Castanets Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts

Like Bill Callahan or Will Oldham, Ray Raposa finds a secret spot in the fabric of American music that allows tradition's loose threads to bind with a very present and personal point of view. This fifth release, on the heels of last year's stark City of Refuge, combines dusty acoustic blues with dusty cybernetic blues in the Castanets' now-familiar idiom. Also like Callahan and Oldham, a twisted helix of God and sex spirals around the vertex of life and death, and trouble, of course. Raposa's old man intonations open in a triptych of bone-dry folk odes elevated by gospel organ drone and ghostly choirs. "Worn From the Fight (With Fireworks)" breaks the thread with mouse-in-wall digital clicks and minimalist bass. "No Trouble" cements the band's proclivity for lonesome dub tracks. Closer "Dance, Dance" is a wry break-up song that would make Cormac McCarthy proud, with lines like, "So she says, 'come in from the rain,' well, hell, I came in from the rain." It's time capsule blues as covered by those who opened it. (Asthmatic Kitty)