School is officially underway, and the albums at 1190 just keep coming in. Of note, apparently mid-January is alt-country season for music promoters because I've received an absurd amount of albums lately with enough twang to make any Martin plead for mercy.

Amid the winter blues however we have some particularly luminescent albums this week, so make sure not to miss these gems.

Vancouver group, Hidden Towers, have brought back all the sludgy fury of The Melvins, with a gnarly edge. The album Olympus Mons sees itself furthering a sonic template to epic regions, with songs morphing through various stages of riffage and fury, in search of true heaviness. An awesome album for those curious to the possibilities of metal that haven't fully given themselves over yet.

Foxygen made a big splash in college radio last year with a delightfully lo-fi approach to Kinks-style rock 'n' roll, but the album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic pushes its sound in incredibly mature directions for a band so young. The album is filled with Lou Reed-channeling pop-rock nuggets filtered through a tasteful AM radio-sounding production. Ambassadors takes a huge step in the right direction for an already promising group of youngsters.

To top off the week, Toro y Moi is back with a new album of his special brand of electro-pop, only now with a much more dance-friendly attitude. Everything in Return may not sound quite as stoned as previous releases, but his proficiency for glitchy hooks works well with his more accessible ambitions, and Everything in Return is a testament to his brand of music's repeatability.

Other additions include:

* Wild Ox Shangri-La, Angry.

* Candela, Mice Parade.

* Bake Haus, Offshore.

* Pillowfight, Pillowfight.

-- Sam Goldner is the music director at Radio 1190