Rock

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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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 The band sings about the character of Jack in the movie Titanic (yes, on the track “Jack in Titanic”) and out-of-date left-wing slogans (“This machine you know it don’t kill fascists/This machine you know is just a guitar” on “How Did This Happen?!”)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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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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Resistance Is Futile (CD)

From the title Resistance Is Futile to their cover art based on a photograph by Franz von Stillfried-Ratenicz titled “Samurai Warrior 1881,” Manic Street Preachers have a lot to say on their thirteenth album. This is an album about not giving up, about persevering in the face of trials, and the band’s sound echoes that, crescendoing in big, bold, arena rock ready choruses. In fact, the songs on Resistance Is Futile seem tailor-made to be sung by large groups, down at the pub, in the cheap seats at the stadium, anywhere people come together to fight for a better future. Sometimes melancholy but usually buoyantly hopeful, on their latest LP, the beloved Welsh rockers have served up anthems aplenty for our trying times.

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Errorzone (CD)

Little can prepare you for the ferocity of Vein’s debut record. The Boston metalcore band has been touring and self-releasing material for years now, and their first full-length sounds appropriately sharpened for battle. “virus://vibrance” unleashes a tornado of swirling metal chords played for maximum velocity, reminiscent of At the Drive-In at their nastiest. “Doomtech” offers a more straightforward entry point, its detuned anchor point and shrieked vocals giving way to a melodic vocal counterpoint, recalling post-hardcore heroes like Converge and Deftones. But, like aforementioned acts, Vein aren’t merely interested in pulverizing noise — though they do that pretty well — lacing its songs with dynamics and experimentation. On “Demise Automation,” the band sounds like it’s simultaneously playing and destroying its guitars, its shredded vocals going toe-to-toe with bludgeoning riffs and squealing feedback. Brainy yet accessible enough for the average metal fan, Vein’s debut LP is a stiff gut punch of barely controlled chaos.

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Bon Voyage (CD)

After a six year hiatus, Melody’s Echo Chamber returns with the lovely Bon Voyage. Clocking in at a tantalizingly brief thirty-three minutes that’ll have fans immediately hitting the “repeat” button, the tracks are lush, layered, and hypnotic, occasionally melancholy, sometimes strange. The production of the album was a collaborative effort between some of the most cosmically-inclined, genre-bending indie artists working today; members of Pond and Dungen join songstress Melody Prochet in piloting this spaceship. Bon Voyage is a dream you won’t want to end.

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