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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
New West

The eponymous follow-up to Isbell’s brilliant Sirens of the Ditch is probably not what most people expected.

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Future Stars and Small Wonders

Bizzart
Joyful Noise

Bizzart’s fourth is his first with producer Innaspace, and I’m not quite sure whom to give more credit.

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Dark Was The Night

Various Artists
4AD

What would happen if you faced down an army of A-listers all mugging with the same game face?

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Hunter Moon

Spirits of the Red City
Self-released

In a dream-memory, in the surgery tent after Perryville, I take a long, bitter pull from the surgeon’s bottle and am given my belt as a champing bit.

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NGH WHT (The Dead Emcee Scrolls)

Saul Williams
saulwilliams.com

Saul Williams’s 2006 book has now been set to music by composer Thomas Kessler and performed by the Arditti String Quartet, with vocals, of course, handled by the author.

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Dear John

Loney Dear
Polyvinyl

Emil Svanagen performs your standard-issue indie pop. There’s something about Scandinavian musicians in general and Swedes in particular that makes them veritable geysers of this stuff.

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Hold Time

M. Ward
Merge

Matt Ward is lining up to inherit T. Bone Burnett’s mantle as go-to man for folk-inflected alt sounds.

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Art of Field Recording, Vol. II

Various Artists
Dust to Digital

This four-disc set, the brainchild of archivist Art Rosenbaum, is a staggering collection of American roots music performed by amateur musicians in nonprofessional recording environments.

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Picotero

Monareta
Nacional

Some say drum machines have no soul. On most days, I am one of those people.

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Artificial Fire

Eleni Mandell
Self-released

Unsigned singer/songwriter Eleni Mandell has crafted a surprisingly large body of work, an achievement notable enough in itself without discussing the merits of her latest, Artificial Fire.