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Roísín Murphy – “Ten Miles High”

On “Ten Miles High,” Roísín Murphy orchestrates electronica rhythms, suspenseful dynamics, and her distinct velvet-throated croon to soundtrack the heist movie that’s showing in her head. The look of Murphy’s imaginary film is irresistible, its hi-res sheen highlighting the song’s seductive pull and delicately masking the fact that the narrator is perhaps a teensy bit […]

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Male Gaze – King Leer

Oh, yes: Male Gaze, the Bay Area band who made of one last year’s hot-as-shit debut records, have done it again, delivering nine-tracks of face-melting rock on their new album, King Leer. This being a release on Castle Face Records — the celebrated garage-rock label that Male Gaze frontman Matt Jones happens to preside over […]

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Heaven’s Jail – “Widow’s Work”

Heaven’s Jail plays a hungry, no-frills style of hard rock that makes an unexpected case for the genre’s continuing relevance. The blazing “Widow’s Work,” the title track from their new album, recalls a thousand fist-pumps and sing-alongs — satisfying enough, until you sense that something’s off. Is it the absence of an obvious chorus, a […]

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Diarrhea Planet – “Life Pass”

So here we are: maybe the best new hard rock out there today is being made by a band with maybe the worst name ever. But if you have the fortitude for scatalogogical nomenclature coined, somewhat predictably, in a college dorm room years ago, then Diarrhea Planet should surely satisfy your air-guitar itch. The Nashville […]

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Hannah Georgas – “Rideback”

Here’s an uncommon wisdom: summers can be cruel. (Just ask Bananarama.) Goading us with unrealistic expectations of escape and fulfillment, the season triggers flashes of existential disillusionment in the best of us. On the single “Rideback,” Hannah Georgas freezes these moments, summoning electronic rhythms and baritone saxophones (!) to reckon with the essential question: “What […]

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M. Craft – “Chemical Trails”

In modern art, it’s a fine thing to splash about in melancholy, but sometimes you just have to don your scuba gear and dive deep into pathos. (Hello, HBO’s “The Leftovers”!) If this is how you like your music, then get your long dark night of the soul on with the austere études of M. […]

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Big Thief – Masterpiece

A few too many hard ciders into a weeknight evening, this is a voice you could fall in love to… or with. On their debut album, Big Thief leads campfire songs into loud-soft-loud territory, armed with slashing guitars and hip-loosening rhythms. Full-throttle rockers like “Humans” and the title track “Masterpiece” present the unexpected meeting of […]

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Steve Gunn – Eyes on the Lines

If it’s accepted dogma that Jerry Garcia and Lou Reed symbolize opposing poles along the rock spectrum, then the astonishing music of Steve Gunn reminds us we live in remarkable times. A prolific recording artist, Gunn moves up to the majors (well, Matador Records) with Eyes on the Lines, which makes a powerful case for […]

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Whitney – “No Woman”

Take a load off, Annie, with the deceptively down-home indie-pop of Whitney. Fresh off the break-up of celebrated Chicago group Smith Westerns, Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich mine the soul-searching feel of After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young and Van Morrison’s cosmic R&B to express the universal melancholy of being out on your own in […]

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