Kurt Vile has always been an awfully lazy dude, but he takes his slacker aesthetic to new heights on b'lieve i'm going down. What the album lacks in variety it more than makes up with its steady groove, and sumptuously simple songwriting.
We must have caught Bradford Cox on a good day this time around, as Fading Frontier does away with the fraught energy of the band's last record, and opts to cloak its sound in mellow rays of sunshine. The album perfectly pairs the old with the new, possessing a slew of numbers that would be right at home on oldies radio were it not for their utilization of modern electronics.
Samantha---Toro y Moi
Chaz Bundick released two albums in 2015, and while What For? provided fans with the sound and texture they were used to from Toro y Moi, Samantha betters it by coming completely from left field. And hour long hip hop album of sorts, Bundick invites a slew of MCs to rhyme over a collection of beats that seamlessly shift in mood and feel from one track to the next.
While most of his Wu-Tang Clan cohorts remain active, Raekwon is the only swordsman to have released a cohesive record in the last couple of years. F.I.L.A. is big, bright, brash, and fully stocked with bangers, I Got Money and All About You proving radio ready despite the Chef being an old man in a young man's game.
A balm for the pain of having to wait an unknowable amount of time for the next Real Estate LP, Many Moons marks the solo debut of that band's frontman, Martin Courtney. He does absolutely nothing to reinvent the wheel, returning to the straight-forward, melody-driven ditties that have endeared his main project to innumerable fans over the last several years.
A curious little seven-song gem, Big Grams marks the second collaboration between Big Boi (of Outkast fame) and Phantogram, doubling down on the success they found together on the MC's last album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Everything here is funky as all get out, and Big Boi is generous with the spotlight, sitting out large swaths of stand-out tracks like Lights On to allow vocalist Sarah Barthel to take center stage.
Gone are the guest artists that largely defined Battles' previous effort, Gloss Drop. This time around, it's only the three-piece instrumental group and their insane, chaotic, and blisteringly intense sound. La Di Da Di is dance music for aliens, an hour long trip down one incredibly unique rabbit hole.
Hey, remember these guys? Ratatat's first album in five years is the dictionary definition of 'back to basics,' a 14 track offering that adds nothing to our previous understanding of the band, and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place. If you've ever jammed-out to Seventeen Years or spaced-out to Cherry, Magnifique is basically a must.
An outright celebration from a guy we're not even used to seeing smile, Michael Angelakos finally lets up on all of the gloom and doom that usually embodies his lyrics, and embraces the love around him. His music is as rapturous as always, resulting in the words and sounds of a song like Until We Can't (Let's Go) intermingling to create a sense of euphoria.
Having amassed a following over years of releasing mixtapes, Action Bronson's proper debut is finally here, and it lives up to its name. Silly, irreverent, and always ready for the party, the rapper employs his familiar braggart spirit and gonzo story telling, only for the first time, it's atop crisp, lavish production.