Rockabilly

Mulberry Violence (CD)

After disbanding Youth Lagoon in order to change direction musically, Trevor Powers has returned with a solo release, Mulberry Violence. His familiar falsetto flits over scratchy electronics contrasted with softer synths or piano. Trip-hop beats, filters, and vocal effects lend the songs a chilly, anxious feel. “Clad In Skin” stands apart for a more straightforward groove and lightweight atmosphere, while “Squelch” is both sludgy and ethereal à la Portishead. Altogether the album is intense and introspective with many elegant components.

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Lifers (CD)

Crunchy electric keys, searing pedal steel guitars, and confident, steady rhythms propel Cody Jinks' latest album Lifers, which finds a sweet spot between classic '70s country and modern country rock.

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From A White Hotel (CD)

Formed by musician Kasey Anderson, Hawks and Doves play heartfelt, melodic Americana in the vein of Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. “Bulletproof Hearts (For Laura Jane)” even references Petty's “American Girl.” It's a comeback for Anderson, who quit the music scene for six years, but a debut for the whole band, which includes Jesse Moffat, Ben Landsverk, and Jordan Richter. Anderson has the perfect grainy voice for singing these well-written stories of self-redemption and love. Highlights include the anthemic opening track, “The Dangerous Ones,” and the joyful “Chasing The Sky.”

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Out Of The Blues (CD)

Boz Scaggs is back with funky-struttin' blues-rockers, slinky R&B crawls, and darkly romantic slow dances. With sharp and dreamy rhythm guitars, smooth and worn vocals, and Chicago blues harmonica hooks, Scaggs is in top form, bringing cool atmosphere back to blues rock. Check out his cover of Neil Young's "On The Beach."

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Endless Scroll (CD)

NYC art punk band Bodega traffics in throwback post-punk meets jangle pop meets riot grrrl jams with a sometimes satirical edge. Co-fronted by Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio, their latest, Endless Scroll, is rife with serious riffs, punchy vocals, and smart, silly lyrics. The band sings about the character of Jack in the movie Titanic (yes, on the track “Jack in Titanic”) and out-of-date left-wing slogans (“This machine you know it don’t kill fascists/This machine you know is just a guitar” on “How Did This Happen?!”) One moment the focus is on the rollicking vocals and entertaining lyrics; the next it’s on the super tight, angular melodies. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Sundays (CD)

Oakland-based Tanukichan makes a hazy, blissed-out debut on her first full-length, Sundays. It’s an evocative listen — dreamy and slightly melancholy, the perfect soundtrack to those strange in-between days, the end of summer, and yes, lazy Sunday afternoons. Steeped in nostalgia with a timeless sound and contemporary vibe, Sundays is a welcome addition to the modern dream pop scene. This is the type of album ideal for whiling away the day, for enjoying the small pleasures in life and absorbing all the beauty in the world.

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Noble Ape (CD)

After releasing several self-deprecating comedy specials, Jim Gaffigan finds himself treading new territory with Noble Ape. When his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year, Gaffigan was forced to contemplate major life changes including possible retirement to take care of the couple's children. The resulting catharsis in finding humor during a medical crisis is the main focus of Ape, adding a more personal resonance to the proceedings alongside the laughs.

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Annihilation [OST] (CD)

In Alex Garland’s visually stunning new psych/horror/sci-fi epic, a team of female scientists must explore a lysergic no-mans-land called The Shimmer, populated by increasingly bizarre and terrifying hybrid creatures and weird flora. Paranoia, lost time, freaky colorfields and interpersonal melding abound, and it’s not clear whether anyone who enters can escape. Key to the hypnotic power of this mesmerizing tale is the spare, eerie, brooding score, crafted by Bristol buds Ben Salisbury and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Having studied the soundtrack work of the ‘70s and ‘80s masters, they abide by the spacious, less-is-more blueprint, using acoustic guitar, a touch of electronics, strategically deployed orchestration and a haunting four-note motif. Subtly mirroring the journey from ordinary suburbia to glowing hallucinatory swampland, the score gradually mutates and decays into an understated but nightmarish experimentation. Let Ben and Geoff guide you through.

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Wild Alee (CD)

Irish architect Eoin French applies the form, balance and structure taught by his trade to the soaring emotional hooks of his indie pop project Talos. His striking new album Wild Alee, recorded in Dublin, Cork and Iceland with co-producer Ross Dowling, builds on the series of catchy, powerful singles Talos released over the past three years. These slow-building anthems evoke melancholy and inner fire, carefully crafting spare northern soundscapes from guitar, drums and electronics, all guided by French’s skilled, yearning falsetto. Songs like "Tethered Bones," "In Time" and "Your Love is an Island" express deep struggle and the tenuous but all-consuming connections that link separate souls, in the vein of James Blake or Jon Hopkins. Powerful meditations that move between autumnal warmth and glacial isolation.

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The Make It All Show (CD)

Skating Polly makes riot grrrl-influenced lo-fi punk with a mastery that belies their age (stepsisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse launched the band when they were nine and fourteen) and a youthful urgency that gives the genre a timely update. On The Make It All Show, they alternate between playful and sweet, aggressive and formidable. The band has cited luminaries like Kat Bjelland, Kim Deal, and Exene Cervenka among their idols, and their impact is clear in both the stylized, raw vocals and the heavy guitar riffs. (Cervenka even makes an appearance on “Queen for the Day.”) A much-needed jolt of electricity that’ll have punks young and old alike stand up and take notice.

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