Sounds like: The follow-up to the U.K. producer/singer’s debut is a sad and thoughtful new batch that brilliantly fuses soul, R&B, hip-hop and dance beats.
Free association: Amazing that he got RZA; these two together’s a revelation.
For fans of: Jamie Woon x Radiohead + Burial, Joni/Feist, neo-soul x London.
British Sea Power
Machineries of Joy
Sounds like: The self-mytholgizing indie Brit rock titans whip up their sixth LP, a batch inspired by Ray Bradbury, and it’s eerie, haunting and pretty.
Free association: Why, yes, we do like rock music—yours specifically/especially.
For fans of: Arcade Fire/Interpol/The Libertines, Joy Division, smart rockers.
Shaking the Habitual
Sounds like: Didn’t see this coming: 100 minutes of weirdo noise, as the Swedish siblings Dreijer’s fourth messes with us hard. No pop hits or dance dirges here.
Free association: This is kind of a challenging listen, with a few moments of euphoria.
For fans of: Fever Ray/Aphex Twin, Bjork x Austra + Death Grips, Scandinavian darkness.
(Young Money/Cash Money/Republic)
Sounds like: Another hilariously over-the-top, sex-obsessed and feature-littered affair, his third, and it doesn’t have a “Rack City” on it; basic blunted misogyny.
Free association: One reviewer: more “Ramada Inn than Four Seasons.” Ouch!
For fans of: Rick Ross/Lil Wayne/2 Chainz/Wiz/Chris Brown/Nicki, lady privates.
Iron & Wine
Ghost on Ghost
Sounds like: South Carolinian and art/music academic Sam Beam dazzles on his sixth, his fullest (mad instruments) and yet somehow most nuanced to date.
Free association: More than 10 years after his Sub Pop debut, the journey he’s on is awesome.
For fans of: Paul Simon/Will Oldham x Elliot Smith, saxes, choirs, sunsets/bare feet.
PW's Music Issue 2014