An ambitious, unsettling exploration of the outskirts of song structure and emotion, Mister Hazelwood and the New Transcendentalists' full-length release The Golden Age stands as one of last year's most original records. A Kentucky native who moved to Nashville to attend Belmont, Joseph Hazelwood first gained attention as half of the blues-influenced duo Ode Hazelwood, whose 2007 release Radio Noise sounded like a parody of The Memphis Jug Band or The Kinks circa "Berkeley Mews." The Golden Age, on the other hand, suggests Scott Walker attempting to sing like Bryan Ferry over various parlor-room blues settings. Creepy keyboards combine with pedal steel and wistful harmonica to produce the effect of dust settling on empty rooms. Or maybe it's the sound of a man peeping through a keyhole to examine his own obsessions. Hazelwood's gift is for simplicity, but his music is nuanced, crazy and completely arresting.