Lars Gotrich

There are two sides to Thomas Feriero: the sleek, summery techno of his Atavism and CW/A projects, best heard at the edge of day. And now something harder and heavier emerges.

If you're going to name your spindly sugarbomb "Hula Hoop," there better damn well be some kick-ass hula hooping, right? Media Jeweler has seen you, understands you and has got you.

After many iterations, hiatuses and returns, The Breeders will always be Kim Deal's band, with her sister Kelley at her side. They return this year to an old lineup, with all the promise (and old wounds) it brings. But you can see a renewed love and goofiness throughout this set — using a roadie as a crash cymbal, or Kim Deal's faux-exasperation at Josephine Wiggs for starting a wind-up toy just before a song.

Stephanie Richards' trumpet sounds like deep space wrapped around your head, a flood in the endless void.

Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart. You meet these characters — some from his own life, some not — and feel like you know them, but there's always another layer to uncover with each listen, carved by his coarse and soulful Kentucky drawl.

There is no one universe for Ben LaMar Gay, he just sonic booms from one sound to another. His solo debut, Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun, is really a patch-work of seven albums, recorded over seven years but never released. It moves from fuzz-caked weirdo-psych to mutant synth-funk to giddy electronics to progressive jazz at a seamless, whiplash-free warp speed.

There is so much joy to be found in experimental music, with endless opportunities to experience sound and rhythm as pleasure, where discord becomes genuine discovery. Like, when you hear a synth emit a sound that could only be described as an amplified wet noodle slapping a thin slice of ham, that's funny.

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