Essential Full-Length Releases
Algiers - The Underside of Power
When a band is named for the location of one of the first anti-colonialism struggles, you know their music is going to be politically-tinged. The Atlanta-born band released their debut album in 2015 in the midst of race struggles here in the U.S. Events over the intervening two years have only served to bolster their anger, but also focus their music. They serve as the perfect post-punk/gospel voice to all of our collective anger.
Watch: "The Underside of Power"
Bedouine - Bedouine
Bedouine is Azniv Korkejian, a Syrian-born, Saudi Arabia- and U.S.-raised singer and songwriter who immigrated to the United States as a child. With a folk sound reminiscent at times of Joni Mitchell or Nick Drake, she sings both of her childhood in Syria and Saudi Arabia, and also responds to the current climate in her country of birth. This incredible album has made Korkejian one of my favorite newcomers of the year!
Watch: "One of These Days"
Watch: "Solitary Daughter"
Laurel Halo - Dust
Halo is an electronic artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, influenced in part by the techno scene in nearby Detroit. She's released three albums (including this one) on the influential Hyperdub label, all of them earning her high praise. She often works with artists from a variety of disciplines, including John Cale and Julia Holter.
Love Theme - Love Theme
Love Theme is the new project from Alex Zhang Hungtai, formerly of Dirty Beaches. The new project is in collaboration with Austin Milne and Joshua Frank. The project is far from being Hungtai's only undertaking since ending Dirty Beaches. Two years ago, he released a music video as Last Lizard; last year, he released a record, Knave of Hearts, under his own name; and just earlier this year, he appeared on "Twin Peaks" as a member of the band Trouble with David Lynch's son, Riley.
Listen: "Desert Exile"
Listen: "She's Here"
Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
Vince Staples released an incredible debut album, Summertime '06, in 2015. While no doubt a modern hip hop album, it was reminiscent (to me, at least) to West Coast hip hop from the mid-90s. His follow-up is a more experimental album, pulling styles from club music and techno. He also brings an impressive list of guests to this album, including Kendrick Lamar and a returned favor from Damon Albarn (Staples appeared on Gorillaz' latest album, Humanz).
Watch: "Big Fish"
Watch: "Rain Come Down"
Other Full-Length Releases
DJ Khaled - Grateful
Watch: "I’m the One" (featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, & Lil Wayne)
Watch: "Wild Thoughts" (featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller)
Ex Eye - Ex Eye
Watch: "Xenolith; The Anvil"
Listen: "Opposition/Perihelion; The Coil"
Guerilla Toss - GT Ultra
Watch: "The String Game"
Watch: "Skull Pop"
Jeff Tweedy - Together at Last
Listen: "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"
Listen: "Laminated Cat"
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Murder of the Universe
Watch: "The Lord of Lightning vs. Balrog"
Watch: "Invisible Face"
Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.
The Aces - I Don’t Like Being Honest EP
Listen: "Baby Who"
Baby Driver: Music from the Motion Picture
Watch: Danger Mouse - "Chase Me" (featuring Run the Jewels & Big Boi)
Listen: Kid Koala - "Was He Slow?"
Crumb - Locket
Daphni - fabriclive 93
Listen: "Face to Face"
Listen: BADBADNOTGOOD - "To You"
Listen: Boards of Canada - "Olson"
Mutual Benefit - Just Another Diamond Day
Listen: "Diamond Day"
Listen: "Glow Worms"
Prince - Purple Rain Reissue
Listen: "Electric Intercourse"
Listen: "Father’s Song"
Radiohead - OKNOTOK
Watch: "I Promise"
Watch: "Man of War"
Silicon Valley: Music from the HBO Original Series
Listen: Danny Brown - "Kool Aid"
Listen: Wu-Tang Clan - "Don’t Stop"