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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April Highlights

1. Nickel Creek A Dotted Line

After a long break that started in 2006, folk/bluegrass trio Nickel Creek reunited for a lovely LP titled A Dotted Line. The LP is less full-length album and more a collection of songs written by each member that were recorded together. It includes a few covers (one of which has Disney credits?) as well as a song about the end-of-days craze in “21st of May.” Really, anything that Chris Thile is involved with I will listen to, but this album does build it’s strength on the art of collaboration between all three members.

Standout Track: Hayloft

2. SOHN Tremors

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My new favorite music genre, the alt-R&B movement of the last year(ish), has had a multitude of catchy names ascribed to it (my favorite of which if PBR&B) that try to encapsulate the soundscape being explored by folks like How to Dress Well, James Blake, Lo-Fang, Sin Fang an other artists who address the R&B sensibilities with modern synths and electronic vocal tricks. SOHN is the next to release an LP in that arena, Tremors, and it provides the 80s vibe just as well as his peers.

Standout Track: Tempest

3. Duck Sauce Quack

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Look, even if Quack was terrible I might still have included it on this post. EDM producers Armand Van Helden and A-Trak goof off behind some computers and do their best to make sure you know not to take them seriously. The album is a mish-mash of old and new material and all of it, besides the lengthy faux radio play excerpts, are more than dance-worthy.

Standout Track: Radio Stereo

4. Antemasque Antemasque EP

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Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodrígues-López, the duo behind At the Drive In and The Mars Volta have reassembled themselves as Antemasque. Their new configuration, which includes Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, harkens back to their older ATDI sound as they build more traditional rock structures for this EP. It looks like the two might be down for producing some music that is a little more approachable than the latter half of The Mars Volta’s discography, which is exciting for those who were wishing the ATDI reunion a few years back included new material.

Standout Track: 4am

Cover of the Month:

Ellie Goulding’s “Fire” goes 60s doo wop!

Best Music Videos

Hudson And Troop “Frameless

Tacocat “Hey Girl

Real Estate “Crime

Jon Lajoie “Please Use This Song