Tangerine Dream – Raum
Released on KScope Records
The crossover point between 70s kraut / prog and ambient electronics – the birth of IDM, if you will – Tangerine Dream have rolled on endlessly beneath the surface of the musical world. Raum is their 84th (!!) studio album and it’s a fine example of vintage / retro electronic, with billowing ambient clouds punctuated by cold European arpeggios, just as God and the State intended.
King Hannah – I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me
Released on City Slang Records
A slightly more modern Polly Jean Harvey, all gloom and distress and big pounding fuzz-laden guitars. Poetry from the edge of the cliff.
Melt Yourself Down – Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In
Released on Decca Records
Frenetic alt-jazz fusion, like if Morphine were resurrected by Sons of Kemet. That’s not an idle comparison, either: Shabaka Hutchings and Tom Skinner formed this group before striking out to do Sons of Kemet. Pete Wareham slipped in to handle the Cool Sax Leader role and he does a damn good job of it. The vocals are handled by Zun Zun Egui’s Kushal Gaya as well, which is a nice touch.
Robert Glasper – Black Radio III
Released on Loma Vista Records
The latest entry in Glasper’s Black Radio sets includes guests like Esperanza Spalding, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Killer Mike, all backed up with his signature Blue Note classy, cool jazz piano production.
Homeboy Sandman – There In Spirit
Released on Mello Music Group
In and out in just over 20 minutes, jampacked with great beats and some solidly good lines. Mello has become a go-to label for great underground hip hop.
Swamp Dogg – I Need A Job…So I Can Buy More Autotune
Released on Don Giovanni
The man formerly known as Jerry Williams has been on a thick, swampy soul journey since dropping acid in the 70s and becoming Swamp Dogg. His latest record does not reinvent anything, but expands on the warped Muscle Shoals sound trip he’s been on since before Snoop adopted his moniker.
Half Man Half Biscuit – The Voltarol Years
Released on R. M. Qualtrough
Half Man Half Biscuit are old enough now that they’ve outlasted their home label. Signed to Probe Plus in 1985, they were among the last bands standing when label head Geoff Davies retired and shuttered it. Ironically, it’s only within the last decade that they’ve managed to hit their stride commercially (this album, for example, peaked at #37 in the U.K.) but it’s not as though they’ve fundamentally changed up their sound. They’re still highly recognizable as the surreal proto-C-86 band they were back the last time we were all threatened by the specter of nuclear war.
The Serfs – Primal Matter
Released on DREAM
Chases that brief moment when New Order really felt like it might be the bridge between Joy Division and something new and brilliant. Basically if you miss reverb-laden guitar and big drums that could be maybe gated and programmed but are probably played live, here you go, run along.
Sasami – Squeeze ★★★ (Domino)
Gang of Youths – angel in realtime ★★☆ (Warner)
Caroline – caroline ★★★ (Rough Trade)
Superchunk – Wild Loneliness ★★☆ (Merge)
Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point ★★★ (Concord)
Huerco S. – Plonk ★★★ (Incienso)
Bakar – Nobody’s Home ★★★ (Black Butter Ltd.)
mom jeans – Sweet Tooth ★★★ (Many Hats Endeavors / Sequel Music Group)
Park Jiha – The Gleam ★★★☆ (tak:til)
Lo Moon – A Modern Life ★★☆ (Thirty Tigers)
Emily Wells – Regards To The End ★★★ (This Is Menu)
VHS Collection – Night Drive ★★☆ ([PIAS])
An Evening Redness – An Evening Redness ★★★☆ (Transylvanian Recordings)
Adult – Becoming Undone ★★★ (DAIS)
Linda Martini – Error ★★★☆ (Sony)
En Garde – Debts ★★★ (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Hajino x Duncecap – Go Climb A Tree ★★★ (backwoodz)
Pintandwefall – Seventh Baby ★★★ (Gaea)
Avril Lavigne – Love Sux ★★★ (Elektra)
Conway The Machine – God Don’t Make Mistakes ★★★☆ (Griselda)