Lars Gotrich

Though Neneh Cherry never really left music, her return as a solo performer in the last half-decade has been a reminder of the Swedish musician's remarkable elasticity.

Tim Hecker comes from a long line of unlineal composers, like François Bayle and Daphne Oram, where a source material — be it guitar, piano, synths, field recordings — is manipulated into new shades of sound via digital processing.

Somewhere between dusk and nightfall, there's a point when the sky's deep reds and luminous notes of peach bleed into deep blues and silhouetted skylines. It's a somber, meditative medley of color, when the reflection of day turns dim; that's where the new record by Patrick McDermott, who records instrumental guitar music as North Americans, rests.

Nathan Bowles' clawhammer banjo music has always lived in three planes of existence: Rooted in the past, with a foothold in the present and an eye on the future. But as much as we think about folk music speaking across time — its seeking melodies and lyrics ever-resonant — Bowles wants to pluck sound from space itself.

You're at a party and see your old boo (with a new boo), who is looking very fine. When you go in for the obligatory hug, it brings up aaaalllll of the feels — that weekend at the cabin, the six-week anniversary dinner that was totally unnecessary but still very sweet, that one shirt you like.

The eternally smiling D.R.A.M. knows that feeling, and the smoove synth-bop "Best Hugs" lays it all out: "Reminiscing about those days take me / Back to the days when she drove me crazy."

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