Best of: July 2018

Some of our favorite albums and singles from the month of July.

Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Deafheaven is quite honestly not here to please anyone. If you’re a fan of metal, they’re consistently pushing their sound further from the purity of harsh metal, and if you find yourself on the side of indie rock, they refuse to compromise their vocals. Yet, if you can look past the strange blending of elements you’ll quickly find one of the most interesting bands in either genre. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is certainly the softest of their records to date, however that doesn’t mean it’s ready for the radio by any means, for each moment of soft, loving post-rock inspired meandering, there is another instant of violent screams and shredding guitars. While time will tell if this record can stand alongside the excellent New Bermuda and the groundbreaking Sunbather it certainly seems well equipped to do so.

Denzel Curry – TA13OO

Think back for a moment, back to when you saw the 2016 XXL Freshman Cypher. Back then there was a shift happening, we had artists like 21 Savage and Lil Uzi Vert were peddling a new breed of hook-driven rap. Yet one rapper stood out from the pack with his visceral delivery and clever wordplay, Denzel Curry. On TA13OO, Denzel Curry fully realizes his potential as not just a rapid fire wordsmith, but a well rounded songwriter. Full of catchy hooks and concepts, and covering a wide range of emotional frequencies, TA13OO is a thrilling concept album packaged into a tight 44 minutes, certain to gain Denzel a fleet of new fans while pleasing his day one supporters. – Joey Hughes

Ross From Friends – Family Portrait

‘Family Portraits’ is a powerful debut album varied in style but unified throughout, a deeply emotional look at an unremembered past. Family Portraits is “almost two years of intense studio time, working 20-hour days and often spending months perfecting just one aspect of a track,” according to the label. The album draws on the influence of his parents — whose relationship began during a 1990 bus trip across Europe, throwing parties anywhere they wanted using a homemade soundsystem— and growing up around music. One of the singles “Pale Blue Dots”  features a video made using footage his mom took on that 1990 European bus trek. – Alek

Laurel Halo – Raw Silk Uncut Wood

This is a record that really rewards establishing a relationship with it. Diving into its twists and turns, and absorbing the vast sonic ground Laurel Halo covers among the 6 tracks here. Yes this is an ambient record, but this is not a passive listening experience. She warms you with a long, sprawling, soothing piece with subtle melodies and peaceful instrumentation…only to come right back with shorter, more chaotic tracks that often agitate in the best way possible. She tests the sonic landscape of singular tones and wrestles with syncopated drum beats over a 4 track mid-section that lasts roughly a third of the record but is incredibly diverse in its evocative nature. She finds a beautiful capstone in a second long swaying track who’s aquatic nature provides a panacea for all endured throughout the first two thirds of the album. It is most definitely a journey fit for a single sitting. – Nick DelGaudio

Pram – Across the Meridian

Pram would probably be my pick for the most underrated group of the last few decades. They have every element it takes to be awesome: super British, captivating instrumentation, haunting vocals, and a beautiful blend of experimental and accessible. Across the Meridian is their first record in 11 years and it doesn’t skip a beat. From the first track, I felt at home: chaotic percussion, an elaborate horn section, and Pram-esque instrumental-only atmosphere that no other band has quite emulated. Across 12 tracks they provide a slew of signature sounds while still demonstrating a knack for songwriting. This record sounds like being trapped in an abandoned amusement park in the middle of the night…and it’s friggin’ awesome. -Nick DelGaudio

Channel Tres – Channel Tres EP

Hailing from Compton but enamored by the danceable energy of pre 2000’s Detroit Techno and Chicago House sure makes for a fascinating combo. Channel Tres pulls it off effortlessly here, releasing a debut EP that sounds like an artist who’s spent years refining his sound. With a deep voice that’s been likened to Barry White, he glides over four to the floor patterns that relies as much on hooks in a hip-hop sense as it does the glorious repetition and momentum of dance music. “Controller” sits smoothly with a bass heavy synth line and perfectly layered percussion. “Jet Black” relies once again on his slow tempo, perfectly crafted loop with one of the catchiest hooks of 2018. I never knew I wanted more Hip-House music until I heard this record, and now I really really want more Hip-House music…so catchy, so danceable, so well executed. -Nick DelGaudio

SALES – forever and ever

SALES combines a simple drum machine under slow riffs and Lauren Morgan’s interesting style of singing in which words seem to ooze out of her mouth.  The minimalist approach is relaxing and the music floats in the background while I’ll listen (good study music). The problem is that forever and ever becomes too much background and a very forgettable album. Not a single track stands out like “Pope is a Rockstar” or “Chinese New Year” did on her earlier work. Play me the riff for “Renee” and I would be able to name the song but play any song on forever and ever and I would be lost. I think SALES wanted to recreate some of their beautifully haunting songs they wrote before but missed the mark. The result is kind of bland but still mildly enjoyable work of indie pop. – Joey Elisar

Ty Segall and White Fence – Joy

Ty Segall and White Fence (Tim Presley) first came together to create Hair in 2012 which is the epitome of stoner garage rock. The album feels like the hazy riffs just flowed out of Segall and Presley and they seemed like a natural fit with each other. Joy is different than Hair in that it is less classic garage rock and gets more weird/typical Segall. Which is really fucking awesome. It each track feels different than the last while on Hair every song flowed with each other. Segall might release multiple albums every year (See Freedom Goblin) but Joy shows the quality does not drop off. – Joey Elisar


Tyler + A$AP Rocky – Potato Salad

Tyler and A$AP Rocky, two artists at the top of their game, link up for a playful cut, trading flashy verses over a low key Monica beat (produced by none other than Kanye West). While serving as just an interlude off of the third installment of the A$AP Mob’s AWGE DVD series, the track manages to sit among the best of both artist’s catalog. Let’s face it, none of us will ever be Tyler/Rocky level cool, but we can certainly take some pointers from the irreverent music video.

Blood Orange – Charcoal Baby

Big Red Machine – Forest Green

Iglooghost – Clear Tamei

Channel Tres – Jet Black

Yves Tumor – Noid