Extol has been popping up on best-of lists for 2013, and now they can add NPR as a notch in their bedpost. Lars Gotrich (nice last name) placed Extol’s self-titled release on their list. Because they believe “numerical ordering is silly,” the accolade is the list itself.

But eight years later, Extol returned with a remarkable self-titled album that makes sense of its diverse discography. Extol does what Extol does best, mostly because guitarist Ole Børud’s back in the fold, composing exploratory riffs that zig when they should zag, while retaining a certain amount of stateliness to the complex structure of songs like shapeshifting epic “Wastelands” and the impressive ballad, “Faltering Moves.” Gotrich

The band does not often tour, and this self-titled album was their first one after years of silence.

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Comrades 2020

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The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.

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Photo by Quinsey Sablan

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HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.

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Tigerwine 2020

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