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The Naysayer

Evil Engine No. 9
SELF-RELEASED

Grunge, metal and, on a lesser level, emo are combined with relative aplomb in this freshman EP by Evil Engine No. 9.

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The Best of The Black President

Fela Kuti
KNITTNG FACTORY/KALAKUTA SUNRISE

Got Fool’s Gold and Antibalas on repeat? Go archival for their prolific ancestor.

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Circles Around Me

Sam Bush
SUGAR HILL

As newgrass (an arguably Louisvillian invention) turns 40, Sam Bush, the genre’s chief architect, continues to construct superb sounds from his adopted Nashville.

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Manners

Passion Pit
COLUMBIA/FRENCHKISS

Passion Pit’s Manners, the sophisticated follow-up to their 2008 EP, Chunk of Change, is a sonic party from the first note.

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Sunset/Sunrise

The Dutchess and the Duke
HARDLY ART

The neo-folk and organic techno movements have run their courses. Too many half-talented bozos have jumped on that bandwagon for the sound to survive.

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Of The Cathmawr Yards

The Horse’s Ha
HIDDEN AGENDA

Ex-Eleventh Dream Day and current Freakwater vocalist Janet Beveridge Bean heads an eclectic roster of Chicago-based musicians, and their debut is rather surprising.

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Count the Days

The Seedy Seeds
EURODORABLE

Count the Days’ opening track, “Winter 04,” is instructively titled — by fusing skittering Postal Service synth-pop with Rilo Kiley’s sleepy country overt

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Am I Invisible

Artifex Pereo
SELF-RELEASED

“Qualis artifex pereo” (what an artist dies with me) were supposedly the Roman emperor Nero’s last words.

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Everybody Come Outside

Pomegranates
LUJO

Whoever happens to be in charge of deciding release dates at Lujo Records deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Nobel Prize or something roughly equivalent. Maybe a Klondike bar.

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Keep an Eye on the Sky

Big Star
RHINO/ARDENT

Big Star’s career never hit any of the standard narrative points — they went from guileless, fresh-faced power-poppers to loose-limbed, self-aware smart-asses after just one album