded high society,
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Braids - Native Speaker
Album title: Native Speaker
Record Label: Kanine
Studio Druids who exorcise as they harmonize; Braid’s brave, orchestrated forests swirl with cricket-filtered choirs and crocheted waves of aquatic mathematics. Expansive trance textures rise and subside in phosphorescent dimensions while chirping, gurgling reverb and plush, double-ply synthesizers dart, march and multiply. “Speaker,” neatly consecrates complicated interconnected catacombs, building layered labyrinths of omnipresent percolations for twilight flights into madcap tapestries, Braids play UW-Madison’s Rathskellar February 25th.
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Caroline - Verdugo Hills
Album title: Verdugo Hills
Record Label: Temporary Residence Limited
Sprawling sonic gauze spun from coolly confident imaginations, Caroline’s squiggling minimalism and fleeting beats blink and beep. Mixing acoustic movements into electronic atmospheres, “Hills,” folds luxurious pop operas into sensual cyber-sketches, turning complex moods reassuringly tranquil; yet oddly enigmatic. The former Mice Parade chanteuse produces beautiful hand-carved harmonies plucked from ice fairy daring whose breathy, feathery messages launch interplanetary fantasies.
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Broken Records - Let Me Come Home
Album title: Let Me Come Home
Record Label: 4AD
Galloping gasps of forthright sincerity ride high on unforced remorse and fitful decisions. Soldiering through storms and craving calamity, the British band’s anthems stampede between brawny leads, fashionably cinematic passions and desperately perplexing pleads. Simmering in boisterous deeds, Broken’s emotional depths stomp and ponder a heart’s worth of tender regrets as the artfully upset, “Home,” delivers galvanized symphonic rock salvations.
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2010 is gone but before you close the book check out these indelible selections. TRISTEZA’s steadily heady tangents of rippling six-string eddies and free jazz brass has, “Paijanes,“ go airborne in swift, zip-locked luxury, while SHARON VAN ETTEN’s confessional folk-pop turned hypno-dervish alt-rock informs the tasty, “Epic.” Climb behind potent and poignant ANDREW BELLE’s melody-infused, “The Ladder,” then hold tight as express lane rangers, MASERATI’s glossy, programmed hammering,“Pyramid of the Sun,” cruises as it fuses. Finally, stretchable electrical textures wrapped by psychotropic poets; TAME IMPALA’s, “Innerspeaker.” sixtifies Möbius strip licks.