Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future
Released on Loma Vista Records
Denzel Curry has spent years being brash and in-your-face. Ta13oo was metallic in spots and hard overall; Zuu channeled his Florida home and hit the club like a bomb. Melt My Eyez takes a sharp turn inward. He says at one point that it’s not hip hop, its more akin to bebop, and this seems like the best overall take on the album. He recorded it over the pandemic, so maybe that has something to do with it; it’s more smoother and varied, like he’s been spending time exploring different corners of his mind and the disparate genres that have been hiding in them. “X-Wing” is the best encapsulation: that beat doesn’t resemble any of the edgy stuff he’s rapped over in the past, but goddamn he’s right, it goes dumb in the stereo. Over this soulful, textured bit of production he lays down a new case for himself: capable of those aggro lines that get stuck in your head, but woven into more subtle and abstract wordplay as well. It’s a major leap forward for an artist that was already making a big name for himself, and the sky is now officially the limit.
Destroyer – Labyrinthitis
Released on Merge Records
The best Destroyer is the most inscrutable Destroyer, and Labyrinthitis scores deeper because it’s quite inviting on the surface. Like a house party put on by Dadaists, you get drawn in by the funky pop beat before you realize upon getting inside that you have no idea what’s going on. Goddamn does it sound good, though.
Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
Released on Epitaph Records
Searing hardcore that combines radical politics, the Black Experience in America, a distaste for wishy-washy liberal ‘allies’, and a strong streak of absurdism. Also, horns.
Proper. – The Great American Novel
Released on Father/Daughter Records
Most emo bands go on at length about the perils of being straight, white, and in love in the opiate-soaked Midwest. Proper., an all-black band out of Brooklyn, examine the perils of being queer, black, and in an abusive relationship with America. Stellar lyrics, unflinching storytelling, some slamming riffs that are as much At The Drive-In as they are Modern Baseball. Might be a bit long, but that’s just personal taste.
No Suits In Miami – Nothing Ever Happens
It’s not groundbreaking, but it does scratch an itch left by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s brief, fluttery kiss in 2009. It’s glossy, dreamy C86, with all the John Hughes suburban white people moves inherent in that.
Croatian Amor – Remember Rainbow Bridge
Released on Posh Isolation
A textbook in using synths to elevate and manipulate mood, and to chart the stormy waters separating adolescence from adulthood.
Camp Cope – Running With The Hurricane ★★★☆ (Run The Cover)
Aldous Harding – Warm Chris ★★★☆ (4AD)
Guerilla Toss – Famously Alive ★★★ (Sub Pop)
Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity ★★★☆ (Merge)
Coin – Uncanny Valley ★★ (TenThousand Projects)
Barrie – Barbara ★★★ (Winspear)
Kevin Devine – Nothing’s Real, So Nothing’s Wrong ★★★☆ (Triple Crown)
Placebo – Never Let Me Go ★★★ (Rise)
Vitesse X – Us Ephemeral ★★★ (100% Electronica)
VR SEX – Rough Dimension ★★★☆ (DAIS)
Wallows – Tell Me That It’s Over ★★★ (Atlantic)
Young Prisms – Drifter ★★★☆ (Fire Talk)
Ex-Void – Bigger Than Before ★★★ (Don Giovanni)
Inabakumori – Weather Station ★★★ (Sony Japan)
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Nightclub Daydreaming ★★☆ (Carpark)
Caracara – New Preoccupations ★★★ (Memory)
Carly Cosgrove – See You In Chemistry ★★★ (Wax Bodega)
U.S. Highball – A Parkhead Cross Of The Mind ★★☆ (Lame-O)
ginla – Everything ★★★ (no content)
P.E. – The Leather Lemon ★★★☆ (Wharf Cat)
The Laurels – Homecoming ★★★ (Third Eye Stimuli)
Material Girl –i85mixx21-22 ★★★ (No Agreements)