Another Look header Nov. 2021

So far, there’s no solid evidence for The Great Pumpkin flying through on Halloween night — unless, perhaps, he’s distributing records. Even while in-person shows and tours have ramped back up substantially, Nashville musicians have continued to release a wealth of enticing material. Our writers have eight new recommendations for you, so add ’em to your streaming queue while you’re polishing off that leftover candy, or get a physical copy from your favorite record store. Or put them on your wish list for #BandcampFriday, the promotion in which the platform waives its cut of artist fees on the first Friday of the month — the next installment of which is Nov. 5.

Chuck Indigo, Shades of Indigo EP (self-released)

Chuck Indigo has quickly become known as one of the city’s most dynamic rappers, thanks to a string of projects showcasing his quick, agile flow, the versatility of his voice and his surgeon’s precision for writing sharp lyrics. Indigo displays all that and then some on Shades of Indigo EP, assembled from the remains of a project that he decided to scrap. As he writes on Soundcloud, he wanted to “release what I felt was good enough for you to enjoy.” He also calls the record “a token of gratitude and a promise of better and greater to come.” Considering the variety and quality of what he didn’t feel would work for an official album here — including the tracks that show off his outstanding singing voice — that’s an exciting promise for sure. BRITTNEY McKENNA

Jackson+Sellers, Breaking Point (ANTI-)

Individually, Aubrie Sellers and Jade Jackson each have made names for themselves by developing their own gritty, rock-edged flavors of country music. After playing back-to-back sets at AmericanaFest 2019, a simple Instagram DM from Jackson to Sellers led the pair to collaborate on a haunting cut called “Hush.” A creative spark immediately formed between them, and led to a string of co-writes and a studio session in East Nashville that resulted in a full album. Breaking Point, the duo’s full-length debut, highlights their incredible ability to blend dreamy harmonies with fiery, guitar-driven breakdowns. From their standout cover of Julie Miller’s “Devil Is an Angel” to the ache of a crumbling relationship they explore in “Fairweather,” Breaking Point stands as an example of the rare magic that can emerge from open and honest collaboration. LORIE LIEBIG

The Cancellations, Love Letter (self-released)

Only eight months removed from the great, underrated debut Fist Fight, Nashville-via-Atlanta foursome The Cancellations return with a second set of world-weary, hook-heavy pop-rock. Where tracks like the first album’s “It Won’t Leave Me Alone” evoke Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” if it were played by Is This It-era Strokes, the band’s sonic palette continues to expand. Love Letter includes Prince-like funk rock (“Walk Away”), sweeping piano balladry (“Be on My Way,” “Drowning”) and more. Frontman Elijah Jones’ lyrics, documenting a life of regrets and near misses with a proud “fuck you, still here” attitude, ooze authenticity. You know it when you hear it, and these 10 tunes have got it. CHARLIE ZAILLIAN

Lilly Hiatt, Lately (New West)

Lilly Hiatt comes up with several memorable guitar riffs on Lately, but the record doesn’t sound like she designed it to rock out. As well, there are moments on Lately that suggest country music without actually being country. Hiatt’s style is a hybrid that works in elements of rock and New Wave. As befits a singer-songwriter, Lately sports her subtly pained vocals, which put across a set of very internalized tunes. What’s happening in songs like “Gem” and “Face” isn’t unclear, but Hiatt seems to be navigating a set of conditions that are less than ideal. Lately is contemplative and haunted — late-night investigations of time, loss and contingency. EDD HURT

Freedom Club, The Nature of Freedom (Trance//Furnace)

In the past few years, industrial music has emerged from its underground lair. Most of the recent efforts lean safely toward the realm of dance-friendly synthesizer music. Freedom Club’s The Nature of Freedom is a caustic assault on that scene, breaking down electronic music to raw noise. On their 20-minute cassette, the duo creates terrific tension that calls to mind great horror directors. Much like their spiritual ancestors Whitehouse and Nurse With Wound, Freedom Club uses harsh noise in a way that feels like they’re drilling into your psyche. This release isn’t for dancing — more like the soundtrack to an autopsy tableau in a haunted house. And it’s all the better for it. P.J. KINZER

Spoken Nerd and Juan Cosby, Grapes (Fake Four)

Speaking of horror scenes, longtime local rap ace Spoken Nerd and Cincinnati producer Juan Cosby drew inspiration for their collaborative LP Grapes from the beloved and influential anthology series Tales From the Crypt. While some of the ties between the album and the series are sonic and lyrical — Cosby’s love for John Carpenter’s music is clear — there are deeper thematic connections. Augmented by features from E-Turn, MC Homeless, Isaac Stinson, Darko the Super and 247, Nerd’s bars explore temptation, hypocrisy, jealousy and similar human failings that fuel many of the Tales stories. STEPHEN TRAGESER

Various Artists, Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows Vol. 2 (Oh Boy)

John Prine’s boundless influence on Music City and its songwriters has yielded two local-centric tribute albums since his death in April 2020. The first to arrive was Devil’s Tower Records’ Kiss My Ass Goodbye, a double LP with contributions from a variety of small-club pavement-pounders that the Scene recognized as Best Tribute Album in our recent Best of Nashville issue. At 12 tracks, Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows, Vol. 2 (a follow-up to a 2010 compilation) is shorter, but it doubles the star power with a cross-generational slate of country heavy hitters. Bonnie Raitt, whose 1974 recording of “Angel From Montgomery” made the song famous, offers a new rendition here, while Emmylou Harris does “Hello in There.” Humboldt, Tenn.-born Valerie June takes on “Summer’s End” from Prine’s 2018 swan song The Tree of Forgiveness, while Sturgill Simpson closes the record with “Paradise,” an ode to what was lost as natural resources in his home state of Kentucky were exploited. With Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile and Tyler Childers also paying their respects, it’s a must-have for Prine admirers as well as a great gateway for fans of the featured artists who’ve yet to take the deep dive into the source material. CHARLIE ZAILLIAN

Great Grand Sun, Terra Incognita (self-released)

Great Grand Sun, the duo of None Intended Records chief Christopher Lord Byrd and multihyphenate producer and singer-songwriter Joel McAnulty, chose Halloween to release their debut album Terra Incognita. That might seem a bit odd, considering that the record doesn’t sound spooky at all, but instead skews toward upbeat, meandering dub and electronically enhanced folk-pop. However, the subject matter is highly appropriate for the peak of autumn, when the cycle of life is on our minds. Several years ago, McAnulty had a near-death experience that encouraged him to look closer at how various spiritual traditions explore the nature of existence, and the songs here are based on his observations. Or as McAnulty put it in an email to the Scene, “This is kind of like an agnostic gospel album with Robert Anton Wilson as our patron saint and Terrence McKenna as our guardian angel.” STEPHEN TRAGESER

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