Favorite New Music: January

1.Brian Eno Reflection

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There hasn’t been any inclination to seek out ambient music; it just seemed like homework to me, especially when there was some trendy rap mixtape I had still not listened to. But as I age, the calming (and single-track) new album from Brian Eno reminds me to slow down and breath. It’s not dull-minded like the soundtrack to one of my mom’s yoga tapes, but more thoughtful and complex in its arrangement and instrumentation.

Standout Track: “Reflection

2.Run The Jewels RTJ3

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Killer Mike and El-P released their 3rd album as Run The Jewels digitally in December, but was physically released in 2017 (complete with stickers!) and so ends up here on this list. The duo continues to produce bangers on the caliber of RTJ2, but adds a few songs that pull the veil back and reveal some more personal details, especially from El-P’s verses on “Thursday in the Danger Room” and “A Report to the Shareholders”. A high bar is set for Rap in 2017.

Standout Track: “A Report to the Shareholders: Kill Your Masters

3. P.O.S. Chill, dummy

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Two years ago, the Doomtree collective released All Hands which featured all of the gang in Doomtree including P.O.S who then had huge complications with his health. His previous record, We Don’t Even Live Here, was supposed to be his mainstream rap release, but lost the opportunity to tour due to his ailment. in 2017, Stefan is back and healthy and releasing his most melodic work to date. The finale, an 8-minute comeback track released last year, highlights these personal struggles and has Stefan surrounded by friends and colleagues, which makes the project hit on a deeper emotional level.

Standout Track: “Faded

4.Cherry Glazerr Apocalipstick

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A little psych rock, a little garage punk, and little of everything in between, Cherry Glazerr’s guitar heavy rock album has just enough DIY sentiment to be charming with the studio-quality mixing to keep the project easy on the ears. It’s fun, sarcastic, and poppy.

Standout Track: “Trash People

Other Solid Releases: Cloud Nothings Life Without Sound ; Japandroids Near to the Wild Heart of Life ; Train a girl a bottle a boat ; SACRED PAWS Strike A Match; The xx I See You ; SOHN Rennen ; Sundara Karma Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect

 

 

 

 

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New Music: January

1. Doomtree All Hands

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My favorite rap collection brings another great album together akin to their No Kings release. 10 years into their run as a eight-person posse, the group plays to their strengths with heavy synth beats that avoid common verse-chorus-repeat structure and with great verses delivered from the roster of eloquent and reference-heavy rappers: Sims, P.O.S., Dessa, Cecil Otter, and Mitch Mictlan (who had a great release from 2014, HELLA FRREAL).

Standout Track: “Grey Duck

2. Sleater-Kinney No Cities to Love

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Like many people my age, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein was actually in a 90’s all-female punk band. It makes all of their commentary eight times funnier in retrospection. The new album, and their first output in ten years, is powerful and punk to its core. The band feels fresh and the angst comes in a time where feminism has taken a front seat in our social psyche.

Standout Track: “Price Tag

3. Panda Bear Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

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I think the reason I was pulled into Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was because of Panda Bear’s vocal performance more than the group’s instrumentation. The synths are still present in the songs, but Panda Bear uses more straight forward and accessible means of musical communication, a far cry from the confusing Centipede HZ from a few years back.

Standout Track: “Boys Latin

4. Siskiyou Nervous

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Creepy music is usually far from my top favorite lists, but the way Siskiyou weaves the foreboding themes and tones into folky tunes is fun and memorable.

Standout Track “Bank Accounts and Dollar Bills

5. Dawn Richard Blackheart

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Dawn Richard’s Goldenheart record was on a handful of “Best of 2013” lists, but I never bothered to listen to what she was producing. Cut to 2015 and the sequel (I suppose) is out and carries lots of weight and sets her R&B sound apart from the more commercial, middle-of-the-road records in the same wheelhouse.

Standout Track: “Adderall/Solid (Outro)

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