Yay! Another month of good music. Le-le-let’s go!
Tropical Fuck Storm – Braindrops [Album of the Month]
Favorite tracks: You know it… ALL OF THEM
I wish I discovered TFS’ debut album last year because I definitely would have put it in my top 10 albums of the year. I instantly fell in love with their dystopian brand of psychedelic art-punk – and that carries over in this album as well, albeit with an even more jaded and alien gait. The guitars sound more jagged, the lyrics and vocal delivery are even more strange and manic and colorful; compositionally, the band seems to experiment with soundscapes a bit more (like with the mystical, alien-sounding Desert Sands of Venus. But like in the first album, there are lyrical bits that play over my head like a pop song’s chorus – I mean, there’s a vivid and attention-grabbing quality to the manic narrative-like delivery of the lyrics.
It’s a rare thing to come across albums that resonate with me despite its content being so absurd and dealing with seemingly formless themes. Sure, while Braindrops isn’t as immediate with its impact as their debut LP, repeated listens feel like standing near a shore, getting hit by the relentless tide as it gets more stronger throughout the night.
Rainbow Chan – Pillar
Favorite tracks: Oblivion, CSR, Pillar, For a Long Time, Love isn’t Easy, Melt, Lull, Gaosuwo
This is quite a sleek art-pop record. The production, for the most part, plays a good balancing act between catchy melodies and just genre-blending indulgence, and at the same time, there’s a thematic bow that ties it all together. The appeal of the record wasn’t as apparent to me on the first listen, but liking individual tracks that are catchy from initial listen wasn’t hard – like the dark yet smooth production in the house-y CSR and For a Long Time.
It’s Rainbow Chan’s hauntingly alluring vocals, which took a while to appeal to me on subsequent listens, and when it did, her vocals seemed to have this radiating power to melt my ears, and this album became one of my favorite picks of the month. Oblivion Shout out to deadgrandma’s twitter for recommending this album to their followers (I’m one, obviously).
3776 – Saijiki
Favorite tracks: Tracks 1-3, Tracks 6-12
It doesn’t take long for the listener to notice that Saijiki isn’t a “normal” pop record. It’s amazing how well the mantra of the zodiac symbols is worked into the ebb and flow of the entire 73 minutes and 12 seconds of the album, and there are so many moving dynamic parts of the album. The tracks bleed into each other, the album really does feel “alive”. I wish the replay value of this LP would be stronger for me, there are parts in the middle of the tracklisting that sound a bit stagnating for me, but boy oh boy, the rest of the album makes for a watertight listening experience. You do need some patience to listen through this, but it’s worth it – at least the first time around.
Jpegmafia – All My Heroes Are Cornballs
Favorite tracks: Jesus Forgive Me I Am A Thot, Kenan v Kel, Beta Male Strategies, Jpegmafia Type Beat, Grimy Waifu, Prone!, Lifes Hard…, Thot Tactics, Free the Frail, Post Verified Lifestyle, BasicBitchTearGas, Papi I Missed U
When I was talking about Veteran in last year’s favorite albums list, I mentioned that there were portions of the album where the production felt watered down, and I am glad I didn’t find it to be the case for this release. If nothing else, Peggy goes even further with glitchy soundscapes. While the overall feel of the album feels more sound-collage-y, the sum of its parts paints a more holistic version of a Peggy I am not used to.
He sings, and it produced some great moving and vulnerable moments in the LP, like in tracks like Jesus Forgive Me, I am a Thot and Free the Frail. But that’s not to say, Peggy doesn’t bring out his cutting, confrontational side – the best example of it being Beta Male Strategies. I think AMHAC is an album that’s more abstract and offers more things to pull from than Veteran.
Charli XCX – Charli
Favorite tracks: Next Level Charli, Gone, 1999, Warm, Blame it On Your Love, White Mercedes, Official, Shake It
Charli’s name is inescapable in the pop music sphere nowadays. I loved her Vroom Vroom EP – it was the release that got me into having an auditory fetish for bubblegum bass. Since then, although I haven’t been following her music closely, I still come across tracks every now and then, and I think they are hit-and-miss. Sadly, that’s the case for me with this album too – I love half of the album, but I’m indifferent to the other. I don’t have any complaints about the production, it’s just some of the tracks left something to be desired in the melodic and vocal arrangements.
Still, there are pop anthems like 1999 and Gone. Her ballad-likes, White Mercedes and Official, sound beautiful. Then there’s the absolute oddball Shake It – damn, it’s such an earworm, the featured artists’ performances were great. I would still recommend this LP to anyone because it’s got some stylistic variation in the tracklist – at least one song would appeal to you, I think.
glass beach – The First Glass Beach Album
Favorite tracks: classic j dies…, Bedroom Community, Bone Skull, Cold Weather, Calico, Glass Beach, Dallas
I love this album in chunks. Because of the stylistic mosaic that the tracklist is, it is pretty difficult for me to listen through the album from start to finish in one sitting. There are sweet energetic, (sometimes) emo-punk-like tracks like classic j…, Bedroom Community, Cold Weather and Glass Beach; there are light and introspective-sounding songs like Bone Skull, Calico and Dallas – these are the prime cuts off the LP; then there are inconsequential instrumental interludes and just awkwardly produced tracks that overstay their lengths like Neon Glow and Orchids.
The rest of them – I don’t particularly care for. However, there are more positives than not in this LP and I think almost everybody will like at least one track off this given how eclectic the tracklist is.
Slayyyter – Slayyyter (Mixtape)
Favorite tracks: BFF, Alone, Candy, Cha Ching, Devil, Daddy AF, E-Boy
I wish the production went even more off the pop nostalgia deep-end into raunchier and more glittery territories but it’s pretty colorful and “gummy” as it is. The second half of the mixtape doesn’t sound as fresh to me, some tracks like Celebrity, Tattoo, and Ghosttt recycled in contrast to richly produced ones like BFF, Alone, Candy and Cha Ching.
I also wished that her vocal presence and domineeringly sensual character would have stayed as consistently prominent in most of the second half of the tracklist. Other than that, damn – the mixtape got quite a handful of catchy tunes. With 100 gecs, Dorian Electra, Charli XCX and this – bubblegum-PC-music-inspired pop has been amazing this year.
The Comet is Coming – The Afterlife (EP)
Favorite tracks: All that Matters is the Moments, The Afterlife, Lifeforce I & II
Compositionally, this EP doesn’t sound as dense or grand as the album, but there are still some solid highlights here. The opening and the title track are fantastic, with the first being a strong spoken-word piece and the latter being more cerebral. And that transitions perfectly to Lifeforce, which is a two-part monster – the first part sounding like a storm brewing up and the second part following that up with some danceable sax passages. With the ending track, the EP doesn’t quite stick the landing, it kind of drawls on. Still, the EP is smooth and easy on the ears, for the most part, and it has my recommendation. Listen to the album first though, this feels more like a spin-off of that.
Zombie-Chang – Gold Trance (Single)
Yet another solid single from Yung, this time she pushes her stylistic envelope even further to more playfully experimental sputtering breakdowns and panning wiggling synths – and it comes out good. The B-sides are great, too – with the opening track giving off its house influences and the ending track using reverb and shimmering guitars to create that prime hypnagogic aesthetic. It’s a great single, check it out!
Caroline Polachek – So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings (Single)
I was totally addicted to this throughout the month. Caroline’s vocals and the bassline sound so sweet – so sweet that it gives me chills. And an album’s on the way – whoo!
Swans – It’s Coming It’s Real (Teaser track)
AAAH! Swans are coming back for an album next month and I’m hyped. This teaser track is wonderful, the Hausswolff’s features are majestic and the minimalism in the instrumentation gives off a divine exuberance that moves me no matter how many times I listen through it. Perfect for walks in the morning.
That’s all I have for today. Hope you have a great day~