1. Drose: boy man machine -- The concept of transformation takes center stage on the latest from avant-noise trio Drose

1. Drose: boy man machine

The concept of transformation takes center stage on the latest from avant-noise trio Drose, surfacing in everything from singer/guitarist Dustin Rose's words - at various points on the album the frontman howls about ripping flesh from bone and evolving into some new, unknown form - to the music itself, which relies less increasingly on recorded samples of in-operation machinery and makes the album sound, at times, like field recordings captured outside a torture chamber. Brutal. Beautiful.

2. Bloody Show: Root Nerve

"I wanted to make songs fast. I didn't want to labor over it, and I didn't want to make it into a big production," Bloody Show singer/guitarist Jah Nada said in an interview earlier this year, which helps explain why the band's blood-spattered basement-rock tunes tend to be as brief and brutal as prime-era Tyson fights.

3. Cherry Chrome: self-titled

The youthful Cherry Chrome mates might be products of the streaming age, but singer/guitarist Xenia Bleveans-Holm is an old soul at heart. "When you get a digital [release] … you can't see everything that goes into it," she said in an interview earlier this year. The indie-rock band's self-titled debut EP is a throwback to that early-'90s era when the CD was still king.

4. EYE: Vision and Ageless Light

The latest from the prog-rock masters opens with its shortest tune ("Book of the Dead," three-and-a-half minutes of ominous synthesizer and layered percussion) and closes with its longest, "As Sure as the Sun," a staggering, hopeful, 27-minute behemoth that traverses everything from '60s folk-rock to digitized, "Tron"-worthy soundscapes. Easy to get lost in and worth lingering on.

5. Copywrite: Blood Bath and Beyond

Death surfaces throughout Copywrite's latest long-player - "Found another dead body? Pile it on," he spits on "Hemophilia" - a concept informed as much by the MC's well-publicized past as any recent experiences. Still, the rapper maintains equal parts humor, hubris and heart in his music, along with a verbal dexterity that should be the envy of his peers.