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Record Roundup

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The Bo-Keys

Heartaches by the Number

Omnivore Recordings

Memphis Stax devotees offer up some of the best country-soul mashups since B.B. King and George Jones teamed up for “Patches” forever ago. The covers of Floyd Cramer’s “Last Kiss” and Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away” will leave you gasping, and there’s always room in this world for another fine rendition of Hank’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Jason Isbell is right—who needs genres?

– Chris Manson

Jane Monheit

The Songbook Sessions – Ella Fitzgerald

Emerald City

Chanteuse Monheit lined up trumpeter Nicholas Payton to produce, and Payton’s trumpet makes frequent appearances among the 12 tracks. This was my first full-album experience with Monheit, and I was impressed with her pipes. She has a leisurely way with a phrase, sometimes to the point of strangeness for its own sake. The playlist is straightforward, though (e.g., “Where or When,” “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”), and Payton’s horn occasionally supplies some Fitzgeraldian scat. There’s no attempt to imitate Ella, just celebrate her keen intelligence with strong lyrics.

– Bruce Collier

Point Blank

Burden of Humanity

pointblankhc.bandcamp.com

This Tallahassee band is what heavy hardcore music should sound like. Hardcore isn’t a descriptor but a genre mashup of metal riffs and punk vocals—a marriage of the two genres that is angry, fast-paced and cathartic. Point Blank encompasses everything that breathes life into the genre, from the musical breakdowns that get you moving to the misanthropic lyrics. If your tastes run heavy, give it a spin.

– Nikki Hedrick

PRECUBED

Self-Titled

precubed.bandcamp.com

Ethereal and meditative, Pensacola’s PRECUBED focuses on swirling soundscapes with an experimental indie-rock vibe. Entirely instrumental, it’s an evocative album that will inspire relaxation.

– Nikki Hedrick

Sonny Rollins

Holding the Stage – Road Shows Vol. 4

Okeh

Best octogenarian sax blower ever.

– Chris Manson

Soul Innerface

Self-Titled

Independent

Beachcomberland indie rockers venture into the realm of reverb-laden hard rock for their debut release. With emotional lyrics focused on finding a way through life’s struggles, Soul Innerface delivers high doses of energy and passion.

– Nikki Hedrick

Anthony Wilson

Frogtown

Goat Hill Recordings

Guitarist Wilson’s latest has the added bonus of being his debut as an occasional vocalist—his light, wistful voice may remind you a little of Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. The 13 tracks sport off-kilter titles like “Downtown Abbey” and “I Saw It Through the Skylight.” His technique leaps gazelle-like from funky crunch to bluesy glissando, and there’s a distinct whiff of dark carnival humor in tunes like “Shabby Bird” and “Occhi Di Bambola” (“Doll’s Eyes”). An elegance and simplicity runs through the album, like you’re hearing a soundtrack that perfectly matches the film it was written for.

– Bruce Collier

Peter Wolf

A Cure for Loneliness

Concord Records

Blue-eyed soul personified, my only gripe being that it’s over way too soon. Highlights include the instant classic “It’s Raining” (co-written with Don Covay) and a bluegrass reimagining of Wolf’s old J. Geils Band tune “Love Stinks.” Buy it on vinyl and dust off the old hi-fi.

– Chris Manson

Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, Vol. 1 (1972-1977)

Now Again Records

Eighteen of the best tracks you’ve never heard before, and I hope Vol. 2 is rolling off the presses as I write this. Heavy on hooks, as well as guitar shredding that’ll make Carlos Santana (insert your guitar hero’s name here) hang up his PRS (insert your guitar hero’s axe of choice here) in graceful defeat.

– Chris Manson
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