If Corin Tucker's Kill My Blues was last season's perfect album to ease us aging riot grrrls into autumn, then Chronicles of Marnia, by guitar-tapping wonder woman Marnie Stern, could be our first—and thus far best—summer record. With Chronicles, Stern replaces drumming gadabout Zach Hill with Kid Millions of Oneida. He brings it, too: The ideal surf wave calls out from the rolling rhythms of “Nothing Is Easy.” Stern's voice breaks like sunlight through an overcast sky with her best Yoko Ono call on “Year of the Glad.” Her trademark shredding buoys “Immortals” as it runs barefoot in a feisty frenzy down the coast. Meanwhile, “Proof of Life” is a tipsy wind-down that veers from whimsy into quixotic regret. Still, so totally worth it. (M. Brianna Stallings)
While Tijuana-based goth-pop diva Dani Shivers’ debut full-length includes material that devoted fans have heard, even familiar tracks have been lovingly remastered and sound fresh, ripe and perfect. Jinx finds one of rising stars of dark Mexican pop fully exploiting her charms and beguiling vision. Equal parts Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Craft, Barbie and Wednesday Addams, Shivers’ aural world is populated by bedtime stories, candy, horror movies and magic. Her trademark oil-slick, quavering Casio wail and pensive vocals excel on “Graves,” “Trilogy Pt. 2: Vampire,” “Up!” and “Jinx.” (Samantha Anne Carrillo)
Thalia Zedek’s voice is a bit like an empathetic boa constrictor. Its resonance and intensity squeeze every drop of emotional pulp from your psyche, while somehow replenishing your compassionate capacity. She’s an empath, a sonic scribe emitting light from within the most opaque shadows. Via finds her holding court with viola player David Michael Curry (Willard Grant Conspiracy, ex-Tiger Saw) and pianist Mel Lederman (No Love, Julie Christmas) and wading into the deep end of emotional waters, extending outstretched hands fearlessly toward thorny bouquets and cobweb-laden corners. Standout tracks include “Winning Hand” and “Straight and Strong.” (Samantha Anne Carrillo)
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