October 2020

Album releases

Crippled Black Phoenix — Ellengæst

Hard to beat my buddy Karl's recommendation for this one: "It's like Russian Circles if they were fronted by Robert Smith and Emma Ruth Rundle." Check out his yearly roundups if you like heavy music.


MA.MOYO, Cerys Matthews & Hidden Orchestra — Flame Lily Highly recommended!

When I see a single track released on Spotify, I usually try to wait for the full EP or record before writing anything about it. I'll make an exception for this one, though. Flame Lily is a mesmerizing, haunting poem, soundtracked by a shuffling, urgent rhythm and an imposing bassline.

It reminds me of the best moments from the Green Mill poetry slams, when a serious poet is really opening up and communicating something, and the band gets serious with them, finding an edge of sound that slots perfectly into the flowing words. The room quiets down. Senses heighten. Time slows.

D Double E, P Money, Frisco, BackRoad Gee & Novelist — Tell Me a Ting (Remix)

The original Tell Me a Ting with Kano was a big-time single, a fun back-and-forth with lots of riffing on the title line. But this remix is huge, with nonstop bars from Double and his crew raining down over the sledgehammer beat.

Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson — Chicago Waves Remixes

bullsREMIX 3 and pckdpREMIX 2 sound like prime Adult Swim bumps, but the two cnfWaves remixes stand out to me. They're a prayer to some mystical, aquatic goddess; cymbals wash across the soundscape and percussion bubbles while strings and twinkling piano float on top of it all.

New to Me

Brandt Brauer Frick — Mr. Machine (2011) Highly recommended!

A jazzy expedition into dense rainforest, machetes sawing through the bass, steadily marching to the driving percussion, following the insistent cadence of piano melodies further and further into the darkness...

Mr. Machine moves fluidly through all points between "techno arranged for traditional instruments" (Pretend, with Emika) and "funky experimentalism" (Bop). It's a supremely physical listen, an overall enthralling record, and it makes me excited to check out the rest of their catalog.

Kaytranada — Bubba (2019)

I like Kaytranada but I missed this record last year. The basic feel is stompy funk, neon lights, smoke, cruising with the top down. Serious A-list of guests, too: Estelle, Tinashe, Charlotte Day Wilson, Pharrell, and more!

Three Trapped Tigers — Numbers: 1–13 (2012)

The punk band grew older, went to school, learned some music theory, spun some jazz records, got real jobs, saved up some money, bought an electronic kit and some synths. Here they are, years later and years more experienced, but still carrying the same jagged edge they started out with.