!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Sounds like: They’re back!!! If you thought they’d lost steam, maybe they did, but it’s returned—and their characteristic funk is danker and tighter than ever.
Free association: Slick production = a headphone masterpiece and party starter.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem x old-school Stones, the Rapture/Hot Chip, parties.
New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light
Sounds like: The seasoned woodwinds master delivers outstandingly out-there avant jazz and freak funk with Justin Vernon vocals and tripped-out noise.
Free association: The bits of bizarre clear out when the sax funk rumbles through.
For fans of: Miles/Coltrane x Brian Eno, Josh Redman + Transmission, jazz noise.
If You Leave
Sounds like: The gloomy debut of 4AD Brits who began with Elena Tonra, a woman with a stunning voice and devastating lyrics full of dark drama and ethereality.
Free association: Definitely couldn’t handle this all day unless it was January.
For fans of: These New Puritans/Cat Power x the XX, Bat for Lashes, doom and gloom.
Sounds like: Another excellent batch from Argentinean/Swede Jose Gonzalez’s project, and this collection’s got a louder, slightly chaotic rock feel to it.
Free association: Dude can do no wrong. It would’ve been impossible for this to suck.
For fans of: Kings of Convenience/Beirut x Galaxie 500, Lil Pocket Knife, Scandanavian funk.
Praxis Makes Perfect
Sounds like: Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s sophomore is another smash concept LP, this one about a communist Italian publisher.
Free association: Some super-solid, playfully weird electronic sonic storytelling.
For fans of: Handsome Boy Modeling School + Gorillaz x the Drive soundtrack.
Sounds like: The dixie chick’s collection of covers, from Jeff Buckley to Eddie Vedder to the title track’s Roger Waters; it’s a stunning set of vocal achievements.
Free association: Always loved her; hopefully, this is the start of a solid solo career.
For fans of: Brandi Carlile with Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams, liberal country girls.