2018: Third Quarter Favorites 25 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


Perfume

Future Pop

[Universal J/ Perfume]

[WATCH · READ]

I want you to think how eyes stopped you still in a field of falling rain and light. I want you to remember how voice made you break, how you could feel the edges of your heart’s ventricles shake. Did you understand that language? Did you let not knowing stop you from imagining a tomorrow? You didn’t. “You make me happy every day.” You gave me Future Pop, a re-reminder to live and love that sounds like a happy, maximalist treatise. Kashiyuka and A-chan and Nocchi, angels like the Muses and Shirelles before them, sing the story of how we want and where we go to remember wanting. Yasutaka Nakata, a Hesiod of synth-psalm, traces us into believing in pop songs as real mythologies. You ever think the future might be now, every, every minute? Look around, (“light-wave”) breathe deep (“skyway”), and sing in me — kiss me and miss me, all the way to how we’ll be how we already are (“future pop!”)


Jeff Witscher

Approximately 1,000 Beers

[Salon]

[LISTEN · READ]

Approximately 1,000 Beers isn’t all that unlike a country album. A plunderphonic dive, a cowboy’s hazy bender, Witscher paints the American West with as tragicomic a tone as cowboys from Townes Van Zandt and Merle Travis to Willie Nelson and John Prine would deliver. A cut-up vocabulary, Witscher gives it over to this intoxicated rambler, a brisk tale of desperation. Layers of soundworlds in varying fidelity undo one another and form a pastiche of the foreign lands in our own backyard. Anachronism abound. An uncanny turn upon Sun Araw (The Saddle of the Increate) and an oddly fortuitous resonance with Mitski’s transmodern monument to Western kitsch (Be the Cowboy) seems to call for three cheers and a whopping “this town ain’t big enough,” you know? It’s supposed to be funny, that much is clear, but how a punchline can do you in. Track 10 gives me chills every time, but don’t jump the gun: sit back, relax, and drink “approximately one zero zero zero beers.”


Channel Tres

Channel Tres EP

[Godmode]

[WATCH · LISTEN]

Channel Tres must have been waiting for the right term to come along to describe his music. If so, it’s no coincidence he waited for the #BDE trend. It once felt like hip-house would never move out of the apartment Fast Eddie built, but when this EP came along… well, it was like Tres grabbed a backpack and a beanie and hit the bricks. “You ain’t never heard shit like this from the block before” is right. Besides having the sexiest voice in music (quote me, MTV!), Tres is an illustrious cultural artist, cooking up deep, animated rhythms with an almost supernatural ability to amplify classics while grooving on a contemporary frequency. The influence of an L.A. upbringing on his crooked persona — crucial to his bizarre charm — maketh the package complete. Merely five tracks into what I hope is a long career, Tres is already an irreplaceable artist.


Low

Double Negative

[Sub Pop]

[WATCH · READ]

Isn’t it funny how the bands most successful at pulling off a credible “radical reinvention” are usually the ones also the most at ease with playing to their old familiar strengths? Maybe that’s because it’s not revolution, but evolution that provides the biggest impetus for change in the long run: with experience comes perspective, and with perspective comes the kind of rock-solid confidence that makes doing the unprecedented feel like the most logical thing in the world. After all, you can’t start building the New Thing until you have to have the Old Thing nailed down, and Low unquestionably have that Old Thing nailed FLAT… which is probably why Double Negative — while it certainly ain’t your Gen X older brother’s slowcore — still retains the steady and satisfying feel of three master craftspeople riffing off of over two decades’worth of career highlights. The result resembles some wild new feat of contemporary architecture that still feels perfectly safe to wander around inside of, because you know that it still sits on top of a deep and dependable foundation.


RP Boo

I’ll Tell You What!

[Planet Mu]

[LISTEN · READ]

RP Boo’s legacy as one of Chicago’s most innovative producers has been long established, but on I’ll Tell You What!, the footwork pioneer’s first album of contemporaneous material, he has found a way to push his sound even farther out while simultaneously stripping it down to its core. Tracks like “U Don’t No,” centered around a melancholy piano line and featuring the repeated phrase “Do I give away my soul?,” add emotional depth and sonic warmth to the music that stands in relief to the pointillistic intricacies of the genre he helped birth. But ultimately comparing Boo to any of his progeny is bound to be fruitless; he is an individualistic talent that continues to mine the depth of his psyche to create music that is powerful, complex, and invigorating.

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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