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They Might Be Giants, Ty Segall, and more new and noteworthy

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They Might Be Giants, I Like Fun
  • They Might Be Giants, I Like Fun
They Might Be Giants, I Like Fun (Idlewild Recordings) – Since the Brooklyn duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell already covered modern technology in 2013’s Nanobots, it was anyone’s guess how TMBG would address post-2016 realities. I Like Fun does not take an easy anti-Trump shot, but instead covers a variety of gruesome and morbid topics with bouncy, even salsa-influenced happy rhythms, making the new album the most radical and memorable since their epic 1990 album Flood.

First Aid Kit, Ruins
  • First Aid Kit, Ruins
First Aid Kit, Ruins (Columbia) – As they enter their late 20s, the Swedish sister folk duo of Klara and Johanna Soderberg take on a more somber approach with Ruins, one suggestive of duos like Smoke Fairies and Azure Ray. A few attempted forays into country music are the only tracks that don’t really work here — not because they sound inauthentic, but because their efforts are better spent in a darker folk-rock vein.

Ty Segall, Freedom’s Goblin
  • Ty Segall, Freedom’s Goblin
Ty Segall, Freedom’s Goblin (Drag City) – San Francisco’s Ty Segall has released so much music, as a solo artist and with such bands as Fuzz and Sic Alps, that he can exhaust listeners in the manner of Ryan Adams or Robert Pollard. But the 100-minute, 19-track Freedom’s Goblin is a worthy distillation of the Segall canon. The strong horn section sometimes evokes 1970s jazz-rock, but the strongest tracks are the punky “Meaning,” with lead singing from Ty’s wife Denee Segall, and “The Main Pretender,” featuring Lora Logic-style saxophone.

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