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Record Roundup

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David Bowie

Blackstar

Sony

What can be said that hasn’t already been said by experts and admirers alike? Bowie created music that transcended boundaries and illuminated fringe worlds that most had never glimpsed before. Blackstar isn’t just an elegant curtain call, it’s an intimate examination of how Bowie’s understanding of the mourning he would leave behind.

– Nikki Hedrick

Carrion Curse

Feast of the Maggots

carrioncurse.com

Tallahassee is delivering death metal brutality, mostly in the vein that pays homage to the old school. Carrion Curse bucks a lot of current trends and opts to create solid groove-based attacks for lasting impact. If you’ve ever been a fan of bands like Death or Cannibal Corpse, give them a listen.

– Nikki Hedrick

Bo Diddley

Where It All Began

Geffen

Obscure 1972 album from the man who invented rock ‘n roll (take that, Peter Guralnick) includes at least one stellar guitar rave-up (“Bad Trip”).

– Chris Manson

John Hart Project

Vol. 1: Frission

reverbnation.com/johnhartproject

Pensacola’s Hart offers up super smooth vocals and bluesy guitar playing on his debut under the John Hart Project moniker. It’s a journey into stripped-down songs that dabble with a retro-vibe to create something undeniably enjoyable. Hart’s music should appeal to a wide scope of audiophiles, all the while conveying who he aspires to be as an artist.

– Nikki Hedrick

Rickie Lee Jones

The Other Side of Desire

Independent

In which the “Chuck E’s in Love” singer gets serious about album making with soul-shaking results.

– Chris Manson

Kyle Kinane

Sold Out, Suck It! EP

Comedy Central

Feels like you wandered into the middle of this guy’s gig and caught his best 20 minutes worth of material on unusual fears, gun nuts and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Hopefully, the full show will turn up on Netflix soon, though I’m not sure my guts and/or sides will survive it.

– Chris Manson

Charles Lloyd & the Marvels

I Long to See You

Blue Note

Saxophonist-flutist Lloyd knows how to pick them when he forms a band for a debut album. The justly named Marvels boast Lloyd, guitarists Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz, with Lloyd regulars Reuben Rogers on bass and Eric Harland on drums. Willie Nelson and Norah Jones sit in on two tracks. It’s a mixed company, rooted in jazz, blues, country, gospel and Americana. The playlist reflects it—“Abide with Me,” “Shenandoah” (possibly the most moving version I’ve heard), “All My Trials,” “You Are So Beautiful” and others, not a throwaway track among them. A nearly perfect all-tastes album.

– Bruce Collier

Madlove

Happy Accidents

reverbnation.com/PRECISEMADLOVE

Madlove have long been making waves in Pensacola’s hip-hop scene, and with Happy Accidents, those outside P-cola can enjoy the wave as well. Madlove is a band first and foremost—the songs are organic and dynamic in a way that only real instruments can provide.

– Nikki Hedrick

Valery Ponomarev Big Band

Our Father Who Art Blakey

Zoho Music

Strangely but truly, Russian-born trumpeter Ponomarev’s first experience with American jazz was listening to Art Blakey. He came to America and ended up playing in Blakey’s band, the Jazz Messengers, an almost obligatory rite of passage for a generation of jazzmen. Completing the circle is this tribute album that stands proudly straight up on its own. Ponomarev’s big band is plenty big, but he gives himself plenty of blowing room. The playlist will evoke nostalgia for the hard-bop days, but Blakey did not train musicians just to be museum exhibits. Ponomarev does the Father proud.

– Bruce Collier

Wilco

Star Wars

ANTI-/Epitaph

Like Eric Church sings in “Mr. Misunderstood,” Jeff Tweedy = bad mutha. I appreciate the FREEbie (it was when it dropped last year, anyway), which is also the band’s most accessible music since the Billy Bragg-Woody Guthrie collaborations.

– Chris Manson
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