Arcade Fire – Everything Now (Apple Music, Spotify)
The new Arcade Fire has a track produced by Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk and a track produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead. Both tracks (Everything Now and Creature Comfort, respectively) are among some of the best Arcade Fire songs. The album has some weird moments, and specifically all of the Infinite Content tracks can get a bit of grating. I get where they’re going with it, but the whole thing’s a bit heavyhanded. The album loops almost perfectly, and definitely gains from repeated listens.
B12 – Electro Soma (Apple Music, Spotify)
Electronic music has a come a long way, but this album from 1993 still has a lot to offer. It’s not the lush spa version of ambient music that we expect in 2017 (there’s plenty of heavy beats), but it’s a rad throwback time.
Bodies of Water – Spear in the City (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Nobody makes music like Bodies of Water does. They have a sound rooted in Gospel music, but have branched pretty far from what you’d expect. They’re reverent and soul-searching and they keep you thirsty for more. This album doesn’t hit the heights that some of Bodies of Water’s previous album does, but it plunges some depths that have been heretofore untouched. Recommended.
The Books – Lost and Safe (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
I’ve been a big fan of this album for a really long time. It’s weird. It’s mostly sample-based, with cello and guitar. I find it soothing, though I’m not sure everyone will.
Chris Thile – Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Apple Music, Spotify)
Sometimes you want some Bach played on mandolin. A little bluegrass in your baroque, you know?
Do Pas O – Join the Fucking Drum Circle (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
The drummer from DFA’s new Guerilla Toss, Do Pas O (real name Peter Negroponte) has put together a noisy, wonky collection of tracks guaranteed to brighten your day and send you down a bizarre path.
Frankie Rose – Cage Tropical (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
I can’t believe I missed this when it came out. Frankie Rose has a signature sound that combines low-down home-made reverb-drenched shoegaze with cosmic space sounds, but in a less self-conscious way than guys like M83 does. It’s beautiful.
Karen Gwyer – Rembo (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Karen Gwyer makes techno music. Like, no other genre modifiers. I mean, it’s got some ambient sounds, and little elements of microhouse, but mostly it’s just good, solid techno.
Lee Bozeman – The Majesty of the Flesh (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Lee Bozeman is an orthodox priest, and has also been in rock bands for 25+ years. It’s an interesting balance, and this four song EP also rides on that balance of serving God and being fully human. It rocks.
Odd Nosdam – LIF (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
I keep gravitating to ambient music made from cut up guitar noise. Odd Nosdam somehow dumps tons of emotion into his compositions and I keep coming back for more.
Petracovitch – Blue Cotton Skin (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
This is another album that’s I’ve known for a really long time. It’s quiet, haunting synthpop and it sticks around for years. I was reminded about this album when I woke up recently, having heard the song Nighttime in a dream. So, uh, I guess watch out for that.
Photay – Onism (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Holy crap, this one snuck up on me! It’s killer left-field grooves with a polyrhythmic flavor and international instrumentation. This one’s very likely to go on the year-end list.
Sam O.B. – Positive Noise (Apple Music, Spotify)
Vaporwave has been a thing for a bit now, and it’s cool to see it begin to bleed into other genres. This is basically vaporwave R&B, with filtered but not sampled vocals, and a vhs-degraded new jack swing feel.
Sandro Perri – Plays Polmo Polpo (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Sandro Perri IS Polmo Polpo–it’s his former electronic music pseudonym. This album is his transition from the organic beats of Polmo Polpo to the lush acousticism of the music under his given name. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned how much I like acoustic versions of electronic songs, but here’s a big reason why.
Stereolab – Dots and Loops (Apple Music, Spotify)
Bro, do you even listen to Stereolab? They’re one of those bands who I can see myself getting stuck in, to the point that I just listen to only their albums for several years. They’ve got a range, and their gorgeous experimentalism is unparalleled. They veer from motorik krautrock to french ye-ye pop to weird 22nd century lounge songs, sometimes on just a single song. They’re the best.
ZGTO – A Piece of the Geto (Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp)
A combo made up of techno pro Shigeto and rap group Zelooperz, the raps on this album are as important a rhythmic element as the off the wall beats. It’s not safe for work or kids, but it is safe for bumping loudly in your headphones or your car.