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  • Finger-picking master Daniel Bachman's new album is in rotation on...


    Finger-picking master Daniel Bachman's new album is in rotation on Radio 1190.

  • Electronic producer Sam Shepherd has a cult following under his...


    Electronic producer Sam Shepherd has a cult following under his moniker Floating Points.

  • Hear the Cheatahs' latest on Radio 1190.


    Hear the Cheatahs' latest on Radio 1190.



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Though southern finger-picker Daniel Bachman is only 26, his musical sensibilities run deep with tradition and modern innovation. On his third record, River, Bachman pulls inspiration from pickers such as Jack Rose and Leo Kottke, and his voice and six-string both shine loudly.

The record opens with the guttural and vast composition “Won’t You Cross Over To That Other Shore,” evoking steel melodies that echo through the misty valleys of the Appalachia. Unlike the famed guitarist John Fahey, Bachman struts purest speed that his right hand is capable of, accenting every note. Every track on the seven-song album contains a melodic motif — close to Civil War folk tunes that splashes in Raga melodies, dissonance or drone when compositions get too formulaic. The second track “Levee” features dirty-as-all-hell slide guitar, comparable to the theme of “Breaking Bad,” and follows a simple blues structure. Even without the visual aspect, the pure mastery of Bachman’s guitar work sounds dazzling. The standout, eight-minute track, “Song For The Setting Sun II,” is a proud, major-key stomp that runs through a multitude of passages that become increasingly psychedelic as it plays out — like the bright colors of a morning sunrise.

Though this album may not fully appease listeners who are not wowed by guitar work or leftist folk tunes, Bachman is a skilled player with an interesting take on American Primitivism.

Electronic producer Sam Shepherd has created a small body of work with an big following under the moniker Floating Points. His style is sparse, minimal and cold, taking some influence from ambient techno and reading like a down-tempo record. Elaenia is nocturnal in feel and sits at low volumes throughout the record.

The second track “Silhouettes (I, II & III),” a winding track in three suites, begins with cool electric piano chords, then moves to jittery jazz drums and eventually lands on a smooth, string-laden groove. The album sounds much like modern Alice Coltrane, but with a sleeker edge. The album is soothing, yet provides enough substance to keep the listener engaged. While electronic fans who have long followed Sheppard’s work knew this debut would be great, for indie fans, Elaenia came as a pleasant surprise.

British shoegazers Cheatahs closed out 2015 with the album Mythologies. The group started as a side project of Nathan Hewitt and was named after the feeling that he was “cheating” on his other band. The group takes simple rock music and layers each instrument and vocal with generous amounts of effects to heighten its colorful sound.

Unlike most dream-pop or shoegaze, Cheatahs move faster and evoke a somewhat punk-like execution. The music may be considered dream-punk or punk-gaze if such things existed. Regardless, the band likes to get loud and noisy, but the musicians know when to pull back and let the hooks and melodies shine. Sounding close to contemporaries such as Title Fight or Toy, the Cheetahs’ sound has enough personality to make it stand out.

Calvet is the music director at Radio 1190. Read more reviews: