Various Artists
Freerange 100 Part 2 EP
Release Date: March 10, as vinyl or digital download

Behold, the 100th release from Freerange Records! Half of it, anyway. Part 2 of this vinyl series shows off a collection of brand new tracks from some of the label’s most notable names, including a lush, crooning house number by Jimpster, the tech-y, funk-driven “Lose it” by Palm Skin Productions, and a minimal, slow-building remix of Only Freaks’ “Mental Overdrive.” Nice!

Friendly Fire Recordings
Release Date: Out Now

This Edmonton, Alberta-based trio makes the prettiest version of shoegaze this side of Ulrich Schnauss, and has bundled several songs originally made for short films into a single release titled M4 EP. And despite the music originating as a soundtrack for low-budget indie film, there’s nothing pretentious here. The mood is epic, the musical textures deep, and the overall feel of the EP is genuinely heartfelt.

The Drift
Memory Drawings
Temporary Residence
Release Date: April 8

Memory Drawings sees the return of The Drift after a three-year hiatus. The break appears to have done the band good, and the new album finds the San Francisco-based four-piece experimenting with musical structures that call to mind ’60s jazz and ’70s dub. Add a robust horn section and plenty of whispering snare drums, and it’s a free-jazz field day that provides the perfect soundtrack for the early morning.

Cassettes Won’t Listen
Small-Time Machine
Release Date: March 11

Jason Drake’s one-man, multi-instrumental Cassettes Won’t Listen project has kept him busy for a few years now, with EPs and remixes that give us a taste of his many talents as a producer. Finally, Drake has prepared this, his debut full-length, and it doesn’t disappoint. His electro-flavored songwriting is complemented by delayed hip-hop beats, complex string arrangements, thick synth lines, and a certain ominousness to the music that unfolds slowly over the course of the album.

Jamie Lidell
Release Date: April 29

When Jamie Lidell’s Multiply was released in 2005, strains of his crooning, soul-heavy voice could be heard up and down the corridors of the XLR8R office for weeks on end. Jim finds the Berlin-based artist and his voice fully intact and more diverse than ever, moving from gospel-style numbers to slinky R&B tracks, to some of the most upbeat, disco-laden work we’ve ever heard from this guy. Jim is proof that Lidell is an artist who will grow–not fade–with time.

Jens Lekman
“I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You”
(Spoolwork Remix)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Swedish indie-pop romantic Jens Lekman unleashes this downer of a track to the blogosphere. Secretly Canadian artist Dave Fischoff (a.k.a. Spoolwork) remixes the mournful love song, letting the music build slowly before it explodes into the quotable phrase, “I’m leaving you because I don’t love you.” I think I’ll break up with someone just for the excuse to play this track on repeat.

Son Lux
At War with Walls and Mazes
Release Date: February 26

There is a certain sophistication found in many classically trained artists’ music, an audible result of spending years playing piano scales and reading notation. In the case of At War with Walls and Mazes, the debut album from anticon.’s latest signee Son Lux, that sophistication is in the way he uses subtly plucked strings, lightly touched synths, bells, and other instruments to work together as an entire statement. Like a well-written story desperate to share every detail, At War takes its time and savors each moment.

These New Puritans
“Navigate, Navigate”
Release Date: February 5

Speaking of new label signees, here’s Domino’s latest find, a group of four 19-year-olds from Southend, U.K., who have prepped this single to hold fans over until the release of their debut album this spring. This15-minute-plus track is a collage of droning guitars, feedback, shades of ’80s industrial music, and electronics, all executed with the relentless energy you’d expect from a bunch of kids under the age of 21. The DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy chopped up the vocals and added some bouncy basslines for the remix, made under his Loving Hand moniker. Photo by Dean Chalkley.

Triple R: Selection 6
Release Date: February 5

Club owner, journalist, DJ, and Trapez co-owner Riley Reinhold delivers the sixth compilation in the label’s Selection series. Here, Reggy van Oers gets minimal, Salvatore Freda and Massimo Steffanelli prove that there are still a few good trance numbers out there, Aquilina and Venturi give us disco for 2008, and Reinhold even throws in a couple brand-new tracks from Trapez’s first Greek artist, Mihalis Safras. All tracks here are 100 percent danceable, made by artists whose names would require a six-week dialect course to pronounce properly.

Eliot Lipp
The Outside
Release Date: March 4

Eliot Lipp has made a move over to Mush Records for The Outside, and the transition has only made him a stronger producer. We always knew he was capable of exploring many styles and musical tricks in a single track, but this latest full-length has more to get excited about than his last two albums put together, blending heartwarming–and sometimes heartbreaking–melodies with futuristic synth stabs and tightly-arranged, abstract beats covered in feedback.

Pictured above: Eliot Lipp, live in Tokyo.

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