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Earl Sweatshirt – SICK! On the newest album from Earl Sweatshirt, the rapper continues his streak of thoughtful and melancholic bars–this time with a slightly more approachable selection of beats, supplied by the likes of The Alchemist and Black Noi$e. Avant jazz is still a key piece of the production, though some of the pianos here have a midi sheen to them, and some of the trap-influenced drum tracks will be familiar to fans of contemporary hip hop. One such track featuring this style of production is “2010”, with a bright, yet off-kilter synth loop. Here, as with many spots … Continued

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The Body & BIG|BRAVE – Leaving None But Small Birds  The Body and BIG|BRAVE have each earned their tenure in metal, but together they have created an album that defies any preconceived notions one might have had for them. On Leaving None But Small Birds, both bands veer into a brand of folk rock that is rife with an eerie grit. Twangy layered strings mesh with the heavy distortion of guitars that both The Body and BIG|BRAVE are known for, creating a delicate and foreboding atmosphere. Similarly, the guttural shrieks and growls of The Body are replaced by the haunting croons of BIG|BRAVE’s lead vocalist Robin … Continued

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Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States Aussie noise rock band Tropical Fuck Storm’s third album, Deep States, is as messy and disorienting as the doomed political landscape it was birthed out of. Reflecting mind-poisoning social media discourse twisted through the filter of a distortion pedal, vocalists Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin deliver some of their most compelling melodies over lacerating guitar and synth lines. The opening track, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, writes from the perspective of Jesus’ second coming to Earth to proclaim in a grand chorus “There ain’t no end of days.” Even at its loudest, a sense … Continued

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Spellling – The Turning Wheel The Turning Wheel, Chrystia Cabral’s third album under the project Spellling, offers bewitchingly captivating progressive folk and neo-soul songs. A shift towards natural instrumentation marks a stark change from 2019’s synth-heavy Mazy Fly, giving these songs a new liveliness, and pushing Cabral’s songwriting towards the theatrical. The sonic palette on its own can be bewildering at first–veering off without warning into performances of soul, hard rock, classical, folk, and of course, synthwave. It’s no surprise that the personnel list reveals more than thirty performers–all of whom sound great. The songs are left with an enchanting … Continued

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