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We’re all settling into the semester here at Radio 1190. Our collection is getting closer to 27,000 CDs, and every single one of them is just as exciting as the last.

Hailing from Toronto, dream pop band Tallies recently released their self-titled debut record. “Tallies” is a breath of fresh air in the recently saturated dream-pop genre. If Mazzy Star made an upbeat album, it would sound like this. The songs have traditional pop sensibilities but capture all of the catchy without any of the boring. While Tallies’ influences are evident (the jangle pop of The Smiths or the reverberant guitar of Slowdive), their music is their own. I believe this release will hold up solidly throughout 2019 and beyond. It already has me wanting more. My favorite track from the album, “Mother,” perfectly captures the record for me. The joyful bassline keeps me nodding my head, and I can’t help but hum along to the chorus.

Holy Golden‘s “Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way” has the powerful, supported vocals of an artist like Kate Bush with catchy and tasteful production like that of The xx. The songs have the dark feel of modern electronic pop, but they don’t fall into the all-too-common trap of soft-spoken, almost whispered vocals. Although that style was hip and new five years ago, it’s become such a staple that it often marks an album as generic. “Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way” will find fans across musical generations, making it an essential January release.

“Demands/Onkel” is the newest release from Sweden’s Makthaverskan. Both tracks on this 7-inch record are passionate and tons of fun. Both tracks feature a reverb- and distortion-heavy guitar with a solid bass and rhythm section keeping it all together. I had never heard of Makthaverskan before, but boy oh boy am I excited to hear more. The wailing vocals at the end of “Onkel” brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it — not because the track is sad but because lead singer Maja Milner so effectively made me feel overwhelming emotion.

“Origin of the Yak” by Laktating Yak is one of the most original records I’ve heard in a while. Don’t let the name dissuade you; this record is worth a listen. The ensemble features traditional rock instruments as well as saxophones and an occasional didgeridoo. The band is classified as Zeuhl, which was a new term to me. Originating in France in the 1960s, Zeuhl is defined by its eerie, unearthly sound. Laktating Yak mixes hardcore, prog rock and post rock to make an animal that’s entirely its own. If a Lovecraftian monster had a soundtrack, it’s this. It’s not for the faint of heart, but is worth it if you’re willing to take the journey.

Askari is a music director at Radio 1190. Read more reviews: