NEGATIVE SCANNER: Nose Picker: LP

I dug Negative Scanner’s debut of a few years back, which combined jagged songwriting with chilly effected sounds. Their sophomore release Nose Picker is a step in a different, interesting direction: the group relies more on immediacy and percussive songwriting than on their last rec, to dazzling results. Singer Rebecca Valeriano-Flores’s pained yowl sounds like some unholy melding of Johnny Rotten and Marissa Paternoster. Her vox often sound like another instrument in the mix, but don’t sleep on her lyrics, which pack precise wallops in each song. One of my favorites of 2018. –Michael T. Fournier (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs.com)