1. RiFF RAff NEON iCON
RiFF RAFF is hard to pin down. I can’t tell if he’s ever serious about his own work. NEON iCON is not useful for arguing ‘yes’ on that question, but regardless of the rapper’s physical presentation his debut LP holds its own as a modern rap album, receiving guest versus from Mac Miller and Childish Gambino both having comedic sensibilities.
Standout Track: “How to Be a Man”
2. The Antlers Familars
The Antlers’ new album sounds like they took the slower tracks from Burst Apart and stretched them out to a full-length LP. Lead singer Peter Silberman’s falsetto is mostly gone and the horns play a larger role here than previous works, sounding a bit like Beirut’s The Rip Tide. If you need some sleepy music, look no further.
Standout Track: “Doppelgänger”
3. How to Dress Well “What is This Heart?”
If Michael Jackson was perpetually sad, he might turn out an album eerily similar to How to Dress Well’s “What is This Heart?”
Standout Track: “Words I Don’t Remember”
4. Death Grips N****s on the Moon
Death Grips drop another surprise project for free online following the pattern of Government Plates and NO LOVE DEEP WEB. This freebee shows the group is moving more toward electronic schizophrenic, loop-crazy tracks as opposed to riding on MC Ride’s scream-raps. Still, the project (which is the first part of a future double album, maybe) provides some scatter-brained nonsense that is fun to dig into.
Standout Track: “Up My Sleeves”
4. Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence
Hype is such a silly thing. The music world has tried to make Lana Del Rey the next big thing then takes it time arguing how overrated she is. The music is almost never mentioned because things like “that SNL performance” and “that music video with A$AP Rocky.” The music here on the sophomore album is dark in its mood and light in many of its arrangements. The melancholy is on full bore, but it’s not a bore.
Standout Track: “Money Power Glory”
Favorite Music Videos:
Naughty Boy “Home” featuring Sam Romans
OK GO “The Writing’s on the Wall”