Beast "Ens (Thrill Jockey)"
Koen Holtkamp. You know him from his main gig as a member of Mountains, and also his many solo recordings. This time out he is going by Beast, and Ens (Thrill Jockey), ads another layer to the man’s mysterious productivity. Recorded mostly at night while anticipating the birth of his first child-and then after the long days of new fatherhood-the whole thing is giddy and meticulous. Borrowing something from krautrock, modern ambient music, ‘80s film scores, and his own wandering mind, this is a deeply fun album. Melodic and bouncy, hopeful. Check out the first single “Paprika Shorts.”
Masta Ace & Marco Polo "A Breukelen Story"
How good is the new album from Masta Acce & Marco Polo? Well, Vibe Magazine calls it “55 minutes of pure Brooklyn joints.” What “To The 5 Boroughs” did to all of NY, A Breukelen Story (Fat Beats) does to Brooklyn. Touching on love, being black in America, gentrification, fear, and everything in-between all the while paying homage to all of the rap greats that hail from BK. Guests galore, beats a-plenty, and masterful rhymes from Masta Ace and a slew of talented guests like Pharoahe Monch and… well… that’s not fair to other guests to list them AFTER Pharoahe Monch, that dude is so great. So is “American Me,” so check it out!
Chris Garneau "Yours"
“Chris Garneau has always pursued his own strange sonic path, drawing on a diverse array of influences to create an otherworldly, haunting and distinct lane in the singer-songwriter universe.” Thanks Billboard! You’ve made my job here pretty easy, because I’m not sure that Chris’ ovure has ever been described more succinctly or poetically. Thankfully, Yours, his latest release, continues in this grand tradition. Like a lot of us, Yours finds Chris fed up with the state of things, but the results are far more beautiful than an angry twitter feed. Songs build and crescendo, at times gentle-at other times epic. Case in point is the single “Torpedo.”
Grapetooth "Grapetooth (Polyvinyl)"
The name of the band Grapetooth was originally bestowed as a nickname upon Clay Frankel (Twin Peaks) after a night of drinking a LOT of wine. Makes sense. I had the same nickname when I was little, but it was because of my affection for grape Kool-Aid and other artificial grape flavored candies. Not exactly the same, but then again this would be a much different blurb if I talked about all the wine I drank as a little kid. Also, Frankel, along with his partner here Chris Bailoni, formed the band over a mutual admiration of ‘80s Japanese new wave and Arthur Russell-neither of which I was cool enough to be into as a kid (Chuck Berry and Car 54 Where Are You? were my jams! Who wants to be in THAT band? Lemme know). This album is full of new wave-y synths and smooth grooves, with totally different vocal vibes for each jam. Grapetooth (Polyvinyl) is bound to stain your chompers too. So take a big bite out of the lead off track, “Violent.”