For many people trying to make money in the fun and exciting “record labels” industry, August is the black hole between September and July. So props to those who decided to release something while most of their buying public sweats their faces off and jams what they've been jamming all summer. (Sorry, John Dwyer, this was not your crown.)
And extra kudos for our favorite drop of the month, which asks you not only to pay attention, but to do so with headphones on amidst the heat. Of course, Finland has no idea what we're talking about.
Kemialliset Ystävät, Ullakkopalo (Fonal)
It's a walk-off masterpiece of unhinged sound palette expressionism, and anyone with a passing interest in outer worldly transgression should strap on a third eye and hone in on any one of 14 tracks on this 42 minute excursion, preferably the whole thing.
Best Releases of August 2010
Camu Tao, King Of Hearts (Fat Possum/Definitive Jux)
Camu Tao could be the closest thing hip hop will ever get to Ol' Dirty Bastard in terms of there being no father to his style.
Freddie Gibbs, Str8 Killa EP (Decon Records)
Gibbs told me this tape would “shit on most of these nigga's albums”, but I never expected to discard my Big Boi and Curren$y records before the end of July.
Stik Figa & D/Will, Alive and Well
D/Will is the chicken soup for Stik's battered soul, playing the role of a therapist that uses his MPC productions to will Stik into a full recuperation.
Raleigh Moncrief, Carpal Tunnels
There is two sides to Robby Moncrieff, but both sides are born out of a shamanistic approach to being a studio rat. The Raleigh side is a hip hop producer that concocts instrumentals akin to the L.A. beat scene thunder clapping with 8-bit cloud levels
Lionshare, Shareholders R.E.P.O.R.T. Vol. II
It would seem the Lionshare droogs are heavily influenced by the crew from the Anthony Burgess classic novel, as the lyrics are blunted and ultraviolent with references to “getting mamby pamby on that ambien” and “in the pocket I keep a pint of vodka / taking quick sips as I clock for the coppers.
Sonny and the Sunsets, Tomorrow Is Alright (Soft Abuse)
Sonny Smith is a renaissance man. Though his band Sonny and the Sunsets has gained recent popularity with last year’s release of Tomorrow is Alright, their debut full-length for Soft Abuse, he’s been on the scene (and various other scenes) forever. (Read our interview.)
The Poison Control Center, Sad Sour Future (Afternoon Records)
It’s a showcase of influences ranging from Pavement to Big Dipper to the Volcano Suns, but it’s mostly re-configured via the conversational and unforced vocals that persist throughout the record, despite the tone of any particular song.
Picayune, Summer Bummer (Feeding Tube Records)
Keith Varadi’s latest is a scorched tango down the bowels of Americana. Moaning, motion sick, indecipherable at times, Varadi may have written the best shitgaze record since the term’s inception.
Frkwys Vol. 4, Psychic Ills 12″
The fourth volume of FRKWYS sees the work of Psychic Ills reinterpreted by an ancestry of artists that reflect the New York City group's artistic trajectory over the last seven years of avant exploration.
White Fence, “Lillian”
The sound echoes what a fuzzier Gene Clark style of pop would have sounded like during a performance on the Big T.N.T. Show or the way all the great American rockers sounded when performing on the Top of the Pops in the late 60s.
Deep Tapes Comp. 1
You think this is gonna be some triangle infested chillwave wonkery but what you actually get is a song by Dragonforce's little brother (spiritually speaking), a hardcore meatball grinder, a deep-granulated noise odyssey that quickly buries 12 meaningless minutes of your life in sonic ennui, and, no Deep Magic's not chillwave, no matter how many triangles got thrown at us in the email about this free comp from Deep Tapes.
Metz “Negative Space” 7-inch (We Are Busy Bodies)
Apparently there are bands from Canada who have balls.
Al Lover, “Reflective Flesh”
Reflective Flesh” follows a formula that speaks to all that's right and true in hip hop. Beats crafted on an MPC and run through a four-track just have an intangible soul power that cannot be duplicated in digital formats.
The Enchantments, Meet The Enchantments
While you might be hoping for some stainless 60s soul from a name like that, plug those expectations and let's try on their whimsical clutter pop that fringes up against twee but only because they're making their fuzzy tunes with the aid of old school music box synth patches and a lo-fi enthusiast's embrace of the hazy hi-end theory.
Teen Daze, Four More Years EP (Arcade Sound)
This is still the most chillwave project on the planet.
Wale, More About Nothing
The Mixtape About Nothing remains Wale's most widely appreciated record, making his return to the format a calculatedly wise move.
Magic Kids, Memphis (True Panther)
Gone is the Goner sound of old that was apparent in their other songs and their last band The Barbaras. So while “Summer” definitely has a summertime feel, it stays in the bubble-gum genre that the Magic Kids are known for.