19/30 rock

and so i watch you from afar – jettison

‘Jettison’ is an agreeable album that doesn’t quite seize the grandeur its instrumentation holds out for. It comprises an enjoyable, lengthy experience without offering a goody bag of thoughts to take home. There are certainly strengths: the spoken word feature is not overused and sits coolly in the background, never trespassing in the network of […]

25/30 album of the week funk pop

rokia koné, jacknife lee – BAMANAN

The debut album from Les Amazones D’Afriques singer and the “Rose of Bamako,” Rokia Koné, is a high-altitude rush through blistering beats and monumental singing. Despite ‘BAMANAN’’s lofty heights, the record never feels breathless or floundering: it is a testament to the musical stamina of the players and arrangers that such an intensity aligns with […]

22/30 indie/alternative rock

red pants – when we were dancing

Red Pants’ second LP lies, sonically, somewhere between early My Bloody Valentine and an undiscovered psychedelic gem from ‘67. The mixing is altogether rusty, but endearing and deliberate; the vocals, meanwhile, coast through with an effective grunge-y sway. ‘When We Were Dancing’ exudes the crude charm of a local band starting out, landing with intimacy […]

28/30 revisited review singer-songwriter

mount eerie – a crow looked at me (2017)

On this excruciating LP, Phil Elverum narrated his grief following the death of his wife months previous. The act was not unlike ushering a live theatre audience in front of an ongoing tragedy. Elverum’s writing is almost wholly empirical, while the acoustics maintain simple and innocent motions, occasionally sounding unaware of what they are accompanying. […]

25/30 jazz reissue revisited review

tsuyoshi yamamoto trio – blues to east (1977)

Some people hate jazz. Something in the supposed tangle of instruments tells their ears to stave off the genre in its entirety. ‘Blues to East’ appears to answer that (bullshit) criticism, smoothing its edges and clinically arranging the instruments while not losing a shred of groove, or jazz fundamentals. Certainly, jazz cannot all be so […]

24/30 folk psychedelic reissue

mashabe band – mandela

Mashabe Band made a habit of paying tribute to the inspiring figures who surrounded them. ‘Mandela’, named after the then-imprisoned Nelson, is a mesmeric trip through psychedelic strings and bellowed vocals typical of the kalindula music style. The genre itself was a groovy evolution of the Zamrock era which had given groups like WITCH such […]

27/30 album of the week folk rock

big thief – dragon new warm mountain i believe in you

On their most substantial project to date, Big Thief boomerang with experimentation, never once flying off. Every sound on this record is contained, but not repressed; expressed, not exhausted. Delicate, take-away philosophies condensate atop the music and it quickly becomes a deeply involving listen, asking politely to be heard and heard well. With eccentric, bruised […]

23/30 electronic EP idm

malakai – breathing room

Malakai’s first release since 2020’s ‘Axiome’ sees the producer in a strong rhythmic form. There is a purpose and direction to the intricate instrumental anatomy on display, as its creator rests classic elements of IDM on a hammock of heavy dub. ‘Breathing Room’ is meticulous and ambitious, but not extraordinary in its palette—the satisfaction comes […]

15/30 ambient electronic synth techno

benoit b – kismet

‘Kismet’ is the follow-up to 2020’s glossy Notes of Love EP. It renews the project’s supernatural cult TV show impression, but operates at a lighter tempo. Benoit B is capable of producing tremendously lush sounds—much less capable, it seems, at herding them in gratifying ways across an LP. Much of ‘Kismet’ could be a soundtrack, […]