Billy &Dolly – Five Suns
Producer: Billy & Dolly
Label: Shit Krystal
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Surf Rock and Noise Rock collide with a touch of folk to create a modern psychedelic mish-mash gish-gallosh of heavy rambling guitars and synthesizers straining like theremins to make London and San Francisco ’68 come alive again, 50 years on. Hell, it even strikes a weird modernist cross between Revolver and III; For a six-year layoff that’s ballsy, Bill & Dolly, ballsy. Your new record isn’t half-bad either.
Boy Azooga – 1, 2, Kung Fu!
Producer: Davey Newington
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative Rock
A tale of two records—when Boy Azooga are at their best, it’s a healthy combination between alternative fuzz, psychedelic bong rips and roaring riffs. At their worst, they delve into a mucky dreampop posing as Neo-Psychedelia. It’s more the latter than the former, but uh, that dreampop element is gonna need some work, Ray Azooga.
Dead Sara – Temporary Things Taking Up Space EP
Producer: Tony Hoffer
Genre: Alternative Rock
Dead Sara vacillates between a plucky-punk and garage burnout band on this EP. Like Weezer met Haim and had a baby. Perhaps this is a temporary EP taking up space between now and the next album? Most definitely it’s an attempt to merge together punk and noise rock together with a little R&B punch. On “Anybody,” “One Day We’ll Make It Big” and “Heaven’s Got a Back Door,” are all deceptively catchy and that might be what tips the scales, but yawns still escape my ironclad teeth on “Times To Remember,” “What It Takes” and “Unamerican.”
Flasher – Constant Image
Producer: Nicolas Vernhes
Genre: Post-Punk, Shoegaze
DIIV did it first. But dare I say Flasher does it better? Well, they certainly go punkier than DIIV in aural terms, matching fire with a Bully record. Then they pull it back, take ears on a warbling no-wave journeys that recall Wooden Shjips or Sonic Youth and remind me of Beaches (Australian, not Canadian). They
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found
Producers: Charlie Perry, Ed Thomas, Maaike Kito Lebbing, Cadenza, J. LBS, Jeff Kleinman, Joice, Tom Misch, Sam Willis
Genre: Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B
The record is as contemporary R&B as it can get, combining Alicia Keys piano surges with Beyonce dramatics and slight Lauryn Hill edge. Except it doesn’t go far enough to push many boundaries. What is a fact: somewhere someone will be listening to this album after a breakup. Me? I just want album to end so it and I can break up.
Kadhja Bonet – Childqueen
Producer: Kadhja Bonet
Label: Fat Possum
Genre: Psychedelic Soul
Evidently it is a week for soul, and if that means psychedelic soul, than bring it on Kadhja Bonet, bring it on. Half Bill Withers, half Wee and all dreamy, Bonet takes listeners on a journey to “that innermost self that you were truthfully and instinctively before the weight of the world came crashing in.” Now, regardless of opinion, the psychedelic route is most definitely a route towards that, and often it gets mucked up in the drudgery of rock n’ rollers or whisked into nothingness by dreampoppers and folk-singers. But on Childqueen, it’s a summer’s day in the park, looking a clouds and counting petals and eating PB&J.
The Midnight Hour (Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge) – The Midnight Hour
Producer: Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge
Label: Linear Labs
Genre: Psychedelic Soul, Jazz-Funk
Album of the week. I don’t care what else comes next—this record hits everything jazz, funk and soul note that I could possibly need. It rises with the steam and then it blows away with violin arrangements and piano melodies to meld together a seamless picture—marked by a similar tape reel warmness of Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, Q-Tip’s Kamaal the Abstract or Demon Days by the Gorillaz. It rivals Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer and Kody Nielson’s Birthday Suite in its near-seamless continuity and it sets a mood like no other. It’s relaxed and welcome and honestly if there’s one person I could give this record to it would be Jay Kay only because it could be the birth of a supergroup of acid jazz-funk/hip-hop—something this world sorely needs.
Moodoïd – Cité Champagne
Producer: Pierre Rousseau
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Dreampop
Oh my god, yes. When you’re a French-speaking nerd like myself, it doesn’t get much better than this: a solid neo-psychedelic, dreampop record that has the listener wrapped up in synthesizers like the surreal wraps of a ghost. The record phases in-and-out of dancing, resting, thinking and then dancing again. The record works against its runtime like an ocean against the coast, waxing on “Reptile,” “Miss Smith,” “Chamberlain Hotel” and “Helena” and then waning on “Bye Bye,” “Star,” “Amour Voiture and “Kashbah,” the music is a surge that succors the listener in and the vocals are the wind that whips their face.
serpentwithfeet – soil
Producer: mmph, Katie Gately, Clams Casino, Paul Epworth
Label: Tri Angle, Secretly Canadian
Genre: Art Pop, Alternative R&B
serpentwithfeet’s debut, soil is a windy trail of a sultry R&B, featuring sparkles of the same Toronto scene that Drake has sported since forever and then crossing them with the lowkey bass heavy London house tricks. It’s a real Anderson .Paak meets Sampha type-deal as it tries to slither its way into the brain. Unfortunately for serpentwithfeet, I have Anderson .Paak and Sampha taking up his place on the ol’ music tree of my mind, and there just ain’t much space between the two.
Snail Mail – Lush
Producer: Jake Aron
Genre: Indie Rock
Lush is exactly how Snail Mail’s riffwork fleshes out this record, full and pulsing through the veins all the way to the black-vinyl bone. It’s a perfect storm of Julia Shapiro’s neo-grunge drawl and Courtney Barnett’s full-powered rhythmic chops. Hell, stack ‘em up together and Snail Mail has this whole garage post-punk sound down much better than Barnett did on Tell Me How You Really Feel. And from a holistic point of view: more please.
Thom Fekete (Surfer Blood) – Grow
Producer: Thom Fekete, Jessica Fekete, Daniel Good
Label: Joyful Noise
Genre: Indie Rock
A collection of semi-finished work by Thom Fekete before his untimely passing, Jessica Fekete posthumously found and curated the work with the help of Daniel Good. What’s presented is a series of sketches, some rough, some refined, but all in all a sort of underwhelming find. This has the You and I part II written all over it. A pêle-mêle assortment of songs that don’t do much for Thom Fekete’s legacy other than bloat it gratuitously. Call it an antipathy, but I really don’t enjoy the release of records after-the-fact. Haven’t since I first heard Jimi Hendrix’s Cry of Love—and Thom Fekete’s Grow does little to change that.
Vinegar Mother – Phases
Producer: Vinegar Mother
Label: Z Music
Genre: Neo-Soul, R&B
A cross between Curtis Mayfield and Alicia Keys and featuring an indietronica code scribbling worth of a P-Funk cover band, Vinegar is a hot mess—but a marketable hot mess. Searching for some neo-soul? Look no further, it’s a mish-mash of influences all fighting for space that does offer moments of lucidity to finally match its ambitions on “Dripping,” “Forget You,” “Palm Sweat” and “Loner.” But I suggest looking no deeper. It twinkles, but I can’t say it really burns.
Howlin Rain – The Alligator Bride
Label: Silver Current
Genre: Jam Rock
ONA – Onamania
Label: Rear House
Genre: Indie Rock
Young Widows – DECAYED: Ten Years of Cities, Wounds, Lightness, and Pain
Label: Temporary Residence
Genre: Alternative Rock, Folk Metal
Chromatics – Camera EP (Vinyl Only)
Label: Italians Do It Better
Genre: Synthpop, Dreampop
Black Sabbath – Supersonic Years The Seventies Singles Box Set (Compilation)
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
Genre: Classic Metal
Devin Townsend Project – Eras: Vinyl Collection Part I (Compilation)
Genre: Progressive Metal
Mick Ronson – Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story, The Soundtrack
Genre: Film Score, Classic Rock
Thee Hypnotics – Righteously Recharged (Compliation)
Label: Beggars Banquet
Genre: Garage Rock, Punk