Sonic Reducer

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Albuquerque’s Dirt City Radio puts forth the kind of country you can sway to while swilling whiskey on your back porch. One acoustic guitar plucks out a melody while the other repeats the chord progression so many times it’s hypnotic. Dirt City doesn’t go wild, but the energy is high enough to keep you awake in your rocking chair. Slightly ominous and just a wee bit gritty, Old Country Blues remains grounded in its rural roots. (SM)

P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers)

P.O.S. has never been better. Considering the success of his past two releases, Pissed Off Steph or Promise of Stress or whatever acronym you fancy to call the man, Never Better is an epiphany to the hip-hop world. The album is absolute mayhem, formatted and produced under P.O.S.’s crew Doomtree. Never Better is infused with racketing drums, menacing melodies, and wild lyrics full of wit and dynamism. There is no single hip-hop artist on the scene making a fuss quite like P.O.S. (JH)

The Handsome Family Honey Moon (Carrot Top Records)

Celebrated Albuquerque-dwelling Americana couple Brett and Rennie Sparks will release Honey Moon , their eighth album, in April to mark two decades of marriage. Reinforcing my late-blooming affinity for The Handsome Family, I think this album is lovely—perfect for domestic or pastoral activities such as stirring soup or sipping ale. Or being sad. Or happy. As a side note, I’ve already listened to track No. 9, "The Petrified Forest," a dozen times. (JCC)

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