Ryan’s Music Picks 🎄Christmas 2018

Hey there. Thanks for subscribing. I love Christmas music, and it’s all I listen between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll have a favorites of 2018 list at some point in January.

⬇️ Joyful Noise Records – Holiday Party, Vol. 2 (Bandcamp)
A nicely out-there compilation of Christmas classics. Some indelible performances on here and at least one track that will haunt you in the dark.

⬇️ Joyful Noise Records – Holiday Party, Vol. 1 (Bandcamp)
Just as charming as Volume 2, but weirder. Includes a great Curtis Mayfield cover!

Jherek Bischoff – Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Walk with Me (Bandcamp)
Six Christmas classics, that get as close as possible to Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score without losing their spooky seasonal spirit.

Delicate Steve – The Christmas Album (Bandcamp)
Delicate Steve takes your traditional festive songs and gives them the “Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny” vibe combined with his perfectly lyrical guitar playing. Ends with a psych jam and 15-minute noise rock freakout.

⬇️ Said Fantasy – Chorus Noel EP (Bandcamp)
A wonderfully wistful original track followed by four switched-on seasonal favorites. Synthesizer carols played by a master.

xmas movie soundtrack (Bandcamp)
One of my favorite Christmas traditions, this album of 5 original tracks all have that unmistakable feel of the holiday but are each wholly original. I 💖 this album so much.

The Rosebuds – Christmas Tree Island (Bandcamp)
A brand new classic–13 original songs that perfectly evoke the songwriting and instrumentation that tell your heart that it’s Christmastime. AND it has a song called Christmas Clown!

John Legend – A Legendary Christmas (Spotify)
Mr. Legend lives up to his name by releasing an album that seems perfectly constructed to become a standard of the season.

Aloe Blacc – Christmas Funk (Spotify)
Channeling Parliament/Funkadelic into a good mix of holiday originals and classics is a hell of a risk, but it pays off nicely on this album. Check out the rad reinterpretation of All I Want For Christmas Is You!

⬇️⬇️ The 8bits of Christmas (Download, archive.org, direct link)
A 15-year old compilation of chiptune carols, created directly on consoles. Foundational and still great.

Ryan’s Music Picks 🎛 November 2018

Here’s some new stuff. A lot of it is pretty mellow. Expect a Christmassy one of these soon.

Also, I started a new podcast where my friend Alan and I talk about comics. Check it out at youshouldreadthis.club

Lullatone – Thinking about Thursdays (Bandcamp)
Fifty-two charming soundtracks of tiny moments.

Shinichi Atobe – Heat (Spotify)
Driving, squelchy beats dusted with ethereal noise. Perfect listening when working on The Cyber.

Soda Plains – Reconcile (Bandcamp)
Twenty-four minutes of killer dystopian instrumental future bass.

Anthony Naples – Take Me With You (Bandcamp)
An album of instrumental electronic grooves that’s both warm and chill simultaneously. A salve in a hectic season.

[The User] – Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers #2 (Spotify)
It’s literally recordings of a dot matrix printer that’s printing the titles of the songs. Hits on 3 levels: nostalgia factor, weird glitch, and technological ASMR.

Moon Racer – Is It Really a Secret? (Bandcamp)
Fuzzy, intimate homemade sad songs that sparkle like nobody’s business. Enrapturing.

Beta Librae – Subspecies (Bandcamp)
Squelchy hypnotic beats that traverse a transdimensional line between dub and drum-n-bass.

Mondo Lava – Ogre Heights (Bandcamp)
The soundtrack for a post-apocalyptic tiki bar on the moon.

Ghost Cop – One Weird Trick (Bandcamp)
Dark vaporwave pop that’s rooted in 80s cop movie soundtracks.

Africa – Songs from “Lil Brown” (Spotify)
Forgotten psychedelic grooves from 1960s doo-wop musicians in 60s LA. Totally killer.

Ryan’s Music Picks 💨 September 2018

It’s been a long but fast month for me. I traveled for fun and for work, and felt busy and slightly overwhelmed for most of the month. (That’s not even taking into consideration news and world events.) I don’t know if it was just an emotional month for me or if this crop of albums is especially good, but a number of the albums in this list are likely end of on the list of my favorites this year.

The September Equation – Frail Formations (Bandcamp)
Warm analogue glitch soundscapes. Pastoral and inviting with intricate details like a thriving synthesized forest.

Menace Beach – Black Rainbow Sound (Bandcamp)
Bratty post-punk swirling with synthesizers and motorik beats that would be all transcendent and stuff if it wasn’t too busy just having fun.

Dustin Wong – Fluid World Building 101 with Shaman Bambu (Bandcamp)
N-dimensional sonic structures spoken into being by enchanted electric guitar. A delight to explore and inhabit.

Tuluum Shimmering – Dark Star (Bandcamp)
Organic drone that feels birthed directly from jammy 70s folk rock. Fully transportive and immersive. (Not on Spotify)

Cryptacize – Mythomania (Spotify)
Breezily experimental rock equally indebted to Les Paul (and his Les Paulverizer) and Koji Kendo’s Legend of Zelda soundtrack with flat out gorgeous vocals from Nedelle Torrisi.

Indian Wells – Where the World Ends (Bandcamp)
If you could construct dance music out of flowers in some sort of Inception/Doctor Strange folding dimension, you’d get close to what this sounds like.

Casino Versus Japan – Suicide by Sun (Bandcamp)
Immersive soundscape blankets that you can wrap yourself in. There’s an invigorating hint of guitar here too, so you might find yourself simultaneously relaxed and stoked.

Richard Swift – The Hex (Bandcamp)
Finished weeks before his passing this year, The Hex really cements together Swift’s songwriting prowess with some of his more out-there production while being more honestly sad than I’ve ever heard him.

Crooked Man – Crooked Man (Bandcamp)
Throwback grooves that hint at carefully-tapped pop sensibilities while deploying bass precisely to get your butt moving.

Sandro Perri – In Another Life (Bandcamp)
Two sides of an LP or a cassette as two single songs, written and played buy a dude who is king of sonic texture and no slouch when it comes to writing perfect songs. Low-key but masterful.

Advance Base – Animal Companionship (Bandcamp)
Owen Ashworth excels at writing songs that trade in the mundane joys and sadness of real life, with hints towards transcendence. His dreampop production here definitely helps the astral planes come out.

Tim Hecker – Konoyo (Bandcamp)
If you play this loud enough, the whole world fades away.

Mountain Man – Magic Ship (Bandcamp)
The sonic equivalent of a rustic mountaintop retreat amongst the elves. Stark, yet warm and inviting.

Danielson – Snap Outtavit EP (Bandcamp)
A slab of kick-in-the-butt songs that get right to your heart from the chaotic good force of nature that is Daniel Smith.

It’s October now, so keep an eye out for a bonus spooky playlist from me!

Ryan’s Music Picks 🔥 August 2018

Looks like you made it through August. Nice.

Dntel – Hate In My Heart (Bandcamp)
A tape of bleeps and bloops, wooshes and swoops for your hazy late afternoon enjoyment.

JFDR – Brazil (Bandcamp)
Enchanting and haunting like the ghost of a siren. Gorgeous and exquisitely produced.

You Drive – You Drive (Bandcamp)
Makeup & Vanity Set backs up singer Jasmin Kaset and takes synthwave to the next level: actual songs, with killer choruses.

Omma – Teplo (Bandcamp)
Gently balearic dream pop with a good helping of both bass and whimsy. Put this on, look at a gif of a palm tree swaying in the breeze, and make your day better.

Odd Nosdam – Burner (Bandcamp)
A noisy and emotional sound collage album that gets impressively transcendent more than a few times.

Steve Hauschildt – Dissolvi (Bandcamp)
An album that takes the vibe of the legendary 90s Pure Moods compilation and updates it with a dark edge, Julianna Barwick, and a 2018 feel.

Anaphylaxis – One Million Tomorrows (Bandcamp)
A beautiful illustration of how close the borders are between psychedelic jams, blackened doom metal, and crushing noise. It’s a beautiful place in the underdark.

Aretha Franklin – Live at Fillmore West (Spotify)
The woman, the myth, the legend. Live in 1971 and on fire.

Hilary Woods – Colt (Bandcamp)
Heavy and goth-dark, this drifts towards Twin Peaks but avoids nostalgia in favor of confidence.

X George & Jonathan – III (Bandcamp)
Smooth Sega Genesis jams perfect for neon nights and summer beach days. (This is on Spotify but not Apple Music)

Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Bandcamp)
Dense, intricate verses flow impeccably over beats bordering on experimental. Chock full of a whole bunch of low-key jams that engage heart, mind, and body.

Optiganally Yours – O.Y. In Hi-Fi (Bandcamp)
A slab of charming pop with surprisingly layered production.

Lineland – Logos for Love (Bandcamp)
Complex electro-acoustic instrumental tracks equally adept at deepening your chill or motivating you to get stuff done.

Joey Dosik – Inside Voice (Bandcamp)
A nice young man with a golden voice singing smooth, catchy soul with lush, classic production. Some good easy livin’ music for a Monday morning.

Switched on SNES – The Lost Levels Vol. 1 (Bandcamp)
An album of gorgeous instrumental synthesizer tracks inspired by 16-bit Super Nintendo soundtracks. Warm and friendly and super chill.

Demon Queen – Exorcise Tape (Bandcamp)
Grimy synth funk that’s both sonically and lyrically dirty. Funky as hell though.

Renick Bell – Turning Points (Bandcamp)
Music for hacking, made by robots. This is algorave, music created by writing code live on stage which generates music and I, for one, welcome our new robotic music overlords.

Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace (Spotify)
Don’t forget that besides being a world-changing soul/R&B/pop/Motown singer, Aretha absolutely tore the roof off when singing to The Almighty. Makes “modern worship” seem like whispering.

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.

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.