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Mount Moriah reaches musical summit again

| Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:38 p.m.

‘Miracle Temple'

Mount Moriah (Merge)

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Mount Moriah's brilliant debut album was filled with heartache, tragically sad stories, and the signs of one of the more promising bands in America. On spectacular second record “Miracle Temple,” their first for Merge, their country rock-rich sound gets bigger, the band sounds more confident, and they are on their way to great things. The 12 songs on this album sound like a perfect amalgamation of Magnolia Electric Co., the Allman Bros., and Dolly Parton, thanks to Heather McEntire's passionate, emotive vocals, and they come up with gem after gem from opener “Younger Days,” where McEntire asks, “August is over, when are you coming back?”; the warm, sun-scorched “Eureka Springs”; steely “Connecticut to Carolina”; and soulful, dark closer “Telling the Hour.” This is a great young band, and they deserve to play to sold-out halls.

‘Optica'

Shout Out Louds (Merge)

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On the Shout Out Louds' 2010 album “Work,” they seemed to have lost some of the indie pop magic that made their first two records such a thrill. In the three years since, they've found new inspiration, seemingly from the Smiths and early Cure, and “Optica” is a tremendously fun listen. The Swedish band is in top form on these 12 songs, and there are a nice handful of songs that really stand out, including the excellent “Illusions,” that has one of their best choruses to date; “14th of July,” that has some guitar similar to the Edge's vintage work; zappy, energetic “Glasgow”; and curveball closer “Destroy,” that takes things into the dark.

Darkthrone

‘The Underground Resistance' (Peaceville)

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It's not often that a band makes an all-time classic on their 15th record, but metal legends Darkthrone have done just that on “The Underground Resistance,” a great homage to the spirit of heavy metal and a kick in the pants to those dragging it down. There are six cuts, three from guitarist/vocalist Nocturno Culto and three from drummer/vocalist/metallic patriot Fenriz, and these are some of their most explosive, listenable tracks of their career. Culto's best stuff comes on “Lesser Men” and “Come Warfare, the Eternal Doom,” while Fenriz reaches way back to the early ‘80s for his submissions, killing on power-infused “Valkyrie” and amazing closer “Leave No Cross Unturned.” A true triumph from these grizzled veterans.

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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