2019: Second Quarter Favorites 25 incredible 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


Entro Senestre

Entro Senestre Live ACID at B.N.C.C

[BANK Records NYC]

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[LISTEN]

It’s 8 PM, and I’m home alone — all night — guarding this sacred vessel of life; my ass ‘bout to get-right while watching the sunset from our fifth-floor apartment windows. Henny and I are turning up the stereo at the stroke of midnight-ish — hours later — setting three different flashlights on strobe-mode that burst bubbles throughout cherished space. Suddenly, I’m in socks around 3:11 AM wanting more, glide-dancing along the surface I had cleaned between now and synaptic flickers. Entro Senestre Live ACID at B.N.C.C been playing this entire time, like an entangled pendulum. Steaming energy arriving throughout my body, an anaconda at my throat, the confidence of skyrocketing: my humble abode drenched in layer, gory, nerdy techno.


Quelle Chris

Guns

[Mello Music Group]

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[LISTEN · READ]

You’d have to be excused for not immediately processing all the dope that Quelle Chris’s Guns put on the table. It was released in something of an alt-rap all-star week, which also welcomed new albums from billy woods, Mach Hommy & DJ Muggs, and TREE. But come quarterlies, this is one that simply can’t be ignored. A master of character-driven satirical songwriting, Quelle Chris is truly in his element here, packing countless layers of dark-comic culture-war metacriticism into 13 tracks of mostly self-produced bangers and mash, i.e., goes down easy, but there’s a lot to digest. Such that three months later, your blurber only just now picked up the Jadakiss-by-way-of-Theravada reference in frequent collaborator Denmark Vessey’s verse on “Box of Wheaties.” Another highlight: the Falling Down-type postal bass line shooting everything that moves on “Mind Ya Bidness.” Like I said, it bangs.


Carly Rae Jepsen

Dedicated

[Schoolboy/Interscope]

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[LISTEN · READ]

What if we were bad lovers? What if the what of our wants weren’t enough, our parts too weird to be sustainably partnered? What if we were always too much, will only ever push and shove lusts onto things that slip away as quick as we discard them? All we want is real love. And we don’t know a thing about it. Dedicated is the site of knowing wanting and wanting unknowing. The clarion max-out of earlier Carly gives way to ticks and groove, trills like scraped paper and sweat on our curves. This is sex music, bodies atop bodies atop armoires in bedrooms, amour armor where sometimes one is plenty. If the sounds are devoted to any one thing, it not a compostable single love. Dedicated, rather, is loving as philosophy, a pop system for life in scope of the affections and anxieties one renders endlessly. It’s not the words; it’s the sound. And it helps so much.


Ellen Arkbro

CHORDS

[Subtext]

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[LISTEN · READ]

Entirely bare of pretension, CHORDS is simply chords. In two parts, a mammoth drone for organ and slow, spilling articulations on guitar, Arkbro conjures complexities from simple practice. Although minimal and straightforward, it would be a disservice to classify this simply as an academic or strictly conceptual attempt; in her careful compounding and peeling away of frequencies, surprising snatches of beauty emerge. It is near the edge of perception where her work shines, smithing sounds so fine and unexpected that one might doubt they were there at all. The mind-blankening weight of “CHORDS for organ,” which often threatens to swallow the listener, also harbors delicate tones sweeping about each other in near-holographic pas de deux. Bolstered by a buzzing Karplus-Strong string, her guitar sketches the curious, swirling resonances that emerge between the acoustic voice and the synthesized one. Arkbro’s work makes no excuse or justification for itself, rather preferring to let the peculiar character of her selected chords and their interlocking geometries sing for themselves.


Organ Tapes

Hunger in Me Living

[TT]

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[LISTEN]

Like ice, and, bleeding, or glassy lustrous, voices slip, sleek, and, spill, not merely gloss of whines and crooning, disaffected drain-gang whimpers, loss, and, streaming thru the very thick of things, it all congeals, thru this lonely luster, throat-clenched fleeting, angelic frail and feel of so-far-away, and, so-far-from, everything, so-close and the thought-that-i-could-love and you and, loving, you, and the rush of it all, passing, you, bye, as red-light river of surge, swoon, and seething distance of life lived in distance from life, yet, in ice shards of whisper, fringed with sonic edge of cloud rap’s neon dissociation, there’s a dream ! and delicate dream-pop yearnings, as if, this distance from you, is where i find you, as if, to share lonely ? as if, plastic flows of murmuring coalescence distance into, lonely, sharing, as if, to the one who comes to you hungry and tired, there can be, living thru your hunger, in us, living…

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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