Arvid – goodnightdaydream
Producer: Luke J Ross (Self-Produced)
Genre: Hypnagogia, Baroque, lofi Rock
The two-year project of one determined indiehead saw the light of day last week, although being a hypnagogic trip this record probably has nothing to do with daylight. Rather, if garages and bedrooms and parlours have their own genres, why should the basement languish without its own brand of rock? A self-attested combination of the psychedelic Sixties (so hot right now), Panda Bear’s ergot-soaked motherboard and Elephant Six recording techniques, the resolution to this made-from-scratch record is quite satisfying, at times dipping into a style not unbecoming of Ariel Pink at his most enjoyable or one that would bring forth the Cheshire Cat smile of Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
The Black Delta Movement – Preservation
Producer: Mike Burnham
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Garage Rock
As far as recommendations go, being on the receiving end of kind words from Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe must feel nice. The Black Delta Movement is really just some dudes from Hull, England. But, all the same, they are some very talented dudes from Hull—following in a similar vein of psych as BJM or Wooden Shjips; they drone their way through the trip, peeling back the fuzz for those sweet riffs to shock the listener into lucidity every couple minutes or so. If the first record is meant to prove mastery of form, then these lads do so well for psychedelic garage fans. For strangers of the genre, however, it remains to be seen if The Black Deltas can transcend their origins and become a true movement.
Choker – Honeybloom
Label: Jet Fuzz
Genre: Alternative R&B, Pop Rap
The Toronto school of rap-singing over soft-yet-deep texture work (acrylic rap, so to speak) is strong throughout this record, as opening track “Drift” espouses the formule of the new MC: a genie riddled with insecurity. Words and wishes flood from Choker’s tongue to your ears, before subsiding with sultry saxophonics and the oddnote of a guitar and then crossing into “Starfruit LA,” featuring those seductively low, organ-like synthesizers rising to meet falsetto cries and tenor crushes at each chorus. It doesn’t seem like Choker can go much better than this, but he does—this is a pop, art-&-beat masterpiece that surpasses his Peak.
Dâm-Funk – Architecture II EP
Genre: Synth Funk
Nothing quite exciting on this little EP, but perhaps there was nothing really to excite in that now-classic, totally EDM way. This record is not meant to melt brains on that one drop, instead it’s just as the EP claims: architecture. Some people might call it music without soul, that is to say workout music, lobby music or even elevator music (or at least, one of my best friends does), but I can only agree with Dâm-Funk. This is architecture music. Replete with subtle nods to contemporary and classical influences where neither wars on the other, but rather, works together to create something sublime. The only sin for Dâm-Funk then? He might be too sublime to be remembered.
Garcia Peoples – Cosmic Cash
Producer: Blankyface McNocredit
Label: Beyond Beyond is Beyond
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Jam Band
In the trifecta of punchiness, garage-ness and, Grateful Dead-ness, this record comes pretty close to governing all three equally, even throwing in Allman organs and Anastasioan vocals and a fair share of Nineties alternative drone. It’s all produced by Blankyface McNocredit, a devilish producer with legendary aloofness, thankfully, Jason Meagher and James Plotkin were also recruited to complete the engineering, mixing and mastering of a record clean of obnoxious fading and replete with musical gravity. The album cover is candy to the eye, a caramel swirl of Pearls Before Swine meets Dali meets Navajo art meets sixties paint explosion. Binary browns and blues slither betwixt the white-space holocaust and the cosmic deep, gold seems scintillate like stars along underground walls. It, like the band, showcases simple elements taken and excelled at. As far as debuts go, it’s a good start.
Gulp (Super Furry Animals) – All Good Wishes
Producer: Luke Abbott
Genre: Space Disco Folk
Yeah, you read right: Space Disco Folk. The best kind of disco folk. And the only genre this album fucking needs. Yeah, this record flirts with neo-psychedelia, Elephant-Six-isms, psychedelic soul and the standard psychedelic rock and you can bet that a good number of these cuts were built for the beach day with Alice. But it’s moody and sullen at times too, switching from disco to folk; there the music broods, sapping emotion and groove from the record. All Good Wishes’ commitment to gothic folk is undermined by the prevailing sunshine psychedelia it revels and dirges in, threading pastiche into a corner of the quilt and only a quarter, because in this psych-rock renaissance the Gods have been merciful.
iKON – New Kids: Continue (Billed as a single, but if it walks like an EP…)
Producer: B. I
Genre: K-Pop, Pop Rap
Well, where to begin. My knowledge of iKon derives from a friend. The same friend that would decry Dâm-Funk’s music as elevator music (hell, he considers RJD2’s In Rare Form, Vol. 2 the prime example of modern elevator music), had K-Pop blaring for the majority of car trips, not that I’m complaining, because otherwise I would have never met the Korean-Homunculi version of Backstreet Boys. Because fuck it, I liked the Backstreet Boys and I like these airbrushed Ken dolls in a similar way. So damnit, yes, I would go to an iKon concert, even if the music is none too different from anything in Lady Gaga’s brain or as I like to call it, elevator music.
Loose Tooth – Keep Up
Producer: Anna Laverty, Mikey Young
Label: Milk!. Marathon Artists
Genre: Garage Rock, Surf Punk
Milk!, the brainchild label of Courtney Barnett is as consistent as they come, sticking to two key elements in its catalogue: lo-fi instrumentation—stripped and simple—and reverb vocalization—echoes upon echoes. Does this help with Loose Tooth’s second record? Eh, it’s better mastered for sure; it manages to avoid sounding like its playing in the next open-air amphitheater over. Otherwise, this is a record for the genre-freak, the consumer who needs another fix of ducktaped guitars and blown out amplifiers and endless pits of reverb.
Qui – Snuh
Producer: Toshi Kasai
Label: Three One G
Genre: Noise Rock, Experimental Rock
That Qui worked with Melvins and Totimoshi producer, Toshi Kasai for this record would mean one thing: Snuh would be loud. And it was. The album boasts some of the best contemporary art-punk But outside of that, the garage storms of thematic noise feels beyond generic, rather than out of joy, it is out of obligation. So while the volume is appropriate, the frequency feels…off.
Santiparro – The Talon
Producer: J Ashley Miller and Santiparro
Label: Blue Crystal Fire
Genre: Psychedelic Folk
The music is milky, spanning the great dark like Santiparro’s voice spans the bandwidth of frequencies and reach heavenly highs. Meanwhile, the music tries to fill out the atmosphere below. Sometimes the vocals reenter orbit, but it’s not for long. And try as I might, this flailing attempt at metaphor is exactly how I feel about Santiparro’s record: promising, yet downright boring.
Want to see if you missed anything else? Then here’s a couple of lists I refer to constantly:
/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here
HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here
AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here
And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here