I've long admired this Madison rock trio for their tireless work ethic. Come weekends, they are road-bound for less glamorous parts of Wisconsin, where live gigs are still uncommon enough to be a big deal.
This year I also admire Sunspot for challenging themselves to release an album that aims for new musical directions. The Slingshot Effect assembles eight tracks that share themes about outer space and people's relationships to the fates that control the universe.
As on all Sunspot albums, the songs are big on energy and melody. This time, they're a little philosophical, too. "Guardian Angel" is a restless rock track that finds lead singer Mike Huberty chiding his protector for being dumb enough to save him. The disc concludes with a song that, for Sunspot, is almost serene. "Stardust" sublimely ponders human connections to the physical universe.
With recordings like this, Sunspot will stay relevant in the local scene for a long time to come.