Sweet Madness, Made in Spokane 1978–1981 (out now, Light in the Attic,

Sweet Madness, Made in Spokane 1978–1981 (out now, Light in the Attic, sweetmadnessband.com) If you’ve seen the recent documentary A Band Called Death, you know it’s possible for an obscure but ahead-of-its-time band to surface virtually out of nowhere. Death’s early-’70s speedy hard rock predated punk and was a revelation to the tiny group of followers who discovered the band via its rare 7-inch and, later, the Internet—that is, at least until the movie came out and Chicago-based indie label Drag City issued a proper album. In the same way, Light in the Attic found success after reissuing the first two albums of singer/songwriter Rodriguez, the subject of the recent cult documentary Searching for Sugar Man. Spokane’s Sweet Madness follows a similar template, with its appearance in 2011’s punk documentary SpokAnarchy!, which earned it newfound attention, and, at last, this reissue—which, in this digital age, should dramatically widen the band’s reach. Made in Spokane culls 16 of its songs, which veer from punk to New Wave to garage and power pop, bringing to mind a slew of the era’s bands: Devo, the Only Ones, Talking Heads, the Replacements. Sweet Madness brought punk to Spokane and ignited a micro-scene; if the attention for the reissue continues, it just might do it again. DAVE LAKE

Kate Borkowski, Polymorph (out now, self-released, kateborkowski.com) A word of advice: Do not listen to this album at work. Or while operating heavy machinery. Or, essentially, while performing any task that requires undivided attention. No, Polymorph is much too relaxed for such moments. You can, and should, however, listen to this album while putting your feet up, pouring yourself a glass of wine, and reflecting on the day. Borkowski’s voice is so warm and inviting, a lullaby beckoning you to sleep. There are a couple more-upbeat songs (“Fiddlehead,” “Kamikaze Geese”), but overall the album is more appropriate for the calm at the end of a long day. Produced by Grammy-nominated producer/Tori Amos bassist Jon Evans, Polymorph is Borkowski’s debut album, and it shows a singer bound for a long career. There’s an ethereal, almost haunting, yet jazzy air to Borkowski’s voice, which is sometimes hardly louder than a whisper and has the faintest hint of a rasp, all adding to the soothing effect. Evans’ bass provides a nice groove no matter what Borkowski is singing about, and his string arrangements provide that extra dose of emotion. Borkowski’s lyrics read more like metaphor-filled short stories than formulaic songs, no doubt thanks in part to her English Literature degree. The album’s 12 songs, many of which near or pass the five-minute mark, are simple, with minimal supporting instrumentation, but because of Borkowski’s enchanting voice and thoughtful lyrics, Polymorph is a standout—one listeners will return to time after time. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Spekulation, Doc Watson: The Instrumental Album (out now, self-released, spekulationmusic.com) The Seattle rapper’s latest marries the sounds of the ’70s with today’s beat-heavy production aesthetic. Orchestral strings, horns, and wah-wah guitar saturate these 13 tracks, and opener “We’ve Got All Night” rocks an up-tempo blues/hip-hop blend over a funky bass riff. Elsewhere you’ll find electric currents of mid-’70s disco-flecked soul, particularly on “Summer Dresses” and “Good Enough.” Frequent collaborator Nate Omdal is featured on closing track “So I’ll Go,” which deconstructs Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” over a sparse acoustic bass line. The album’s first single, “SinnerMan,” is a dubstep remix of that spiritual, and the must-see video features dancer Marquese Scott’s interpretation. Spekulation and Omdal, in fact, co-scored the original music to The Enemy Within,a genre-bending dance film that features Scott and three other contemporary dancers, and its movie trailers highlight tracks from this album, too. MICHAEL F. BERRY

Susy Sun, Wanderlust EP (out now, self-released) The second release from this Seattle-based singer/songwriter (real name, Susy Sundborg) is a six-track dalliance into her dreamy, whimsical world. In the same vein as indie-pop staples Ingrid Michaelson and Sia, Sundborg creates a brand of pop by turns chilling, honest, and sugary-sweet—in a way that has you rooting for her on the crazy battlefield of love, if only because her songs make you feel warm and lovely (even if they’re sad). In addition to Sundborg’s vividly honest lyrics, Wanderlust features soaring arrangements by violinist Andrew Joslyn (Passenger String Quartet, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Allen Stone), whose technical contributions provide Sundborg’s songs with a richer, more affecting chamber-pop sound. Sundborg made a spot-on choice in engineer Shawn Simmons (The Head and the Heart, Lemolo, the Maldives), whose gentle touch brings her emotional nuances to the forefront. Beyond that, Sundborg’s delivery of sparkling melodies and powerful storytelling make this EP worth a listen—especially on opening track “Forward Backward,” the heartstring-pulling “Never Again,” and the instrumental “Piano Impromptu.” It’s in these moments of clarity that Sundborg, also a classically trained pianist, fully realizes her vision. It may not be the edgiest EP you’ll hear all year, but if your heart is aching—or just in need of an impassioned jump-start—this release will feel just right. KEEGAN PROSSER