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New Adds: GoldLink, Ty Segall, Lizzo, and More!

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GoldLink - And After That, We Didn't Talk: Every week there is a new rapper claiming to be the future of hip-hop. On his debut album, GoldLink stands out from that crowd partially because he has been touted as Rick Rubin’s protégé in addition to his danceable “conscious”-rap tracks. GoldLink’s lyrical content is most similar to Raury, often dealing with the plight of African Americans in 2015, but sonically his closest contemporary is Chance the Rapper during is Acid Rain-era. The infusion of 90s to early 2000s R&B rhythms is definitely appealing making And After That… essential listening for contemporary hip-hop fans. KEN
 
RIYL: Chance the Rapper, Soulection, Raury, Bryson Tiller, Vic Mensa

Recommended Tracks: “Dark Skin Women” (3), “Spectrum” (4), “Dance On Me” (5)  

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Ty Segall - Ty Rex: So yesterday I went to the Museu Picasso. I’ve never been a big fan, but my mom really likes his stuff so I reluctantly oblige hoping that perhaps the elusive appreciation of cubism will just somehow switch on after repeated exposure. Inside the museum, there’s a whole wing dedicated to the suite of paintings entitled Las Meninas inspired by the painting of the same name by Baroque artist Diego Velazquez. The series includes 45 interpretations of the original picture, nine scenes of doves, three landscapes, and a portrait of the central figure of the painting, Infante Margarita. That makes for a total of 58 paintings based on a single painting. 58 paintings… WHY?? I thought the original was pretty good. I mean you don’t see artists going around drawing stick figure versions of Guernica, aye Picasso? Anyway, when I heard that Ty Segall had just released a compilation of T. Rex/Marc Bolan covers, I was similarly not stoked. Bolan is something of an idol for me, his music a sacred relic of early 70’s grooviness. The last thing I needed was some garage revival bastardizations of the glam god’s bitchin boogie. As I glance at a fifth image of doves in a windowsill entitled Las Meninas and strain myself to understand what the hell these doves have to do with the original painting, I remember a fundamental truth about art, it’s personal. These doves don’t need to make sense to me because they made sense to the artist. His work is not even necessarily meant for me, but rather it is an outlet for his personal thoughts and feelings, a tangible manifestation of his interpretation of the original painting. I can think back on times when I felt compelled by Bolan’s music to express myself in a certain way, to dance and singalong or even attempt to recreate the music. While my reactions seem generic they are inherently subjective, expressions of my unique interpretation of the art. Art is after all merely an abstraction of something else. So Velazquez abstracts from something he sees and creates the original Las Meninas, then Picasso abstracts from that and creates his Las Meninas, and finally I view Picasso’s rendition and abstract from the situation with a statement of my personal interpretation of the art, such as - “I still don’t like Picasso”. No man’s expression is any less valid because even the original is just an interpretation, a subjective abstraction from reality. Having given it a few listens, I actually quite like some of Segall’s fuzzy hard-hitting covers on Ty Rex. Undoubtedly, Ty has channeled his inner Electric Warrior in this one and produced some raucous glitter-infused rock n’ roll that Bolan himself would probably appreciate. But, whether I like it or not is irrelevant because this is Ty’s personal expression of his interpretation of Bolan’s art and it is just as uniquely beautiful as me dancing alone in my room to Zip Gun Boogie. Ty just happens to want to share his interpretation with the world and for that I admire him. SHILL

RIYL: T. Rex, White Fence, Jay Reatard, proto punk/garage revival

Recommended Tracks: “The Slider” (3), “20th Century Boy” (5), “The Motivator” (9) 

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Shye Ben Tzur/Jonny Greenwood/The Rajasthan Express - Junun: Jonny Greenwood’s latest release, Junun, is nothing quite what I expected it to be. Usually his music follows with the trend of his band Radiohead, or at least in the alternative music genre, but this time he stated he was going for, “pretending he was playing with James Brown or Miles Davis.” While I am not really sure what he was on to convince himself of this, the album was definitely an interesting listen. Junun was recorded in India and sounds like a mix of Arabic and traditional Indian music. The album contains no English and was written in Hebrew, inside out. All of the music was collaborated with Shy Ben Tzur, and a group of nineteen qawwali musicians called The Rajasthan Express. Greenwood’s reasoning for this was that they had a strange take on Indian Music that he had never crossed before and set to find out more about them. Throughout most of the tracks there is a pretty consistent groove flowing, with really strange melodies dangling on top of everything. The songs are all textured very well, while staying consistent with no surprises. I’m sure some of you will think this is really cool, but it is definitely for a select audience. Die-hard Radiohead fans will probably also be all over this. HARRY 

RIYL: Radiohead, Ravi Shankar, Omar Souleyman

Recommended Tracks: “Roked” (2), “Julus” (7), “Azov” (11)

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Lizo - Big GRRL Small World: This album's power comes from the declaration of self that the title proclaims. The "GRRRL" spelling as a nod to the riot grrrl movement is an immediate statement that Lizzo isn't here to tip-toe around anything. Big GRRRL Small World is a bold album that really, to me, centers around this idea of being "big." Its meaning goes beyond the fact that Lizzo herself is a physically larger woman - although the unashamed embrace of her size is significant and crucial to the album's message. Lizzo's bigness, however, is not just physical. She is also proclaiming her bigness in terms of success and the places she is going. Opener "Ain't I" is the grand introduction Lizzo deserves. Recycling Kanye and Wu Tang lyrics, Lizzo inserts herself among hip-hop's heavyweights, and on "The Fade" she asserts her ability to run the game like the biggest pro there is. However, as this track also displays, Lizzo is big in an emotional sense as well. As catchy as the tracks on BGSW are, they also contain a great deal of depth. As she says on "The Fade," Lizzo wears her heart on her sleeve, and all feelings - highs and lows - are raw and open. "1 Deep" is an honest and heart-wrenching reflection of her past. "Humanize" is a particularly moving mixture of emotion. On the one hand, it addresses the more straightforward sexual and romantic desires we all have, but it also touches on a desire to feel alive, or "humanized" through intimate human connection. Deep shit. Lizzo's ability to feel is beyond big. It is immense. The world does, in fact, seem small in comparison. I think this idea of our personal struggles or triumphs feeling bigger than anything is a sentiment we can all relate, too. I do think, though, that maybe the most important type of bigness that Lizzo embraces is the physical - but only because of the way in which it encompasses the other types. As a heavy, African-American woman, Lizzo does not fit the mold of what western society deems as beautiful. But Lizzo embraces herself - all parts, physical and mental - for what they are, and says "fuck that" to your beauty standards. "En Love" is really the culmination of this idea, with the dreamy chorus of "I think I'm in love" followed by the blunt repetition of "with myself." "My Skin," is a softer, slower take on this same idea. BGSW is a triumphant album - showcasing Lizzo's musical and artistic talents, while simultaneously serving up some seriously danceable beats, and what could be better than gettin' down to self-love? Could just be the next big thing. CAROLINE

RIYL: Chance The Rapper, Janelle Monae

Recommended Tracks: "Aint I" (1), "Ride" (3), "Humanize" (4), "Bother Me" (5), "En Love" (10)  

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Nadia Reid - Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs: I am going to keep this brief because let's be real, most of the recipients of this email did not make it this far, and some of my MoM compatriots really had A LOT to say about their albums. I could probably muster up a lot to say about this album, but I don't really need to; I usually hate female singer/songwriters (Cat Power, Kimya Dawson, and Fiona Apple are pretty much the only exceptions), but I am ~really~ into this. Nadia's gently raspy voice softly swells over her *usually* simple guitar melodies in a way that is enjoyable and soothing without sounding like run-of-the-mill coffeehouse music. Furthermore, the album offers a surprising amount of variety: "Track of the Time" and "Ruby" feature an old school country-tinged sound, and "Reaching Through" and "Holy Loud" are louder alt-rock tracks. Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite albums of the year!
ASHLEY

RIYL: Cat Power, Julia Holter  

Recommended Tracks: "Runway" (1), "Seasons Change" (6), "Call The Days" (9), "Holy Loud" (10), tbh all of them...   

CLASSIC: Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf: I’ve heard Queens of the Stone Age referred to as “music for musicians, and people who have listened to too much music.” College radio stations like KXSC get a lot of these type of people, so I have no doubt you will all approve of a classic add this week: The Queens’ third studio album, Songs For the Deaf. I know it’s hard for all of us to believe 2002 was 14 years ago, but in that time, Songs For the Deaf has slowly become recognized as a major milestone in hard rock. It’s also of particular interest to me because it exposed and popularized stoner rock. Songs For the Deaf, written and recorded on a Fear & Loathing level of narcotics and psychedelics, takes listeners on an epic guitar-fueled journey through the desert, from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree. Along the ride, the record shamelessly slides back and forth between alternative rock and heavy metal. While the focus of any Queens album is head-banging guitar riffs, Songs For the Deaf features flawless and sometimes show-stealing support from frontman Josh Homme and their temporary drummer, rock legend Dave Grohl. Even if you don’t think you know this album, I bet you will recognize one or two of its Grammy-nominated singles. Give ‘er a listen! CHRISTIAN

RIYL: Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, Eagles of Death Metal 

Recommended Tracks: "The Sky Is Fallin" (5), "Go With the Flow"(8), "Do It Again" (10)