Los Straitjackets – Deke Dickerson Sings The Instrumental Hits

Yep Roc, 2014

The long running instrumental legends return with Deke Dickerson on a clever project that unearths lyrics to many classics and obscure songs (including some of their own), filtered through the instant fun that is the music of Los Straitjackets. Their surf, garage and rockabilly ways haven’t changed much in their lengthy career, nor has their creativity and unique approach. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, this is as great a place to start as any.

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Alright The Captain – Contact Fix

Mountains of Records, 2015

The sophomore effort from the Derby-based trio was funded via Kickstarter in only 12 days, and turns out to be a worthwhile investment: Contact Fix is 7 tracks of high-energy instrumental math-rock that the world’s a more vibrant place for. Expect jazz-inflected drumming and guitars as twisting and entangling as the bodies on the cover, underpinned by an emotive post-rock drive that adds (a smidgeon of) direction. Fans of Tero Melos, And So I Watch You From Afar, et al. make note of its Feb 2nd release date.

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Scott Evans – Civilized

Seraph Sounds, 2014

Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Evans might only be in his mid 20s, but he plays life-affirming music like a seasoned vet. Alternating between rugged rock tunes and quieter alt-country, he’s got a distinct voice you won’t soon forget and a storytelling ability that parallels the greats of the genre. Criminally obscure, this is a fantastic album.

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Moshav – New Sun Rising

Self-released, 2014

From Israel to LA, the prolific band return with a 9th album of giant alt-rock where influences like folk, reggae and funk are all heavily referenced. Though they strip things back with an acoustic ballad on occasion, the best moments here are loud indie-rock with guitar solos and polished energy. You even get a song in Hebrew, too.

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Jessi Mechanic – Wandering In Roam

Self-released, 2014

A NYC indie-pop outfit fronted by Mechanic’s strong, sensuous pipes, this five song EP contains melodies that could fill stadiums with thoughtful lyrics that reveal much depth to the arrangements. Sometimes overtly powerful rock while other times keeping it more subtle, there’s an ideal mix of emotive versus playful and the keys are strategically placed for maximum memorableness.

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Echo Bloom – Blue Shift

Self-released, 2014

Self-described as folk-estral, this live disc brings oboes, violas and banjos to a graceful, majestic gathering that covers Echo Bloom’s 2013 album in its entirety. Sometimes dreamy and introspective, other times upbeat and joyous, folk and country ideas remain at the core, while the songs expand into spiritual, powerful anthems.

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