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


The Caretaker

Everywhere at the end of time - Stage 4

[History Always Favours The Winners]

[LISTEN · READ]

The late hauntologist Mark Fisher once cruelly noted that the OED lists one of the earliest meanings of the word “haunt” as “to provide with a home, house.” And now that we live in a world that has lost the very possibility of loss, we have also lost the one who can lose, cohabiting with oneself in the present’s presence. Ghosts no longer have a home to haunt in any case, and their yearning and lingering voices are consigned to a past that can never pass away. Although it is haunting and horrifying to behold Everywhere at the end of time’s fourth installment pass from memories to their source — what Kirby calls “the post-awareness stage” — perhaps we must be grateful that someone can forget (for (us)). For, the source of memory must remain, even after all memory has been stripped away from it, even though this source can never be aware of itself. Yet, this source is not, strictly speaking, an identity. What it may be I do not know, but The Caretaker allows you to hear, what, behind those eyes, devoid of any recognition of life; we hope, we plead to be someone who remembers us, yet the only bliss, as transient as it is empty, is the wry smile that, for an instant, says, “Do not save me.”


Lucrecia Dalt

Anticlines

[RVNG Intl.]

[WATCH · READ]

OK, Hoag. You wake up in 1925, in a different place but with the same objects. Lucrecia Dalt’s Anticlines is playing on the victrola. She sings, “Skinless others/ Oils on waters,” and you realize you’re in the same room as the killer. The only other person in the room is dressed exactly like you, and that person’s talking up the other place — the one you believe you are still in — saying, “I think you’d like it there.” Where again? Both places go out of view. Now possibly dreaming, in a time and place before flight, Gein or radio, you wait at a blue-dipped railway platform as trains roll by on their way to Oclupaca and Ortseam. You’re hoping to catch a ride to somewhere similar but elsewhere, more elemental, past the unseen concupiscence between thermosphere and exosphere, out there where you don’t have to wonder, anymore, what the toys do while you’re away.


Tierra Whack

Whack World

[Self-Released]

[STREAM]

In the face of incomprehensible excess and stream-gaming nonsense, Tierra Whack — yes, that’s her real name — provides a grotesque yet charming response with the wonderfully weird “Whack World.” Rather than dragging the tempo or chopping the tracklist, the 22-year-old Philly rapper embraces something like a skip-button aesthetic of preview clips and non-member samples, unceremoniously cutting off her songs as soon as they hit the one-minute mark. With 15 songs in just 15 minutes — an absurdity further heightened by its surreal video — traditional payoffs are just beyond reach, forcing us to sit through a goofy, lighthearted romp of youthful innovation and bizarre genre play that includes everything from slow jams and trap bangers to country parodies and kids pop. It’s delightfully ridiculous and sometimes annoying af, but it arrives with undeniable energy and child-like wonder, bursting out confetti-like from a singular, captivating voice who’s on one of this year’s quickest and most unexpected come-ups. Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s the point.


GAS

Rausch

[Kompakt]

[WATCH · LISTEN · READ]

I consumed the hour-long experience of Rausch, blaring through my headphones, as golden hour became twilight and the mosquitoes started biting. Luckily, my timing was great; 2017’s Narkopop, with its penchant for forlorn ruminations, ultimately owed a lot to its namesake: pop music. Now, those hopeful moments of liquid sunlight are far away. Rausch finds GAS staying true to its typically ascetic atmosphere, but any strand of accessible melodicism is replaced by shattering layers of dissonant drone upon drone, Doppler effect-synths, and percussive textures that pierce through it all — shimmering cymbals, palpitating kick-snare rhythms. As each funeral march bleeds into the next, the delirious effects of Rausch take hold. My arms are covered in bites, and temperatures still haven’t dropped below 90. For the superimposed intensity of Rausch, a more fitting listening environment couldn’t be created.


The Body

I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer

[Thrill Jockey]

[LISTEN · READ]

It’s so much to bear. We’re expected to carry more than our own weight. The pain and suffering of our past traumas, the present crises, the future uncertainties. More and more, any attempts to alleviate the pain, to share the burden, are undermined. All we ever wanted, all untenable. They demand purity (in lieu of that, submission by “privilege”), individuality, personalization, subscription. They won’t cry for us. Everything must be on you and you alone. Time will not notice you are nothing. You are already hatred as an abstract to someone else. The pull of the personal must end. The allure of ontology and self-indulgence must be shattered in the face of those who leer lewdly into its mirror and contort on the floor in false ecstasy. But it is a painful burden. “I lower my guilty-looking eyes. I’m afraid of looking people in the eye.” War is necessary and proper, to shatter illusions. But it’s all so much to bear.

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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