Kylesa, Ultraviolet (Season of Mist). On Ultraviolet, Kylesa perfectly synthesizes psychedelic, sludgy metal and ethereal rock without compromising the core virtues of either. Fortunately, this is not a crossover effort, and the sinuous brutality and imaginative riffing that have always made this band fascinating finds no short shrift. Soothing, bracing and expansive. — TM

Local Natives, Hummingbird (French Kiss). With the release of Hummingbird, Local Natives has grown into its sound, which is decidedly ominous, and absent an earlier false brightness. The album is absolutely lovely, lush with expressive harmonies and overwhelming swells of rhythm that contrast with a newfound art of subtlety. — SA

Locust, You'll Be Safe Forever (Editions Mego). This album would work wonderfully as a soundtrack to a Wim Wenders film, while a stripped-down version would work equally well as a haunted IDM album. Mark Van Hoen channels his genius for sequenced atmosphere and texture into darkly luminous fragments with immersive environmental electronic compositions, driven by big beats and culturally ambiguous vocal samples. — TM

Rudresh Mahanthappa, Gamak (ACT). Over the past fifteen years, virtuosic saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa has penned some elaborate compositions that fuse elements of Eastern Indian music with jazz, but Gamak might be his most cerebral and visceral effort yet. With guitar wizard David Fiuczynski on board, Mahanthappa's quartet traverses heavy sonic terrain here, especially on the heated opener, "Waiting Is Forbidden," and the fiery "Copernicus." — JS

Man Man, On Oni Pond (Anti-). Man Man took its avant-garde rock-and-roll-in-a-trashcan sound, smoothed it out, sexed it up, and spit out its most accessible album by far. "Head On" is so damn gorgeous and its lyrics are so touching — and the acoustic "Sparks" has a '50s pop thing going on that is so pure and moving, you won't miss the cacophony. — LS

Mac Miller, Watching Movies With the Sound Off (Rostrum Records). Watching Movies With the Sound Off is certainly a departure from the bubblegum Mac Miller that most listeners are accustomed to. It's a step back commercially, but a leap forward artistically. Never has Mac been as ambitious and confessional as he is here, while leaving room for some invigorating singles. — NH

Misery Signals, Absent Light (Basick). Absent Light is another release that may cause hipster metal fans to roll their eyes. Regardless, the album is solid and meets or exceeds every expectation. Haters gonna hate. — BL

Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady (Bad Boy). Janelle Monáe's legitimacy as the weirdest R&B/rock singer working today is confirmed when you hear Erykah Badu (!) and Prince (!!) singing on the album's first two songs. While those artists are still relevant, Monáe is clearly establishing herself here as a compelling voice for a new generation. — MS

My Bloody Valentine, mbv (m b v). My Bloody Valentine cannily sculpted and sequenced this album — recorded at different times since 1991's Loveless — so that it reflected the band's present. The propulsive rhythms, whorls of melting guitar sound and ghostly vocals suggest the band's musical future while embracing its past. — TM

The Neighbourhood, I Love You (Columbia). The true impact of I Love You, like that of any great album, is gradual. Beyond the catchy chorus of the radio success "Sweater Weather," the Neighbourhood's debut record offers hidden gems for the careful listener. Songs like "Staying Up" and "Float" reveal a band with an impressive skill for pure mood and complex use of musical layers. — AG

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.). While Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' last effort, 2008's Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, was a grinding guitar-driven rock album, Push the Sky Away is quite the opposite in a lot of ways. It's a much quieter and, well, more beautiful effort, one in which Cave's exquisite lyrics and vocals are front and center. — JS

Of Montreal, Lousy With Sylvianbriar (Polyvinyl). Going back to its psych-pop roots, Of Montreal inspired a sigh of relief for fans of that earlier sound with this record. Mastermind Kevin Barnes stated that the album was influenced by the Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young and the Grateful Dead, and that much is evident from the dreamy, '60s-rock-sounding songs. Unlike past efforts where Barnes played everything, Sylvianbriar was recorded live with a full band, resulting in a full, cohesive and hauntingly gorgeous sound. — LS

Aaron Parks, Arborescence (ECM). On the excellent 2008 release Invisible Cinema, pianist Aaron Parks proved that he had outstanding chops as well as a talent for penning compelling tunes. On his much more subdued solo album, Arborescence, Parks shows himself in a warmer and more ethereal world, one that feels more introspective. — JS

Pop. 1280, Imps of Perversion (Sacred Bones). Taking the punk concept of negating what came before it a step further, this album dispenses with melodic guitar for something more like barely controlled spikes of tone. What synth there is eschews prettier tones in favor of a raw, Suicide-esque menace. Imps is intense and aggressive without a tough-guy stance. — TM

Porcelain Raft, Permanent Signal (Secretly Canadian). Like a long-lost Mercury Rev record, the latest album from Porcelain Raft has layers of richly evocative, dreamlike atmospheres. The songs here attain great emotional heights due to Mauro Remiddi's plaintive falsetto. Melancholic in tone, Permanent Signal conveys a powerful sense of life held in suspension but yearning to move forward. — TM

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You guys should also post the local acts "moovers & shakers" online.

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