So far, this summer has had some pretty fantastic, big name releases (some more debatable in quality than others). Obviously some projects bombed (ahem, Arcade Fire), but all-in-all this summer's music was nothing to complain about. Whether you're still stuck on Vince Staples, SZA, Lorde, Tyler, or even officially addicted to DAMN., here are seven albums from this summer that you might've overlooked.
1. Soft Sounds from Another Planet - Japanese Breakfast
The sophomore album from Japanese Breakfast (the solo project founded by Michelle Zauner) is super atmospheric. For me, what consistently kicks ass on this record is the bass, which echoes a number of projects and functions as a more relaxed version of Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights. This album circles an aura of dance, post-punk, and indie rock, perhaps most vivid on the title track and "Road Head".
2. Why Love Now - Pissed Jeans
I can understand why Pissed Jeans may not be your cup of tea, but they're absolutely worth giving a swing. Gloriously heavy instrumentals and throat slicing vocals dominate the album, but don't forget to cash in on some groove changes such as the switch on "The Bar Is Low", a banger that sounds straight from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 soundtrack.
3. Shadow Expert EP - Palm
Palm's latest work is one of the best albums this year. In its brief sub 20 minute length, the EP flows from song to song with ease. It feels a bit like race at first, varying in tempo and rhythmic phrases, but consonant moments like the outro to "Two Toes" prove that Palm mix genres together and can concoct an exceptional music recipe.
4. Eucalyptus - Avey Tare
Think of the soft and gorgeous tracks from AC's Sung Tongs but with less hallucinogens. It's a sneaky perfect summer album, not for ripping the 6-speed Wrangler towards the beach but a soundtrack for a little R&R on the hammock.
5. Infinity Ultra - Claude Speeed
Claude Speeed's latest project that is Infinity Ultra is a very tasteful cake of computer and electronic music. Every piece has at least a couple qualities to write home about, but each moment manages to excel in emotion. Every track is dramatic. "Windows 95" erupts in a violent melody after a couple minutes of medium noise. "Fifth Fortress" plops different time signatures on top of each other as a heavy bass takes the melody. It might be a challenge to complete front-to-back, but at least give those two tracks a shot before putting it down.
6. GT Ultra - Guerilla Toss
Guerilla Toss hit, if not a home run, at least an RBI double on this one. It's a dance record from James Murphy's DFA Records, but it is just as noisy as it is bobbing. The chorus from the opener "Betty Dreams of Green Men" clocks in a with a subtle funky time signature as does "The String Game", the song that defines the album by displaying dance rhythms, noise vocals/instrumentals, and a 7/8 time signature.
7. The Album - SW.
The Album is a, uh, album topped with excellent instrumentals awaiting DJs and remixes across the world. Sure, it might come off as a little bland, but if it doesn't serve as a getting-dirty-on-the-dance-floor playlist then it will definitely function as a score for "getting work done". For a test drive of the record, put on "Untitled C1".
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