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Twerp Verse (CD)

Speedy Ortiz spin out shimmering lo-fi indie tunes with bite on their latest, Twerp Verse. The melodies are still candy sweet in that ‘90s K Records style but the band also dives into deeper, darker territory than ever before. It’s drily witty, catchy, and impactful, tackling topics like depression, harassment, and love gone bad filtered through the lens of our turbulent times. The result is an eminently enjoyable album filled with bright, passionate, and thought-provoking toe-tappers.

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Critical Equation (CD)

Dr. Dog revel in ‘60s folk rock harmonies, college rock grit, and sing-along-ready riffs on their tenth studio LP, Critical Equation. But there’s a darkness underlying this latest album, the melodies often rousing and amiable with an undercurrent of anxiety and longing floating quietly beneath the catchy choruses. The result is one of their strongest efforts to date. Frontman Scott McMicken has spoken of needing to blow up the band’s usual sound and delve into darker, more frightening corners — mission accomplished. Critical Equation is a solid listen that covers all the highs and lows of modern life.

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Elohim (CD)

Los Angeles singer Elohim’s self-titled EP should prove irresistible to fans of smart, dreamy electro pop. The classically trained pianist creates tightly-constructed, synth-driven explorations of falling in and out of love that are both vulnerable and buoyant. No sad sacks here! This assured debut is a glittering pop gem, tackling its raw subject matter with intelligence, elegance, and effervescence. Fans of Banks, The xx, and Empress Of will find much to enjoy among these sultry, hypnotic collection of songs.

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44 / 876 (CD)

Sometimes a collaboration comes across on paper as so absolutely bonkers that the natural response travels from “why?” to “why not?” and 44/876 fits this description as good as any. Before today, a musical pairing between Sting and Shaggy suggests two distinctly different Spotify playlists were involved in a freak accident, but the result is much more of a no brainer than that eye-popping billing would present. Do not expect the worldbeat waiting room stylings of “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” mashed together with the slow-jams-meets-reggae-rap of peak Shaggy. Instead, expect an album of low-stakes, effortless catchy Caribbean pop. Ghosts of The Police appear in Sting’s melodies over these reggae grooves, but his vocals are largely relaxed and take a backseat to the more energetic verses of Shaggy. And…well, let’s face it, literally no one on earth sounds like Shaggy except for Shaggy.

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Treasures From The Temple (CD)

The reliably cool Thievery Corporation return with (yes) a treasure trove of original recordings and remixes from last year’s Temple of I & I LP on their latest, fittingly titled Treasures from the Temple. Listening to the album is a transportive experience, a voyage for the senses. Racquel Jones provides reggae-inspired rhythms and LouLou Ghelichkhani serves up sophisticated French pop while a whole host of other skilled collaborators work together with the electronic duo to create hypnotic, infectious tunes. A lovely, languid feast for the ears.

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Pinkus Abortion Technician (CD)

Pinkus Abortion Technician features both bass players Steven McDonald and Jeff Pinkus. The album includes fun concoctions like “Stop Moving To Florida” (a medley of the James Gang’s “Stop” and Butthole Surfers’ “Moving To Florida”), The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and Butthole Surfers’ “Graveyard.”

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Both Ways (CD)

Singer/songwriter Donovan Woods' new album, Both Ways, is a study in contrasts, as one would expect from its name. Woods shows the rare ability to distill complicated situations and emotions into songs that are intriguing and relatable.

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Let's Make Love (CD)

It has been ten years since we last heard from Brazilian Girls but fortunately, their latest, Let’s Make Love, was well worth the wait. Who else can deliver this caliber of languid, sun-kissed hybrid indie/electro/tropicalia? The effortlessly cool not-at-all-Brazilian group cranks up the sultry factor on synth-driven indie numbers like “Go Out More Often” and weaves hypnotic samba rhythms into the lovely “Salve.” It’s an eclectic album, with the band borrowing from several genres to create lounge-influenced cross-cultural modern pop. Perfect summer listening.

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The Other (CD)

King Tuff’s The Other opens with a moment of surprising vulnerability. The title track finds the one-man psych/garage band in introspective territory, experiencing rock bottom and looking for signs of hope. It’s an interesting start to the voyage, which finds King Tuff journeying into the great unknown, dabbling in the cosmic and the esoteric, eventually returning to the rambunctious, raw rock ’n’ roll synonymous with his name. Salvation can spring from the most unexpected places, the songs seem to say. The Other is the rare album that transcends its status as a collection of songs and truly delivers an experience.

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Pookie Baby (CD)

While Prof is best known for his show-stopping live performances, this album pulls back the curtain, inviting the listener to join him for private moments, all with a sleek touch of sophistication. Paired with a multitude of styles, this album showcases a spectrum of moods ranging from infectious absurdity to earnestly introspective.

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