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New Adds: Happy Flowers, DIIV, Rihanna, and more!

NOISE: Happy Flowers - My Skin Covers My Body: The best thing about my ex-boyfriend was his dad’s taste in music. It was this asshole’s father who indirectly introduced me to the glory that is Happy Flowers. Not all of the songs on My Skin Covers My Body would be considered noise proper — “Jenny Tried To Kiss Me At Recess” and “Not Fade Away” are something closer to punk? Hardcore? Eh, I guess Happy Flowers are noise-rock. Whatever. The drummer played bass by dragging his foot across a bass on the floor. That has to count for something. So ANYWAY, not all of the songs on My Skin Covers My Body would be considered noise proper, but all of the songs feature Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly Charred Infant throwing temper tantrums and screaming childhood nightmares like “PLEASE DON’T SPANK ME/I’M TOO OLD TO BE SPANKED!" and “PLEASE GOD MAKE ME STOP WETTING THE BED!” My personal favorite, “Toast Fire,” is about buttering the bread before toasting it and catching the toaster on fire, something I’ve done more than once. But I’ll always have a spot in my heart for “Mom, I Gave The Cat Some Acid.” You can guess what that one’s about. PAIGE
 
RIYL: dad jokes, candy, Butthole Surfers

Recommended Tracks:  “Left Behind” (2), “Toast Fire” (4), “Mom, I Gave The Cat Some Acid” (6), “I’m Bored” (8)

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NOISE: Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma: Doing a quick Google search of Kevin Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma turns up a few different reviews written in 2002 by 30 something year old guys living in Brooklyn reminiscing about the label’s releases and other boring shit I don’t care about because in 2002 I was in second grade. I just feel like I had to mention that in case you care about that boring shit so you can go Google it yourself. This five track album ranges from power electronics to ambient noise, alternating between immensely deep, layered soundscapes and piercing staccato tracks. Sheer Hellish Miasma is a truly beautiful work of art that I encourage noise lovers and haters alike to give a thorough listen to. Here's the Easter egg I promised last week: The album art for Sheer Hellish Miasma is suspiciously similar to that on Merzbow’s Noizhead, and Merzbow’s real name is Masami. MASAMI… MIASMA…Coincidence? Maybe. PAIGE
 
RIYL: looking up from beneath clear water, the feeling of vibration throughout your body

Recommended Tracks: "Hitting the Pavement" (3), "Cloudy" (5) 

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CLASSIC: Hole - Live Through This: My best friend recently remarked that Courtney Love is “one lip injection away from turning into Donatella Versace” while listing her many (questionable) reasons for disliking the Hole front woman. In all fairness, Courtney Love is by no means perfect and has probably more than dabbled in Botox, but plastic surgery is one of the shallowest, least substantial reasons to discredit one of the most important female rock singers of all time. Let us face it: American pop culture has a problem with Courtney Love. Why? Mostly because we live in a sexist society that discredits strong women, especially in the male-dominated entertainment industry. Some readers probably just interpreted that last sentence as me trying to justify an imminent feminist rant and will rebut that American society dislikes Courtney Love because she was married to Kurt Cobain, and, furthermore, many people actually blame her for his “sudden” death. Even this conspiracy theory is sexist. So, what, she must be responsible for his death because she moved on and continued to have a successful career? Honestly, fuck you if you believe that, I am not even close to kidding. Courtney Love is one of the strongest women in America because of her incredible resilience and feminist attitude, both of which are apparent on this album. Live Through This is undoubtedly Hole’s greatest artistic achievement and was, perhaps, the first significant album to unite femininity with grunge. Though I do love all things riot grrrl, the music to come out of that scene before this (including Hole’s first album) featured an almost masculine aesthetic – from the shouted vocal delivery to the predominately punk and hardcore arrangements, riffs, and lyrical content. Live Through This, though, loses none of this anger while still managing to incorporate melodies, lullabies, and distinctly female complaints: the insecurity of feeling like you are fake, made of doll parts; Courtney’s self-loathing associated with not being perfect, not being the ideal woman, inviting the world to “watch me break and watch me burn;” the issues of appearance and female sexuality while probing, “Is she asking for it? / Is she asking nice?” as our society always does. That the album infamously came out only one week after Kurt’s suicide only adds greater depth to the depression that runs throughout. Courtney Love is a hero for not only being capable of overcoming the suicide of the person closest to her but also for allowing this masterpiece to be released – even if her success ironically continues to destroy her popularity. THRASHLEY
 
RIYL: Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, ‘90s alternative

Recommended Tracks: “Violet” (1), “Miss World” (2), “Asking For It”(4), “Doll Parts” (6), “She Walks on Me” (9), all really

NEW: Rihanna - Anti: Rihanna’s eighth album, Anti, is far and away her best full-length release, where previous albums felt like singles collections (especially on 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad and 2012’s Unapologetic). The album opens with “Consideration,” which features TDE’s resident singer, Sza, whose voice elegantly drifts in with the lyric, “when I look outside my window, I can’t get no peace of mind.” While “Consideration” seemed like it would be the initial standout, it pales in comparison to“Kiss It Better,” which in an album devoid of clear radio bids, has already been deemed a fan favorite for Anti’s next single. I was already excited to hear this song prior to release due to the composer J. Glass having a Twitter rant during which he name-checked the track. “Kiss It Better” has Rihanna rolling in a cheesy guitar-riff reminiscent of the 80s, hair-curled wanting to know what you are willing to do for her. There are two unexpected side steps on Anti, namely the Tame Impala cover “Same Ol’ Mistakes” and the Bibi Bourelly penned “Higher.” If you are a rabid Tame Impala fan, it is likely you will be resistant to “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” but Rihanna’s cover brings a fresh take on the Currents standout, plus it is approved by the band.  “Higher” strips away the excesses of the majority of the album and feels like the only time that her voice is front and center, cracking as Rihanna reaches the upper levels of her vocal range. It all feels very organic in a way that pop stars often do not, reminiscent more of a Kehlani, than a Beyoncé. Anti contains many more standout tracks, which speaks to the high level of quality of this album, regardless of hype and its countless delays. KEN

RIYL: Sza, Kehlani, Beyoncé, Tinashe, Bibi Bourelly

Recommended Tracks: “Consideration (feat. Sza)” (1), “Kiss It Better” (3), “Work (feat. Drake)” (4}, “Needed Me” (7), “Same Ol’ Mistakes” (9), “Higher” (12) 

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Saul Williams - MartyrLoserKingAfter my first listen to MartyrLoserKing, I already knew it was going to make it somewhere on my favorite hip-hop albums of the year. Saul William’s style is very unique and is one that takes hip-hop to an interesting place where it feels more like slam poetry than rapping. Like his previous releases the album has a very distinct underlying concept. The album is centered on a hacker, using the screen name of Martyrloserking, located in the East African country of Burundi.  The character is using the title to examine protests in the digital age. Many songs, such as "Ashes," discuss topics such as power hungry politicians and law enforcement. The sound of the album is very interesting. It is pretty laid back and uses a variety of different sounds. One of the highlight tracks, “The Horn of the Clock Bike Piano,” has a piano loop that is endlessly great. The song that really brings together the album is “All Coltrane Solos at Once.” It takes a look at forming an identity and being able to find yourself so easily with websites such as twitter and youtube. This is a release I would recommend for anyone. HARRY

RIYL: Death Grips, Run the Jewels, TV on the Radio

Recommended Tracks: "Horn of the Clock-Bike" (2), "Think Like They Book Say" (4), "All Coltrane Solos at Once" (10)  

DIIV - Is The Is Are: It's been a minute since DIIV's (pronounced "Dive") debut Oshin, a hectic, dream-pop gem that attracted a decent following for the band. Now, after four years and some tumultuous times for Zachary Cole Smith, comes Is The Is Are. I'd sort of forgotten about DIIV until now. They were a band I liked in high school that made me feel cool, and when I was about to listen to them again after all this time, I was skeptical. Their sound and aesthetic wreaks of Brooklyn hipster, and I was worried the music may not be as compelling as I thought it was four years ago. I liked a lot of questionable things in high school (mostly boys) but after giving Is The Is Are a listen, I'm happy to say that DIIV was not one of them. The band's sophomore album has a fuller and more developed sound, proving that Smith and his bandmates weren't making us wait for nothing. It's a bit of a darker album than the already delightfully gloomy Oshin, beautifully painting a picture of addiction that is anything but beautiful. Closer "Waste of Breath" best embodies this. Though it is utterly bleak, I can't help but find the song pretty - except for the bridge, which sounds like it can be leading us nowhere but downward. However, the album itself is a triumph for the band. A comeback of sorts, it's proof these guys have a sound and voice worth giving a listen. CAROLINE
 
RIYL: Beach Fossils, Au.Ra, Slowdive, Ride & Cheatahs

Recommended Tracks: "Dopamine" (4), "Valentine" (6), "Waste of Breath" (17) 

DJDS - Stand Up and SpeakDo you know what I love about DJDS?  In this twenty first century era, instant gratification is at an all time high. Whether it is checking your Facebook in line, ordering food straight to your door through your phone, or the way mainstream American electronic music is designed and structured. In the subculture of electronic music I will call EDM for convenience sake, although I feel that label is very misleading and too broad to really describe the vast world of electronic music...that makes you dance..., there is constant instant gratification.  There is a vocal melody, a build up a hard drop then repeat,  all in this intense short amount of time.  It’s like music on crack, or molly rather.  DJDS’s music makes you earn the release, that beat that drops that makes you instantly bob your head in a very methodical, patient way. Each song begins simply and builds up in beat syncopation or layering in beautiful harmonies or melodies.  Reaching to houses’ classic roots, DJDS uses soulful samples and catchy piano chords on top of intricate production, that brings you to the peak of a mountain, only to gently sweep down in a gust of wind. DYLAN

RIYL: Todd Edwards, Joakim

Recommended Tracks: "Stand Up and Speak" (7), "In the Flames" (3)