NPR: August 2018

Hi all!


It was a slower month but I got there eventually! I continued my trend of listening to less and liking it more. I hope you do too! 

Oh Sees - Smote Reverser - The kings of psych garage are back with a record that straddles the new and the old. It has the feel of really early OCS at times in melody and timbre, but it also has some of the heaviest moments on any Oh Sees record. It's yet another very satisfying listen, in line with their last three major releases, which were all with this lineup.

Mitski - Be the Cowboy - I have never been into Mitski, but now I am, I guess?! I still think this is an exercise in demonstrating potential rather than a realization of potential, but Mitski has everything necessary to be an indie star and then some. 

Ariana Grande - Sweetener - A huge collection of pop confection that reminds me of many of my favorite pop artists of the past (and future, heh). Sometimes it dips too far into trap beats, but you could say that for literally any modern pop artist. So really, it suffers from the state of modern pop music, but transcends it more often than not.  

Tirzah - Devotion - This is a sweet and weird little number, produced by Mica Levi, which is the first time that I've truly enjoyed one of her projects. Tirzah's vocals and delivery have an intimacy to them that many attempt and few succeed at. It's a great record to put on and zone out to.

Tony Molina - Kill the Lights - If you have fifteen minutes, I've got some sunny, Beatles and Beach Boys tinged power pop for you!



Domiziano Maselli - Ashes - intricate and often intense dark ambient that sounds very labored over, but as a result, very complete. The compositions are large in scope and makes great use of strings and drums in addition to electronics. My favorite parts are definitely the synth blasts and textures that make up the more intense moments.

Byron Westbrook - Confluence Patterns - This tape is a nice step forward for Westbrook, the synthesist, not the Football linebacker. It’s more focused and more challenging than Body Consonance, with influences ranging from Elaine Radigue to Autechre to Emeralds.

Steve Hauschildt - Dissolvi - The more time that passes, and the more I listen to Emeralds and Hauschildt’s post-Emeralds output, the clearer it becomes that he is at the center of the progressive electronic boom that has happened since Allegory of Allergies. He is still shifting and figuring out what he sounds like, which now incorporates a lot more early Aphex Twin and New Age vocals. The retro sounds work well on Dissolvi, mostly because he’s a master of composition and sound design.

Forma - Semblance - I’m going on about Emeralds a lot this month but these guys might be the second coming of the Ohio trio. What they lack in vision they make up for in taste and musicianship, which sets them on a par with the Germans who made these sounds popular in the first place.

Caterina Barbieri - Born Again in the Voltage - A brilliant suite that is infinitely more digestible and no less outstanding than her work from last year. Cello and synth are a great match, apparently.

N1L - 山卂ㄒ乇尺 爪乇爪ㄖ尺ㄚ - the typesetting trend of using characters of other languages that look like english characters is ridiculous, just about as ridiculous as this type of music. This is deconstructed club, Opal Tapes style: dark, menacing, sometimes groovy, and inscrutable. In other words, it's right up my alley.