Weekly What’s Up: Albums Of The Year (Part Two of Five)

. December 11, 2014.
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Blue Snaggletooth – Beyond Thule

Frontier Ruckus – Sitcom Afterlife

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West – Heartspace Timepiece

It’s that time of year when every music site you click to seems to assail you with LISTS! The Best of the Best of the Best of 2014…

We’re sort of doing the same here at the Current. This column is going into retrospective-mode, counting down several splendid albums produced by artists from the Washtenaw region. Last week we put the spotlight on local trio Rebel Kind’s exceptional LP Today. Well, today we expand that spotlight to three albums from equally exceptional local bands, Blue Snaggletooth, Frontier Ruckus and Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West.

Blue Snaggletooth is an Ann Arbor quartet perfecting a blend of metal, hard-rock and sci-fi psychedelia. Their second full length, Beyond Thule, came out last month; a vociferous excursion between genres and dimensions, with low, fuzz-fired bass, hard-driving beats and star-piercing guitars.

Blue Snaggletooth, “Sleeping Mountain”

Frontier Ruckus have evolved from the beautiful glooms of their initial album’s gothic Americana into a post-millennial incarnation of literate power-pop, somewhat showing their inclinations towards more of a Big Star trope (with triumphant, hooky guitar riffs deployed over a mix of baroque-blends). Singing saws with willowy synths! Sitcom Afterlife is the group’s fourth full length.

Frontier Ruckus, “The Splendid World”

Finally, Alejandra O’Leary &The Champions Of The West explored and stirred all the soulful possibilities mineable within the mold of classic pop styles, bridging strutting beats and zingy flavors of British Invasion icons to the twangier trips of modern alt-rock re-inventors. Whether it had aches of pianobar blues or pastoral sweeps of Americana, it always hung on a sturdy pop hook. Timepiece Heartspace is the singer’s first full length album.

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West, “Beat Ohio”

Meanwhile:  

Blue Snaggletooth perform Friday (Dec 12) at The UFO Factory in Detroit (2110 Trumbull) 9pm/18+/$5

Frontier Ruckus are currently on tour through the rest of January and into early February. They’ll return to The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on January 10.

Alejandra O’Leary & The Champions Of The West recently had their Kickstarter campaign funded for their next music project – so you can anticipate some new music coming from their camp in the early seasons of 2015.