This month, music came in three distinct categories for me: Indie, electronic, and Kanye West.
Peach Kelli Pop - Gentle Leader - Allie Hanlon's tunes have better production, melodies, and songwriting this time around. It's a record that convinces me that a little too much is just the right amount for me.
LUMP - LUMP - Laura Marling teams up with Mike Lindsay of Tunng to put out some beautiful and strange electronic folk music. It's one of those special one-off collaborations you'll remember fondly years later thinking "Oh yeah, that was really nice" but if you don't find it now, you might never be led to it.
Flasher - Constant Image - A really promising debut from some DC rockers who are bringing back some really great moments of bygone indie. It's the kind of tight, precise record that's made of minimal parts but somehow fleshes out really well.
Neko Case - Hell-On - There are quite a few clumsy lyrical moments on Hell-On: some of them are charming, some of them are confusing. Either way, that's something that's been happening over time with Neko and wasn't always the case. The music here is great though, and taken as a whole, the songwriting is top notch.
Leon Vynehall - Nothing is Still - The Deep House master gets a lot deeper and still makes a record that's just as fun to listen to as his dancefloor oriented tunes. After spending a few weeks with it, I'm still getting to know the new sounds and textures of Vynehall's new direction, which is high praise in my mind.
OneOhTrix Point Never - Age Of - Boston hero Daniel Lopatin is at it again and as always, is full of surprises. This time, autotuned vocals make their way into his music and a lot of the rougher edges are smoothed out. It might sound like he's going soft, but it's conveyed more as a stretching out.
Varg - Nordic Flora Part 5: Crush - Like Part 3 (what happened to 4?! Cassette only release?!), this is a strange journey through many different ideas. It has even more ideas and a lot less techno than before, but a little too much spoken word from Chloe Wise, mostly on the jazzy, ESMR-y, Archive 1. Still digesting this, but looking forward to doing so.
Project Pablo - Come to Canada You Will Like It - If there was a cassette pressing, it would already be on the way to my house, because I love collecting woozy downtempo Canadian house. Alas, this is a digital only release thus far.
Witxes - Orients - One way to make abstract music interesting is to make it more cathartic than passive. This record is one of the more aggressive abstract releases in recent memory, in line with Tim Hecker's sound circa Ravedeath, 1972.
Kanye just released everything in one month like some kinda maniac! All of these are 25 minutes long and pretty cohesive between the lot, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
Pusha T - Daytona - You can't really argue with a bunch of tight Kanye beats with Pusha T rhymes. Pusha is a great MC who talks way too much about being a kingpin and is always on.
Kanye West - ye - Kanye's own record is the second most derided of his albums, but I think it has some of the most interesting moments of the whole month. I think the run from halfway through the opening track through Yikes to All Mine is the strongest bit of Hip Hop I've heard in a while. The rest of the album plays pretty well too, so just fast forward through the first two minutes.
Kids See Ghosts - Kids See Ghosts - This record is so weird. Kid Cudi sounds like he's really gotten himself to a good place where he's a really chill spiritual R&B singer, but for some reason he still hangs out with Kanye. It seems a little bit like a neither here nor there record, but also is pretty consistently catchy and interesting.
Nas - Nasir - I didn't get a lot of out this so I didn't spend a lot of time with it. I was also discouraged by how no one else liked it, either.
Teyana Taylor - K.T.S.E. - I probably didn't give this album enough of a fair shake, but I didn't really like it on first listen and you can't make me listen to it again and I'll probably never have to. Some people like it tho.