Garage icon King Khan has always thrived on a shrewd balance of rock-star swagger and relatable anxiety. On this year's Idle No More, recorded with Khan's big-band rock 'n' soul revue The Shrines, that balance is especially refined. Bearing little of the bombast of the band's earlier work, Idle offers a lush backing for more introspective (but still upbeat) songwriting. "Bad Boy," a solid midtempo soul swing, suggests the rush of Sam & Dave, even as Khan offers a eulogy to a fallen friend. The band never wallows; rather, the somber themes yield happy reflections. Canada's Hellshovel, a warped psych-garage outfit helmed by Demon's Claws leader Jeff Clarke, opens. Raleigh's primitive Black Zinfandel joins.
—Bryan C. Reed