Ryan’s Music Picks 🌴 July 2018

At the beginning of June, one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musician/producers, Richard Swift, passed away. He was involved in a ton of my favorite music and I’ve listened to and written about a lot of his music over the years. The first 8 picks this time around are albums he was involved with.

Yuuki Matthews – Funny Morning (Bandcamp)
A guy who plays in your favorite bands records a near-perfect dream pop song, gets Richard Swift to remix it, then adds two gorgeous, enveloping ambient tracks to even out the LP.

Instruments of Science & Technology – Music for Paradise Armor (Bandcamp)
Fifteen warm instrumental tracks of technological bleeps and boops, clicks and clacks, and hums. Recorded by Richard Swift for Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series.

Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa (Bandcamp)
Synth-heavy, close-harmonizing beach goth from Santa Barbara. Richard Swift collaborated with the band and produced this album, their debut.

Map – Secrets by the Highway (Spotify)
Starts with a solid gold opening track and it remains great the whole sad way through. Richard Swift coproduced and sang and played on this album, but Josh Dooley’s melodic guitar is the star of the show.

⬇️ Jessie Baylin – Pleasure Center EP (Soundcloud)
Nashville singer Jessie Baylin and Richard Swift recorded this little EP straight to four-track cassette and it has a sultry 70s glitzy backroom vibe that I keep coming back to. It looks like there’s nowhere to download this album from the internet anymore, so click here to download.

Marco Benevento – Swift (Bandcamp)
Piano-driven pop with a throwback edge and so much of Richard Swift’s patented basement glitz that the album is named after the collaborator/producer.

Starflyer 59 – Old (Bandcamp)
SF59’s been ahead of their time the entire time they’ve been releasing albums. Richard Swift jumped into the producer seat on this album and added wall of sound/kitchen sink production that would be all the rage about 10 years later.

Richard Swift – The Novelist/Walking Without Effort (Spotify)
Swift’s debut album is really his first two albums. The Novelist is a Tin Pan Alley concept album, and Walking Without Effort is an experiment in pure pop songwriting. They’re all-time classics.

Mike Adams at His Honest Weight – Casino Drone (Bandcamp)
Cavernous midwestern dream pop with an uncommon warmth.

Tanukichan – Sundays (Bandcamp)
Sun-baked, fuzzed-out California dream pop. Intimate and handcrafted less like a purchase from Etsy and more like something a friend made for you.

Pure Bathing Culture – Pray for Rain (Bandcamp)
Pop that’s sunny and dreamy at the same time with huge choruses meant to push you towards a better day.

The Ophelias – Almost (Bandcamp)
Totally chill art rock that’s too punk to be chamber pop but too florid to be straight up punk rock. It’s urgent and straightforward but has intricate instrumentation that takes it to another level.

Balún – Prisma Tropical (Bandcamp)
The perfect dreamy summer album. Made of equal parts warm evenings, cool breezes, fruit-flavored drinks, and sultry glances. One of my favorites of this year.

Thousand Foot Whale Claw – Black Hole Party (Bandcamp)
Noodling space drone at its finest. Proggy and grand while riding a hardcore mellow vibe, yet still danceable when it feels right. (Fans of S U R V I V E & Stranger Things soundtrack, get into this!)

⬇️ Bwana – Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) EP (Download)
A long EP of heavy, brooding tracks amalgamated from samples of the Akira soundtrack (30 years old this year!). Really excellent headphone music for computer work. The album can be downloaded by putting your email address at the link above, or by clicking here.

David García Díaz – RiME (Deluxe Soundtrack) (Bandcamp)
Gentle and suitably epic, this orchestral soundtrack is an excellent companion to the magical mystery of puzzle-solving game RiME.

Nitemoves – Don’t Ask! (Bandcamp)
Electronic music that traverses the continuum between ambient noise and four on the floor dance beats while keeping the listener enthralled and a little haunted.

Capitol K – Goatherder (Bandcamp)
Weirdo beats and paleo dub constructed in a cave out of reeds, and electric bass guitar, and a drum machines.

Dana Buoy – Ice Glitter Gold (Bandcamp)
Future pop aiming for digital maximalism but with too much personality and soul to feel like a sanitized product. Wild and fun.

The Budos Band – The Budos Band III (Bandcamp)
Conspiratorial instrumental jams perfect for your latest caper. Featuring unstoppable horns that register somewhere between mariachi and Fela Kuti. (Shout out to @DoorMatPrice for this excellent recommendation.)

Off World – 2 (Bandcamp)
Sandro Perri and a whole cavalcade of collaborators construct alien music that remains warm and inviting.

Via Vegrandis – II (Bandcamp)
Five songs of dreamy noise pop or noisy dream pop, complete with big choruses, big synths, big vibes, and small moments of perfection.

Lydia Képinski – Premier juin (Bandcamp)
Perfectly-produced pop en français that has an undeniably Montreal feel–melancholy but still with that joie de vivre and experimentalist streak that make things really stick in your head.

⬇️ leon chang – re:treat (Bandcamp)
Gentle tunes ideal for maxing and relaxing, but with precisely-placed oomph to get you to nod your head. Fans of Animal Crossing and other good, friendly things, take note.

Ryan’s Music Picks ☁️ June 2018

June’s Ryan’s Music Picks is a little thin. I took some time off twitter for my own mental health and that bled over into me not posting albums on twitter. On the upside, I made you a Southern California Goth mix!

Ghost – Prequelle (Spotify)
The psuedonymous phenomenon continues to chronicle metal’s history with a collection of heavy sabbath-y tracks and some incredible instrumental interludes featuring tons of synth and saxophone!

Bernie Worrell – Blacktronic Science (Bandcamp)
Unstoppable jams from the Funkadelic keyboardist that range from solid throwback to startlingly fresh for an album from 1993.

Stubbs the Zombie Soundtrack (Spotify)
The fun and rewarding soundtrack of a somewhat-forgotten video game that features 00s indie all-stars (Death Cab, The Raveonnettes, and Cake?!) covering classic 50s and 60s bubblegum hits. Too good to be forgotten.

Neko Case – Hell-On (Bandcamp)
Neko Case is mad, and she brought along some friends to tell us exactly how mad and why and to also remind us all that she’s one of the best songwriters working today.

Long Distance Poison – Knock Magh (Bandcamp)
Post-apocalyptic drone and noise that is less an assault on your ears and more of a companion as you try to make it to the next step in your urban quest.

Glissandro 70 – Glissandro 70 (Bandcamp)
Sandro Perri and Craig Dunsmuir get together and let their musical ids run free, birthing hypnagogic chants and gently constructed acoustic dub. A hidden gem.

Angels of Light – We Are Him (Bandcamp)
Michael Jira from Swans teams up with an early-in-their-career Akron/Family to take goth rock as close to black metal as you can on sheer attitude and shredding alone.

Clara Warnaar – Hollow Siren (Bandcamp)
Four tracks of immersive, human noise that sound like what you’d pick up from a microphone on the outside of a time machine.

Gui Boratto – Pentagram (Bandcamp)
Kaleidoscopic, pastoral acid house that channels a lot of Tears for Fears this time around, especially by adding huge pop-song choruses.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bon Voyage (Bandcamp)
A psychedelic journey that covers 60s ye-ye, 90s shibuya-kei, 00s sampledelia, and twenty-teens nü-gaze on the way to totally transcend genre.

Summerween 2018

A mix for the June/July gloom and the Southern California Beach Goth in all of our hearts. It’s been cloudy every morning since June started, and a lot of the days, the clouds haven’t burnt off. The days have been long and bummers have abounded, so I wanted to make a mix that reflected that gloomy Summer feel as opposed to the windows-down blast of joy that most Summer mixes are. Nothing against windows-down blasts of joy, mind you, it’s just not where my head was at. This mix takes you on a journey, and I hope you find something to like in it.

  1. Balmorhea – Greyish Tapering Ash
  2. Caroline Says – Black Hole
  3. Starflyer 59 – Trucker’s Son
  4. Monsters of Folk – The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me
  5. The Mountain Goats – In Memory of Satan
  6. Dan the Automator – Stroker Ace (Instrumental)
  7. TV on the Radio – Blind
  8. Clams Casino – A Breath Away (Instrumental)
  9. Taken By Trees – Pacific Blue
  10. Chloe x Halle – Warrior (From “A Wrinkle in Time”)
  11. Salt Cathedral – Dirty Me
  12. Arizona – Ghost
  13. The Fatales – Islands of Fortune
  14. Cavern of Anti-Matter – Solarised Sound
  15. Anamanaguchi – The Dark One
  16. Von Südenfed – The Rhinohead
  17. Janet Jackson – The Knowledge
  18. Chip Tanaka – Prizm
  19. Radioactive Man – Bonnet Bee
  20. Simian Mobile Disco – Tangents
  21. Amon Tobin – Bloodstone
  22. Eola – Future Hymns
  23. Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See (.ascension version)

Ryan’s Music Picks 🌴 May 2018

I love finding new music. May sure was another month! Lots of good stuff this time around. This time out, the ⬇ means that the album isn’t on streaming services.

Galactic Empire – Episode II (Spotify)
Even more Star Wars instru-metal, this one covers a lot of the newest movies, along with the Battle of Yavin. #MayThe4BeWithYou

Yonatan Gat – Universalists (Bandcamp)
Is a musician allowed tap into the astral plane, transcend music itself, and then somehow channel that back through a guitar onto tape? Seems unfair, especially if they bring a space arkestra and Ennio Morricone with them.

Fontän – Fontän (Bandcamp)
Driving balearic grooves, coated in magic dust and launched into space by a wizard.

DJ Koze – Knock Knock (Spotify)
It’s gnarly to see that techno has progressed to encompass early 2000s sampledelia and late 2000s chillwave and vaporwave into something that feels more like future pop than the oontz oontz cliche of the 90s.

John Maus – Screen Memories (Bandcamp)
Throwback post-punk synth jams with an icy gothic feel.

Afternoon Freak – The Blind Strut (Bandcamp)
Free jazz jams with bass, drums, and keys that grooves hard like a summer afternoon.

Beach House – 7 (Bandcamp)
Beach House keeps their signature dream pop feel but chooses enhance their songs with space sounds from deep time.

Dustin Wong + Takako Minekawa + Good Willsmith – Exit Future Heart (Bandcamp)
Sublime joy transmuted into sound. Noisy improvisation coalesces into grooves, melodies, and uplifting sounds, and then disperse to reform in new ways. Incredible.

Mechatok – See Thru EP (Soundcloud)
Like dance floor-ready dungeon synth, or PC Music instrumentals for Kendrick.

Yalls – Stuxnetflix (Bandcamp)
An ep of electronic music meant to be listened to while reading terms of service and technical documentation. Synthy and mellow.

MONO – Requiem for Hell (Bandcamp)
Japanese instru-metal that’s epic and emotional and cinematic and gorgeous.

Seekersinternational – RunComeTest EP (Bandcamp)
It’s like boneless dub—with the drums and bass stripped out this music becomes ambience, echoes, noise, and the ghost of rhythm.

Emily R. Sprague – Water Memory (Bandcamp)
Immersive ambient waves of sound to soothe your dry soul.

Nedelle Torrisi – Only For You (Bandcamp)
Effortlessly complex future pop clearly populated with authentic heart and soul. A deep listen.

Micronism – Inside a Quiet Mind (Bandcamp)
Twenty-year-old meditative house that’s still enthralling and chill.

Pacific Coliseum – Ocean City (Bandcamp)
Make your rainy Monday feel like a sunny Saturday with this balearic-as-f instrumental LP.

Young Galaxy – Down Time (Bandcamp)
We might have called this “trip-hop/downtempo” about 15 years ago. It sits comfortably between chill and ethereal but remains beat-driven with just the right amount of haunted vocals.

Johnny Jewel – Themes for Television (Spotify)
More moody atmospheric synthesizers like only Johnny Jewel can do.

CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead (Lnk.to)
Indelible electronic jams to sing along with in the car. Huge and cathartic.

Blue Hawaii – Tenderness (Bandcamp)
Taking the precise balance between pop and experimentalism from late-90s Björk and wedding it with R&B nostalgia. Tons of unexpected jams.

Daedelus – Taut (Bandcamp)
The sampling shapeshifter makes a welcome return with more synths, twisted beats, and actually cool jazz.

Chad Valley – Imaginary Music (Bandcamp)
Robot-tinged pop with big choruses and bigger heart.

Blondes – Warmth (Bandcamp)
Complex, driven, and evolving, this album has the heart of a robot who loves warm hugs and sweaty dancefloors.

Bosque Brown – Little Sea (Bandcamp)
Devastating songs about life and living presented with the gentle warmth of a handmade, careworn blanket.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🌦 April 2018

It’s been one of those months, huh? I took a few weeks off of work and really mellowed out and have had a time getting back into the swing of things. I didn’t tweet an album every single day, but got pretty close. The ⬇ means that the album can be downloaded free. There’s so much good music out in the year of our Lord 2018, I hope you enjoy these picks!

Songs of Green Pheasant – Songs of Green Pheasant (Bandcamp)
Mist-shrouded acoustic songs that gently lead down a psychedelic path.

Daphne & Celeste – Daphne & Celeste Save the World (Spotify)
Produced by Max Tundra, it’s a super future pop album overflowing with charm and sincerity in a way that most of the PC Music stuff isn’t.

In Love with a Ghost – gay story (Bandcamp)
The master of ASMR pop delivers a new set of therapeutic soundscapes and sick beats perfect for maximum chill.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber (Bandcamp)
Lush psychedelic songs that hit so many musical sweet spots for me: synths, shoegaze, dream pop, experimentalism. This is exceptionally good and highly recommended. New album in June!

Det Svarta Landet – Verdant Realm (Compilation) (Bandcamp)
The perfect collection of dungeon synth tracks to bring your campaign to a fulfilling conclusion.

Project Pablo – There’s Always More At The Store (Bandcamp)
Five tracks of laid-back house here to lock into your mind and get you thinking.

Duet for Theramin and Lap Steel – 10 (Bandcamp)
Beautifully enrapturing ambient noise that could just as well be created by cosmic entities or an enchanted forest.

The Fearless Flyers – The Fearless Flyers (Bandcamp)
Fifteen perfect minutes of instrumental funk. Includes a Stevie Wonder AND Disney’s The Little Mermaid cover. No joke, this is perfect sunny day music.

Makeness – Loud Patterns (Bandcamp)
A very dense collection of songs that exists on the continuum between psychedelic rock and acid house, making side trips to shoegaze and krautrock. Killer.

Mouse on Mars – Dimensional People (Bandcamp)
Groundbreaking experimental electronic music that stays danceable. This album has a bunch of big name indie collaborators but doesn’t try to soften the strangeness one bit.

Rival Consoles – Persona (Bandcamp)
Resting somewhere between avant-garde experimentalism and deep house, this album slowly encroaches on your mind and takes it over before you realize what’s happened.

Equip – Synthetic Core 88 (Bandcamp)
In 2018, “soundtrack for an imaginary video game” is an entire genre. Equip’s second release (a collaboration with artist Drew Wise) is a stellar exemplar, designed to give you nostalgia for something that doesn’t exist.

Che – Shuco EP (Bandcamp)
Refreshingly dank laid back vibes like the shade on a hot afternoon. Kinda sounds like making computer pop in your dorm room while someone shreds one room over.

CJ Mirra – Static (Original Surf Soundtracks vol. 1) (Bandcamp)
Epic slow motion noise. (Sounds nothing like The Beach Boys, Dick Dale, or The Ventures.)

P X A – S P A C E S (Bandcamp)
ASMR zen ambience and noise for maximum relaxation. You don’t need scientifically proven albums for sleep when you have this much chill.

Superstar Cruiser – Enceladus (Bandcamp)
Big spacey sounds that seem to be formed from the detritus of crashed airbrush spaceships from the covers of 70s arena rock albums.

Dan Lissvik – Archive 1 (Bandcamp)
Literally one hundred tracks of sketchy Swedish balearic chill from half of legendary duo Studio.

The Word – The Word (Spotify)
Occasionally-transcendent instrumental gospel jazz rock that rises above “background music for a church photo montage” thanks especially to Robert Randolph’s pedal steel guitar.

Space Ghost – Endless Light (Bandcamp)
Super synthy, mega chill interstellar house that still stays grounded.

Ebo Taylor – Yen Ara (Bandcamp)
The Ghanian afro-funk legend returns with a mix of danceable melancholy that runs the gamut between jazz and ska.

Paul White – Rejuvenate (Bandcamp)
The Danny Brown producer makes a mellow sample-free R&B album that leans towards late night grooves and ghostly instrumentals.

Sweet Valley – Eternal Champ II (Bandcamp)
The Williams bros (one of Wavves fame) return to their schitzo-retro mixtape project and bring the bass and the weird noisy samples to make your head nod.

ZHU – Ringo’s Desert, Pt. 1 (Soundcloud)
Seven tracks of killer electronic R&B for fans of darkness, The Weeknd, and slow motion videos of things being destroyed majestically.

Johnnie Frierson – Have You Been Good To Yourself (Bandcamp)
The importance of the Gospel and self-care in trying times, presented in a fifty(it’s not 50, but it’s vintage)-year-old cassette recording of a Stax singer accompanied only by an electric guitar. This is AMAZINGLY GOOD.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🐇 March 2018

We made it through March. There’s a few albums in here that aren’t on Spotify or Apple Music. I’ve added download links if that’s the case and you can’t get ’em from bandcamp. Non-streaming albums are marked with a ⬇

Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo (Bandcamp)
Thai funk-inspired mostly instrumental groove rock from Texas. Addictive to listen to, with an unkillable vibe.

Wall of Death – Loveland (Bandcamp)
Heavy psychedelic rock, like a jangly shoegaze band. Dark and driving music.

Superorganism – Superorganism (Bandcamp)
The millennial/gen z answer to Odelay. The songs have a coherent sound that incorporates Beck, The Tough Alliance, Kanye, Animal Collective into a hazy slime from which earworms emerge. Something for your M.I.N.D. indeed.

Clive Tanaka y su orquestra – Jet Set Siempre 1° (Bandcamp)
Chillwave that actually gets closer to that Daft Punk played on a warped cassette than any other. Also sequenced just like Discovery: Dance on the A side, Romance on the B side.

Dux Content – Lifestyle (Soundcloud, Download)
Built from samples that are immediately recognizable but not identifiable, this whole album is catchy in its own right but it constantly feels like it’s about to be a song you know. Mesmerizing.

U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited (Spotify)
Funky and complex songs that feel handmade, but clearly created by an expert craftswoman who knows exactly how to move you with her music.

2 Mello – Memories of Tokyo-To: An Ode to Jet Set Radio (Bandcamp)
A super fun tribute to one of the most fun video games with one of the best soundtracks ever. If you need more @jetsetradiolive in your life, this is a good start.

Stars of the Lid – Gravitational Pull vs the Desire for an Aquatic Life (Bandcamp)
A stone classic in calming, enveloping ambient noise. Warm and inviting, familiar but still ahead of its time.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid (Bandcamp)
Whimsical and enrapturing psychedelic layers of electronic sounds and voice that brings to mind a more experimental Björk or a more laid-back Fever Ray.

⬇ You c + Foresteppe – Seven Sleepers (Bandcamp)
Gently gorgeous twinkling noise from Siberia, meant to lull you into sleeping for several hundred years.

Groundislava – Groundislava II (Bandcamp)
A “lost record” that’s blippy and woozy like the best vaporwave but a lot more interested in having fun and crafting actual songs than the cliches of the genre typically imply.

Old Tower – Stellary Wisdom (Bandcamp)
“Black metal” with none of the guitar and drums that you’d expect from the “metal” label, but plenty of mood to get you deep into droning darkness.

Teen Daze – Reinterprets Selections From “Mend” by Geotic (Bandcamp)
An ep of remixes that take Geotic’s master relaxer and redeploys it for maximum chill.

Mythless – Patience Hell EP (Bandcamp)
Half of the dudes in band Fang Island take their posi-metal to two simultaneous extremes: it’s both heavier and more ambient while still having that whole unironic sunshine vibe.

Trentemøller – Into The Great Wide Yonder (Bandcamp)
An electronic album that is only 8 years old but sounds totally classic. This thing balances introspective atmospherics and solid jams so solidly.

Prayer – I/II (Bandcamp)
Two epic gospel house tracks that each traverse the ground between meditation and workout with open hearts.

Baloji – 137 Avenue Kaniama (Bandcamp)
Afro-beat influenced rap with plenty of horns kinda like a Congolese Chance & the Social Experiment.

About – Bongo (Spotify)
Glitchy laptop pop-punk from the mid-2000s.

Caroline Says – No Fool Like An Old Fool (Bandcamp)
Hushed guitar-fronted dream pop that travels a careful continuum between lush and stark.

The Seatbelts – Music For Freelance (Youtube, Download)
An album of remixes from the show Cowboy Bebop’s soundtrack, with canonical radio interstitials. Pure turn-of-the-century funk.

Jason Forrest – The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash (Bandcamp)
A very mid-2000s mashup album that’s more Avalanches than Girl Talk but harsher and more intense than either of them.

Gost – Possessor (Bandcamp)
Dank and brutal synthwave with death metal vocals and horrorshow samples.

Orquesta Akokán – Orquesta Akokán (Bandcamp)
Fantastic mambo that instantly washes away conceptions of 50s sitcoms or 90s pop songs through its sheer excellence.

Cavern of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade (Bandcamp)
Driving beeps and boops to get you through a work day.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – Dirt (Bandcamp)
Experimental psychedelic metal that grabs you. Like the music a psychic alien entity would create if trying to reconstruct the birth of heavy metal.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🐾 February 2018

I’m still doing the album a day thing on twitter. Happy Black History Month!

Konono No. 1 – Assume Crash Position (Bandcamp)
Relentlessly buoyant and just this side of cacophony, this is that sunshine and rainbows music that I like to hear.

Rain Machine – Rain Machine (Spotify)
Kyp from TV on the Radio stretches his guitar-playing fingers and, solo, gets intimate and personal but stays good and weird.

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (Spotify)
This 20 year old album is one of the best rap albums ever made. The beats still bang, and the bars are still undeniably killer. A rare album that’s fun, thought-provoking, and keeps your head nodding.

Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment – Surf (Spotify)
Not many albums feature Busta Rhymes and an extended reference to Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way. Chance the Rapper is all over this but it’s Jamila Woods on Sunday Candy that blows this album away.

The Dirtbombs – Ultraglide in Black (Spotify)
One of the most legit of the early 2000s garage rock revival, composed mostly of awesome punked-up Motown covers.

Jamila Woods – HEAVN (Spotify)
Simultaneously art and literature with singalongable choruses and clever wordplay that never holds back or minces words. This is so good and way too slept on.

Black Hat – Impossible World (Bandcamp)
Spacey dreamwave that veers between corrupted ambient spa sounds and clicks and cuts territory.

J. Dilla – Donuts (Bandcamp)
Legendary beats are legendary for a reason: they rule.

Mamman Sani – Taaritt (Bandcamp)
Vintage Nigerian space synth jams like you’d expect to hear at throwback night at a Wakandan club.

Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information 3 (Bandcamp)
The father of Ethio-jazz gets transcendent in his collaboration with a British psychedelic band.

Gallant – Ology (Spotify)
Complex future pop soaked in heart and soul. Dense and rewarding and totally singalongable.

KING – We Are King (Bandcamp)
Smooth af songs that take the 80s/90s R&B blueprint and inject just enough experimental psychedelia to make it fresh without getting too weird.

clipping. – Splendor & Misery (Bandcamp)
Science fiction noise rap that’s introspective and brutal in equal measure (and features broadway star Daveed Diggs)

Shamir – Hope (Soundcloud, FREE DOWNLOAD)
I love it when an artist sets their sights on a new style of music and knocks it out of the park. Shamir gets lofi and noisy but keeps pushing out pop perfection.

Ellul – Ashes (Bandcamp)
Deeply complex, dense electronic songs shot through with feeling.

Kashmere Stage Band – Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974 (Spotify)
Killer funk played with expertise and exuberance by a high school band in Houston. A hidden gem brought out through a crate-digger’s rerelease that was instantly iconic.

Fela Kuti – Best of The Black President (Bandcamp)
A compilation of the foundational afrobeat godfather’s greatest singles.

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly (Bandcamp)
The piano wunderkind gets deeply weird and experimental both lyrically and musically. A rewarding listen.

Sam Cooke – Night Beat (Spotify)
A gorgeous early example of a cohesive R&B album that surpasses anything the Beatles or The Beach Boys were doing at the time.

James Tillman – Silk Noise Reflex (Bandcamp)
Not that J. Tillman, James Tillman makes super smooth quiet soul with plenty of atmosphere. It’s the space yacht rock that Thundercat wishes he could make.

Hailu Mergia – Lala Beylu (Bandcamp)
Accordion-based Ethio-jazz that edges towards free jazz in moments but always sticks with that classic vibe.

Quincy Jones – Big Band Bossa Nova (Spotify)
One of the most influential band leaders and producers in the 20th century expertly imports 60s Brazilian bossa nova and Americanizes it. Of course, now all anyone hears is Austin Powers.

Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Spotify)
It opens with a 9-minute guitar solo and then launches into some of the greatest funk songs ever created by man. Truly an album for the ages.

Sinkane – Life & Livin’ It (Bandcamp)
Can an album be a force for good? There some kind of magic that inhabits this album’s combination of Afrobeat, dance vibes and classic pop.

Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein (Bandcamp)
The OK Computer of rap. Devastating experimental beats and rhymes that sounded like nothing else at the time. Still a masterpiece.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🌜 January 2018

I decided to post a link to an album every day in 2018 on twitter (@ryanruppe). Here’s January:

USF – Pacific Decade (Bandcamp)
Head-nodding electronic atmospherics for a new year.

Deltron 3030 (Bandcamp)
A stone cold classic. The best scifi rap in existence AND if it wasn’t for this album (specifically track 14), the Gorillaz wouldn’t exist.

Jean Jacques Perrey and Luke Vibert – Moog Acid (Bandcamp)
Delightful synthesizer sounds, beeps, boops and beats that straddles the line between retrofuturistic and actually futuristic.

NHK yx Koyxen – Exit Entrance (Bandcamp)
Laid back clicks and beeps like some machines having a intimate coffee date. Great for quiet Saturdays.

Monster Rally – Flowering Jungle (Bandcamp)
Loops and beats branching out from vintage exotica to doo-wop and Motown loops with slowly blooming grooves.

fraNcis. – Y2K: The End Times Mixtape (Bandcamp)
One of my favorite artists from http://mp3.com in the late 90s, also formerly half of Viva Voce. Tons of solid groove that soundtracked my high school and early college.

Balmorhea – Clear Language (Bandcamp)
Pastoral and dense, with relentless feeling. Great soundtrack to your favorite fantasy novel.

H. Takahashi – Raum (Bandcamp)
Gentle sounds to absorb and envelop. Perfect auditory therapy after one of those days.

Rostam – Half-Light (Bandcamp)
My favorite member of Vampire Weekend strikes out on his own and makes what might be the best album to come out in 2017.

Louis & Bebe Barron – Forbidden Planet Soundtrack (Spotify)
A groundbreaking recording of early experimental electronic music, it was credited as “electronic tonalities” in the film. Still mind blowing and fresh sounding now.

The Como Mamas – Move Upstairs (Bandcamp)
Roaring gospel tunes that crackle with live energy. Hard to believe they make stuff like this anymore.

Elder – Dead Roots Stirring (Bandcamp)
Chunky riff metal, like if Zepp did only 10-minute sludgy grooves.

Algiers – The Underside of Power (Spotify)
Dangerously passionate southern gothic post-punk with the right amount of soul for this dystopia we live in.

Adrian Utley’s Guitar Orchestra – In C (Spotify)
A dude from Portishead and some guitar and organ friends play Terry Riley’s legendary minimal composition with an electric drone and an edge of menace.

Surfer Blood – Snowdonia (Bandcamp)
Classic power pop sound with layers and depth and feels.

Software – Digital-Dance (Bandcamp)
Proto-vaporwave with saxophone, synth guitar and gated drums like everyone wants to do now, but from contemporaries of Tangerine Dream. Actual rockin’ spa music.

The Go! Team – Semicircle (Bandcamp)
The champs return with another one for the ages. Stomp out your winter doldrums with sousaphones, youth choirs, and block-rocking bears.

Celadon City – Somehow We Will Get Through This (Bandcamp)
Emotional/pastoral electronic music for hard days and good days.

Roberto Carlos Lange – Cutups (Bandcamp)
The mastermind behind Helado Negro makes aleatoric drones and pulsing oceans of sound to immerse yourself in.

Greta Van Fleet – From the Fires (Bandcamp)
Throwback 70s-style metal but with 2018 production. Zeppelin dads take note.

Von Südenfed – Tromatic Reflexxions (Spotify)
Mark E. Smith (RIP) and the dudes from Mouse on Mars have a go at that mid-2000s indie-dance sound from LCD Soundsystem et al by having MES toast over motorik beats.

Canada Effervescent- Ridin’ America (Bandcamp)
Clear, crisp synthesized sound, blastin’ across the plains with the warm hum of an ambient embrace.

Club 8 – Golden Island (Link)
Swedish quiet pop kings Club 8 get dark and mystical.

Electric Wizard – Time To Die (Bandcamp)
Slow, heavy, dark metal. The perfect soundtrack for underground lizardman battles in Dungeons & Dragons.

Pastel Ghost – Abyss (Bandcamp)
Spectral synthwave that’s balanced between outrun and dreampop.

Greg Jamie – Crazy Time (Bandcamp)
Dark and haunted songs that crawled out of a forbidden wood to tell of happenings outside of the material plane.

Philip Glenn – Outsider (Bandcamp)
Homegrown Southern California bluegrass that makes you feel like you’re there in the room as they play.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🎄 Christmas 2017 Edition

It’s been a while. I have long playlists for September, October, November, and December. I’ll put them up one day.

Anyway, I am compelled to share new Christmas albums I’ve found this year. Only a couple of them are on the streaming services, so no playlists this time.

Jherek Bischoff – Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Walk with Me (Bandcamp only)
Six classic Christmas songs done in the style of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack. Instrumental, complete with saxaphone. Surprisingly perfect.

Said Fantasy – Carols Gloria (Bandcamp only)
Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric turns four sparse instrumental synthesized carols and one original song that’s up there with some of his most classic tracks.

Excelsis vol. 1: A Dark Noel (Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify)
A slow, dark, gothy Christmas album from 1995; it’s perfect for those long dark nights around the solstice.

The Eagle & Child – O Christmas vol. II (Apple Music, Spotify)
A quieter release than last years’, this collection of hymns is still joyous and full of heart and hopes for the season.

Ryan’s Music Picks ☔️ 31 August 2017

 

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.