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The Rural Alberta Advantage returns with a new album this fall, and first single, "Terrified," finds the Toronto-based band pushing the limits of its folk-inflected rock and reaching exciting, fresh rock terrain.

"Use me, make me suffer, hold me under till my grip unfolds…." These are not the typical words of a simple romantic song, let alone of a simple Friday night. In the imagination -- melodic and lyrical -- of Montreal-based songwriter Jesse Daniel Smith, however, they capture the beauty and terror that sometimes accompanies love.

With echoes of the Magnetic Fields plugged in and the Smiths cheered up (if just a little), the Skating Party, effectively the work of Philadelphia musician Gregory James, has a lush and finely-layered '80s sound that's at once lyrical and danceable.

Coconut Records aren't exactly a household name, but judging from the enduring melody and spirit of a song like "West Coast," they should be. New York-based band Mainland pays a fittingly lo-fi and surfy tribute in this satisfying cover.

Joshua Worden describes his new album "Into the Fog" as "moments that feel like they are constantly fading, receding into fog." The misty, late-night, electronic sound of the title cut evokes his neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, filtered through his own melancholy experience.

Best known as guitarist for the Walkmen, Peter Matthew Bauer takes advantage of the band's "extreme hiatus" to explore Indian and psychedelic-folk music on the spellbinding "Philadelphia Raga."

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 10:10

Midyear 2014: KDHX DJ top 10 albums

July is here, and now that the fireworks have faded away, we celebrate a full half year of independent music by taking a look at some of the best releases of 2014 thus far. The DJs of KDHX have picked their 10 favorites from the first six months of the year, with plenty of surprises in store.

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 07:00

Song of the Day: 'Such a Drag' by Say Hi

Laying the fuzz bass on thick, Eric Elbogen, aka Say Hi, aims straight for your poisoned little heart with the minimalist, futuristic thumper "Such a Drag."

When you have a voice like Christopher Denny -- utterly distinctive, drenched in country, soul and rockabilly -- you don't need any help delivering a lush ballad like "Our Kind of Love." But when you have a singer like Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards on board, you have the making of a masterpiece.

Long-standing, avant-garde band Swans intricately weaves together an unwavering bass line, heavy guitar licks and discordant electronics and horns in "A Little God in My Hands" -- a sickly, unsettling yet mesmerizing seven-minute song.

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The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4