2018 RELEASES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:
We get it, it's been a somewhat eventful 2018, and you might be waking up wondering what color the sky will be today rather than scouring the universe for great new under-the-radar music releases. Luckily, we handle those concerns in the reverse order. Here are just a few discs that have come out this year that deserve a second look. Some are archival compilations, but mostly this is brand-new stuff; not in any order and by no means comprehensive, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of these on our Top Tens this year. In stock now on all formats available!
The Baltimore duo multiply their sound out as far as it's ever gone. Jenn Wasner cements herself as one of our great real lyricists, while her and partner Andy Stack have more rhythmic invention than ever. Plain-intentioned drama from the Kate Bush school.
Kamaal Williams - The Return
The UK-based Rhodes piano scholar continues to map a vibing path between contemporary jazz and downtempo house, on an album that works at the dinner table or warming up a living room dancefloor.
Tirzah - Devotion
Poignant, slimmed-down R&B that drifts slow like a swollen cloud. Tirzah's laconic yet expressive vocals are perfectly paired with the artful production from two modern pros: Micachu and Kwes.
Various - Onda De Amor (Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94)
The Soundway label - home of timeless compilations like Ghana Soundz, Nigeria Special, and Tumbele! - adds another one to the instant classic column with this set of deeply-dug Brazilian hip-house and electro-funk. No samba here; just synth-heavy bangers!
Grant Green - Slick! Live at Oil Can Harry's
Hear the gestation of jazz-funk evolving in real time with this expansive disc from a 1975 radio show that's never been heard before outside of the Vancouver metro area. The remastered sound on here is positively blazing.
MGMT - Little Dark Age
The American rock band isn't quite the critical darling it once was, but oddly enough they are making their most inventive, clever, and listenably wacky kitchen-sink pop yet.
Ryan Porter - The Optimist
The trombonist and composer travels in the same LA circles as Kamasi Washington, Brandon Coleman and Kendrick Lamar, and on this massive set of tunes he bridges the space between cool, bopping jazz and gritty hip-hop.
Papa M - A Broke Moon Rises
The rock vagabond David Pajo (Tortoise, Slint, Aerial M...you know, just some bands) has a singular grapple on the hummably expressive depths of the guitar, and he puts them on direct display like he hasn't done in many, many years here.
Kadhja Bonet - Childqueen
For her first album-length effort, the LA neo-soul sprite casts a wide net. Across this patient, hushedly psychedelic album, she channels Gainsbourg's conceptual vistas of lush strings and Martina Topley-Bird's breathy elegance, restlessly drifting between neo-classical soundscapes and bumping boogie.
The Internet - Hive Mind
You wouldn't expect a group called The Internet to sound so sexy and cool, but the Odd Future affiliates have made a brief, colorful career of confounding expectations. Jazzy, hooky R&B straight from the Badu tradition.
Mary Lattimore - Hundreds of Days
The continent-trotting harpist delivers her most deeply-felt and resonantly-captured album yet. Each track here is like a miniature epic, describing vast, lonely areas of the American interior. This one never fails to reset the mood.
Ursula Le Guin & Todd Barton - Music and Poetry of the Kesh
A restored version of an obscure 1985 cassette release from the fringes of sci-fi writer Le Guin's large body of work. The writer invented songs, stories, and a language for a fictional indigenous community, and taught a fellow musician, Barton, how to perform them alonigside her. The result is a truly otherworldly ambient folk music like nothing else out there.