Sonic Reducer

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There’s nowhere to hide in a saxophone trio, and tenorist Donny McCaslin, with able assistance from bassist Han Glawischnig and drummer Jonathan Blake, never tries. In Recommended Tools , McCaslin exposes a stunning musicality and emotional buoyancy, blowing his heart out on nine originals and Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan.” He falters on only one cut, the ballad “Margins of Solitude,” where he does not take the singing freedom he’s earned. He earns every singing moment on every other track, though. On “The Champion,” bass and drums lay out for a while, but you may not realize it for a moment—McCaslin’s playing is just that riveting. (MM)

Colourmusic F, Monday, Orange, February, Venus, Lunatic, 1 or 13 (Great Society)

Colourmusic‘s debut full-length record is psychedelic twee at its most adorable. Slightly off-kilter melodies and childlike group singing are fragmented by brief guitar solos and the occasional handclap. With a couple of greased-up, distorted exceptions, this Oklahoma-based quartet keeps its hands clean. If Colourmusic were feeding a baby, it might do a few loop-de-loops with the spoon before delivering the applesauce, but the infant would get its sustenance. The band experiments with guitar squawk and vocal warbling, but it delivers its ’60s-grounded art-folk quickly and effectively. (SM)

The Killers Day & Age (Island Records)

With such leaps and bounds in national and international success, Day & Age has some big gears to grab onto following The Killers’ past two chart-topping albums. Lead singer Brandon Flowers has an imagination that flares through Day & Age , leaving a glossy finish to each song. You just can’t help but twirl the girl. It’s the magic of pop music, and The Killers continues to keep that magic alive. (JH)

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