Highlighted Releases - Week of 1/22/18

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1. Margaret Chavez - A Loupe (Goliad Media, Rock)

Though rock music is getting older and older, there's still far too many artists out there that make it worth coming back to. Marcus William Striplin is memorializing his mother (who the band are named after) and making a compelling record in one fell swoop. With an Elvis Costello swagger and production from Erik Wofford (Explosions in the Sky), don't miss memorable tracks like "American Fashion." RIYL: The National, Andy Shauf, Father John Misty

2. Heather Maloney - Just Enough Sun (Signature Sounds, Folk)

One of Spin Magazine's artists to watch, this EP is comprised of intimate, one-take sessions. Similar to Big Thief's 2017 record Capacity, Maloney dives into her family history with a fine tooth comb. The results are fantastic and moving even when she's covering Bob Dylan. RIYL: Joni Mitchell, early Van Morrison, Lissie, The Wallflowers

3. Hot Snakes - It's For Your! The Incomplete Hot Snakes (Sub Pop, Rock)

In preparation for an upcoming 2018 release, Hot Snakes and Sub Pop are releasing this compilation that wonderfully puts their best early career songs together for us. Although more direct than their previous projects like Drive Like Jehu, this post hardcore group are reminding us why the 90s were such an influential time for guitar music. It's the best Sub Pop reunion this side of Sleater-Kinney. RIYL - Pavement, OFF!, Minutemen

4. Slow Dakota - Rumspringa EP (Massif Records, Rock)

After 2016's sprawling The Ascension of Slow Dakota, it follows that PJ Sauerteig would seek to make something a little more compact. This EP is just that. "Aeropagitica" is a lovely single to introduce the listener. His classical music proclivities are still on display, but overall it's his emphasis on folk textures and layers that steals the show. RIYL: Owen Pallett, Bon Iver, Nils Frahm

5. Muddy Gurdy - Muddy Gurdy (Vizzitone, Country)

Here is a combination of music so baffling, it almost has no right to work. Incidentally, it's the finest juxtaposition so far this year. Including the children of Delta Blues legends like Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside, the 5 piece band combine French folk music with the blues, and the results could cross numerous borders. At times heartbreaking but subtly funky, this is music that brings cultures together in a much needed time. RIYL: Mulatu Astatke, Son House, BB King