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Gifts from Enola: Gifts from Enola

Less introspective than Laura, and more overtly emotive than Explosions in the Sky, Gifts from Enola shows us the heavier side of post-rock while reminding us to stop, inhale, and release.

Andrew Dietzel
Music

Greg Laswell: Take a Bow

Laswell’s rich voice and musicianship drip with sincerity throughout Take a Bow, making this one of the most genuine and surprisingly uplifting albums of the year.

Music

Frontier Ruckus: Deadmalls and Nightfalls

Deadmalls and Nightfalls is a musical map to the psyches of its performers. You will want to know the words by heart to sing under the haze of summer starlight.

Music

Ed Harcourt: Lustre

Lustre is ultimately an album that greets life’s up and downs, victories and defeats, calms and frenzies, with enthusiasm. Put another way: Ed Harcourt will light up your life.

Andrew Dietzel
SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Nice Music Group/ Piano Wolf

Music

Kayo Dot: Coyote

Kayo Dot have crafted something meaningful for themselves that exudes an emotive purity, an untainted earnestness, that most bands can never hope to achieve.

Music

Oxbow: Fuckfest

As the title alone suggests, it’s clear that Oxbow isn’t playing by the rules or going for mass appeal with Fuckfest. They’re going for your throat by making their music their way, and you’ll either respect it or go to hell.

Music

ArmsBendBack: ArmsBendBack

I hate to be this scathing, but when each song sounds like a variation on three chords with a wah-wah solo tacked on for good measure, your time is better spent elsewhere.

Music

Cars & Trains: The Roots, The Leaves

Sounding like a mixture between indie darlings Sufjan Stevens and Why?, Cars & Trains creates a lush and textured environment full of idiosyncratic lyrics and a sense of melancholia that charms its way into your life.

Music

Jodis: Secret House

I have nothing against doom or sludge in general, but this overpushing of the envelope is a slow atmospheric death that will not appeal to many.

Music

Cobra Killer: Uppers and Downers

Between the two extremes of Uppers and Downers the third choice of the happy medium would serve Cobra Killer much better.

Music

Junius: The Martyrdom of the Catastrophist

Within the context of sweeping post-rock (think Hum meets Explosions in the Sky), Junius have crafted a rich and rewarding cerebral opus that traverses the void between the raw and the refined with grace.

Music

MiC K!ng and Chum: Flavor Ade

Together, Cool-Aide exude the party-starting vibe and excited exuberance that encourages even the most rhythmically-challenged chump to get funky fresh and dance.

Music

Little Dragon: Machine Dreams

This is electronic pop music done right, free from hipster trimmings or overly vulnerable declarations of self-discovery, and a sure sign that Little Dragon have the all the strength and memorability of a lucid dream.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

37:49

Music

Cave In: Planets of Old + Live Performance DVD

Pummeling you with multifaceted metal mayhem and a little prog-rock verve, Planets of Old is the kind of recording that punches you in the face to make sure you’re still paying attention.

Music

King Diamond: The Spider's Lullabye / The Graveyard

The Spider’s Lullabye hearkens back to a simpler time in the mid-'90s when metal was fun, hovering on a fine line between macabre and whimsically satanic.

Music

Akira Sakata & Chikamorachie: Friendly Pants

For all of its strength, poise, and extroversion, Friendly Pants does little to create any particular sensation, and instead operates more as a skill showcase for the musicians involved.

Music

Electric Six: Kill

Kill careens from pop rock to cheesy metal to variations on funk throughout its duration, propelled by the energetic imagination and musicianship of the band like an all-too-phallic torpedo.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Goner

Music

N'Dambi: Pink Elephant

Pink Elephant is at once lush, vibrant, and deeply moving as it sprawls across soundscapes that range from beat to bounce to ballad.

Music

Jessica Pavone: Songs of Synastry and Solitude

Gloomy and forceful, Songs of Synastry and Solitude is as much about the space between the notes as it is the notes themselves, and as much about Pavone’s own story as it is yours.

Music

Mason Jennings: Blood of Man

Mason Jennings shows his maturity with Blood of Man, but also shows that he still has room to grow. The exciting part is that the best has yet to come.


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