Sneaks "Highway Hypnosis (Merge)"
Eva Moolchan aka Sneaks has been dazzling us with her singular hip-hop/post-punk sound for a few years now. It turns out that as talented as she is is also as prolific as she is (I apologize for that “is” heavy, super clunky sentence). At her current rate, she’s releasing one album a year, and I couldn’t be happier about it. No other artist is making music the way she is. She has really expanded her sound from her original releases to include pop music, ‘90s grunge, dub, R&B, and everything else you can think of, yet it all comes out the other end sounding just like Sneaks. Check out the vibey, late night “Money Don’t Grow On Trees.”
Tim Presley's White Fence "I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (Drag City)"
If you aren’t already a massive White Fence fan, then I don’t know that there’s much I can do to change your mind. Seeing as I’ve been a huge fan of his pastoral psychedelic sounds for years now, news of I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (Drag City) was greeted by a grin on my face bigger than the one on Larry’s hawk when Tim stopped by Larry’s house with a shoebox filled with mice. A little like early Pink Floyd (heavy on the Syd), a bit like The Kinks, but mostly Tim Presley. Check out the disarming “Lorelei.”
William Tyler "Goes West (Merge)"
William Tyler’s new LP Goes West (Merge) is the opposite of Dylan going electric, and is just as illuminating. It’s not like William NEVER plays acoustic guitar on his albums or anything–his 2008 record Desert Canyon is mostly solo acoustic. But if you only know him from his widely heralded 2016 album Modern Country, then this record might come as a bit of a shock. But it’s not like there isn’t ANY electric guitar on the album, it’s just that he isn’t playing it. Who is? Oh, just Meg Duffy. Bill Frisell. NBD. A much more spacious album than his last, it would appear the “west” he has gone to in the album title is desert-heavy and wide open. As H.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger writes “it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips.” Check out the mesmerizing “Fail Safe.”
Black To Comm "Seven Horses For Seven Kings (Thrill Jockey)"
For a certain kind of music fan… ok, fine. ME! For a certain kind of me, Seven Horses For Seven Kings, the album from sound artist Marc Richter’s solo project Back To Comm is exactly the kind of thing I want to listen to all day. Instrumental, creepy, dark, tension-filled. If ambient music is something that you put on to fall peacefully asleep to, then this album is the one you put on to have nightmares to (look, I didn’t say I was a well-adjusted music fan, I’m just being honest here.) Whatever the opposite of New Age music is, this is that. It’s like if Lou Reed asked Brian Eno over to help him make Metal Machine Music (release day purchase if it existed, right?). Check out the unsettled “Lethe.”