Take A Hike! Edition: Pictish Trail, Kyle Forester, Mosses, Lake Ruth & The Hanging Stars

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Pictish Trail: Thumb World

Just because we’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean we have to be stuck at home. As the weather turns, it’s a good opportunity to get outside and take a bit of a hike, and here are five great new albums to help you get from here to there. First, we’ve got to find the trail, and why not start off with Scottish indie musician Johnny Lynch who makes music as Pictish Trail. His new album is Thumb World and it’s a delightful, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other journey of weird pop motifs and plunky, cosmic grooves. Warm and fuzzy in some places, cool, sleek in others, there’s plenty to explore here, give it a whirl!

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Kyle Forester: Hearts in Gardens

Now that we’re moving, our hike takes us into the forest and (forgive the stretch), a nice chance to put on Hearts in Gardens, the new record from multi-instrumentalist Kyle Forester. Kyle is one of those guys who’s usually “in the band,” a member of Woods (appropriately) and appearing on Dave Berman’s Purple Mountains last year, amongst many others. Here Forester gets to step out into his own clearing and makes the most of it with some lovely indie-folk of his own. Great songwriting, a comfy, homespun vibe and a great backing band keeping things just understated enough. This is one of those hidden gems you should get familiar with right quick.

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Mosses: T.V. Sun

Walking deeper into the woods, things get a little darker and more mysterious, and there is where we find everything covered in all sorts of strange moss. Good time to check out Mosses, right? Mosses is the project of drummer Ryan Jewell, like Forester, one of those hey-I-recognize-that-guy guys backing musicians like Ryley Walker and more. Left to his own devices, Jewell creates a rather masterful musicscape on his new T.V. Sun album. The record defies genre and description, once you think you’ve got a handle on where it’s going, it shifts and morphs into something completely different. It’s thrilling and engaging and, if we’re being honest, a must hear. Seriously, put this on and don’t stop until you get to the end, you don’t want to miss a single moment.

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Lake Ruth: Crying Everyone Else’s Tears

After staring down at those weird, cool mosses, we might be feeling a little lost, but lo!, we are coming out of the forest now and happen upon a lake. Lake Ruth to be precise, the New York City trio that may not be on your radar, but really, really should be. It’s all good, but their newest EP is a great place to start. It’s called Crying Everyone Else’s Tears and it’s four songs created around unpublished lovesong lyrics by Renee Tamraz. While Lake Ruth’s songs typical paint a rather dreamlike, almost psychedelic world, these love songs seem to focus their sound, an otherworldly funky baroque, perfectly. Start here and work out to their also-awesome full-lengths from there. I do think you’ll dig.

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The Hanging Stars: A New Kind of Sky

Well, looks like we’ve lost track of time and the sun is setting on this new-music-discovery hike. But not before we look up and see the sky fill with stars and we get a listen to A New Kind of Sky, the recent release from U.K. rock band The Hanging Stars. A heavy dose of cosmic country and some psychedelic meteorites provide plenty of oohs and aahs. Eerie and beautiful and quite easy-to-love, this one will make the pack on your back feel lighter and add a spring to your step as you make it back to the trailhead. Enjoy!

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