2018: Second Quarter Favorites 26 incredible music releases from the last three months

For each year's first three quarters, we celebrate by sharing a list of our favorite music releases. Unlike our year-end lists, these quarter features are casually compiled, with an aim to spotlight the underdogs and the lesser-heard among the more popular picks. More from this series


Klein

cc

[Self-Released]

[LISTEN · READ]

“Oh my god! Who’s actually going to listen to this?” asks Klein, lounging with friends, reflecting on her last EP, Tommy and a still-emerging network of diasporic black art and sound. A year and new EP later, cc sees Klein more comfortable in the discomfort, pushing further with her collages of confrontational intimacy. “You have to squint” as the voices build and spiral, like an endless loop of out-of-office replies, a pitch-bent dawn chorus, singing to each other, but listening too. Klein made us think: about blackness, about opacity, about femininity and Disney princesses, all at once. Feelings too, and a lack of language to convey them; anxiety, elation, mania, but less medical, sometimes an incantation, sometimes an exorcism. In cc, Klein created a space of unique and disarming affect and mood: a deeper, darker stage in the process of “me being my own therapist,” the sound of someone finding a plurality of voices, of listening to yourself.


Beach House

7

[Sub Pop]

[WATCH · READ]

Attempting to describe what dreams are seems like a task both impossible and pretentious. But, as it floats like a wandering mind, drifting from thought to thought with each track, 7 certainly feels like a dream. Alex Scally plays guitar, but it sounds like an unfamiliar squall from another universe. Victoria Legrand sings, but it comes out in French. Look at the clock, you’ll be unable to tell how much time has passed. You know, dream stuff. For a genre that gets its name from something as complex as the random images our brains send to us while we sleep, “dream pop” music can often be very formulaic. That’s why, seven albums into their career, it’s remarkable that Beach House have found a way to not only completely refresh their sound, but make perhaps their best album yet. Awash in a chaotic darkness that’s been lingering in different forms throughout their entire discography, 7 hurtles towards oblivion: beautiful, glorious, infinite.


Eartheater

Irisiri

[PAN]

[WATCH · LISTEN · READ]

I keep losing track of Irisiri; it keeps slipping away from me. This isn’t meant as the insult it might scan as. An elegiac spin on the cyber-cyborg-meat-machine kick that everything relevant is twirling toward, this series of sad little processed ditties and twisted car jams charts a swerve back-and-forth between evasiveness and directness. Its unnerving stuff, giving the impression of solidity while remaining impossible to hold. Flirting with hip-hop and electro-acoustic, bedroom pop and sexed-up sopping wet plastic, it keeps moving out of view, even as I keep returning to it. Listening to the album is like chasing an object out of reach, an object I desire without knowning, a body I want without seeing. Also, C.L.I.T. fucking slaps.


THE HIRS COLLECTIVE

FRIENDS. LOVERS. FAVORITES.

[SRA/Get Better]

[LISTEN · READ]

For a few decades now, raw musical aggression has been underpinned with a lot of unintelligible vocal sentiment. Just steam on in with howling, power riffs and punishing beats please. But what’s that on the edge of the blast radius, dashing in headlong through the smoke? Clear sentiments that uplift, testify, and provide some sharp kicks in heteronormativity’s floppy old dick? Yes please! Even with its closing remix section, the album’s corroded (and collaborative) essence remains triumphantly tight. The perfect way Lilium Kobayashi’s quick stomping techno pop take on “Murdered by a Woman” flits to “Wake Up Tomorrow” when this album is on repeat further dispels any sort of tacked-on/bonus trax superfluousness. The cultural constant of immediate, frothing punk rage is obviously not going anywhere. It’s essential to have an album, in fuck-this-shit 2018, where that rage is specifically righteous, even with its eternally itinerant self-laceration (i.e., humanity).


Delroy Edwards

Rio Grande

[L.A. Club Resource]

[LISTEN · READ]

Delroy Edwards has made the funk (in its many different strains) the connective tissue of his intrepid, joyful, and often perplexing work. It’s an approach never as explicit as in his latest LP, Rio Grande. That might indeed be its greatest success. In Rio Grande, keeping the raw, hissy, determinedly idiosyncratic credentials that first introduced him to the world, Edwards lets the funk take center stage; sometimes riding grimy techno beats, other times pushing beyond the ridiculous-by-design minimalism of the grooves. The goal is simple: to provide his audience with interesting jams to dance to. Edwards takes pride in the anonymous efficiency of that pretense, as the name of his label L.A. Club Resource indicates. He is happy to be the reliable supplier of a service, the invisible demiurge leading patrons to delirium; slipping in some eccentric turns here and there for the kick of it, to the enjoyment of all but mostly because… why the hell not?. And, let there be no doubt, Rio Grande is the most effective toolkit he has yet assembled in pursuit of that goal.

For each year's first three quarters, we celebrate by sharing a list of our favorite music releases. Unlike our year-end lists, these quarter features are casually compiled, with an aim to spotlight the underdogs and the lesser-heard among the more popular picks. More from this series


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