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Record Roundup

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Code Orange


Roadrunner Records

Heavy and ambiguous, Code Orange is an untamed animal that doesn’t belong to any safe genre classification. Sure, the stop-go rhythms, ultra-sludgy down-tuned guitars and anger-spewed vocals suggest metalcore and hardcore, but Forever has surprises. The hauntingly dark, bordering-on-pop “Ugly” and “dream2” showcase Code Orange as fearless experimenters who continue to push against expectations.

– Nikki Hedrick

Patrick Cunningham



Nothing is off limits on this live comedy album. From the potential darker truth of beloved movies like Mary Poppins to Ice T’s recent career choices, both pop culture and personal escapades find their way into Cunningham’s set. If a story about an overzealous German dominatrix with a whip is off-putting to you, this guy might not be your cup of tea. But if you like comedy that pokes at society’s edges with a dash of sexual conquests gone wrong, Prehipstoric serves up the laughs.

– Nikki Hedrick


What Went Down

Warner Brothers

Foals is yet another band riding the new wave of “art rock”—alt rock spiced with bits of other genres. This album channels ‘80s and ‘90s Britpop (think Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Human League) along with some Radiohead-inspired etherealism and enough heavy synth beats to drum up memories of Fat Boy Slim. The compelling beats drive the title track, which may be the album’s best, though “Mountain at My Gate” and “A Knife in the Ocean” are also strong contenders. Definitely worth a listen.

– Joni Williams


So What


This funky rock band from Tallahassee is bound to get you moving. Smooth hooks and soul to spare—they blend jazz elements with modern sensibilities. So What is a debut EP from a new regional project, and I hope this isn’t the last I’ve heard from HighTest.

– Nikki Hedrick

Anne Queffelec

Entrez Dans La Danse


It ain’t Valentine’s Day ‘til the French are heard from. Parisian pianist Queffelec presents 24 tracks, all dance-themed, by Poulenc, Satie, Debussy, Ravel, Massenet, Faure and other composers. Her approach is precise, leisurely, joyous, and, well, romantic. This is one of the “official” records of La Folie Journee classical music festival in Nantes. The album cover, depicting 1940s occupied Paris, sports a Lauren Bacall-ish beauty under the suspicious gaze of a German soldier. Can Bogart be far away?

– Bruce Collier

Layla Ramezan

Plays 100 Years of Iranian Piano Music


I didn’t intend this as a political gesture when I chose this album to review, but it could be taken as such. Tehran native Ramezan has studied in large part in France and Switzerland. Her 18-track playlist is made up of works by Iranian composers born between 1928 and 1958. The liner notes say most learned their craft in France and Austria, “but some also studied in the United States.” The music has a European style, with some dissonance and jazz-like passages that may make you think of Satie and even more recent composers like Mingus or Jarrett.

– Bruce Collier

Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 3

Mass Appeal Records

Killer Mike and El-P continue to write the rules for making prophetic, political rap. Their latest elevates what makes Run the Jewels special—they make intensely powerful, energizing music that refuses to cower to the large-scale cultural divisiveness they confront. RTJ3 packs punches that serve as calls to action and plans for survival in a time of widespread tyranny. The dynamic production matches the ferocity of the message, commanding our attention and igniting our motivation. RTJ3 is for the people, and it feels like a vital gift.

– Jane Morgan
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