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New Adds: Isaac Hayes, Radiohead, Kelela, and More!

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Various Artists - Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: As mentioned above, this is my last week adding '90s alt rock albums... I am sad about it too. I am also frustrated because choosing only four nineties alternative albums is almost impossible. In this past week, I have debated with myself like a schizophrenic cat lady who still thinks it's 1993 about the pros and cons of adding Soundgarden or Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains or Pearl Jam. It has truly been one of the most trying times of my life, but then I thought -- why not add all four? The Singlessoundtrack has been one of my favorite albums ever since I found it in my parents' stacks of stray -- meaning not enclosed in plastic cases -- CDs because it pretty sufficiently captured the alternative/grunge scene in 1992. (Ok, so there's no Nirvana on the soundtrack, but honestly fuck Nirvana. Everyone has heard all their music, and I really mean ALL their music, and although they are one of my favorite bands, I am sick of STILL reading news headlines about Kurt Cobain... Leave the dude alone, that's what he wanted back in '94, just saying.) Anyway, this soundtrack contains some of the best songs by some of the best bands of the decade ("Would?" is maybe one of the best songs ever), making it and obvious classic, which is more than I can say about the film, a pretty average romantic comedy set in early nineties Seattle. Honestly don't watch it; if you are feeling nostalgic for that decade, watch High Fidelityinstead. Or just listen to this album (duh). ASHLEY

RIYL: Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden

Recommended Tracks: pretty much all of them except #4 (I am not a big Paul Westerberg fan)

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Isaac Hayes - Black MosesYeezus, who? If we're talking musical messiahs, then Isaac Hayes is the soul master supreme. Your search for sonic enlightenment ends here. Black Moses is not only an album that speaks to the basic human desires within in each us (if you don't feel the feels when Hayes croons "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child" on "Need to Belong to Someone" then I just don't think you have a soul), but also spoke to a generation of young men and told them they could transcend above all the bullshit that was and still is the societal oppression of African Americans. To quote Hayes himself, "Black men could finally stand up and be men because here's Black Moses; he's the epitome of black masculinity. Chains that once represented bondage and slavery now can be a sign of power and strength and sexuality and virility." And it's not just being a man, but being a man who is a human being. What makes this album universally relatable is that it taps into things each and every one of us feel regardless of race, gender, age, etc. Haye's is laying out some raw realness on all of us and embodying not only an image of black power, but also begging us each to search ourselves for the basic empathy for our fellow man that often feels so lacking. This is a triumphant album, a declaration of self and a liberation of the people, but also just some downright delicious soul music. Hayes breathes new life into covers of The Carpenters and The Jackson 5, among others, and will likely also breathe new life into you. CAROLINE

RIYL: Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Bobby Womack

Recommended Tracks: Man's Temptation (4), For the Good Times (10), Going in Circles (14), all tbh

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Radiohead - OK Computer: By 1997 Radiohead had started gaining some mainstream recognition with previous releases such as The Bends and their hit single Creep, but what really separated them from being just another generic 90s alternative rock band was the release of OK Computer. OK Computer was the start of the crazy alternative experimentation that has defined Radiohead as a band. Whether it is a single or not, I'm pretty sure every song on this album has become a classic, but it also contains the bands career defining single, Paranoid Android. The lead single for this album clocks in at over 6 minutes and brings three separate songs the band wrote together to become what is commonly referred to as the “Bohemian Rhapsody of the 90s”. No one can quite understand what the song is about, but it's epic, weird, and too much fun to listen to.  No matter how weird Radiohead gets here, the music still feels like pop music. The amount of artists that are influenced by this album is also unreal; everyone from Slash to DJ Shadow has commented on its perfection. Critics knew as soon as this album came out that is would be a defining album of its generation, and they were sure right. HARRY

RIYL: Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, R.E.M

Recommended Tracks: Paranoid Android (2), No Surprises (10), Karma Police (6)

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Kelela - HallucinogenHallucinogen opens with the familiar lead single, “A Message”.  This track is so beautiful and unlike her mixtape, Cut 4 Me, the production pushes her voice to the forefront instead of shrouding it. Also the song has one of the best videos of this year. “Rewind” and “All The Way Down” feels like Aalyiah for 2015, with Kelela’s silky delivery providing proof of that her pop sensibilities and slowed down R&B world do not exist at odds. Kelela is still experimenting with her sound as evidenced by “Gomenasai”, which at its core is an 90’s tinged R&B track, but the inclusion of a bamboo flute creates a unique ambiance for the track. The album ends with the titular track and previously released “The High”. Both tracks are above average, but when compared to the previous four tracks, they fail to make an impact. With Hallucinogen, Kelela has made an EP that showcases many different sides of her music, all of them compelling. KEN
 
RIYL: FKA Twigs, Solange, Arca, Fade to Mind label

Recommended Tracks: All tracks

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Heaters - Holy Water Pool: Mhhmmmmm. Reverrrrb. If you want the vibe on Holy Water Pool, think beaches, bleach blond hair, and really excessive film burn on the video that documents it all. God knows how they got inspired to make that kind of music in Michigan. I’m not going to tell you that any particular aspect of the album is totally groundbreaking as far as buttermilky psych rock goes. I would know, we get a bit of psych rock here in the music department. However, I think as an entire package, Holy Water Pool IS groundbreaking! I can’t remember the last time I heard abeachy-ass record where I really liked every single song. They even play around with time signatures a little bit, which really gets me going if you know what I mean. The album features a great mix of long, droning jam segments and more catchy sing-along moments. In that way, the album reminds me a lot of Innerspeaker by Tame Impala. However, Heaters sounds way more beachy and less polished than Tame Impala. If I had a PCH playlist, this whole album would be on there for sure. It makes me want to break out the Clorox and buy a board to hang in my living room and never take out. Mahalo ya fuckin surfers! CHRISTIAN

RIYL: Beaches, Beach Fossils, Menace Beach, Dirty Beaches
   

Recommended Tracks: Gum Drop (8), Dune Ripper (11), Kamikaze (1)

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Various Artists - 2015 Adult Swim Singles ProgramThis is a strange album to try to review because it's all over the place: from Skrillex to Slayer, Yung Lean to Swervedriver, this compilation has at least one song for everyone. They aren't even all good songs (hello, Sia), but ~most~ of them are really solid (for example, the Peaches and Slayer songs were already reviewed and recommended by our staff when their full albums came out not too long ago). Seriously, you just have to look at the track listing for yourself, and I know anyone could find at least one song they dig -- it's kind of how these Singles Programs go each year. Because I am kind of scary (and my music taste is all over the place), I really like the songs by Thou, Peaches, Run the Jewels, Cherry Glazer, Danny Brown + Clams Casino, and Slayer, but most of the songs are pretty solid. ASHLEY

RIYL: any musical genre... I am not kidding

Recommended Tracks: any of them, all of them; who am I to tell you what to like?