KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Lars Gotrich

Whether fronting the blazing punk band Vexx or the synth-pop duo CC Dust, Mary Jane Dunphe inhabits her projects with a knurly otherworldliness — her voice contorts and screams like an alien sent to reset the planet with rock 'n' roll. Bedridden by an ankle injury in the winter of 2016, she teamed up with friend Chris McDonnell (Trans FX) to write a batch of country-rock songs that buck like an old pickup.

Gun Outfit has, finally, figured out a way to describe the cactus-chewing, smoke-signaled rock music that it perpetually rolls towards sundown: "Western expanse music." Henry Barnes (of Amps For Christ, Man Is The Bastard) coined the phrase while on a recent European tour with the band, boiling down the out-of-time essence of Gun Outfit to a cowboy poetry swirled in honky-tonk postmodernism.

Y'all made roséwave a thing — those of you who got the vibe ran with its slightly boozy, altogether summer-pop chill. NPR's Sam Sanders shouted out the lifestyle in his It's Been A Minute podcast, which, if you haven't been listening... what is your life? Someone made a blushwave spin-off.

Robert Plant has no wasted no time in his 60s, releasing Raising Sand, Band Of Joy and lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar all in the span of a decade. Carry Fire will be out next month, and has already proven to be a fruitful mix of blues-licked rock 'n' roll and rhythms churned from all over the world, heard in "The May Queen."

Godspeed You! Black Emperor makes wordless music that nevertheless shouts like a street-corner prophet. We use images — politically-charged ones, in particular — to describe GY!BE because its bleak drones, string-sawed dirges and guitar noise convey long-gestating dread, apocalyptic nightmares and a rare light of hope between the cracks.

We map our meaning onto GY!BE because, for the past two decades and counting, the Montreal-based collective has reflected and refracted dire circumstances in music that is at once beautiful and confrontational. For that, we call GY!BE political.

If the producer and DJ Matthew Dear soundtracked our comedown earlier this summer with the goth-pop jewel "Modafinil Blues," he now returns to make sense of the season's revelry.

Its name alone suggests an explosive whizzbang of cotton candy pop — Pinkshinyultrablast makes shoegaze that yanks tufts of sound every which way in some kind of cinematically sped-up slow-mo. It's irrepressibly cool music — last year's Grandfeathered was a personal favorite, a sonic treasure hunt on every listen.

When a band says it's over, we've gotten to the point where there's a good chance that's not necessarily a lie, but... it's basically a lie. Every band reunites, even the ones you never knew existed.

We're (hopefully) far enough removed from "emo revival" trend pieces to let this music grow as it should. That's not a knock against the bands that mine disparate '90s sounds, or others that seek to evolve it, just that the continuum isn't a straight line, but a spiral. Over three albums and a scattering of EPs, Prawn is a sterling example of emo's possibility, even as it continues to outgrow the genre's parameters.

Wailin Storms — the name alone conjures a howlin' hurricane, ominous and awe-inspiring. The Durham, N.C.-based band does a lot to live up to that name, swirling in the gothic post-punk croon of early Samhain and 16 Horsepower's fiery proselytizing. After a couple EPs and a debut album, the first single from Wailin Storms' Sick City indicates an unholy reckoning.

Yumi Zouma has never had much of a home. After the 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, its members moved to Paris and New York, except for singer Christie Simpson, who remained in Christchurch. To continue working the group emailed tracks back and forth, crafting dream-pop that feels like the air swooping in and out your lungs. For all its light atmosphere, Yumi Zouma's pop music is romantically, wistfully dense.

Richard D. James loves to clear the vaults. A couple years ago, he sent Aphex Twin fans on a scavenger hunt through a series of anonymous SoundCloud accounts, where he had uploaded 200 old tracks and demos leading up to the release of Syro. Then he deleted them.

Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.

It's Bastille Day in France, so what better way to celebrate 1789's violent overthrow of the monarchy than with some French house music — désolé, musique de maison -- arranged for a marching band?

She called herself "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers." In the late summer of 2013, a woman shot and killed a bus driver who inflicted sexual violence on the women of Juárez, Mexico. Then she did it again, a day later.

Zachary Cale is a helluva guitar player, his understated picking patterns interweave like latticework, thrust through dusky production, whispering and lush strings and a Dylan-esque voice (which you won't find here).

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