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Record Roundup

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The Bad Plus

It’s Hard

Okeh/Sony Masterworks

Anderson, Iverson and King sounds like a law firm, but they’re the personnel of the Bad Plus. I was sold on them when I heard their headlong, oddly appropriate cover of “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast on a Disney‑themed jazz album. There’s no Disney here, but a smorgasbord of tunes by Johnny Cash, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Ornette Coleman and all points in between. These three guys are fused in mind and body, and keep all 11 tracks right on the edge of disciplined chaos. Every Man in Black fan needs to hear what they bring to “I Walk the Line.”

‑ Bruce Collier

Rufus Coates & the Blackened Trees

Self‑Titled

Independent

When you take a lovely deep gravel male voice and a soft emboldened female voice, it can be the perfect pair and a heck of a treat. This is an album that’s simply inspiring and unforgettable. Haunting and raw, warm and refined, and above all, hard to stop listening to.

Nikki Hedrick

Colonel Gentleman and the Intangible Fancies

Oh! Whiskey

Independent

This uniquely named Pensacola band blends art house folk rock with English psychedelia for a creation that is old, new and altogether charming. With male and female vocals leading the charge, the theme seems to be maintaining a balance between musical worlds and creating a few new ones in the process.

Nikki Hedrick

Radiohead

A Moon Shaped Pool

XL Recordings

If you think it’s strange that a band of Radiohead’s legendary status would launch their newest album with only a whisper of promotion, just wait until you listen to it. The real surprise is this is undoubtedly their best album in nearly a decade. It offers a fresh crop of songs while staying true to their experimental, synth‑meets‑folk sound, glazed with Thom Yorke’s familiar airy‑thin vocals drifting into a falsetto. There is variety, with “Burn the Witch” cranking a poppy upbeat, while “True Love Waits” and “Daydreaming” are piano heavy, thoughtful and touching. None of it is fist pumping, head‑bangin’ rock to be sure, but it damn sure isn’t easy listening, either. In an age of over‑produced, over‑mixed commercial albums, Radiohead continues to persevere with creative authenticity, making A Moon Shaped Pool a delight from start to finish.

Joni Williams

Seth Walker

Gotta Get Back

Royal Potato Family

The down home bluesman is back with perhaps his most polished and intricate outing to date. Whether it is the soulful hum‑along of “Back Around” or the intimate love song “The Sound of Your Voice”—complete with swirling ending featuring strings and electric organ sounds—this album touches on all sorts of musical roots with grace and sophistication.

Nikki Hedrick

Daphne Willis

Come Together

daphnewillis.com

There are always lots of good albums out there if you know where to look, but rarely do you find something you can hang the word “magical” on. Willis—a longtime favorite here from her appearances at the 30A Songwriters Festival—squeezes the last bit of life out of five Beatles classics. Some of these have been done to death (“Something”), but you wouldn’t know it from the vitality of the performances. I hope Paul and Ringo get to hear this, and I’m pretty sure it’s already in heavy rotation up in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven for George and John.

‑ Chris Manson
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