Tape-warped phantom band RANGERS finally unleash the lush, soaring, expansive prog-pop opus we always knew was floating inside the fretboard (and imagination) of multi-instrumentalist mystery maestro JOE KNIGHT. The north Dallas-raised, San Fran-residing head Ranger grew up taking classical guitar lessons from a dude who claimed to have toured with the Dead, and some of that brain-wonked jam agenda obviously seeped into the young Knight, who began recording his own loose, lo-fi jangle sprawls in 2005. But whereas last years critically lauded Suburban Tours LP found him condensing his cassette-crushed alien pop into 3-minute radio nuggets, Pan Am Stories uses the reverse strategy, letting each blurry strum pattern coast away and ride the breeze a bit before steering it into a fresh counter-melody or flanged-out guitar comedown. The extra breath and space gives the 13 songs a real sense of freedom and lightness and flight, layered in gentle blankets of fuzz, silky reverb, and audio collage riddles. A total saga, and a summit achievement of next-level invention for Knight as a musician (it's insane he played/recorded every instrument on this thing!) and artist.