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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 7, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 5, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 24, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 7, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 13, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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The third album from New Zealand's chill-pop outfit Yumi Zouma tenderly pokes at the bruises inflicted by 2020's unsettled times. Singer Christie Simpson —blessed with a down comforter of a voice— has said of the inspiration for single "Right Track/Wrong Man": "I've found myself... unable to work out what makes me happier, left feeling a little lost." This is low-sweat dance floor stuff, with familiar sonic touchstones. "Mirror to the Fire" comes on like Chvrches, while "Magazine Bay" borrows the yacht rock confidence of Tame Impala. Shimmering with assertive '80s-style synth and crisp percussion, the music is inevitably breezy, uplifting, optimistic; the lyrics tend to be indecisive ("Please don't leave me here or let me go," Simpson sings on "Southwark") and self-critical ("I was embarrassed when I knew who I was, so wild and zealous and overly down for the cause," she coos on "Lonely After"). The truth may be fuzzy and unknown, but the consequences remain existentially high. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 10, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 4, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 27, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 20, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 14, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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When Chicago's Post Animal made their full-length debut in 2018, it was with an eclectic set of hard-rockin' riffs, tight prog-inspired runs, wistful indie pop refrains, and a warm, affectionate tone that made them lovable through moments of dramatic, "Bohemian Rhapsody"-like bombast. That debut, When I Think of You in a Castle, was produced by the band, and they keep things in-house for the follow-up, Forward Motion Godyssey. It was produced by bassist and founding member Dalton Allison with help from Castle co-mixer Adam Thein. (Fans may want to note that guitarist/singer Joe Keery left the band following the debut to pursue acting opportunities stemming from his role on Netflix's Stranger Things.) If there's anything surprising about the remaining five-piece's second outing, it's that instead of homing in on a sound, they return with more of their oddball, freewheeling mix of styles ranging from classic metal, prog, and psych-rock to a seemingly contrarian indie soft rock. Examples of the latter can be heard on the mid-tempo "Schedule" and, to a lesser degree, "Safe or Not," two synth-aided tunes with a focus on treble clef. But first, they establish their metal chops on the imposing "Post Animal" and launch the record with the trippy, meandering "Your Life Away" ("Don't give your whole life away"). It languidly ponders: "Life's a lot of sleeping, though/I'll get some problems resolved in my dreams." The album on the whole is more contemplative, even on dirtier tracks like "In a Paradise," which philosophizes "We are all just waiting in a line/Forming thoughts we think would never occur to them" alongside low, churning guitars, cowbell-type cymbal pings, and engine-dwelling effects. All told, Forward Motion Godyssey isn't quite as much fun as Post Animal's debut, but they still deliver that characteristic warmth as well as uncommonly sharp hooks, fills, and theatrics of a nature that should delight air guitarists and drummers everywhere. © Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 11, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 6, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 31, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

As Squirrel Flower, Boston native Ella O'Connor Williams creates a world of moody, sometimes celestial indie rock anchored by a magnetic voice as airy and smooth as it is powerful. She began releasing music while attending college in Iowa, developing a thoughtful and sparse sound rooted around her heavily reverbed solo electric guitar and vocals. A winsome mix of crystalline melodies and earthy textures, her first two outings found a small fan base and some critical respect as well as a deal with the Polyvinyl label. For her full-length debut, she and producer Gabe Wax (Adrianne Lenker, Palehound) opt for a more full-bodied approach, employing a rhythm section and some rough-hewn electric grit to help carry parts of I Was Born Swimming. Recorded between Boston and New York, Williams expands on the reflective, intimate tones of her earlier releases, presenting a sort of emotional travelogue as she searches for connections and a sense of place. The album begins appropriately enough on "I-80," the great transcontinental artery that connects her East Coast home turf with the Midwestern plains of her college days. Themes of escape and movement are stitched between these 12 songs, especially on highlights like "Headlights" and "Streetlight Blues," the former exhaling the mountain mist through a car window, the latter spilling lovelorn out into the city streets. Slow-moving and thoughtful, I Was Born Swimming thrives on its central idea of rootlessness, roving through moments of heartache, joy, wistfulness, and the myriad pangs of melancholy that accompany personal growth. Brimming with personal observations and subtly dynamic performances, Williams offers a strong debut. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 24, 2020 | Polyvinyl Records