The saxophonist infuses his solo records with an unsettling rumble, while still making room for alternately grandiose and guttural moments that awe and unnerve. His new album features vocal contributions from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.
With assists from fellow stars such as Esperanza Spalding and Sara and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, Martin's banjo lines sing and sway with grace and charm that seem effortless. Edie Brickell's plainspoken warmth pairs wonderfully with Martin's playful picking throughout.
Formed as a free-wheeling, 15- to 20-piece side project for a group of orchestra students, Mother Falcon crafts a sound that soars with the grandiosity of Arcade Fire at its most anthemic. Its second album, You Knew, captures the hugeness of a band that can't fit on many of the stages it plays.
A sad parade of loneliness, death, fear and madness comes to life on an oddly buoyant album. Brass Bed's dark themes are wrapped in sunny melodies and mysterious synth sounds that ultimately dissolve into glorious chaos. It's part sonic exploration, part infectious pop and part noise rock.
Sounding almost post-apocalyptic in its scabrous, searching bleakness, The Terror moans and scrapes ominously from its opening seconds onward. But the album still finds a way to reward deeper exploration, as cracked loveliness seeps into moments that soar tentatively.
A fussy, reclusive enigma, Otis still performs occasionally, but most of his work has remained unreleased and subject to endless tinkering. That's about to change with a deluxe reissue of Otis' 1974 cult classic Inspiration Information, which includes a generous assortment of unreleased material.