Megafaun, ‘Gather, Form & Fly’ (Hometapes)
This shaggy freak-folk trio’s second album boasts more than coolness by association (Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon is a former bandmate). Gather, Form & Fly extends Megafaun’s back-porch mad science into unexpectedly epic realms, including straight blues and even pure pop, embellished with skronky, experimental sound effects. None of it feels forced, proceeding as naturally as raindrop becomes river becomes ocean. Standouts include the majestic chime of “The Fade” and “Kaufman’s Ballad,” a tribute to the man who stole Gram Parsons’ corpse and drove it into the desert to burn. Spookily, this could be exactly what it sounded like.