July so far, has been an excellent month for really good new music. Here are a few albums that are worth a listen .
Washed Out – Within and Without
A chillwave album that sets its hooks with sly synths. There’s a lush, snowy warmth to the production that makes it a hard album to turn off.
The Cool Kids – When Fish Ride Bicycles
After three years of delay because of “record label jail” Michael Reed and Chuck Ingersoll were finally able to drop their much anticipated first studio album. The innovators of what has been the new generation of hip-hop after the fall of gangster rap offer a bass-knocking, lyrically innovative project that demonstrates all they have learned since their original EP Bake Sale in 2008. The best word I can use to describe it is consistent.
SBTRKT – SBTRKT
SBTRKT’s approach is certainly similar to what guys like James Blake have been up to in the last year, or so. Instead of singing himself he’s brought in vocalists Sampha, Jessie Ware, Roses Gabor, and Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano. Rather than go for showy, scene-stealing productions, he keeps things tight and purposeful. He focuses on the overall song and the vocal, and beats are just one part of that equation. This allows the vocals and production to really ride together in a strong harmony that allows the album to play smoothly from beginning to end.
AraabMuzik – Electronic Dream
It’s tough to imagine the tracks on Electronic Dream getting any play in any dance club in the world, and it’s virtually impossible to picture anyone rapping over them. Instead, this album is a genre unto itself—ominous future shit that creates an atmosphere but never bleeds into the background. Araab’s snare hits resonate like eye punches, and his drum programming is pure, unrelenting rap. But he’s applying that sensibility to songs where the melodies shine, even when Araab’s using a screaming sound effect as part of the rhythm track. The end result is a truly weird little album—something at once anxious and euphoric.