Grime superstar proves UK rhymes can crush on this side of the pond.
Spitting real ting over futuristic production, Skepta is the one poised to blow up grime in the states. The digital blips of “That’s Not Me” have been bumping in speakers from Broughton to Brooklyn. Features from Pharrell Williams, JME and Wiley shine over dark, bass heavy beats.
by J Boogie
SoCal trio has us “Dancing on the Sun.”
There’s nothing like that California sunshine, and Manhattan Beach’s own Bahari earnestly embodies the carefree sounds of summer: youthful lyrical themes, bright melodies and happy harmonies are all highlighted in this made-for-the-beach debut EP.
JT’s bouncy new tune will make you smile from the inside out.
No stranger to throwback dance beats, the Prince of Pop slides into a disco groove, singing “I got that sunshine in my pocket, got that soul in my feet,” accompanied by a star-studded dance party in his highly-anticipated new video. Could it be the “Happy” of 2016?
The Third Coming
Sure, 21 years is a long time between releases. But if we’ve learned anything from MBV, it’s that comparison is the thief of joy. “All For One” doesn’t sound better than anything on The Stone Roses. But it’s great to hear John Squire turn up his amps and remind Oasis fans who came first. When’s Whiteout reuniting?
by Eric Shea
Just in time for summer.
Ripcord is an eclectic mix of influences for Keith Urban. There’s the piano-driven “That Could Still Be Us” and more electrifying collaborations showing just how much fun he had with this album. Highlights include the ‘80s synth inspired “The Fighter” with Carrie Underwood and summer anthem, “Sun Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Pitbull (no, really!).
A Vibrantly Innovative Opus
Quintessential bedroom artist James Blake steps into the light (comparatively) on his SoCal-recorded third album. While sprawling with guest artists and nearly 77 minutes long, Colour is raw, deeply personal and sonically adventurous; piano-led ballads are underpinned by throbbing static sweeps, warbling synths and reverberating, precise percussive effects. Through it all, Blake’s voice: heartsick, angelic, honest.
by Party Ben
Desert grooves will keep you moving.
Ever since Tinariwen broke the sounds of Tuareg music to Western ears, the blend of Ali Farke Touré-style guitars, loping rhythms, and political lyrics has proven to be fertile ground. Imarhan, with their acoustic guitars and sparkling production, fall closer to the polished sound of Bombino than the wooly sounds of Group Inerane.
SF heavies deliver deathly doses of psychedelic downer rock.
Alaric’s world of post punk/death rock is rife with tribal drumming, gruff bellowed vox and blackened tendrils of pentatonic guitar, balancing a modern, metallic heft with the bat cave creep of Scream Club era L.A. (Abecedarians, Kommunity FK) and the death punk dirges of Killing Joke, Rudimentary Peni and Comsat Angels.
America doesn’t need a belt made of Bibles.
Recorded at Chicago’s Comedians You Should Know showroom, Derek Sheen’s sophomore standup album marries intellectual rigor with a spluttery, shouty delivery reminiscent of Lewis Black. Sheen aggressively fact-checks the New Testament, laments turning 45 without ever learning to roll a joint and describes one man’s quixotic quest for a Quizno’s.
DEATHCORE / DOWNTEMPO
Death becomes them.
These Canadians play against type here, sounding ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING, delivering a sick strain of sludgy, tar pit thick deathcore that’s low slung, downtempo heaviness. It’s an oozing black sprawl of crushing breakdowns woven into one massive downtuned churn, with some of the sickest vokills EVER: guttural, gurgling, pig-squeal grunts one second, hysterical, throat-shredding, demonic shrieks the next.