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Best New Model Album Release: 

Deadly Art by How I Became the Bomb

Originally released in dribs and drabs as a series of free digital EPs through the band's website, Deadly Art has reconfirmed How I Became the Bomb's status as one of Nashville's most important bands. Much ink has been spilled over the group's '70s and '80s influences, but they never slide into lazy mimicry. Self-aware 21st-century attitudes force a reassessment of the supposed banality of 20th-century synth-pop, especially on standouts "Best Man" and "Atlas," both heavy with the anxious emotions of the ill-at-ease. The band is not above revisiting their own past, with favorites "Killing Machine" and "Secret Identity" granted newer, more lush recordings. The album is a reminder that music will have a better time of moving forward if artists seriously consider what has been left behind. ASHLEY SPURGEON

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