A Sunny Day in Glasgow – “100/0 (Snowdays forever)
Autumn, again

The last track on this album epitomizes it well, and is perhaps also the best one, assembling a truly broad assemblage of tones and instruments into a cohesive and powerful whole. The bass is great, the keyboards sharp, the random synths, echoes, and breaks well-placed. They also successfully make a minor key upbeat and ebullient. Still, their “klangy” noise-pop isn’t for everyone. (insound)


Nico Muhly and Nadia Sirota – “Part I: Material In D”
Drones & Viola

Part of a series of short contemporary chamber music EPs by Muhly and collaborators, this track is perhaps the most listenable (some of the pieces are a little— bangy), yet is also fundamentally elusive. The “drone” aspect acquires different tones throughout the piece despite remaining in essentially the same key, causing an interesting tension: Are the ever-present strings or the itinerant piano driving the melody? (insound)


Mojave 3 – “My Life In Art”
Excuses For Travelers

Mojave 3 may be cuddling music, but that doesn’t mean their solid songwriting can’t be acknowledged. This classic album has more than a couple tracks I’ve been whistling for years, but “My Life In Art” is the low-key, porch-sitting, significant-other-squeezing centerpiece.


Lake Trout – “Look Who It Is”
Another One Lost

An ominous, Lynchian instrumental that seems at odds with the rest of the album, which is energetic but uneven. Really impressive second half, channeling Angelo Badalamenti’s “Go Get Some” from the Mulholland Drive soundtrack.


Juno – “The Great Salt Lake”
This Is the Way It Goes & Goes & Goes

I missed out on Juno when they were a Seattle band, though I had their split with Dismemberment Plan and later taught Travis’s daughter at preschool for a couple years. It seems they helped lay the foundation for later indie rock bands, and present a sort of middle ground between earlier alternative bands and post-punk stuff, like The Wrens mixed with Built To Spill, if that makes any sense. This track is not representative of the album at all, but is too good not to share with anyone who likes atmospheric rock and hasn’t already encountered Juno. (insound)


The Wind-Up Bird – “Violin & Trumpet”
Conduction, Convection, Radiation

This excellent (but rather somber) split between 1 Mile North, Colophon, and The Wind-Up Bird has a number of great, near-ambient tracks. 1 Mile North’s “Ashes & Dust,” with its spare piano and texture, is a departure from their usual guitar noodlings, and Colophon’s contributions acquire perhaps too much poignancy once you know their context (probably better not to learn). But it’s The Wind-Up Bird’s tracks, shimmery and otherworldly, that stand out most to me — this one in particular. (insound)


Fredrik – “Black Fur”
Na Na Ni

A rhythmic and harmonic little anthem. I keep thinking I remember how it sounds, but then it surprises me with little flourishes or jangles. (insound)


Wye Oak – “Talking About Money”
The Knot

It’s uncommon that I’m exposed to an artist through their latest album, but then find I prefer their earlier work — especially when the latest album is as good as Wye Oak’s Civilian. But The Knot does everything Civilian does, with more variety, grandeur, and power in general. From the setup and punchline of the first two tracks to the unbelievably confident “Talking About Money” to the shoegazer “Mary Is Mary” and triumphant “Tattoo,” there is hardly a misstep on the album and a surfeit of just plain excellent music. (insound)

Murcof – “Spring In The Artificial Gardens”
The Versailles Sessions

The occult quasi-baroque meanderings of The Versailles Sessions seem a strange sequel to Murcof’s dubby, Loscil-esque Martes and Remembranza. But a lot can change in a few years, and the artist’s experimental leanings were already evident. Still, it’s a fairly baffling 50 minutes. The focus is on space and ambience, not (as the compelling but ultimately frustrating “Louis XIV’s Demons” shows early on), and this track embodies that without being terminally weird.


Marielle V Jakobsons – “Crystal Orchard”
Glass Canyon

An ethereal but sonically fascinating album. Jakobsons creates wonderful atmospheres, and the journeys through those soundspaces occasionally resemble songs. The first three tracks (this is the second) are especially intriguing. (experimedia)