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Karl Blau, Heatwarmer

There are artists who emerge from their underground bunkers every couple years with a new release, and then there are artists like Karl Blau. The Anacortes, Washington, songwriter has been quietly prolific for the last decade, cranking out albums with the regularity — but hardly the uniformity — of a machine. Name a genre and odds are good Blau has dabbled in it: orchestral-pop, spare folk, honky-tonk, indie-rock backed by a tangle of horns and blipping electronics. He’s even recorded a reggae-tinged adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, because why not? He’s a restless musical spirit in the best way imaginable.

— Nathan Weinbender