Streets Of Laredo – Volume I & II

Dine Alone, 2014

Though they’re a new name, the members of Streets of Laredo have paid their dues in New Zealand outfits. Now based in New York, this double EP combines rugged, folk-rock and alt-country with dual gender vocals and a whole lot of guitar-driven melodies that hint at their power-pop roots. All seven members contribute their respective skills, including tambourine and horns, making each song here equally impressive.

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Faded Ranger – Mechanical Tonight

HFN, 2014

The first and quickly assembled LP from the duo of Nick Maurer and Neville Attree, though the pair didn’t waste any time this year in already providing us with several synth-fueled post-disco singles. While it’s easily dance floor friendly, Mechanical Tonight is also an introspective debut where darker textures are mixed in between trip-hop, house, beats, and futuristic melody. Extremely varied and exquisitely delivered.

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Michael Schulte – The Arising

Very Us, 2014

Though he built his name on covers, the German youngster can write timeless, warm originals, too. Mixing folk, pop and occasional bouts of rock, Schulte’s voice is like a seasoned vet as he works in themes of hope and love. Skilled at both soulful balladry and fuller songs of emotive pop-rock, there’s a lot of talent here that anyone could embrace.

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Angela Moyra – Fickle Island

Zip, 2014

I have to imagine that in the Netherlands Moyra is a household name. If not, she should be, because the songstress can navigate a jazzy pop song and ukulele tune that you won’t soon forget. Often paralleling indie-folk from the west side of the States, there’s a cultural slant that gives the album a unique flavor, complemented by Moyra’s smooth, charming voice. In a word, irresistible.

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Various Artists – All Your Friend’s Friends

K, 2014

Culled entirely from samples yanked off the K Records catalog, 30+ MCs from the Northwest US are showcased with their respective hip-hop, beat driven talent. With multiple artists sampled in each song and similarly multiple performers contributing, a label mostly known for discovering indie artists brings us plenty of new names from a different range of sounds.

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Cocek! Brass Band – Here Comes Shlomo

Self-released, 2014

Led by trumpeter Sam Dechenne, this Balkan-style ensemble sounds larger than their five players and explores influences like gypsy rock, freeform jazz and klezmer from a very energetic angle. Bridging the gap between the New Orleans spirit and Eastern Europe brass sounds, Cocek! (Cho-Check) seem to bring the fun with them wherever they go and would fit alongside rock bands as well as at formal parties.

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